NFL’s officiating supervisor explains overturning Steelers’ touchdown

AP

The NFL tweeted video of Al Riveron’s explanation on the reversal of Jesse James‘ touchdown catch. The league’s Senior Vice President of Officiating overturned the play after James failed to control the ball to the ground in the end zone.

Two plays later, Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception that secured the Patriots’ 27-24 victory.

It’s a rule Cowboys fans know too well, having had a similar catch by Dez Bryant overturned by replay in the 2014 playoffs against the Packers. Lions fans can explain it too, having had a game-winning catch by Calvin Johnson reversed on replay in a game against the Bears in 2010.

“Roethlisberger completes a pass to James, and James is going to the ground as he reaches the goal line,” Riveron said. “That’s the key here. He is going to the ground. By rule, to complete the process of the catch, he must survive the ground. By that, we mean he must maintain control of the football. . . . He does put the ball over the goal line extended. Once he gets there, he loses control of the football, and then the ball hits the ground. . . . So therefore, two things occur: He loses control of the football, and the ball touches the ground prior to him regaining control. Therefore, the ruling on the field of a touchdown was changed to an incomplete pass.”

167 responses to “NFL’s officiating supervisor explains overturning Steelers’ touchdown

  1. Everyone knows that rule by now. You need to maintain control of the ball to the ground. Hard to believe that it Nantz and Romo missed that until Tony noticed it three minutes later on the 7th instant replay.

  2. I hate the “going to ground” clause. I don’t think it adds anything to the game, and it makes situations like these too complicated.
    A few years back, that would have been a catch once the knee hit the ground.

  3. If your sports league constantly has to issue explanations about why scores are scores, or why scores are not scores, then something is wrong with your sports league. More to the point, something is wrong with how your sports league is run. We all know this. And we know this is the primary reason the NFL is losing viewers. I’d typically be watching Sunday Night Football right now. But I can’t stomach the idea of seeing another game. For generations, that was a TD. And then … Goodell.

  4. The Lions saw it again against Atlanta but I digress, it’s timefor the whine-a-thon and ‘fix’ posts from the morons who don’t understand the rules but ‘know’ in their little troll hearts that everything is fixed (yawn). Of course there was another play after that they will completely ignore…

  5. the extension to the end zone looked like a “football” move..IMO….and I am a Bengals fan so I don’t have much of a dog in the fight (other than Leveon Bell and Brandin Cooks on my Fantasy team )

  6. I still don’t get it. If he had caught the ball on their own 5 yard line, ran the entire length of the field, leaped over the goal line, and the ball jiggled slightly when he hit the ground is that then not considered a TD? He caught the ball, got both feet down (plus one knee), pulled the ball into his body, and then extended it across the goal line. How is it not a TD at that point? He demonstrated complete and total control of the ball while getting two feet down (and then a knee)?

  7. What a joke the NFL has become, my goodness! No different than any other business. When you let inexperienced people who have NEVER carried the bag before, run your business, you’re asking for it to collapse. Not only do they not know what a catch is, they don’t even know what “in the process of making the catch” means.

  8. This rule has got to change. When it looks like a catch, and everyone thinks it is a catch, then it should be a catch. Even if technically they say that they applied the rule correctly. Come on NFL, get it right this offseason by fixing this horrible rule.

  9. John Harbaugh Is A Sad Whiney Middle Aged Woman says:
    December 17, 2017 at 8:58 pm
    I still don’t get it. If he had caught the ball on their own 5 yard line, ran the entire length of the field, leaped over the goal line, and the ball jiggled slightly when he hit the ground is that then not considered a TD? He caught the ball, got both feet down (plus one knee), pulled the ball into his body, and then extended it across the goal line. How is it not a TD at that point? He demonstrated complete and total control of the ball while getting two feet down (and then a knee)?
    —————–
    Its the difference between being a ball carrier and completing a catch. It REALLY is that simple.

  10. So let me get this straight, if gronk makes that catchthen reaches over the goal line and the Steelers defender knocks the ball away it’s not a touchdown? Right

  11. What happened to the NFLs rule ? Ground can not cause a fumble ….. I can’t wait for the XFL to come back so we can dump the cheating,manipulating NOT FOR LONG League

  12. You can hate the rule, but you can’t hate the call. It was the right one if you are going to go by the existing rules. Now if you want to CHANGE that rule, feel free to do so at the end of the season. I’m sure we will see it call again as the season rolls on. And it will suck if you are a fan of a team that has it called against them.

  13. When a man stretches and his knee is on the ground and he crosses the goal line with the ball and the refs say it’s a touchdown and the former NFL probowl announcer says three times that it is a touchdown and you must have “CONCLUSIVE” evidence to overturn it and they still do so. Well! That’s todays NFL. Welcome!

  14. What I would then like him to explain is exactly what constitutes a “football move.”

    Clearly he catches the ball, then turns, then extends the ball over the goal line. Is turning your body not a football move? Is extending the ball not a football move? Most would agree that he didn’t maintain possession as he went to the ground, but if you are already ruled to have made the catch (supposedly by making a “football move”) then maintaining possession while going to the ground is not required when crossing the goal line.

  15. Forget everything else. Focus on their key point: “Once he gets there, he loses control of the football, and then the ball hits the ground. . . .”

    It is not clear he “lost control of the football.” Replay is very inconclusive on that point.

    It is not clear that “the ball hits the ground.” Replay is completely inconclusive that the ball even touched the ground.

    It was a bad overturn. They overthought this. Once they established in their mind that the ball moved they slammed the door shut without actually looking at whether he really lost control or whether the ball actually touched the ground.

  16. The official shouldnt have to explain anything. These fans are such sore losers they whine and cry about every call that goes against them. Grow up!

