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Blandino, Blakeman inconsistent on Cotchery catch ruling

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07:  Referee Clete Blakeman stands on the field in the first quarter between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Getty Images

The most controversial call of Super Bowl 50 happened in the first quarter, when Panthers receiver Jericho Cotchery bobbled a ball on the way to the ground. The officials on the field ruled it incomplete, and referee Clete Blakeman, with the assistance of NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino, ruled on instant replay that the call on the field would stand.

Blakeman made it clear in announcing the ruling that the replay did not confirm the call on the field, only that the call stands. That meant there was no conclusive view of the play that could show definitively that Cotchery always had his hands between the ball and the ground, and so the Panthers would lose their challenge.

NFL Films has now shown the footage of Blakeman’s review and his subsequent discussion with Panthers coach Ron Rivera, and the discussion makes clear that Blakeman did not feel there was a definitive replay angle.

“We’re gonna go stands,” Blakeman said. “There was not enough confirmation. We couldn’t overturn it.”

Rivera asked Blakeman, “If you’d called it complete, it would have stayed complete, right?” Blakeman answered, “Yes.”

But that doesn’t quite align with Blandino’s explanation. Blandino wrote on Twitter that “the ball touched the ground and slid up his body. Not enough evidence to change the call on the field.”

If Blandino is sure that the ball touched the ground, then Blakeman should have explained to Rivera that the ball touched the ground. Instead, Blakeman just said that there was no definitive replay angle. At the end of a season in which officials, players, coaches, fans and reporters all struggled to figure out what constitutes a catch, the NFL struggled to explain why Cotchery’s catch was not a catch.

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129 Responses to “Blandino, Blakeman inconsistent on Cotchery catch ruling”
  1. cabosan1978 says: Feb 11, 2016 9:26 AM

    The nose portion of the ball clearly touched the ground assisting in the catch which means incompletion. Why any debate?

  2. RegisHawk says: Feb 11, 2016 9:26 AM

    If that’s really The most controversial call of Super Bowl 50, you really don’t have any problems.

  3. littlescuppernong says: Feb 11, 2016 9:27 AM

    I had no dog in that fight, and it obviously was a catch. Ridiculous that it wasn’t overturned.

  4. jvonblohnjvb0013 says: Feb 11, 2016 9:31 AM

    The problem with the Catch rule, is that they look at what was first called on the field. IF they have evidence that overturns the call, then they state it as such, but if they don’t have evidence that SUPPORTS the call, they still keep it as it as originally called. So basically, most of these “catches” depend on what the official felt it was at the time. So then my question is, why even review it?

  5. 3rdngoal says: Feb 11, 2016 9:31 AM

    cabosan1978 says:
    Feb 11, 2016 9:26 AM
    The nose portion of the ball clearly touched the ground assisting in the catch which means incompletion. Why any debate?

    ===============================
    Because his hand was under the ball when that happened and appeared to be in control of it. Not until he rolled and the ball was in his hand and off the ground did it dislodge a little. But never touch the ground again.

  6. ibelievebrady says: Feb 11, 2016 9:31 AM

    The NFL was fine with PEDton riding off into the sunset with a Superbowl win. The slanted officiating in DEN favor was obvious. It’s not why DEN won the game, but it still happened.

  7. millarddjr says: Feb 11, 2016 9:31 AM

    And don’t forget the assistance of the replay assistant, who’s from Colorado and who’s wife is a die-hard broncos fan…..

  8. matt2calvin says: Feb 11, 2016 9:31 AM

    Since only 60ish percent think it was complete – that by definition makes it inconclusive.

    They can’t change the call if the replay is inconclusive.

    But I still think it was a catch…

  9. bonecrushinghits says: Feb 11, 2016 9:32 AM

    #KeepPouting

  10. skippynj says: Feb 11, 2016 9:32 AM

    Wait, are they still playing?

  11. tombradyisgod says: Feb 11, 2016 9:36 AM

    345 Park Ave

  12. rhamrhoddy says: Feb 11, 2016 9:37 AM

    I also want to hear more about the disagreement between Blandino and Goodell.

  13. chesswhileyouplaycheckers says: Feb 11, 2016 9:37 AM

    If Blakeman did not feel there was a definitive replay angle then the call had to stand, even though it was wrong.

  14. mzigg35 says: Feb 11, 2016 9:37 AM

    It was a big deal. A few plays later.. Sack, fumble, td. That doesn’t happen if it’s ruled a complete pass

  15. tombradyisgod says: Feb 11, 2016 9:38 AM

    Deflate ref 6-0 with Denver. Any other NFL officials undeafted with one or more teams? Ask blandino, just go to Taco Bell to find him

  16. patsxsaintsfan says: Feb 11, 2016 9:41 AM

    Looked like a catch to me but what do I know I’m just a fan they pay people big money to do the science behind if it was a catch or not I just am supposed to watch what’s on TV and accept what the NFL says to be so.

  17. tjm7311 says: Feb 11, 2016 9:42 AM

    cabosan1978 says:
    Feb 11, 2016 9:26 AM
    The nose portion of the ball clearly touched the ground assisting in the catch which means incompletion. Why any debate?

    ————————————————————

    Because the ensuing play was the Miller strip sack, fumble recovery touchdown.

  18. tylawspick6 says: Feb 11, 2016 9:44 AM

    The ball never hit the ground, so how can Blandino say he saw it? What about Talib offsides on the FG?

    Blandino is a pathological liar, as is Goodell.

  19. sambaughslingers says: Feb 11, 2016 9:45 AM

    I think if the refs did a better job of standing by the standard of proof to overturn plays this wouldn’t be an issue. We could all stomach the “inconclusive evidence”, the problem lies in the consistency in which replay officials use the system. Consistency is the most important part of officiating and the NFL (Blandino and Rog) don’t care about giving us consistency.

    That’s why Mike Carey always looks like a dope on CBS, because its different for so many different refs. Replay was designed to only overturn 100% beyond a reasonable doubt calls. That’s not how its been used in practice. For example overturning the Dez Bryant “catch”. There’s still like a 50/50 debate… which means it was inconclusive.

    Also stop and think about how many people on twitter or whatever criticized Rivera for using his second challenge for the Peyton Manning sack so early in the game. People were pretty much saying: “Well you need to keep that challenge because you can’t count on the refs getting it right for the rest of the game.”

