Competition Committee will consider Bowman play in offseason


The football gods helped the NFL avoid days of scrutiny and criticism regarding what surely would have been known as “Fail Mary II.”  Moving forward, the NFL may not be leaving it to fate.

Per a league source, the Competition Committee will consider in the offseason whether to expand the replay rules to include the recovery of a loose ball in the field of play.

Currently, the replay rules exempt such plays because every post-fumble pile up would entail a potential replay review.  Still, given the ease with which replay review would have rectified the clear recovery by 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman, the league should fashion an exception.

The easiest option would be to continue to make a fumble recovery at the bottom of a pile not subject to replay review, but to allow for replay review when there is indisputable visual evidence that a player was on the ground with possession.

Yes, it could slow the game down at times.  But it also would lead to the right outcome in a key, season-deciding moment — without the need for luck or chance or destiny or whatever.

127 responses to “Competition Committee will consider Bowman play in offseason

  1. NFL lucky Seattle turned it over on the next play. How the refs missed seeing bowman with the ball is crazy. Just goes to show how bad the refs are this year. I sure hope Goodell takes notice.

  2. So recovery of a loose ball isn’t reviewable, but on a fumble review assume a clear recovery by the defense?

  3. The Niners window of opportunity was slammed shut tonight as they just aren’t good enough. That’s why they were on the road. And I still say they kept the wrong QB.

  4. So recovery of a loose ball isn’t reviewable, but on a fumble review they can assume a clear recovery by the defense?

  5. There should be an automatic review when ANY turnover is suspected. why would there be a scrum if the players did not think turnover. The scrum should have been a clue.

    Of course if this was in the end zone on a scoring play, there would be an automatic review. Hooey!!! simplify the game and make the rules the same anywhere on the field at all times. Eliminate end zone exceptions and changes to the timing rules too.

  6. Lots of Seahawks fans still are complaining about the SB against the Steelers. Plays that were judgement calls, PI, holding, roethlisbergers TD that was ruled a TD on the field, and no video evidence to overturn it. Yet today the Seahawks were helped immensely by a few calls, the roughing the kicker call, goal line fumble, I sure hope that after this game tonight against the 49ers the Seahawk fans stop complaining about a game they lost to the Steelers by 11 points and mistakes made by there coach mismanaging the clock in the SB. Unless a team is blown out their fans will always complain about the few calls that go against them.

  7. Easy fix, make it subject to challenge.
    I doubt many coaches would be willing to risk a timeout to a bottom of the pile call.

  8. Regardless, Brady again displayed very poor accuracy in a playoff game. Same last year and year before. I know he gives them their bast chance at QB because of lack of depth at that position, but the organization has a serious issue. Time to move up and draft a new QB before it’s too late, if it isn’t already.

  9. I know Fox was playing it off of a review of the fumble, but I’m sure that they liked the fact the Bowman’s leg was bent in half the wrong way on like 50 different camera angles and replays. Seriously, it was a little superfluous.

  10. Also, SF should have challenged a completed catch call. Seattle NEVER caught the ball, so a fumble was not possible!

    sterna tore blew it!!! Peter King needs to write about that.

  11. It takes 12 years for the “tuck rule” to be abolished, but only 20 minutes for a non-Raider call to come into question. Figures.

  12. 49ers fans are gonna whine forever about this, eh? If this happened to Seattle everyone would tell their fans to stop crying. Blame Krapperpunk’s 3 turnovers in the 4th quarter before you blame the refs.

  13. Luckily the next play happened save the nfl a big head ache but doesn’t mean it’s excusable ..
    Should have been called correctly. As a hawks fan I wish bowman the best in his recovery that looked gruesome .

  14. Forget the specifics of that play, why in this day and age of high def TV and multi-million dollar jumbotrons the refs aren’t so much as allowed to look up is a complete embarassment to the NFL.

    As with the whole concussion fiasco, the NFL brain trust is always the last to be honest and upright and use common sense.

    And I was cheering for Seattle tonight!

  15. They are actually thinking of removing the fumble pile-up altogether and instead awarding the ball to the first player to yell “dibs!”