  17. dsully69 says:

    All the H8ters say it was not a TD. The rule book says it is.

    —————————————————-

    Mature fans should realize these arbitrary rules–whether a receiver crosses the plane with control or a back crosses the plan with control–will come back to bite every team at some point, including yours. It has nothing to do with haters and everything to do with the NFL implementing nitpicking rules that are inconsistently applied.

  18. They try to act like this is a clearly defined rule and it’s not. That’s why when they have a rules expert on the broadcast, they end up being wrong half the time.

    The rule is vague and these clowns can point to different sections of the rule to justify it either way.

    Hopefully this call will finally get them to erase all the nonsense they added to the catch rule in the last decade and go back to the days when everybody knew if it was a catch or not.

  19. Pats find a way to win, Steelers find something to whine about. What else is new?

    They can change the rule and the same thing will happen. It’s like Parcells used to say, you give a team an excuse to lose and they’ll take it. The Steelers have never figured this out.

  20. TD or no TD the Steelers should have kicked the field goal and taken their chances in OT. Absolutely horrible decision by Big Ben to throw that ball where he did.

  21. The “ball is moving” has ruined football for me….. a running player just has to “waive” the ball over the line with no real control or lose control and it is a touchdown because the ball crossed the plane , but a receiver cannot have the ball move as his body is slamming to the turf with the ball in he end zone. The NFL are idiots because I have been watching the NFL for over 50 years and I have lost interest. I watched about 30 minutes this weekend when in the past I would have watched all 5 games. Also, too many penalties!!!

  22. Perhaps I don’t know the rules but let’s say it was ruled a catch. Wasn’t his knee down before the ball crossed the line? So it was a difference
    of a few yards, still no TD

  23. Wrong Drool! TB12 was suspended because the NFL didn’t understand cold weather causes footballs to lose pressure! Just like when my low tire pressure light went on last weekend! Sure enough needed to add air!

  24. What I would then like him to explain is exactly what constitutes a “football move.”

    ___________

    That phrase has no bearing on a receiver “going to the ground”. If you read the rule, the receiver has to establish that they are a runner. If he is in the process of falling to the ground during the catch, the “going to the ground” rules are in place. Nothing in there about “football move”.

  25. John Harbaugh Is A Sad Whiney Middle Aged Woman says:
    December 17, 2017 at 8:58 pm
    I still don’t get it. If he had caught the ball on their own 5 yard line, ran the entire length of the field, leaped over the goal line, and the ball jiggled slightly when he hit the ground is that then not considered a TD?
    ——————————————————————–
    Correct. That’s how utterly absurd the rule is.

  26. It’s 2 rules that conflict (football crosses goal line and what is a catch) that need to be further clarified in the future. In my viewpoint the ball crossing the goal line supersedes as the ball —was under his control AND clearly crossed the goal line BEFORE the ball touched the ground so at that second it’s a TD ….. period !

  27. Ha! So many comments about how football has been ruined and is going under. Yet, all of these comments from people that watched various games today (possibly multiple games) and cared enough to come here to comment. Quit commenting about how you are going to give up and leave football, yet you keep coming to comment EVERY week.

  28. Bengals TE Tyler Eifert had a similar “touchdown” overturned against the Ravens in September 2015. Wrong call then. Wrong call now.
    I’ve often wondered, if a receiver catches a pass at the 10-yard line and is stumbling toward the end zone without ever getting his balance, would the “going to the ground” rule still apply?

  29. terripet says:
    December 17, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    If the Pittsburgh cb gets the int in the 4th qtr game over
    —————————————————————————————–
    Not true. At that point there about 2 minutes left in the game – more than enough time for Tomlin and his brilliant staff to screw that up too.

  30. If you think that was a touchdown, think harder. It wasn’t even a catch. Wouldn’t have been a catch at the 50 and it’s not a catch in the end zone.

  31. I agree with everything the league is stating, except…. what about his right hand still being on and partially under the ball? there is not one image of his right hand where you can say it was not partially on or under the football. without that image where is the irrefutable evidence to over turn the call on the field.

  32. It’s 2 rules that conflict (football crosses goal line and what is a catch) that need to be further clarified in the future. In my viewpoint the ball crossing the goal line supersedes as the ball —was under his control AND clearly crossed the goal line BEFORE the ball touched the ground so at that second it’s a TD ….. period

    ——
    On a passing play, it has to be a catch first. This one wasn’t.

  33. iheartflacco says:
    December 17, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    So let me get this straight, if gronk makes that catchthen reaches over the goal line and the Steelers defender knocks the ball away it’s not a touchdown? Right
    ___________________________________________

    Obviously you haven’t watched the play or that wouldn’t be your analogy. Not only was it ruled not a catch but a defender had nothing to do with the play.

  34. That would be considered a touchdown because you have made the so called football move by running and you are a runner at the point that broke the plain of the goal with the gall before it jiggles and touched the ground

  35. Ok so a running back can jump over a pile at the goal line and have the ball knocked out of his hands after he gets the ball over the line and it’s still a td. But once he is air borne shouldn’t he have to also maintain possession all the way to the ground since he left his feet? Kind of the same concept don’t you think. I thought that no matter what as long as th ball breaks the plain its a td. NFL needs to figure this crap out.

  36. That would be considered a touchdown because you have made the so called football move by running and you are a runner at the point that broke the plain of the goal with the gall before i

  37. doctorrustbelt says:

    KARMA.

    Happy Holidays.

    ——–

    Right.
    KARMA is Steelers sweeping the Bungals for the second straight year after
    the BS they pulled in that Burr-fect/ Pacman meltdown, in the playoff game.
    Hope you can put all that behind you, so you can enjoy watching playoff football
    by playoff caliber teams, over the holiday season and well into the new year .

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! to you and yours.