    The NFL wants debate though. They don’t want officiating to definitively change the last play of a big game, but they certainly love stupid debates like this. If nothing else Deflategate proved conclusively (beyond a reasonable doubt) that the NFL front office has embraced Jerry Jones’ statement that there is no such thing as negative publicity for an entertainment entity such as the NFL.

  20. marty2019 says: Feb 11, 2016 9:49 AM

    That ball was definitely complete. When he rolled over and the ball touched the ground, his hand was under the ball and in complete control.

  21. minson15 says: Feb 11, 2016 9:50 AM

    That play was on second down in the first quarter, if it was on third down and forced a punt in the fourth quarter or something like that then I see why people are getting so mad…Honestly not that big of a momentum swing either way. Just a reason for the Panthers to whine about why they lost. They had multiple opportunities to get back in the game, and FAILED. Deal with it.
    -Seahawks fan

  22. bigbenh8tr says: Feb 11, 2016 9:50 AM

    Wow, it by no means touched the ground whatsoever.

    I thought it was ruled incomplete bc the ball was moving the entire time – NFL is so inconsistent I thought that was now the new rule. They can’t call any of these complete, otherwise they would be wrong on the highly noticed Dez catch non catch

  23. 6ball says: Feb 11, 2016 9:51 AM

    .
    To protect the integrity of the game, the NFL should just release the audio of the Blakeman / Blandino call to the media.
    .

  24. thegronk87 says: Feb 11, 2016 9:51 AM

    Goodell: Clete, you have to say it was an incomplete pass. This one’s for Peyton.

    Clete: Oh ok, gotcha.

    Blandino (watching replays from Jerry Jones’ party bus): Yeah, incmplete.

  25. lionsfan123 says: Feb 11, 2016 9:51 AM

    The catch rule is crystal clear…I have no idea why so many people have a hard time with this.

    That pass was incomplete. The ball touched the ground at one point and he did not have full control of it.

    So. Simple.

    Calvin Johnson vs. Bears – Not a catch.
    Dez Bryant vs. GB – Not a catch.
    Cotchery vs. Broncos – Not a catch.

    Open your eyes, read the rule…it’s black and white and is crystal clear in every case. I’m yet to come across a scenario where there is any ambiguity. Why is this so hard?!

  26. laserw says: Feb 11, 2016 9:51 AM

    There is no evidence to support overturning the call on the field. No replay can show this as a completion – the ball was almost always in motion and not under control and then it stops suddenly so he can gain control. You be the judge. Either God got his hand under it or the ground did so that he could regain control at the end. His hand was not under it at the end until AFTER the ball stopped moving.

  27. tonyzendejas says: Feb 11, 2016 9:53 AM

    “…If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.”

    He had control of the ball prior to (and during) it touching the ground. By NFL definition, this was a catch.

  28. bullcharger says: Feb 11, 2016 9:53 AM

    Mike Carey was right. It was a catch if the ball never touched the ground, and there was no evidence the ball ever touched the ground.

    The wrong call was made on the field for sure and I get why they didn’t turn it over, because they thought it might have been jarred loose by the ground, but the video didn’t show that.

    Turns out it might have been the biggest turning point in the game.

    Doesn’t mean that Denver would not have just made a different play and won just as easily, but if Denver started to feel like Carolina could move the ball on them early they might have changed their game plan.

  29. bullcharger says: Feb 11, 2016 9:55 AM

    bigbenh8tr says:
    Feb 11, 2016 9:50 AM

    Wow, it by no means touched the ground whatsoever.

    I thought it was ruled incomplete bc the ball was moving the entire time – NFL is so inconsistent I thought that was now the new rule. They can’t call any of these complete, otherwise they would be wrong on the highly noticed Dez catch non catch

    —————–

    If you are inbounds and a ball never touches the ground and comes to rest in your hands off the ground it has to be a catch. Bobbling it doesn’t matter unless you are catching it going out of bounds because it has to be in control before going out.

    Even touching the ground slightly when the ball is in control is still ok. If the ground helped the catch or caused it to come loose, then no catch.

  30. margoadams says: Feb 11, 2016 9:56 AM

    Denver is 14-0 in games Refereed by Hocholi and Blakeman. Very bad optics for the NFL. And having a Denver fan in the replay booth doesn’t help with perception. NFL needs to get it’s act together quick. They are loosing any and all credibility with the fans.

  31. stealthjunk says: Feb 11, 2016 9:58 AM

    Who cares? Blandino thought the call was confirmed and Blakeman thought the call should stand. The only thing that matters is they agreed that the pass was incomplete.

    And for good reason. The video does not definitively show whether the ball did or did not touch the ground, but it does show the ball clearly popped out of Cotchery’s hand right afterward, from which you can infer that the ground knocked it out of his hand. Whether the call stood or was confirmed is just semantics.

  32. bullcharger says: Feb 11, 2016 9:58 AM

    minson15 says:
    Feb 11, 2016 9:50 AM

    That play was on second down in the first quarter, if it was on third down and forced a punt in the fourth quarter or something like that then I see why people are getting so mad…Honestly not that big of a momentum swing either way. Just a reason for the Panthers to whine about why they lost. They had multiple opportunities to get back in the game, and FAILED. Deal with it.
    -Seahawks fan

    —————

    It was a massive swing because of the play that came next. People are theorizing that that play wouldn’t have happened if the catch was made.

    If it was 3-0 instead of 10-0 it is a difference.

  33. charliecharger says: Feb 11, 2016 9:58 AM

    I don’t have any allegiance to either team, but the WR didn’t catch the ball cleanly. The ball was moving around in his hands and then it came into contact with the ground before it stopped moving. I didn’t write the rule, but that was an incomplete pass if you go by the rule. We all love controversy, so we’ll create it even though none exists.

  34. stancat says: Feb 11, 2016 9:59 AM

    cabosan1978 says:
    Feb 11, 2016 9:26 AM
    The nose portion of the ball clearly touched the ground assisting in the catch which means incompletion. Why any debate?

    ————————————–
    IMO, the receiver was not going to the ground in the act of catching the ball. He had become a runner before he was tackled. He was down before the ball hit the ground (if it actually did).