  16. Eagles fan here with zero riding on the outcome of this game. The Ninets were absolutely robbed by the officiating crew today. Wilson grounded the ball at will, the personal foul on Whitner and automatic Seattle 1st down for a shoulder to shoulder hit, the Bowman fumble recovery that the officials reversed, the face mask on Lamichael James just after he fumbled the punt. That’s just off the top of my head. This was highway robbery.

  17. I agree it was a bad call. I am a Packers fan by the way, so I was not really rooting for or against either team. The problem is, if the league continues to open up more and more classes of penalties to replay review, the game will become more about obsessing over the penalties than about the game itself. In this case, the 49ers got poetic justice anyway; they got a turnover on the next play.

    I am a big fan of instant replay, but since they added automatic replays on scoring plays, turnovers, and inside of 2 minutes in each half, the game has gotten too tedious and tied up in the minutiae of the game. I actually think the increased use of instant replay has led, indirectly, too the lower quality of officiating we have seen the past couple of years. My reasoning: the increased use of instant replay has made officials too self-conscious about their performance. Knowing that more and more of their decisions are subject to replay review has diminished the confidence that is so crucial to good officiating.

  18. Yeah – Cause I like my football games to resemble watching youtube videos take forever to buffer cause of a bad internet connection.

  19. Ya, because something that obvious clearly needs a discussion to correct. Or you could just use common sense. NFL is a joke. You can review if a team can’t count to 11 but not an obvious interception.

  20. that was an absurd situation that was grossly unfair to the 49ers and potentially affected who is going to the SUPERBOWL…. the SUPERBOWL… it’s outrageous.

    everything should be reviewable from NFL central….everything

  21. If it was ruled a fumble, why couldn’t the completion be reviewed? I’ve seen that reviewed about 3 times a game this year, Tate clearly didn’t catch it.

  22. I’m not sure that the play being reviewable is the issue, Bowman was on the ground for half a second before the seahawks jump on him. How none of the refs saw this (especially considering Bowman had the ball going to the ground) is one of the worst calls I’ve ever seen.

    If a guy can be laying on the ground with the ball and not called as having possession, how can the refs call anything else correctly?

  23. hell they should allow the same review for obv blown calls like the ruffing the kicker the was ruled running into the kicker.

    Seattle went on to score a TD when SF should of had the ball and a 1st down.

  24. worst call of the game next to carlos rodgers getting a penalty for shoving a player out of bounds which gave seahawks a new set of downs.
    remember when peyton beat the #1 def jets in the nfc title game? that def was elite and manning figured them out. well this will be no different. manning has seen many great defences and carves them up. seahawks dont have anything special that manning hasnt already seen.

    broncos 34
    seahawks 20

  25. It’s too bad the competition committee has to wait until the refs screw up until they fix things instead of being proactive. Same thing happened with the cutler fumble vs SD in 2008

  26. Happy it worked out for the 49ers on the next play. They actually gained yrds so it worked out well. Terrible injury.
    Great game showing the NFC West is a tough division.
    -Seahawks Fan

  27. “Currently, the replay rules exempt such plays because every post-fumble pile up would entail a potential replay review”

    Why would it do that? The rules already state “indisputable visual evidence” and anything on the bottom of a pile couldn’t possibly be, since you can’t see. Any coach that challenges a pile would virtually guarantee that they lose said challenge.

  28. And the officiating in this game was bad. Both teams were great and I’ll take nothing away from the hawks but it was bad. Every play should be reviewable.

  29. Add replays- and you’ll lose some fans that do not or need not be at a game for more than 3 hours… How about enacting this during the playoffs only?

  30. Simply allow all play to be reviewable and challenged by coaches. Teams would still have only two challenges per half.

  31. Another instance of a classic game (or rather what should have been) ruined by low-standard officiating.

    Reminded me of the Pats v. Panthers game during the season.

  32. I never never never never NEVER want to hear from whining Seahawks fans moaning about the refs like they did after Super Bowl XL. Because what we saw happen to the 49ers doesn’t even compare to anything that happened in that game. This was simply the most ridiculous play and referee reaction I’ve ever seen.