  38. They need to get rid of all this nonsense that comes after a guy has possession with 2 feet or a knee down.

    You can’t even get excited for a big play anymore because you need to watch the replay to make sure that after he rolled out of bounds the ball didn’t move half a centimeter against his chest.

    Ooops that’s incomplete. Yes, you caught it and took 3 steps, then a DB blew you up and you still had it but then you landed out of bounds, and the second time you rolled over, it moved a tiny bit so no catch for you.

    Referees have too much control over the game

  39. t>>obiasjodter says:
    December 17, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    >>It is not clear that “the ball hits the ground.” Replay is completely inconclusive that the ball even touched the ground.

    What? Stevie Wonder could see the ball hit the ground. What the hell are YOU looking at?

  40. jason9696 says:
    December 17, 2017 at 9:07 pm
    TD or no TD the Steelers should have kicked the field goal and taken their chances in OT. Absolutely horrible decision by Big Ben to throw that ball where he did.

    —————–

    I agree with you, although reports are that he wanted to clock it and was yelling to clock it and the sideline told him not to. I presume, Haley told him not to.. Thats why the team except for 1 player was not playing it out.

    The play after the overturned TD was stupid, you don’t some up with a play that allows a player to be tackled in bounds.

  41. It is not a catch. The ball is not secured before it touches the ground. It clearly moves, and the ground pushes the ball into his possession. It has been this way since the beginning of the league. Get over it. It should never be called a catch.

  42. So much for “making a football move” accounting for anything. NFL will bend over backwards to award Pat’s 1st seed. Bad enough that they play in the easiest division each year, but nope, that’s not enough. If the game is close NFL refs will find a way to give Pats the advantage. We’ve seen this happen too many times not to know the drill.

  43. Once they showed it close up, it was unambiguous. The ball hit the ground and it immediately rolled around in his hands. One hand even came off the ball!

    As questionable catch calls go, that one didn’t strike me as a particularly difficult one.

    People get overly concerned with the goal line but you still have to complete the catch just the same, anywhere else on the field, if the catch is taking you to the ground, and even if you’ve already crossed the goal line.

    Did it “look like a catch”? Sure, if you ignore the rules. If you want that to be ruled a catch, then change the rules. Change them to what, though, is the question. As for me, I was immediately yelling “incomplete”. Because… well, it was, and CLEARLY.

    What’s being ignored is that the Patriots were then 100% prepared for the “fake spike” play, and yet Ben threw it into triple coverage on a 1-man pass pattern. The result was not that bizarre.

    The prepared, cool-under-pressure team prevailed.

    YET AGAIN.

  44. The league HAS been consistant about it. The league has to constantly explain it to ignorant, uninformed fans who don’t understand the rules as written, but arbitrarily think THEY know what a catch is. You know, because they watch FB on TV. As the rule is written, like it or not, the steeler TD was an incompletion. Not even close.

  45. It was the right call given the current rules. I know people don’t like the catch rule, but it would’ve been absurd had they ruled that a catch and TD.

  46. Why not just simplify the catch rule to say that if the ball hits the ground it’s incomplete. If it never touches the ground it’s a catch. Simple. Take the “it moved a half inch while in the process of going to the ground” out of the equation.

  47. If JuJu would have run the straight line down the left sideline and not cut to the middle, TD, game over.

  48. Look, if he didn’t go to the ground it would have been a TD. Going to the ground on receiving a ball the receiver must control the ball all the way to the ground or it’s not a catch. It really is that simple.
    Steeler fans complaining about bad calls is really funny though, really funny.

  49. The ball moved, and did hit the ground. Those facts are indisputable. The reality, though, is it shoulda been a TD. I got up mad that the Patriots had lost, and was in the other room when I heard them still discussing it being under review. Even after they figured out why it was being reviewed, I still thought it was a TD. I never expected an overturn of the call, but was ecstatic when it happened. The NFL reviews are a joke this year, but it has helped out the Pats a couple of times, so I’m fine with that. We will likely get burned on one before long, and likely in a crucial play in the playoffs, at which point I will denounce it, but today was a blessing to allow the Pats a chance. They shoulda lost…there was no way they could win it, but they did, amazingly.

  50. lippy51 says:

    Why does everyone hate this rule? What’s unreasonable about requiring a receiver to maintain control of the ball through the catch?
    —————————————————–
    Nothing is wrong with requiring the receiver to maintain control of the ball through the catch. The problem is requiring him to maintain control through the catch, through crossing the plane after the catch, through hitting the ground, the subsequent tackles and celebrations, and as he tucks his kids into bed that night.

  51. If he had been at the 50, he would have brought the ball into his body. He reached out before he hit the ground (is that a football move? That is the million dollar question).

    So, if it’s not a football move (I thought it was) it is not a catch.

    He should have brought the ball into his body and rolled in. Football awareness as the defender was not close enough to touch him.

    The other dumb rule is the fumble at the 1, outta the end zone, lost possession of the ball. Just plain stupid.

    PS: My tire light went off because the temp dropped dramatically and I had to put air in my tires. Happens every year. Physics 101 and I used to tutor it. I’m a NY’r and not a fan of anything Boston area but they got ripped off bigtime. I commend Kraft for taking the high road and I tell my kids that every time. But innocence is innocence. You take the road to truth, not injustice.

  52. I hate both these teams so I have no horse in this race. Having said that, the rule should be that once the runner breaks the plane, the play is dead.

    It’s situations like this that make me want to stop watching this garbage.

  53. And Goodell has nothing to do with what constitutes a catch. That’s the competition committee. Goodell doesn’t know whether a FB is blown up, stuffed or deflated(or not). He’s only worried about concussion lawsuits, money and maintaining arbitrary control of discipline.