    The ensuing defensive touchdown occurred on a play where the pass rusher raked the quarterback’s helmet before stripping the ball. This was infuriating for Lions fans who previously watched the refs call that penalty in the Green Bay game with 0:00 on the clock. The film showed conclusively that our pass rusher did NOT touch the quarterback’s helmet. Also showed the ref who threw the flag could not see the play.

  35. djp141 says: Feb 11, 2016 10:02 AM

    Honestly not that big of a momentum swing either way.
    —————————————————–

    Well, the next play was a strip/sack. If the pass had been ruled complete, Denver gets the ball on Carolina’s 40 yard line, not in the end zone.

  36. woodbridgekid73 says: Feb 11, 2016 10:03 AM

    The ball touched the ground and then bobbled in his hands before he regained control. The fact that so many people believe that is a catch reveals how seriously jacked up and confusing the NFL’s rules are.

  37. Mo Pro Babble says: Feb 11, 2016 10:04 AM

    It breaks down like this,

    Denver supporters (including those who had $ on the game) – not a catch

    everyone else on planet earth who is not blind – a catch.

    There’s no way I wanted to see Cam win a SB but this was a catch in fact it was a great catch. It may or may not have changed the game, but it was a catch. Anyone who says they see the ball touching the ground is wrong or lying. Those who say it touched the ground, go watch it again. The nose of teh ball disappears behind Cotchery’s elbow. Looks to me from the angle of the ball that it was pressed against Cotchery’s arm, not the ground.

    The league needed this to be a Manning win. That’s all lthere is to it.

  38. mm556 says: Feb 11, 2016 10:05 AM

    Mike Carey said it was a catch. By definition it therefore must have been incomplete.

  39. rocketmcstonebreaker says: Feb 11, 2016 10:06 AM

    Fire Goodell.

  40. Mo Pro Babble says: Feb 11, 2016 10:06 AM

    stealthjunk says:
    Feb 11, 2016 9:58 AM
    Who cares? Blandino thought the call was confirmed and Blakeman thought the call should stand. The only thing that matters is they agreed that the pass was incomplete.

    And for good reason. The video does not definitively show whether the ball did or did not touch the ground, but it does show the ball clearly popped out of Cotchery’s hand right afterward, from which you can infer that the ground knocked it out of his hand.

    you can just as easily and correctly infer that it didn’t touch the ground.

  41. zookrew says: Feb 11, 2016 10:08 AM

    Why in the year 2016 does the NFL:
    -Not have consistency in what is ruled a “catch”
    -A sustainable standard for turf at all fields
    -Reliable full-time referees held accountable for all mistakes

    Instead they’ve been worried about franchise relocations and PSI levels of footballs. Teams talk about work they have to do in the offseason, why doesn’t the league do the same.

  42. musicfootballprogramming says: Feb 11, 2016 10:09 AM

    Because his hand was under the ball when that happened and appeared to be in control of it. Not until he rolled and the ball was in his hand and off the ground did it dislodge a little. But never touch the ground again.
    —–
    No, if you look carefully you can see the ball slides as a result of contact with the ground. He has his hand underneath it, but the ball still slides due to contact with the ground. The point where it moved wasn’t focused on by the crack broadcast team of Simms and Nantz, my wife noticed it. We watched it a couple more times and she was definitely right.

  43. pastabelly says: Feb 11, 2016 10:10 AM

    MDS’ post has nothing to do with whether this decided the game. Denver’s defense decided the game and we all agree that the better team that day won the game. The post was about how the call was handled. This has to do with Blandino giving a horrible explanation as to what the officials did and did not see.

  44. stealthjunk says: Feb 11, 2016 10:13 AM

    Mo Pro Babble says:
    Feb 11, 2016 10:06 AM

    you can just as easily and correctly infer that it didn’t touch the ground.

    =================

    You can infer from the ball popping up right after it appears it may have hit the ground that it didn’t hit the ground? That makes no sense.

    But even if you’re right, that’s far from conclusive evidence to overturn a call. When there are two equally plausible inferences to be made, then by definition it’s not conclusive and the call should stand.

  45. huh6016 says: Feb 11, 2016 10:13 AM

    I am just tired of all the NFL’s MICRO MANAGING rules in the game. What happened to two feet in bounds and controlling the ball is a catch? now the ground can cause an incomplete pass BUT not a fumble, huh? And if you land OUT OF BOUNDS and the ball gets loose it’s incomplete, huh? YOU ARE OUT OF BOUNDS. What about a receiver who controls the catch has two feet in-bounds but the ball comes loose as he hits the ground, didn’t he already BREAK THE PLANE of the goal line?

  46. musicfootballprogramming says: Feb 11, 2016 10:15 AM

    This has to do with Blandino giving a horrible explanation as to what the officials did and did not see.
    —–
    We can all agree, Pats fans and Jets fans, 12’s and Cheeseheads: united in our belief that Blandino is a tool.

  47. jimjets says: Feb 11, 2016 10:16 AM

    Totally a catch. Cotch was hosed.

  48. mogogo1 says: Feb 11, 2016 10:19 AM

    Blandino would somehow defend them awarding 4 points for a field goal as a “judgment call” that can’t be argued. His only concern is trying to convince you every blown call was somehow the right one.

    And they totally deserve this after Blandino bragged just a week or so before the Super Bowl that there was no need to adjust the rules on a catch because the officials were going to use common sense to make the proper calls. They screw up calls constantly where the rules spell out to the letter what is supposed to called but on this they’re going to read between the lines and get things right?

  49. tridecagon says: Feb 11, 2016 10:26 AM

    If that’s really The most controversial call of Super Bowl 50, you really don’t have any problems.

    ====================================

    It wasn’t, but we’re not talking about the picked-up defensive holding flag on third down followed by the blatantly missed offside call on the field goal attempt because…. well, because we don’t want to go where that leads.

  50. cropslx says: Feb 11, 2016 10:27 AM

    It was a catch. I just watched it again in slow motion. People talk about the tip of the ball. If you look his thumb is extended all the way to the tip of the ball as he comes to the ground. The ball ONLY moves AFTER Jerricho starts to roll over AND the ball is OFF the ground. Therefore it is a CATCH!!

