Jim Harbaugh decries “loophole” on Bowman’s forced fumble


San Francisco linebacker NaVorro Bowman made one of the toughest football plays you’ll ever see on Sunday, stripping Seattle receiver Jermaine Kearse of the ball and holding onto it even as Bowman’s knee blew out in gruesome fashion. And the whole thing was for naught, as the officials inexplicably ruled that it was Seattle’s ball, and the NFL rules prevented the referee from looking at the instant replays that showed indisputably that the officials got it wrong.

After the game, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said he didn’t have much of an explanation for why the NFL’s rules don’t allow a play like that to be reviewed. Harbaugh said he talked to the officials about it but was told nothing could be done.

“They said I could not challenge it,” Harbaugh said. “That’s just the rule, they said. Just a loophole in the rule. Once they rule a fumble, and it’s in the field of play, and the ball is ruled recovered by the Seahawks, then it couldn’t be reviewed by me. I asked, ‘What happens if I do challenge it?’ He said, ‘You’ll lose a timeout and we won’t review it.’ They said they would not review the play.”

It’s a ridiculous rule, and one the Competition Committee should address. If there’s a replay angle that clearly shows that the officials awarded possession of the ball to the wrong team, that should be reviewable. If it’s not, what’s the point of having instant replay at all?

108 responses to “Jim Harbaugh decries “loophole” on Bowman’s forced fumble

  1. Unfortunately this happens, sometimes it requires a play like this to get the play right. It is no different from the Brady tuck play, except that play changed the outcome of the game, Lynch fumbling on the next play saved this one.

  2. Seattle > the Whiner
    It would have been nice to had a flag (& review) when Kap kicked the ball after he fumbled, maybe a flag (& review) when Seattle’s gunner was whacked out of bounds. The game is getting too fast. Replay for those mistakes is needed too. So stop whining Harbaugh and get planning for next year’s battle with Seattle…

  3. My question isn’t about reviewing it…it’s how the refs missed the call in the first place? What were they looking at?

  4. Harb why don’t you complain about your chosen but didn’t earn the job choking noob Capt Krapernoob?

    Harb, “with Alex Smith we are a good team. With Krapernoob we are a SB team!”

    Oh Okay Harb! Last 3 possessions yesterday all resulted in turnovers!!! He definitely makes the 9ers a SB team in the championship yesterday!!!

    GL even getting back to the championship again next season with Gore’s career nearing the end, Bowman’s recovery, and Boldin probably won’t even be on the team… GL

  5. Although it’s a bad rule and the 9ers got the poor end of it, must harbaugh whine and throw a tantrum like a 4 yr old girl after every call. Part of being a great coach is having the ability to work the refs and gain their respect. Obviously, by his record, he’s a good up and coming coach who has a bright long future. But he’s got to get better in this area to rise to the cream.

    As for Carroll…. Dude is still second tier. I can coach that team to a sb. Case in point…with that defense and sf playing good defense, points are at a premium. They should have kicked a fg on 4th down after the bowman play. They also should have kicked one on the 4th down they got the lucky td pass on. Both were low percentage plays. I still see the failed jets coach. More a cheerleader along for the ride than anything.

  6. Yes, once we could review the play in slow motion, complete with stopping the frame any time we wanted, the ball was clearly recovered by Bowman. However, the refs have to comply with the existing rules and get one chance at it at FULL SPEED. And if you recall, nobody knew who had the ball when it was happening at real time. Absolutely change the rule but don’t criticize the refs for following the existing rules.

  7. That was a tough play. Bowman should get a lot of credit. At least the bad call wasn’t game changing.

  8. That game was obviously completely fixed by the NFL.

    My 70 year old blind Grandma could have seen that Bowman recovered that fumble.

    There’s no possible way all 4 referees on the field couldn’t see that he clearly had it in his hands.

  9. Want something relevant to worry about?
    Guard iupati broke his ankle. Linebacker Bowman tore his acl.

  10. The rule is flawed, I think everyone would agree… But that did not cost the Niners the game, the football gods corrected that on the next play, making it a non-issue.

    Congrats to the seahawks, this was a slugfest i expected. the outcome was not what I hoped for.

    I do not wish bad things on people and would never say I hope so-and-so gets hurt. But if Sherman the PED freak were to, lets Its just say i would not lose any sleep. His mouth is shameful, he acts like a little kid, his momma should but him over her knee and teach him some respect.

    Heres looking to many years of this great rivalry. I will forever bleed red and gold.