  54. A lot of sore losers Steelers fans tonight. Let’s say the officials did get the call wrong. You still had a chance of winning at the end or send the game into overtime. Instead you chocked badly. Boneheaded final play call and an even worse execution by Big Ben. The tears from Steelers fans are so sweet.

  55. James’ left knee is clearly down before he stretches to break the plane anyway so it shouldn’t have been ruled a TD in the first place even if it was a completed catch. You live for the last minute comeback 4 weeks in a row, it will bite you in the ass eventually.

  56. If they change the rule, and someone has “control” for a split second it will lead to whiny Steelers fans pretending that he had control for that split second. Nothing will change except there will be more controversy and it will be difficult for anyone to tell what a catch is. That’s right, the whining haters actually want some rule that’s even worse and harder to apply !!!!

  57. Mr. Goodell, you don’t want a questionable ‘catch call’ in the SB, that determines the outcome of the game. What a huge embarrassment that would be. So you may want to fix it.

  58. abcisezas123 says:
    December 17, 2017 at 8:57 pm
    I thought the ball has to break the plane to be a TD. Did something else change?
    ————————-
    True if you are a runner. If you are a receiver you have to complete the catch which includes maintaining control when you go to the ground. Stop crying it’s been the rule long enough for you to stop getting upset because it hurt your team

  59. Come on, guys, this one was clear, much more so than the Bryant or Johnson situations. This isn’t Johnson taking steps with the ball in the end zone, or Bryant retaining control while rolling through the end zone.

    In the same single motion from catching to going to the ground, the ball was jarred out of his hands when he hit the ground. That’s not a catch anywhere.

    There’s still some mystery to the catch rule, but this situation is one that’s been well-traveled in recent years.

  60. Nofoolnodrool says:

    December 17, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    Brady is 11-2 (85%) against the Steelers. That’s Bills country.

    Yup and he is the only QB ever suspended for cheating…..in a country all its own……troll.
    ————————————————————————————
    It’s Wintertime, and cold as your ex-wife’s heart.

    Go outside right now, and see if your car tires are fully inflated.

    They won’t be. They CAN’T be. It’s called the “Ideal Gas Law”.

    Brady didn’t cheat.

    By the way, why is it all you haters keep forgetting that the Colts balls were deflated as well ….. for the very same reason.

  61. It is literally indisputable that he lost control of the ball. So anyone arguing he didn’t is a moron. If you want to argue he demonstrated a football move and had control, on that point I agree. I think that particular play should be a touchdown. And thus the “loss of control” shouldn’t play into it. BUT, it doesn’t matter what we think “should” be the rule. The nfl got it right based on the current rule. They should change the rule. But they have been consistently making “this call” ever since Calvin Johnson and dez Bryant and everything in between. Whining about it, saying it’s fixed, saying the pats cheated just looks bad on you. Get over it

  62. ahostiletakeover says:
    December 17, 2017 at 9:57 pm
    James’ left knee is clearly down before he stretches to break the plane anyway so it shouldn’t have been ruled a TD in the first place even if it was a completed catch.

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

    Doesn’t matter if your knee is down if no one from the other team has touched you. If you fall to your knees on your own, the play continues until someone touches you or tackles you.

  63. skawh says:
    So much for “making a football move” accounting for anything. NFL will bend over backwards to award Pat’s 1st seed. Bad enough that they play in the easiest division each year, but nope, that’s not enough. If the game is close NFL refs will find a way to give Pats the advantage. We’ve seen this happen too many times not to know the drill.
    ———————————–
    Lets see the AFC East has 30 wins so far and the AFC Central has 24 wins so which division is worse? Plus the AFCC has the Browns in it.
    It was obvious that James didn’t control the ball to the ground. As soon as his left forearm hit the ground the ball came loose. While the announcers were talking about James not being touched and it was a TD I knew it would be overturned b/c I had see this so often since they changed the rule. We can debate the rule all day long, I come in against the rule as it is now, but the way the rule reads it was not a catch and the Refs called it correctly. It is laughable to think there is a conspiracy in favor of the Pats by the NFL. I actually saw a comment on a blog that this call should be investigated by the Pittsburgh DA, LOL! Was that you?

  64. Pats fan “It’s a great rule”

    If it were reversed “The rule sucks”

    Everyone in America except in Boston thinks it’s a stupid rule. To make catch rules different for endzones than in regular fields of play is moronic and just takes away from the game and will lead to more and more people stopping viewing of the sport.

  65. lemmetalkwouldya says:
    December 17, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    Nofoolnodrool says:

    December 17, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    Brady is 11-2 (85%) against the Steelers. That’s Bills country.

    Yup and he is the only QB ever suspended for cheating…..in a country all its own……troll.
    ————————————————————————————
    It’s Wintertime, and cold as your ex-wife’s heart.

    Go outside right now, and see if your car tires are fully inflated.

    They won’t be. They CAN’T be. It’s called the “Ideal Gas Law”.

    Brady didn’t cheat.

    By the way, why is it all you haters keep forgetting that the Colts balls were deflated as well ….. for the very same reason.
    ———————————————————
    The Colts never served a suspension. Brady did. Ergo, he cheated.

  66. It’s a stupid rule I agree, but unfortunately this rule is one of the only ones that they call consistently. I would like to see the NFL go back to the old method of determining a catch two feet down and no bobbling. Things like this are reason why the NFL’s ratings are the way they are. I think this call will come up again later this season which will hopefully change in the offseason.