  51. gacoltfan says: Feb 11, 2016 10:32 AM

    Peter King has a picture on his twitter timeline that clearly shows the nose of the ball touching the ground and the receiver clearly does not have control. If you objectively look at the picture there is no way you can say it’s a catch.

    I showed the picture to a Panther fan and it was so clear to him the only response he could come up with was, “it must be photoshopped”.

  52. rjc32586 says: Feb 11, 2016 10:35 AM

    I was rooting very hard for the Panthers, but I don’t understand why the majority of people seem to think this was a catch. The nose of the ball scraped the ground, then immediately moved. His hand was underneath the body of the ball when that hit, but not the nose when that part came in contact with the ground.

    Again, I was fully for the Panthers and would have loved if it was a catch, but I don’t think there’s even any question the refs got this right.

  53. jvw1982 says: Feb 11, 2016 10:38 AM

    It was a catch and the ref blew the call, plus took a time out from Carolina which insured they only had one challenge left in the game……with that being said, Cotchery has to catch that ball cleanly, he dropped 3-4 balls in that game and none were difficult catches…..

  54. goattoday says: Feb 11, 2016 10:40 AM

    At full speed, I though it was incomplete. Refs make calls at full speed. Seeing the replay I thought is probably was a catch. “Probably” doesn’t overturn the call on the field. This article is about how it was debated and explained. Sounds like Blakeman gave Rivera the correct explanation.

    All of this “Peyton rides off with a win” conspiracy stuff is stupid. Just as stupid as fixing a game for the reigning MVP to lose.

    Is it September 8 yet?

  55. sonhoodoo says: Feb 11, 2016 10:42 AM

    I think the issue here is because Dean Blandino can’t find his backside with two hands and a flashlight.

  56. swineflooo says: Feb 11, 2016 10:45 AM

    As a neutral observer that wqs definitely a catch, ans that one play could have changed the outcome of the whole game.

    It was very suspicious

  57. dwarftosser says: Feb 11, 2016 10:46 AM

    I thought it was a catch when I watched the game, but then I saw a replay in slow motion the other day and it appears to me that the nose of the ball hit the ground and knocked it lose.

    Regarless Blakeman is still the worst ref in football. It’s amazing to me that they award the most incompetent official in the league the Superbowl.

  58. armstrongsmissingball says: Feb 11, 2016 10:46 AM

    NOT A CATCH…. The ball moves right after it hit the ground. I thought on the first review it was a catch but after super slo mo you see it moves after Cotch hit the ground with it and l was four beers, five baby back ribs and ten wings in by that time. Feeling no pain just enjoying me some Super Bowl Football. You people need to RELAX and enjoy it. You can’t change it. Just enjoy it! THE BALL HAS SPOKEN!

  59. swineflooo says: Feb 11, 2016 10:46 AM

    A catch 99 percent of the time. The one percent where it isnt a catch is when it goes against manning

  60. tombradyisgod says: Feb 11, 2016 10:49 AM

    Blandino has never ref a pee wee football game. Keep protecting the shield roger GODell

  61. ivanpavlov0000 says: Feb 11, 2016 10:52 AM

    If this had happened in the outfield of my elementary school playground, the bickering about whether it was a catch would have been over before the bell rang at the end of the day.

    Just sayin’ … this is just a kid’s game. It’s fun to watch amazing athletes play it, but it’s still just a game. And this one is over. Time to forget it and move on.

  62. bro15360 says: Feb 11, 2016 10:54 AM

    gacoltfan is right on. I pulled up the pic from King’s feed. No doubt the ball is on the ground.

  63. metalman5150 says: Feb 11, 2016 10:58 AM

    I thought the ball kissed the ground but the nori listen to men who get paid to host radio broadcasts, the more I begin to doubt what I considered to b an incomplete pass.

    To be sure – and I’ve never caught an NFL pass – cotchery could have secured the ball cleaner and more quickly and then there would have been no doubt as to whether it was a catch or not.

    Do not put these decisions into the hands of the officials bc they can and will screw something up eventually.

  64. Steve From NH says: Feb 11, 2016 10:59 AM

    That was a catch. Not a fan of the Panthers, but that was a catch. My first thought was ‘the fix is in’.

  65. nflfan22 says: Feb 11, 2016 11:08 AM

    I am honestly very surprised that this didn’t get more attention a lot earlier. This game had much of the same feel as SB XL (Steelers v Seahawks). Bettis got to go out on top then, Manning got to go out on top now.

    Add the questionable holding call that gave the Broncos a fresh set of downs right before the clinching TD. The Offsides no-call….

  66. thestrategyexpert says: Feb 11, 2016 11:09 AM

    I vote that the language of the rulebook and the process of the system of applying the rules are both insufficient to adequately avoid controversy over this particular play and many others like it that have happened and that will happen.

    I refuse to select any of the presented choices as a matter of principle in the spirit of fairness, integrity, and logic.

  67. xxpoisoniveyxx says: Feb 11, 2016 11:12 AM

    excuses…excuses.

  68. toolkien says: Feb 11, 2016 11:14 AM

    I don’t know if at 47 I’m old enough to remember, but before the rule changed circa 2002/2003, if the ball touched the ground at any time after leaving the QB’s hand and the receiver as running with the ball, it wasn’t a catch. But they changed the rule so that the ball COULD touch the ground so long as the ball didn’t move out of the grip of the receiver. Now we have all sorts of grey area. I favor moving back too if the ball hits the ground at any time, even with the modern athleticism, it’s not a catch. Sports are filled with all sorts of all or nothing rules, and really we need more of them, not less of them.

    In the case of this play, the nose of the ball touched the ground and the ball slid up the receiver’s hand/arm. By the definition, it wasn’t a catch. If the nose of the ball touched the ground and DIDN’T leave his grip/hands, it would have been a catch by the new rules. If the rules went back to “it touched the ground, period” rules, then there’s no secondary debates about movement etc, etc.

  69. roadtrip3500 says: Feb 11, 2016 11:14 AM

    Rivera wasting his second challenge a short time later could have proven to be a bigger problem had he needed one later in the game. Once he lost the Cotchery challenge, Rivera had to realize a 2nd-and-17 vs 2nd-and-10 in the second quarter was not a critical need.