  33. “Competition Committee will consider Bowman play in offseason”………………hell, they better consider getting all new officials. Not a Hawks or 49’ers fan but this game was a total embarrassment for the NFL. The crew that did the Broncos/Pats game did a great job but then came the fiasco tonight.

  34. I think they may want to review the officiating of the entire game. The game is getting hard to watch.
    Whitner’s hit on a defenseless receiver who was flying through the air and grazed his shoulder?
    Not roughing the punter? No turnover on the Bowman injury play? No intentional grounding on the first Wilson desperate toss? Nice product NFL. Welcome to the MTVNFL.

  35. Unfortunately, this game was symptomatic of the poor officiating that has plagued the NFL all year. The Bowman play should not have even needed a review as the whistle should have been blown when he was clearly down before the scrum started. The running into the punter play should have been a clear, simple application of the rule. If the defensive player runs into the plant leg, it is roughing, not running into the punter. Thirdly, there was the obvious make-up phantom holding call against Seattle, the play after Whitner was correctly flagged for a hit to the head (You can check your DVR for those two plays, Aikman was dead wrong). That call was the major factor that stopped a drive in 49er territory. Each one of these plays had the potential to change the outcome of the game, thereby ending a team’s season. The officiating is a huge and also difficult subject to address for the NFL. Here’s hoping they come up with major reform, and not a cursory tweak here and there.

  36. Another horrible game game called in favor of the seacraps
    Bunch of cheating arrogant players
    That game was all niners till the reffs stepped in
    In favor of the these seaturds

  37. I understand they don’t want games to last six hours, but I’ll never understand the concept of non-reviewable plays.

  38. Refs got it wrong so many ways in this game it was pathetic. The teams, especially the Niners, deserved better.

  39. How many pile ups actually occur during a game? Why can’t they be challenged? If a coach want’s to risk a challenge & a time out on a pile up, let him. If the fumble is reviewed and the pile up is inconclusive then the call on the field stands. If, like today’s game, the recovery is clear, the call is reversed.

    The NFL just needs to come up with a system that gives officials leeway to reverse obviously blown calls that cannot be challenged by a coach. Let them have another official up in the booth who can buzz the referee on the field.

    The NFL dodged a major bullet tonight, they cannot let it happen again.

  40. Or allow it to be a challengeable play.

    Then when a teams “upstairs” tells the coach it’s
    obvious, he throws the red flag. Seems an easy fix?

  41. What about the fact that in every other game I’ve ever watched, when a personal foul occurs before during or after the whistle of a fourth-down play, that penalty counts as a first down?

    I know I have seen a show on the sideline, or blow to the head that occurs after the first down is stopped that extends the drive for the offense. That call today blew my mind, and opened my eyes. Hello WWNFL.

    i’m talking about the SEA fourth-down conversion that failed, and had a personal foul called “after the play was over” and the penalty and the ball was given to the Niners offense.

  42. doesn’t help anybody today. whats the consequence to the refs for letting seattle rollup the punter’s plant leg while calling 15 yd penalty on C Rogers while the wr was still in play?

  43. Officials just need to be more decisive when they see a recovery and award it right away. Might not stop all the pig piles and fighting, but will eliminate this from happening.

  44. I have no dog in this fight. I could really careless who won. But the fact that a call that big was missed by all of the officials on the field and then was deemed unreviewable is an embarasment to the league which prides itself on always getting it right. The niners have a legit beef on that one. It probably cost them a trip to the sb. tough one to swallow.

  45. Here we go as expected, Whiners fans gonna whine about this forever instead of Colon Kaepernick being a talentless, garbage quarterback who’s too obsessed with his tattoos and kissing his bicep. Literally 3 turnovers in the 4th quarter.

  46. And the don’t look at the crooked refs non roughing when your body lands on the kickers supporting leg. How about 2 guys tring to tackle a wr, one hits him low, he get a shoulder to shoulder hit immediately by the other guy. Love to see Merton hanks explain what whitner should have done. They fine players, why not refs?

  47. Bowman made a heroic effort to secure the ball and he clearly had a recovery. If that play had been reviewable, the 49ers certainly would have had a turn over. I hope this leads to an appropriate rules change.