  67. 80% of my comments get censored (I’m taking a cyber knee to raise awareness for the censoring of comments) says:
    December 17, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    It is literally indisputable that he lost control of the ball. So anyone arguing he didn’t is a moron. If you want to argue he demonstrated a football move and had control, on that point I agree. I think that particular play should be a touchdown. And thus the “loss of control” shouldn’t play into it. BUT, it doesn’t matter what we think “should” be the rule. The nfl got it right based on the current rule. They should change the rule. But they have been consistently making “this call” ever since Calvin Johnson and dez Bryant and everything in between. Whining about it, saying it’s fixed, saying the pats cheated just looks bad on you. Get over it
    ———————————————————————–

    Big difference between losing control of a ball and a slight bobble that you maintain control after a split second. Instant replay is making these split-second actions seem like long moments and they’re being judged that way incorrectly.

  68. Has everyone forgotten the language which they have used in connection with his type of play over and over, “a second act” or “another football act”. He caught the ball going to the ground, he turned and lunged for the goal line and then hit the ground and bobbled the ball. The second he makes that second act, in this case turning and lunging he has gone from a receiver to a ball carrier and is no longer subject to the going to the ground component. As a “runner” as soon as the ball crosses the plane of the goal line it’s a TD.

  69. Steelers got accused of deflation 12/2016 but no one cared cause it wasn’t the pats so colts, steelers and pats were guilty of nothing but 6th grade physics. But that didn’t stop Roger

  70. Reveron’s very first words: ““Roethlisberger completes a pass to James,”…. What?!?!
    He ends with “Therefore, the ruling on the field of a touchdown was changed to an incomplete pass.”

    Even in their explanation they make it screwed up & moronic.

  71. On the contrary I’m pointing out the absurdity of the rule. All receivers and tight ends are inherently coached to bring the ball into their body to maintain possession. The mere fact that he had the wherewithal to catch the ball and instead reach over the goal line shows clearly that he had possession. To take it one step further what if a Pats defender knocked the ball out of his hands just after it across the goal line? I am guessing that stands as a touchdown. The rules should stand up to all situations.

  72. So yet again the Patriots get bailed out by a shady call that borders on comedy, and their fans rush here to tell anyone who notices to “stop crying it’s just the rule!!!!!!” You characters must be great at this, you’ve had so much practice.

    Fact is, Al Riveron and the NFL are full of it, there is no conclusive evidence that James “loses control of the football, and then the ball hits the ground.” And remember, the call on the field was a catch, so the burden was on the ref crew to prove the ball hit the turf. They most certainly did not.

    This was nothing short of a joke that reflects why the NFL is rapidly losing viewers. They need to stop letting these clowns decide games. And especially stop gifting the Patriots with unearned win after unearned win.

  73. As a Steelers fan, it was the right call based on current NFL rules. Steelers double team Gronk or score on one of the possessions where they punted, then this is a different outcome. If Brown doesnt get hurt maybe it is a different outcome.

    Simple fact is the last play was a joke. Their D chocked. Should have never been put in the hands of the refs.

    But everyone is missing the big picture and that was Shazier was at the game and waiving to the crowd, and that was way more important than some game. Stop taking this game so seriously. Look at the bigger picture. There is more to life than football.

  74. you can see when jessie james hits the turf the ball moving. Someone show me one image just one, where you can see the ball on the ground completely, WHERE you don’t also see Jessie James right hand on the ball, where either his entire hand is on the football or at least his knuckles are under it??? the ball might be firmly grasped with his right hand (around the ball) and either his left hand which you can’t really tell from any angle. So if rules are rules, the replay official needs to be absolutely certain that either contact with the ground knocked the ball out of James’ possession, or that he didn’t possess it when it touched the ground at the end. There are so many disputable things here that “indisputable” is impossible

  75. My issue is that he catches the ball away from his body and then pulls it in towards his body before turning and extending it out again for the end zone. I’m no rocket surgeon, but to me that demonstrates control and a football move.

  76. Blandino already explained why it’s the right call. Get over it and mull why Ben executed a fake spike then got intercepted. That’s the real reason why they lost. The Patriots were not even playing their A-Game. Their O line stank and their defense tackled like old ladies. Pittsburgh got the upper hand and had possession longer than the Pats. Ben dominated longer but Brady only took a few minutes to upend that domination. The mediocre Patriots can beat the best of the Steelers. That’s all there is to it.

  77. The overturn was wrong and the Steelers got screwed. The applicable rule here is that the call on the field stands unless there is a clear and obvious error. There plainly wasn’t a clear and obvious error since reasonable people could disagree about whether or not lunging for the goal line is an act common to the game, ie a “football move”. The rule about the ball not moving when going to the ground is irrelevant in this instance since the question was whether the original call was clearly wrong, not what it should be.

    IMO, the NFL should simply require possession of the ball with 2 feet down inbounds as making a catch but they don’t want a bunch of strip fumbles so they over complicate it.

  78. When the competition committee gets together in the off season the following season becomes more absurd. Throw in the kneeling during the anthem,now you have a bunch of fool’s sitting around wondering why their leauge is going down the tubes.

  79. Vikings fan here. With his knees down and ball still in control is a completed catch to the ground. Control is irrelevant after the player makes a secondary football move for the score.

    What a job, and you wonder why nobody is watching your National Fake League anymore.

  80. Steelers fan here… Ben should have clocked the ball, got the FG and gone into OT…. OR ran the ball in himself. HIS TEAM was not prepared for play call…. thats on Haley, Tomlin, and Ben.

    Regardless if the call was right or wrong (there will be discussions at the owners meetings to correct this) Ben left one there, and his one mistake on the field was enough.

    Davis had quite a few boneheaded plays, and I am sure Smith-Schuster didn’t get into the endzone because his teammates told him to not do it, and run out the clock. He looks back at the last minute, before the defenders catch him. Get in the EZ and let Gronk and Brady have to beat you again.

  81. This reminds me of the td by Byrd in the Panthers-Packers game. If Byrd’s catch in the back of the end zone was a td the Jessie James catch should be a td too. In that Panthers-Packers game there was also a fumble by Geronimo Allen that was considered a “football move”. Replay is making quick decisions too slow. The Steelers were robbed today!! The refs got under the hood today and over analyzed that td until it wasn’t a td any longer. Still a spectacular game!!!