  70. leontrotsky says: Feb 11, 2016 11:17 AM

    There’s something wildly wrong with the rules for what a ‘catch’ is if a poll with ~5000 fan participants is split 61/21/17 on catch/no catch/couldn’t tell.

    I love the sport of football but the NFL is silly and I think everytime they try to further define what a catch is they make it more convoluted and stupid.

  71. TheDPR says: Feb 11, 2016 11:20 AM

    I actually can’t tell if it hits the ground or not. Therefore the call on the field should stand. That said, I can’t understand why it was called incomplete on the field, when you CAN’T SEE the ball hitting the ground. Officials in any sport should never call something based on assumption; if you can’t see it, it didn’t happen.

  72. troylok says: Feb 11, 2016 11:21 AM

    The commentators all thought it was a catch but I can see where it could be called either way. Maybe there should be a third option when it comes to these calls: a do-over.

  73. digitalsasquatch says: Feb 11, 2016 11:24 AM

    The opposite of whatever Mike Carey says….

  74. Emmanuel Goldstein says: Feb 11, 2016 11:25 AM

    He never had control of the football.

  75. elvoid says: Feb 11, 2016 11:29 AM

    In the end, the thing we have to come to grips with is that a call like this – when the video evidence, even in slo mo, is not 100 percent conclusive – it comes down to a judgment call – and different people will judge, well… differently.

    Replay doesn’t make it perfect on the close calls and never will – there will always be disagreement on those. It does help with correcting the obvious mistakes, and that’s going to have to be good enough.

  76. fd562 says: Feb 11, 2016 11:29 AM

    I went back and watched the game again last night. Several pivotal calls that changed the course of the game. Normally, I could care less about refs but it really did affect the outcome.

    First challenge was completely wrong when Cotchery caught ball. Two plays later is the strip fumble TD because the Panthers were backed up. If called correctly and there was a fumble it would have been around the 40 yard line.

    Talib was way offside on Gano’s FG

    Refs picked up defensive holding flag against Denver when Panthers were in red zone in 3rd.

    Totally botched PI call in red zone on pass to Ginn in early 4th.

    Cotchery goes out of bounds at 7:49 but clock continues to run in 4th quarter. Complete mishap by refs.

    Called defensive holding on Norman when ball was clearly uncatchable.

    Carolina played tight early and the turnovers killed. But refs also made major errors. Carolina out gained Denver 315-194. What makes matters worse, is Blakeman attended a Denver after party and took a smiling photo with Jimmy Oldham’s wife (the replay asst). The Oldham’s are big Denver fans. Very shady.

  77. thepunkyqb says: Feb 11, 2016 11:41 AM

    Look, the reason it is so controversial is because on the very next play, there was a Defensive sack/fumble which resulted in a TD for the Broncos.

    I have said for the last two years now that there have been multiple things showing clear examples of how the NFL has started to become the WWF(or WWE for those younger people). Games last year were clearly decided and/or overtly ‘steered’ by Ref decisions. It’s a sad thought, but if it keeps up it will ruin the little integrity left in the game and in-turn, ruin a sport that I have enjoyed watching for many many years.

    Yes, by my recollection of the replay, it should’ve been a catch. I am a Bears fan so I can and did look at this play from a non biased standpoint.

  78. imodan says: Feb 11, 2016 11:45 AM

    cabosan1978 says:
    Feb 11, 2016 9:26 AM
    The nose portion of the ball clearly touched the ground assisting in the catch which means incompletion. Why any debate?
    ————————————————————–
    And this right here is why I say eliminate replay. It solved nothing while creating even more controversy. You saw the play one way and I another. I saw the nose touch the ground but I saw the receiver’s hand under the ball too. Now somewhere along the line I believe I heard that the ball indeed can touch the ground and in my judgement it did but the receiver had control too. Anyway……just go back to allowing officials on the field making the call and standing by them. Again, nothing has been gained.

  79. patsrthegreatest says: Feb 11, 2016 11:47 AM

    As poorly officiated as the game was, the turnovers still played a bigger role in the outcome

  80. cranespy says: Feb 11, 2016 11:49 AM

    The NFL has long had a rule that the “ground can not cause a fumble” wouldn’t it be much simpler to simply rule “if the ball touches the ground the pass is incomplete”. Then go to work on coming up with a simpler method to determine what type of movement to constitute a catch. That can come next but first get the ground issue out of it!

  81. roadtrip3500 says: Feb 11, 2016 11:51 AM

    fd562 says:
    Feb 11, 2016 11:29 AM

    Called defensive holding on Norman when ball was clearly uncatchable.

    Defensive holding has nothing to do with catchability… it’s called prior to the ball being thrown. Defensive pass interference is called while the ball is in the air, and can be denied if the ball is uncatchable.

  82. elvoid says: Feb 11, 2016 11:54 AM

    Meh. In any game there’s a litany of questionable calls against either team.

    As to some of the more important ones:

    On the Cotchery “catch” part of the football appeared that it hit the ground and then bounced a little bit back into his body. Some people see this – some don’t. I do. (and for the record, not a Denver fan in the least. Given a buddy of mine works for the Panthers, I was hoping he’d have plenty to celebrate at the end of the game).

    Talib was close – and I think they could have called it offisdes – but it was close – he timed it well.

    As to the call on Norman – the fact that the ball was “uncatchable” has no impact on a defensive holding call – and there was obvious defensive holding. Had they called “Pass Interference,” you’d have something – but they didn’t and you don’t.

    The refs didn’t take this from the Panthers. Denver’s Defense and their own mistakes took care of that quite well. But they’ll be back – fact is, Newton is young and this team should scare the crap out of the rest of the league for a few years.

  83. jackamus51 says: Feb 11, 2016 11:55 AM

    NFL wanted Manning to go out a winner, enough said!!!!!

  84. mmack66 says: Feb 11, 2016 11:55 AM

    bro15360 says:
    Feb 11, 2016 10:54 AM

    gacoltfan is right on. I pulled up the pic from King’s feed. No doubt the ball is on the ground.
    ————————–

    You can’t tell anything from a still image of a catch.

    Besides, the ball can touch the ground during a catch and it is still a catch.

  85. dexterismyhero says: Feb 11, 2016 11:55 AM

    Sorry, no catch…game over…

  86. ocgunslinger says: Feb 11, 2016 12:01 PM

    You mean that after a year the NFL cannot determine a basic call like a complete catch means they don’t have any problems??