  11. There will never be a time when all the rules of football prevent controversy. As long as they are evenly applied and consistent with the agreed upon intent of the rule as acknowledged by everyone before the start of the season, it is fair. Whats ridiculous is when one of the calls go against you, and now you play the victim. Would he have complained so much if the situation was reversed? Absolutely not.

  12. The lack of self awareness on this thread is amusing. Pete Carroll is an all-time whiner but, hey, as long as it’s your guy doing the complaining it’s all good, right?

  13. Gruesome injury to bowman thought there was way too many replays.

    Side note on reviewing plays such as Kapernick kicking the loose ball away from Seahawks or niner sideline taking Lane out not allowing him to make play for loose ball.

    It’s a game to remember for times sure glad that niners didn’t get a chance to raise NFC trophy in our house.

  14. NFL “Officials” are a joke, especially the crew that worked the NFC Championship. You’d think they’d have remedial knowledge of the difference between running into the kicker and roughing the kicker, and which leg that gets run into constitutes what penalty. Unforgivable, and if the league doesn’t hire full time officials in the near future, we all know that they value profit over performance of their officials. How they can trot out those clowns who worked the NFC championship game for any other NFL game in the future is beyond me.

  15. the officiating of this 2013/ 2014 season has been a complete embarrassment for the NFL.

    They need a complete revamp.
    It wouldn’t hurt to make the officials FULL TIME EMPLOYEES either.
    if having the most critical position in the NFL is interfering with your ‘job’, the NFL will find someone more committed.

    the integrity of the game is in question week after week. This is past the point of absurd.

  16. Bowman made a great play that should have been clearly seen by the officials. That was not the only bad call though. The Seahawks got away with a roughing the kicker call just a little bit earlier.

  17. The official term for this situation is “Hockilied” named for the Ed Hockili, the father of the pre mature whistle during a fumbled ball play. Sorry Niners no fun being Hockolied!

  18. Harbaugh is complaining. Imagine that. He’s right this time, of course, but he whines so much and makes such an ass of himself with his sideline tantrums that it’s hard to listen, even when he’s right.

  19. The headline of the story was no surprise. It contained the name Harbaugh, and the word “cries”, which we’ve all come to expect.

    That being said, they really did get screwed on that call, and the rule needs to be looked at.

  20. Inexplicable that something as critical to the outcome of the game, could not be reviewed. I’m not a fan of incessant of rule tweaking but this one warrants serious discussion this offseason. Coaches need a real time remedy in clear cases of error like that one.

  21. Let me first put it out there:

    I hate Harbaugh. And his brother too. And I love the fact that he was eliminated yesterday.

    But that was a horrible, horrible referring job they did on that play. It was clear Bowman had the ball easily from Kearse. CLEAR!! And it seems that the officiating is declining.

    I don’t want to see any more horrible calls like this in the Super Bowl. With that said, I’m happy Harbaugh got his come uppings. It’s funny how when the bully of the block gets socked in the nose, the bully wants to cry foul.

    49ers have been getting away with illegal hits in their secondary the last three years (mainly Carlos Rodgers) and now one of the teams they’ve been bullying is sticking it to them. Stop crying Harbaugh..stop crying and get some class for once in your life.

  22. Since the refs cannot get the calls right then instant replay should be allowed on everything that is questionable.the game now is too fast for the refs and everyone concerned with the game should demand it happens for the good of the game.mistakes will happen but reviews will quickly correct them.what does the NFL have to lose to get it right.

  23. The NFL should just try to get the call right. Amazing it is 2014 and something like this can still happen.

    The NFL really lucked out that Seattle fumbled the next play.

  24. The ironic thing is the blown call actually benefited the Forty Whiners.

    Instead of getting the ball on their own 2 and being backed up in their own end zone….on the next play Seattle gave it back to them on the 15 or 20 yard line and gave them room to operate….well until the bicep kisser threw that beautiful pass to Chancellor.

  25. I am the FIRST to call Harbaugh a major whiner and totally despise both these teams involved, however the officiating in this game was HORRENDOUS!!

    Peter King did a series on the Referees and their prep etc. for games.

    I understand this call and they could ‘only follow the rules’ not ‘do the right thing.’

    Too many blown calls period.