  82. The league and refs are deciding too many games today. Get rid of the automatic first down penalties too. You can have 5 yards but that is it.

  83. Deb says:
    December 17, 2017 at 9:50 pm
    lippy51 says:

    Why does everyone hate this rule? What’s unreasonable about requiring a receiver to maintain control of the ball through the catch?
    —————————————————–
    Nothing is wrong with requiring the receiver to maintain control of the ball through the catch. The problem is requiring him to maintain control through the catch, through crossing the plane after the catch, through hitting the ground, the subsequent tackles and celebrations, and as he tucks his kids into bed that night

    —————-
    I think lots of people here are trying to make the argument that he made a football move by pushing off his knee and extending across the goal line. The definition of “football move” is what you’re talking about. The league does need to work on that definition. However, the bar is set way higher than what James did in this case. How often do you see catches overturned where the player takes multiple steps, with contact by a defender? All the time. James was falling to the ground the entire time.

  84. “A player who goes to the ground in the process of attempting to secure possession of a loose ball (with or without contact by an opponent) must maintain control of the ball until after his initial contact with the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, there is no possession.”

    In this case, one could argue that he hit the ground, maintained possession through that initial contact with the ground, then extended the ball over the line for a touchdown.

  85. Another game decided not even by the refs, but some anonymous ass clowns in New York.

    Didn’t even bother with the Sunday Night game after this. Hope your ratings continue to tank, NFL.

  86. The rule was changed due to the spoiled brat billionaire owners that are sore losers, it can now bite them in the rear end.
    The players should know the rules, they had no idea that was not a TD.
    Poor coaching on their part.

  87. And still folks cannot understand a simple sequence of events that constitutes a catch. What we don’t want to talk about would be constant PIs against Gronk with no flags and calling back a spectacular catch by Cooks because a DB pushed him so that one of his shoelaces touched the sideline. Plenty of complaints about officiating to go around.

    But in the end, if it had been Gronk losing control on the goal line the same folks whining now would be praising the replay officials.

  88. jbdvks says:
    December 18, 2017 at 1:01 am
    Vikings fan here. With his knees down and ball still in control is a completed catch to the ground. Control is irrelevant after the player makes a secondary football move for the score.

    What a job, and you wonder why nobody is watching your National Fake League anymore.

    Yet all y’all are back here every day after watching.

  89. What a quandary for the league. The two teams most favored by calls, the two teams who get away with the most cheap penalties, the two darlings of the NFL, playing each other.

    One of them had to lose. May as well pick the one with the better record to create a horse race for home field down the stretch.

  90. “James is going to the ground” – His knee was down with control. He was on the ground, not GOING to the ground. If anything it should have been a catch and a fumble – recovered in the end zone. I get the rule, but it’s a stupid rule. It was for Calvin Johnson, it was for Dez Bryant, and it was for Jesse James.

  91. thegloriousone says:
    December 18, 2017 at 7:35 am
    What a quandary for the league. The two teams most favored by calls, the two teams who get away with the most cheap penalties, the two darlings of the NFL, playing each other.
    ———
    Most penalties in 2017 – Steelers 15/32, Patriots 20/32.

    Favored how?

  92. lippy51 says:
    December 18, 2017 at 6:44 am
    How often do you see catches overturned where the player takes multiple steps, with contact by a defender?
    ——–
    By rule, if he were to take “multiple” steps, that would be a catch.

  93. As a Steelers fan, I freely admit I hate this rule today because it affected this game. One bright spot is that even without Shazier, Brown, and Haden – the Steelers should have won this game. Unlike last year’s playoffs – We should be the Pats. Of course getting TO the Pats without Brown could be an issue.

  94. #NFLtoNFE. Looks like the NFL determined the cheating pats should win the game before it started and they made sure they did. NFL need to change to NFL just like WWF!

  95. NFL has lost another life long fan for a horribly officiated game! I guess the NFL got their way, they wanted to the n.e. to win and did whatever they had to do to make sure it happened.#NFLtoNFE

  96. Are there REALLY people on here crying that it was fixed?

    Good lord folks. Get your heads out of your bottoms and smell the roses. The world is NOT conspiring to make you unhappy. You are making yourself unhappy.

    Calls go one way. One team is always effected. Learn to live with it.

  97. Danny ‘s Tony says:
    December 18, 2017 at 9:00 am
    NFL has lost another life long fan for a horribly officiated game! I guess the NFL got their way, they wanted to the n.e. to win and did whatever they had to do to make sure it happened.#NFLtoNFE
    ————-
    Please put the tin foil hat away.

    Signed: A Steelers fan

  98. If a receiver has control of the football when it crosses the goal line, it is a touchdown–should be a touchdown. The play should be effectively over when the ball crosses the line. You should not have to be in control of the football when you hit the ground AFTER the ball has crossed the line. I can see where having control of the ball when you hit the ground is important EVERYWHERE else on the field–but not when crossing the goal line, in my opinion, because crossing the goal line effectively ends the play, or should end the play.

  99. What about the no pass interference call on the pick two plays later? The receiver was clearly interfered with. The refs are determining the game not the players.
    #NFLtoNFE

  100. seahawkboymike says:
    December 17, 2017 at 9:15 pm
    John Harbaugh Is A Sad Whiney Middle Aged Woman says:
    December 17, 2017 at 8:58 pm
    I still don’t get it. If he had caught the ball on their own 5 yard line, ran the entire length of the field, leaped over the goal line, and the ball jiggled slightly when he hit the ground is that then not considered a TD?
    ——————————————————————–
    Correct. That’s how utterly absurd the rule is.
    ————————————–
    Incorrect! The only way that scenario would be correct is if he caught that ball on his own five yard line, then turned and leapt 95 yards into the end zone and lost control when the ball hit the ground. And if he could do that, he should be a long jumper. And would probably be disqualified for taking steroids!