  48. there you go!! the losers were looking for something to whine aboot… thank you for opening the Pandoras box of complaints that has become ritual for every Seahawks win/media reference

  49. sounds like seattle fans are as classy as Sherman, who is as classy as his coach.

    gregg rosenthal @greggrosenthal
    Seahawks fans threw food at Bowman on his way out.
    6:25 PM – 19 Jan 2014

  50. And then what will they do? Form another sub-committee to do a study? How many years have they had already to decide on a seemingly obvious mistake. This is another example of the comp committee reacting to the game instead of being aggressive and anticipating problems. The whole competition committee needs to be re-evaluated and replaced w/a better generation of smarter and competent group.

  51. Probably overstated by saying it cost them a trip to the sb. There were plenty of other things they could have done to help their cause but it was still a bad deal for the niners.

  52. Damn, kind of sucks. I’ve been to busy celebrating a Broncos victory I haven’t seen any articles to tell the Pats trolls to suck it. So… go ahead and suck it!!!

  53. They should’ve reviewed because it was an interception, not a fumble. Bowman took the ball away during the process of the catch.


  54. While I agree San Fran should have had possession after that play, the game will be bogged down with too many replays.

    Either take the human element out of the game regarding refs, or let us be humans in our decision.

    I may not like it when the human factor (error by refs) goes against the teams I like but, it seems there will be a certain point when the game will be reffed from a booth, and not on the field.

    For me, that would suck!

  55. How does this even matter, as it didn’t affect the outcome of the game, since the Seahawks coughed up the football on the very next play? I’d rather they make pass interference calls reviewable, but that ain’t gonna happen. And for god sake, stop reviewing receptions. If the ball doesn’t hit the ground before the player is out of bounds, it’s caught. I hate seeing the defensive players jerking their hands up and down (juggling the catch). They should award points for style.

  56. Not only is this a “duh” reaction but Someone needs to look into extremely possible setup by NFL who obviously wanted Seattle in Super Bowl. Time to take action. First Spygate, now this , the worst of all calls/non calls and turn the other way refs. Pretty obvious setup.
    Why? dont know cause Seattle not a good road team and running QB’s never win NFL championships. Only Steve Young has been able too but he did it with arm v.s San Diego.

    Very disapointed in NFL today. Fells like i saw a fixed boxing match. I stopped watching boxing cause of fixes. Please NFL dont become tis way.

    Harbaugh was humble cause he know what the world saw today was a setup and Refs instructed to make this a Seatttle win as much as possible and they over did it. Too obvious. Tomorrow the Radio and Internet world will respond for Harbaugh and he was smart enough to nt say anything because everyone else will.

    Go Broncos!!

  57. Well the NFL got Seattle Vs Denver. I don’t know anybody outside of Russia,Canada, and the Mile High Cities that cares about the outcome of that game.

    Peyton Manning Vs Russell Wilson… That’s borderline child abuse.

  58. I’m not sure what makes you think they avoided anything. The calling in that game was atrocious and will be discussed by fans for years.

  59. How has the NFL survived all these yrs without Flo telling the NFL what and how to do things? Football has enough stoppages during a typical game.

  60. More importantly, make non-judgement penalties reviewable. For instance, intentional grounding and roughing the kicker opposed to running into the kicker. The officials not knowing the rule (which seems impossible with the number of officials there) and ruling running into the punter on Andy Lee was the most critical play of the game – the Seahawks went down to score the go ahead TD after that punt when the Niners should have had the ball 1st and 10 near mid field with a 4 point lead. If that penalty is reviewable, IMO, the Niners most likely win the game.

  61. First order of business:

    Stop showing 100 close up angles of every single blown knee and broken bone in the NFL. Nobody wants to see a leg broken in half or a the exact point where the ligament tears in slow motion.

    – Every single football fan in America.

  62. I don’t care for either team but the NFL was saved big time.

    If that play stood and the Seahawks scored a td right there and made it a 2 score game instead of only being up a FG, all we would hear for the next 2 weeks would be how the Seahawks were gifted a decision but alas the NFL was saved, no td was made and Seattle earned their win fair and square.

  63. At this rate we won’t even get to watch an actual game, just 2 hours of pregame followed by 3 hours of refs running around the field and under a tarp debating the merits of football, followed by 2 more hours of postgame.