    On the contray, Major problems and they all start with the bufoon comissioner. Mark Cuban is 100% correct.

  87. imodan says: Feb 11, 2016 12:03 PM

    nflfan22 says:
    Feb 11, 2016 11:08 AM
    I am honestly very surprised that this didn’t get more attention a lot earlier. This game had much of the same feel as SB XL (Steelers v Seahawks). Bettis got to go out on top then, Manning got to go out on top now.

    Add the questionable holding call that gave the Broncos a fresh set of downs right before the clinching TD. The Offsides no-call….
    —————————————————————
    One play that has bothered me from the start was the illegal block called on Carolina during a good punt return that turned very good field position to meh. I might have missed it, so if I did please, anyone correct me, but I never saw a replay of that block. I was screaming at the TV “show the replay!”. It’s widely accepted that CBS did a horrible job in general and I even said so halfway thru the game.
    I felt queasy about possible shenanigans by the league when Blakeman was named the ref. I felt at the time it was strange coincidence that the same ref who was assigned to the famous deflategate game as a backup and who already was bound to end up measuring the balls because the league knew they were going to going into that game. I felt this was a reward for assisting in that botched hot mess at best or at worst the league’s secret weapon to solidify that the predetermined happy ending took place. It’s not quantity of penalties called, it’s timing. The timing seemed to always benefit one team. Tin foil hat talk? Maybe. But the actions of the league in the last five or so years dictate looking at everything they do with questioning eyes.

  88. lifetimefan says: Feb 11, 2016 12:06 PM

    It was a completed pass. Ugly yes, incomplete……..Nope

  89. imodan says: Feb 11, 2016 12:09 PM

    roadtrip3500 says:
    Feb 11, 2016 11:51 AM
    fd562 says:
    Feb 11, 2016 11:29 AM

    Called defensive holding on Norman when ball was clearly uncatchable.

    Defensive holding has nothing to do with catchability… it’s called prior to the ball being thrown. Defensive pass interference is called while the ball is in the air, and can be denied if the ball is uncatchable.
    ——————————————————————
    All true. My worry is that the official throws the flag initially to claim interference which could be subject to the uncatchable factor to simply holding which is not. That particular play seemed like a legit call but there have been many times when it appeared the wrong call was made and the offense is gifted a first down. I don’t have a solution but to me it leads to the possibility of raising integrity issues.

  90. coloradical420 says: Feb 11, 2016 12:12 PM

    If Cotchery catches that ball cleanly, in stride it’s a foot race to the end zone. Maybe you should be talking about that instead of a pass that was incomplete.

    There is a photo that clearly shows the nose of the ball hitting the ground. This was on Cotchery, not the refs.

  91. It Takes 2 Mannings To Equal One Brady says: Feb 11, 2016 12:22 PM

    bigbenh8tr says:
    Feb 11, 2016 9:50 AM

    Wow, it by no means touched the ground whatsoever.

    I thought it was ruled incomplete bc the ball was moving the entire time – NFL is so inconsistent I thought that was now the new rule. They can’t call any of these complete, otherwise they would be wrong on the highly noticed Dez catch non catch
    ================

    If the ball never ever ever touches the ground, and the player isn’t out of bounds, what would you rule it??? A redo? If the pass is thrown, and never touches the ground, its complete

  92. roddoliver says: Feb 11, 2016 12:24 PM

    “The nose portion of the ball clearly touched the ground assisting in the catch which means incompletion. Why any debate?”

    And to make it worse, the ball popped out of his hand after touching the ground. There is no debate. Incomplete.

  93. padronebradfather says: Feb 11, 2016 12:28 PM

    well, I am a Broncos fan but I am also a reporter and have been blocked by Broncos fans on Twitter for saying this was a catch because I believe it was. However, where’s the proof that Newton would have CAPITALIZED on this with how ineffective he was. Furthermore, the Broncos’ defense was in tough situations all season and managed to get themselves out of a lot of jams. Even now, I’m astounded at how effective they were even in the most adverse circumstances.

  94. ricko1112 says: Feb 11, 2016 12:31 PM

    Come on! We all know that the NFL was pulling for Manning from the get go!

    8-0 with Hochuli as ref.
    6-0 all time with Blakeman as ref.
    A rabid Broncos fan was the replay assistant.

    No investigation into the HGH that’s was shipped directly to Manning..’s home.

    Blandino in Blakeman’s ear ordering him not to reverse the call on that obvious catch.

    Denver is the dirtiest team in NFL history. Salary cap cheating that directly led to Elway’s tainted, fraudulent SB wins. Vaseline slathered all over uniforms. Illegal chop black designed and taught specifically to injure. Not to mention all the bs listed above.

  95. kitmandew says: Feb 11, 2016 12:31 PM

    Just had to make sure Peyton got his ring, one of many questionable calls. They know Cam has many chances ahead of him…

  96. mistakeonthelake says: Feb 11, 2016 12:49 PM

    First of all, why were we treated to the Matrix style 360 view of the two rushing TDs, but they couldn’t find a good view of that catch? Also, my wife, who isn’t a football fan at all, said “Then what the hell IS a catch?” I simply responded, “exactly.”

  97. truths4all says: Feb 11, 2016 12:58 PM

    Hey Carolina and your punk kid Newton, NO ONE CARES as the GAME is OVER!!!

    Denver DOMINATED and completely OUTPLAYED you on the field.

    Actually, Denver REALLY DOMINATED the Panthers the entire game except for the Panthers stringing together a few freaking lucky plays that allowed them to score their one TD and one FG.

    Every so-called expert including PFT believed your hype and thought you were much better than you truly are. Seattle was missing key players all season. Arizona’s Defense fell apart after the Honey Badger got hurt and we all saw how lousy their offensive line was after Seattle and Green Bay exposed their many weak O-Line starters. The fact the Panthers crushed AZ was not a testament to how good AZ was, but how AZ could no longer hide their many glaring weaknesses. If AZ had to play 6 more games after Green Bay showed how to attack them, AZ would have lost all of those games.