  101. This play is another example of why I don’t like how replay is used. To everyone (including every ref on the field), it looked like a catch & a touchdown. If that play occurred in a game without replay (HS or non D-1 college), could you ever imagine a ref calling that an Incomplete Pass? Never.

    But when you have 27 high-def cameras & super slo-mo replays, everything looks different. In this case, the ball touched the ground in the endzone & moved an inch or two– replays says Incomplete Pass. Or how about those goal line plays in which the runner literally lands in the endzone & every ref rules it a TD. But then they go to replay & determine that the ball was 1 inch from the goal line when his calf or elbow or knee or forearm or buttcheek hit the ground.

    These replay reversals are literally killing the game. If it looks like a TD to the naked eye, keep it as a TD. Replay was (supposedly) instituted to correct only the blatantly incorrect calls. Instead, it is being used to micro-manage the game like we’re looking through a microscope to find any reason to overturn TD’s & turnovers.

  102. John Harbaugh Is A Sad Whiney Middle Aged Woman says:
    December 17, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    I still don’t get it. If he had caught the ball on their own 5 yard line, ran the entire length of the field, leaped over the goal line, and the ball jiggled slightly when he hit the ground is that then not considered a TD? He caught the ball, got both feet down (plus one knee), pulled the ball into his body, and then extended it across the goal line. How is it not a TD at that point? He demonstrated complete and total control of the ball while getting two feet down (and then a knee)?
    —————————————————————————

    Hey clown. He was going to the ground. That was the difference. It’s not that hard. No need to make up false equivalent scenarios.

  103. I think it should have been a TD, just like Dez and Calvin Johnson’s catches were caught. I’m a Pats fan, and the rule was correctly applied. The rule is clear on the going to the ground and having to maintain control throughout the process.

    What people complaining about this costing them the game are forgetting is that play didn’t end the game. They ran 2 more plays from the 10 yard line and still could have won that game.

    Ben made 2 costly mistakes – throwing a 3 yard pass where his WR got tackled in bounds, with no timeouts left, and then the fake spike into the middle of the field.

    Great game, can’t wait for the rematch in the AFC title game.

  104. candrwells says:
    December 18, 2017 at 8:37 am

    thegloriousone says:
    December 18, 2017 at 7:35 am
    What a quandary for the league. The two teams most favored by calls, the two teams who get away with the most cheap penalties, the two darlings of the NFL, playing each other.
    ———
    Most penalties in 2017 – Steelers 15/32, Patriots 20/32.

    Favored how?

    —–

    Because if they called all of the penalties that those two teams committed, they’d be numbers 31 and 32 in the league. Especially the cheap helmet to helmet shots that the Steelers commit.

  105. If the Steelers hadn’t thrown that pass they may have won, just as if the Seahawks hadn’t thrown that pass in the Super Bowl they may have won. However both teams DID risk passing and both teams LOST. Take responsibility for your decisions rather than whining over why you lost. Had that Steeler made the pick all this would be moot, but he wasn’t good enough to make the play, so the Pats took advantage of his drop and won the game. You can’t give the best team in football and the greatest QB of all time multiple chances, as Romo rightly pointed out. Were the Pats lucky to win? Hell yes they were, but good teams take advantage of lucky breaks. Bad teams do not…. Deal with it, Brady haters….

  106. Wish NFL would explain why the flag was picked up after the first Steelers TD. Replay clearly showed at least one blocker illegally downfield before Ben released the football.

  107. thegloriousone says:

    Because if they called all of the penalties that those two teams committed, they’d be numbers 31 and 32 in the league. Especially the cheap helmet to helmet shots that the Steelers commit.

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

    Too bad Gronk gets mugged constantly but rarely gets a call because little guys bounce off him. He gets the Shaq treatment. Yesterday was no different. And Steelers got away with an obvious illegal blocker downfield on first TD.

  108. Danny ‘s Tony says:

    December 18, 2017 at 9:59 am

    What about the no pass interference call on the pick two plays later? The receiver was clearly interfered with. The refs are determining the game not the players.
    #NFLtoNFE

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

    No PI at all on the INT play. Receiver was barely touched and even so it was within 5 yds and DBs were looking back for the ball.

  109. As a Vikings fan I feel your pain when they took a touchdown pass away from Adam Thielen last week.

    PATS fan, shut up! You act like you “knew Pitts would lose”. The Pats are lucky they escaped with a win.

  110. As I have said before, it would be better if the league didn’t have this guy with his telestrator trying to explain why he made the call he did.

  111. Week 3 vs Houston — Brandin Cooks TD STANDS with 25 seconds left. In that video one can clearly see the ball make contact with the ground. He is ruled to have survived the catch.

    Week 15 @ Pit — James ruled to have not survived the catch despite no clear evidence of the ball touching the ground (and not his hand underneath).

    It is this type of uneven officiating that has NFL fans (of all teams) claiming the Pats get beneficial treatment.

    And I haven’t even touched on the TD they stole from the Jets or the one wiped out by the offensive PI by the Chargers.

    It is 4 games this season alone where the Pats got the benefit of game changing calls.

  112. You look at James’ left hand, it comes off the ball when the ball comes in contact with the ground and then he puts the back of his hand back on the ball. By rule, he didn’t control it to the ground, so it is incomplete. Love the rule, or hate the rule, it is the rule and the judgement is correct.

  113. The ball did not hit the ground, his hand was under it. did it wobble a little when he hit the ground? yes, but he then controlled it after the wobble. And by the way, once his knee hits the ground he is considered a RUNNER, the wide receiver “catch” rules do not apply!

