A bad call in the NFC Championship Game went against the 49ers when linebacker NaVorro Bowman stripped the ball from Seahawks receiver Jermaine Kearse, only to have the officials rule that Seattle had maintained possession. Although replays made it clear that Bowman had the ball and was down, that particular ruling isn’t subject to replay review.
At least, it’s not subject to replay review under the NFL’s current rules. The owners are meeting in Orlando this week and are expected to approve several rule changes, including making recovery of a loose ball in the field of play a reviewable call. It’s being referred to as the “NaVorro Bowman rule” and it should surprise no one that the 49ers support it.
“We’ll be for it,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh told CSNBayArea.com. “I think it has a good chance to be adopted. Common sense.”
Harbaugh is right: It’s such obvious common sense that it’s baffling that there was ever a rule prohibiting the referee from using instant replay to correct such an obvious missed call.
Adding insult to injury for the 49ers on the play in question is that Bowman suffered a severe knee injury in the ensuing pileup. It was a phenomenal display of toughness by Bowman, who held onto the ball even as his knee ligaments got shredded. Here’s hoping that the next time a player sacrifices his body to make a great play like that, they get the call right.