  98. myopinionisrighterthanyours says: Feb 11, 2016 1:03 PM

    minson15 says:
    Feb 11, 2016 9:50 AM

    That play was on second down in the first quarter, if it was on third down and forced a punt in the fourth quarter or something like that then I see why people are getting so mad…Honestly not that big of a momentum swing either way. Just a reason for the Panthers to whine about why they lost. They had multiple opportunities to get back in the game, and FAILED. Deal with it.
    -Seahawks fan

    ————————————————

    The Panthers wish it was on 3rd down. The next play was the strip sack TD. At no point does the ball make contact with the ground without Crotchery’s hand being underneath. I thought by the Bert Emanuel rule, that’s a catch.

  99. wallabear says: Feb 11, 2016 1:04 PM

    Rest assured, it was a catch. But with a doped-up Von Miller (very likely, based on prior 6-game suspension), the Cam-rolina Panthers probably still would have lost lol

  100. billsfan1 says: Feb 11, 2016 1:06 PM

    Isn’t it more concerning as to why Can’t Newton didn’t want to hurt himself with the game on the line

  101. willycents says: Feb 11, 2016 1:06 PM

    jackamus51 says:
    Feb 11, 2016 11:55 AM

    NFL wanted Manning to go out a winner, enough said!!!!!
    ————————-
    Just like they “gifted” Brady the win last year. Right?

  102. tonebones says: Feb 11, 2016 1:12 PM

    When I saw it live I thought they’d rule it a catch. But the slow motion replay showed the ball was still moving in his hands when it hit the ground. After the WR rolled over again, that time the ball didn’t come in contact with the ground. That part was clear, and I think that’s what most people that think it was a catch are talking about. But initially, the ground helped the WR control the ball and that’s incomplete all day long. The replay system worked perfectly, and that’s why it’s not going away. I don’t particularly like the new catch rule, in fact I hate it, but this play was an incomplete pass according to any rules, new or old. Replay also showed Cam Newton quitting on his team, so I think that’s part of the reason some people want to do away with replay altogether.

  103. tonebones says: Feb 11, 2016 1:16 PM

    TheDPR says:
    Feb 11, 2016 11:20 AM

    I actually can’t tell if it hits the ground or not. Therefore the call on the field should stand. That said, I can’t understand why it was called incomplete on the field, when you CAN’T SEE the ball hitting the ground. Officials in any sport should never call something based on assumption; if you can’t see it, it didn’t happen.
    ——————————
    The refs that worked the super bowl were chosen because they graded out as the top refs all season. On this particular play the ref on the field made a call based on what he saw, and then slow motion replay confirmed that he did indeed make the right call. Perhaps his eyes are better than ours, and that’s why he was chosen to work the super bowl.

  104. justintuckrule says: Feb 11, 2016 1:27 PM

    Blakeman is a MILLION PERCENT RIGHT! That’s how replay should be used. If you’re not willing to bet your first born that the play should be overturned, it should be left ALONE. The textbook definition is conclusiveness. Look up and down the board. Opinions are everywhere. I had no dog in the fight and I couldn’t tell if it hit the ground or not. Therefore, call on the field should stand! Blandino should have kept his mouth shut and deferred to the professional.

    If the rule was enforced to the “T”, there should be only a small amount of replays that are overturned. Like the one the Panthers won on. That one was conclusive.

  105. codythao35 says: Feb 11, 2016 1:41 PM

    Here we go, turf gate or official gate?

  106. fireroger says: Feb 11, 2016 1:42 PM

    30 years ago there was no debate over what a catch entails. At some point NY might want to wake up to the fact they are trying to over legislate every facet of this game now.

  107. Lemon Lyman says: Feb 11, 2016 2:05 PM

    fd562 says:
    Feb 11, 2016 11:29 AM

    Cotchery goes out of bounds at 7:49 but clock continues to run in 4th quarter. Complete mishap by refs.

    Called defensive holding on Norman when ball was clearly uncatchable.

    The clock starts again after a player runs out of bounds until the final 2 minutes of the first half and the final 5 minutes of the fourth quarter.

    Doesn’t matter if the ball is uncatchable on defensive holding.

  108. FinFan68 says: Feb 11, 2016 2:11 PM

    Blandino has s an idiot and makes decisions based on what he wants and he cites whatever snippet of the rule that supports his view. The bottom line is that there was no conclusive evidence that PROVES the call on the field was wrong. What we see in the replay only provides an argument that it could be ruled the other way, not proof that the call was wrong. In those cases, by rule, the play should stand. That is what Blandino’s position should have been all along. The fact that it isn’t just shows he should not have the job or the control that he does. If there were a different official that could have been manipulated the call may have been incorrectly changed.

  109. artic19 says: Feb 11, 2016 2:23 PM

    millarddjr says:
    Feb 11, 2016 9:31 AM
    And don’t forget the assistance of the replay assistant, who’s from Colorado and who’s wife is a die-hard broncos fan…..
    ———————————————–
    If Blakeman did not get to see a certain angle because of the replay assistant then whoa, that would be terrible. And the NFL will make sure it doesn’t go public. There is an angle they showed at the end of the play and it shows the ball was inches from the ground and never got close. If he didn’t see that angle then he couldn’t rule.

  110. fd562 says: Feb 11, 2016 2:34 PM

    The clock starts again after a player runs out of bounds until the final 2 minutes of the first half and the final 5 minutes of the fourth quarter.

    Doesn’t matter if the ball is uncatchable on defensive holding.

    You’re correct – I did not know that about the clock in the 2nd half. Thank you. Still, the Panthers had major calls that affected the outcome. Denver’s offense didn’t do squat the 2nd half. If the Panthers get one TD or two field goals on their three red zone trips in the 2nd half it’s a different ballgame. That missed PI call and picked up flag really hurt. The Strip sack fumble TD in first half likely doesn’t occur if the Cotchery pass was called correctly as well. As a Panthers fan, I’m quite confident the Panthers beat the Broncos 7-8 times out of 10.

  111. thebirdofprey says: Feb 11, 2016 2:35 PM

    If I screwed up at my job at the level of Dean Blandino I would have been fired years ago. But nope, he keeps ruining the credibility a game I love.

    I grew up watching basketball and haven’t watched NBA in 10 years thanks to Tim Donaghy. There is a whole whack of real fans getting fed up with the NFL referee clown show.