  114. Steelers got a freebie anyway on first TD. Obvious illegal man downfield. A lineman cannot block an opponent, disengage, then move forward more than a yard beyond line of scrimmage and start blocking someone else before the throw. Can’t understand how that was missed.

  115. It’s like 75% of the people in here have never watched an NFL game and don’t realize this play has been called exactly the same way for years now. Why is this complicated?

    James is a big strong guy, he had two hands on the ball and all he had to do was extend it over the line and not drop it when it touched the ground and he couldn’t get it done. If I’m Pittsburgh I cut him today and get someone in there who can catch the frickin’ ball.

  116. mdscott50 says:
    December 18, 2017 at 2:55 pm
    Week 3 vs Houston — Brandin Cooks TD STANDS with 25 seconds left. In that video one can clearly see the ball make contact with the ground. He is ruled to have survived the catch.

    —————————————–

    The difference is that Cooks still had both hands on the ball and the ball did not move upon touching the ground.

  117. If the ball contacts the ground IN THE PROCESS of completing the catch (from diving, falling, or reaching), and the receiver doesn’t have secure hold of the ball at that moment of contact with the ground — no catch. That’s what it means to “survive the ground”.

    This is actually a good rule! The problem is, few people have the language skills to explain it clearly.

    Many, many of the objections stated above pertain to other rules that are relevant only AFTER the catch is complete, such as:

    – Once the ball breaks the plane of the goal line, it’s a touchdown, no matter if the player loses possession of the ball afterward.
    – The ground may not be the cause of a fumble.
    – Once the ball carrier is down, it doesn’t matter if the ball comes loose afterward.

  118. sxk129 says:
    December 18, 2017 at 6:23 pm
    The difference is that Cooks still had both hands on the ball and the ball did not move upon touching the ground.

    ——————–

    Cooks had both hands on the ball. That’s correct. However I would disagree that the ball didn’t move. It just so happened to move in the same direction that his body bounced… up.

    There’s still no view that shows, definitively, that James’ fingers weren’t under the ball. I think James’ ball hit the ground, however that’s not the standard. The standard is supposed to be indisputable visual evidence. That’s a very high threshold and should be taken seriously.

  119. . And by the way, once his knee hits the ground he is considered a RUNNER, the wide receiver “catch” rules do not apply!

    —–

    I’m not sure if you’re trolling or you actually believe this, but a player has to be upright and capable of running to be considered a runner. James was neither.

  120. veddermn8 says:
    December 18, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Danny ‘s Tony says:

    December 18, 2017 at 9:59 am

    What about the no pass interference call on the pick two plays later? The receiver was clearly interfered with. The refs are determining the game not the players.
    #NFLtoNFE

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

    No PI at all on the INT play. Receiver was barely touched and even so it was within 5 yds and DBs were looking back for the ball.

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

    The receiver’s jersey was clearly being pulled away from his body, which helped leverage the player who tipped the ball into the air into a better position to do so. Being within five yards doesn’t matter when the ball is in the air, and looking back for the ball doesn’t matter either when you’re committing a foul.

  121. candrwells says:
    December 18, 2017 at 8:34 am
    “James is going to the ground” – His knee was down with control. He was on the ground, not GOING to the ground.

    ————————–

    Could he have come to a dead stop with his knee on the ground? i.e., not continue his downward motion?
    If not, he is still GOING to the ground.

  122. hbk314 says:

    The receiver’s jersey was clearly being pulled away from his body, which helped leverage the player who tipped the ball into the air into a better position to do so. Being within five yards doesn’t matter when the ball is in the air, and looking back for the ball doesn’t matter either when you’re committing a foul.

    ======

    That’s minor contact, can’t really see where, per the rule, the defender “significantly hinders an eligible player’s opportunity to catch the ball”. If you want that called, then there’s more than a few to be thrown for defenders holding Gronk from that game.

  123. veddermn8 says:
    December 19, 2017 at 10:06 am

    That’s minor contact, can’t really see where, per the rule, the defender “significantly hinders an eligible player’s opportunity to catch the ball”. If you want that called, then there’s more than a few to be thrown for defenders holding Gronk from that game.

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

    The call against Artie Burns that set up the Pats field goal to make it a five point game wasn’t any more justifiable than the call on the fake spike play should have been.

  124. It’s not PI per the standard, you’re reaching. Gronk was interfered with much more egregiously several times during the game. If you want a gift call, you got one with the ineligible blocker downfield on Steelers first TD.

  125. Pulling the receiver’s jersey off of his back to leverage yourself into position to tip the pass is about as clear as interference gets.

    They missed a clear hold on New England’s first touchdown if you want to start playing that game.

  126. Your “playing that game” by amplifying minimal contact within 5yds which didn’t change the receiver’s ability to catch the ball. And your ignoring the picked up flag on the illegal man downfield on the first Steelers TD. All scoring plays are reviewed and they still missed it even as the wording of the rule directly says “An ineligible offensive player is illegally downfield if after losing contact with an opponent within one yard of the line of scrimmage, he advances more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage”, which is exactly what DeCastro did.

  127. tedmurph says:
    December 17, 2017 at 9:38 pm
    The league HAS been consistant about it. The league has to constantly explain it to ignorant, uninformed fans who don’t understand the rules as written, but arbitrarily think THEY know what a catch is. You know, because they watch FB on TV. As the rule is written, like it or not, the steeler TD was an incompletion. Not even close.
    ==================================================================

    your just plain wrong. he was established as a ball carrier the second he extends the ball. he has posession, clearly…and breaks the plane..td…end of story, unless of course new york calls that cheating crook robert kraft and asks him how much home field advantage is worth to him

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