  64. This may create another set of problems. After a fumble there is always a scrum (or pile of players trying to wrest the ball away.) Are we now reviewing to see who touches or grabs the ball first or are we determining who comes out of the pile with the ball? It had always been who possesses the ball after the pile is uncovered even if the ball changed possession during the scrum.

  65. I have no patience for 49ers fans who are complaining about the call. The main reason instant replay was established was the “missed ” fumble call on Jerry Rice in the 99′ wildcard game that allowed them the TO play. The 49ers have been spoiled by the officials over the years and one tough call doesn’t begin to make up for it.

  66. belichick had the best idea- you can challenge ANYTHING, but you still only get two challenges per half (and one additional challenge if you are successful on both). This would include some of the terrible pass interference penalties which can be just as game changing as turnovers, and would not lengthen the game, as the overall number of challenges would remain the same.

  67. Wow. For years Seahawks fans have labeled the Steelers ‘cheaters’ because some calls went the Steelers way in SB XL. Are the Seahawks cheaters themselves because they were the beneficiary of at least 2 calls (the fumble and the running into the punter call)? There were a few other calls that were questionable, as well.

    Seahawks can quit crying now.

  68. Well, Sherman wasn’t PC in an interview. And I thought the popular thing to do was hate everything being PC? Hypocrites EVERYWHERE.

  69. Why not allow the review of piles of players going for the ball if the coach wants to throw the flag? The result 90% of the time would be inconclusive so only when coaches believe there is visual evidence will they throw the flag.

    In other words don’t complicate things by saying post-fumble pile ups are not reviewable. Make all fumbles reviewable.

  70. Plain and simple the people on this Committee really haven’t thought this through….I don’t give the NHL credit for much, but they’ve got the best replay system going. Everything goes through the NFL Corporate office for Replay’s, that way they get the heat when something gets wadded up.

  71. Coaches should get three review-able plays per game (Stop calling them challenges). If they are correct in their request then it should not cost them a time out. EVERYTHING should be review-able. The reviews should be handled by a team of expert, on the current league rules, at a neutral site outside of league influence.
    They also need to get rid of the, maintaining possession after the catch rule, if the receiver has possession with two feet down, or one knee/elbow then it’s a catch just like the old days.

  72. I think Seattle showed they are the better team.

    I was kinda rooting for the 9ers but every time they had the ball, I was thinking “I hope they don’t screw up.” That isn’t confidence.

    The best teams of the two conferences will meet. That’s the way it should be.

  73. The competition committee should be ashamed that they allowed such an egregious failure of ensuring the basic rules of the game make sense at the very least.

    Having instant replay, and yet not including in the rules of instant replay the obvious need to make a determination of possession when the replay clearly shows that that a different player gained possession before the end of the play, is simply stupidity on the rule makers themselves. So yeah, they should be saying this morning, “Gee we looked pretty dumb yesterday.”

    This did not affect the game though, as the 9ers got the ball in better field position one play later.

  74. Florio said, “The easiest option would be to continue to make a fumble recovery at the bottom of a pile not subject to replay review, but to allow for replay review when there is indisputable visual evidence that a player was on the ground with possession.”

    How do you apply this exception of video evidence before the review? I suppose you’re saying if it looks obvious on the JumboTron, call for a review. That might be a slippery slope. I know the TV announcers say the stadium shows the same replays that are shown on TV, but I suspect any calls against the home team might be replayed on the big board over and over, especially if the home team calls a timeout so the head coach could point to the video board and badger the refs for a review.

  75. good thing the NFL and its puppet media has jumped on the whole Cheattle ’12th man’ thing – if it were Dallas or Philly or just about any other city, cover story would have been “debris tossed at injured Bowman”.

  76. This was not the only blown call. While it went both ways at times … it was predominantly going against the 49ers. The Bowman possession call, the roughing the passer call (it was his plant leg), the unsportsman-like conduct call (after the play? the ball was still in the air … play was not over). Instead of being more decisive, these refs have become timid as mice and it is not helping their ability to control the game. Is replay the right thing? I don’t know … but something needs to be done to restore the balance out there.

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