  112. elvoid says: Feb 11, 2016 2:38 PM

    “There is an angle they showed at the end of the play and it shows the ball was inches from the ground and never got close.”

    Really? I don’t recall seeing any such angle. What I saw had one end of the ball appear to contact the ground while he had his hand under the other end, and then the ball jostle slightly (hence no catch) after it came off the ground. Got a link? If it exists, I’d like to see it.

  113. skinsdiehard says: Feb 11, 2016 2:46 PM

    The writer of this article is not quite right. The ball touching the ground is not automatically incomplete while in possession of the receiver. If the ball moves in his grasp when it touches the ground, it will be ruled incomplete if the judgment is that the ground caused the movement or aided in the reception. Of course, the ball touching the ground while out of his grasp is incomplete also.

    Blakeman agreed with Blaudino that the ball touched the ground. No inconsistency. Blakeman need to go a step further and ruled that there was not evidence to confirm that the ground did or did not cause the ball to move while in the receiver’s grasp. That’s why it was inconclusive. Call stands on the field.

  114. conormacleodisloosebutthole says: Feb 11, 2016 2:47 PM

    We have to clear this up. The simplest way to fix this is if the ball touches the ground AT ALL it should be incomplete.

  115. boogerhut says: Feb 11, 2016 3:06 PM

    Boy, I bet the DV shelters are full in Carolina.

  116. fatsolio says: Feb 11, 2016 3:12 PM

    The ball didn’t touch the ground. He at first clearly had his hand under the ball when he was rolling (anyone who isn’t blind should be able to see that) and then he had his thumb under the tip.

  117. gacoltfan says: Feb 11, 2016 3:22 PM

    mmack66 says:
    Feb 11, 2016 11:55 AM

    bro15360 says:
    Feb 11, 2016 10:54 AM

    gacoltfan is right on. I pulled up the pic from King’s feed. No doubt the ball is on the ground.
    ————————–

    You can’t tell anything from a still image of a catch.

    Besides, the ball can touch the ground during a catch and it is still a catch.

    ——————————————————-
    You can if the still image shows the ball touching the ground and the ball is not in his hands, which the picture clearly shows. Look at the picture, then comment.

  118. elvoid says: Feb 11, 2016 3:39 PM

    Fatsolio: “The ball didn’t touch the ground. He at first clearly had his hand under the ball when he was rolling (anyone who isn’t blind should be able to see that) and then he had his thumb under the tip.”

    Really? I’ll give your that he had his hand (or thumb, as you say) under one tip of the ball. But see, funny thing – there are two tips on a football. The other appears to have contacted the ground – at least it doesn’t appear that it definitively did not contact the ground – and he lost control of the ball for a split second after that point. Anyone who isn’t blind can see that.

    Not enough to overturn the call on the field, plain and simple.

  119. jjackwagon says: Feb 11, 2016 3:41 PM

    Catch…no catch…immaterial. The incomplete pass has no bearing on the fumbles.

    Don’t turn the ball over(twice), you probably win.

  120. cchicinfan says: Feb 11, 2016 3:56 PM

    I for one would call that a completion every time, but by the rule the NFL uses, they were consistent as hell because the ball did touch the ground and it did slightly move at that point. They have been very consistent on that, even to the point it drives me crazy. This is an example where replay has taken it to the point of absurdity and something that is clearly a catch to everyone involved is negated by the definition they use.

    The replay system needs to be overhauled, severely restricted or just plain eliminated.

  121. bigbamboom1 says: Feb 11, 2016 4:01 PM

    I am 100% certain of one thing. I have no idea anymore what is a “Catch or incompletion”. And neither does NFL officials; coaches; players; or anybody. This now seems like a legal process instead of a football play.

  122. wantsomecheesewiththatwhine says: Feb 11, 2016 5:05 PM

    never mind the catch, newton gets smacked in the face/helmut on the next play where he fumbles and denver scores the touchdown.
    should have been personal foul, 15 yards against denver, 1st down carolina, no touchdown.

  123. charliecharger says: Feb 11, 2016 5:32 PM

    elvoid says:
    Feb 11, 2016 2:38 PM

    “There is an angle they showed at the end of the play and it shows the ball was inches from the ground and never got close.”

    Really? I don’t recall seeing any such angle. What I saw had one end of the ball appear to contact the ground while he had his hand under the other end, and then the ball jostle slightly (hence no catch) after it came off the ground. Got a link? If it exists, I’d like to see it.
    ———————-
    There was an angle at the end of the play that clearly showed the ball was about three inches off the ground. Now back up the video to the first time he rolled over. That’s the one that shows the nose of the ball hitting the ground before he secured it. I think a lot of the people are mistakenly thinking that last shot at the end of the play was the error. No. It was the first time he rolled over. The NFL got it right.

  124. lance227 says: Feb 11, 2016 5:58 PM

    This one’s for a john!!!

  125. tylawspick6 says: Feb 11, 2016 6:48 PM

    Anyone claiming that was not a catch is a moron and does not know the rules.

    There was no evidence the ball hit the ground.

    His hand was underneath it all the way until his momentum forced some jostling, but he clearly prevented it from ever touching the ground.

    The arrogance of the NFL enabling the cheating for Gomer.

  126. Rolo Tomassi says: Feb 11, 2016 7:33 PM

    Check the film of Clete Blakemans games
    Bears vs Packers 2013 fixed
    Packers vs Cardinals 2015 fixed even though the Packers lost

  127. m8gaman says: Feb 11, 2016 8:01 PM

    People claiming incomplete need to seriously get your eyes checked, if you look in the mirror and you are wearing orange then your opinion is discredited.

  128. elvoid says: Feb 12, 2016 10:39 AM

    If you can look at that video and proclaim that when he first went to ground that ball did absolutely not hit the ground (which was the only way to overrule the call on the field), you need to seriously get your eyes checked; if you look in the mirror and you are wearing silver, black and blue then your opinion is discredited.

  129. sbrannonjr says: Feb 12, 2016 7:29 PM

    I was neutral for the game. I thought it was a catch. However, just look at these posts. Some thought is was, some thought it wasn’t. Obviously, the right call was made to uphold the call on the field. If it would have been called a catch first, it would have stood. No use complaining about it. It wouldn’t have helped the Panthers much the way they played.

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