  26. The purpose of replay is to get the calls right and ensure a fair game. There is no reason to not review that play. It was an obvious wrong call on a possession play. TV shows the games but the games should not be catered to TV as they are now. Keep the game integrity and if the games take 5 minutes longer so be it, TV will have to deal with it if they want to televise the games. Outside of judgment calls (holding penalties, etc.) everything should be able to be challenged by the coach. If he keeps getting it right then he should be able to keep challenging calls when the officials get it wrong. With the many examples of officials making bad calls that impact the outcome of the games (at least 1-2 per week over the last few years) there should be more ability to challenge not less.

  27. Here we go again…Whiner fans complaining about calls not going their way and the game being “fixed”. I’m sure it was the refs fault too for Kaep fumbling and throwing two INTs right? Nevermind that Seattle played stout D and caused those turnovers. And actually if you watch the replay of the supposed “roughing the kicker” you can see that the Hawks player DIDN’T even make contact with Andy Lee…it was Lee himself who landed on top of the defender’s hand and then flopped over the top of him to try and draw the flag. Both teams had the same amount of penalties and some calls were missed both ways, so get over it already. Enjoy the Probowl Niners!

  28. What a surprise.. Harbaugh throwing a temper-tantrum and waving his arms back-and-forth like a small child. Haven’t we seen this enough time before? How’s it feel to be on the other side of BS calls, Jimmy?

    Thank god San Francisco didn’t win this game so we wouldn’t have to watch them lose in the SB again..

  29. It definitely should have been the Niners ball and I have no doubt it’ll be changed so a coach can challenge it next year or it’ll be reviewed automatically.
    That said, your headline should have read “Harbaugh cries…..” because that’s all he ever does. He thinks every call should go his way and whines constantly.
    The fact is, his QB wasn’t good enough with his passing yesterday to win that game and his defense gave up a couple of big plays, and that’s why he’s going home.

  30. I’m glad they got the ball back right away. As much as I dislike SF, Bowman didn’t deserve to get screwed like that. But at least they got it back….and they still lost. All is good.

  31. They got the ball on the 15 after the next play and SEA scored no points.

    With apologies to my high school English teacher—-The ball don’t lie.
    But there was no real harm done to the effort to win the game so, as usual, shut up Harbaugh.

  32. Absolutely a bad call but WHO CARES?? They fumbled on the next play and you got better field position anyway……Harbaugh is the reason I wanted the Seahawks to him, acts like a spoiled teenager on the sidelines when calls don’t go his way.

  33. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING—-aaron rodgers had zero completions, after all their fans said theyd go to the big dance.

    great long range from accuweather too. feb 2nd low of 19 at night, snow mixing with rain. winds gusting 30-35 mph. yep id like to sit in that for 3k a ticket

  34. A lot of bad calls and even more missed calls went against the 49ers in this game. Seems to me like the fix was in for yet another NFC Championship game.

    The NFL is at real risk of becoming the WWF.

  35. Harbaugh specifically said the play had ZERO impact on the game because of the fumble on the subsequent play. So, he’s not whining, he’s pointing out an obvious flaw in the rules. So why don’t y’all try to limit the predictable “Harbaugh is a whiner” posts to under 100. I’ll bet you can’t do it. 150 maybe?

  36. As a Steeler fan, Ive had to listen to Seahawks fans Whine (endlessly) about the Super Bowl calls (BTW- they still would have lost the game!!).
    This bad call was different, as it most likely cost the 49ers the game. So Seahawk fans- here is your Super Bowl, handed to you on a silver platter, hopefully this will end all the whining about past Super Bowl losses!!

  37. It ended up not changing the outcome of the game with Seattle turning it over on downs on the fumble, but it is a horrible rule. It should have been reviewable by SF regardless of who recovered the fumble.

    If they made the call that SF recovered the fumle it would have been reviewed as a turn over automatically.

    Dumb rule.

  38. That call had no effect on the outcome of the game, in fact in actually the 49ers benefited by getting the ball in better field position on the very next play. The 9ers have gotten the benefit of other bad calls or non-calls over the last few weeks including Kap illegally kicking the fumbled ball away from Seahawk players that could have affected the outcome, but you don’t see Harbaugh crying about that. The problem is that Harbaugh is seen whining or complaining on every play so when he does have a legitimate issue, no one pays attention. Maybe if his team didn’t turn the ball over so many times or because they could only score 7 points in the last 40 minutes of the game they would have won.

  39. grs27 says:Jan 20, 2014 10:11 AM

    As a Steeler fan, Ive had to listen to Seahawks fans Whine (endlessly) about the Super Bowl calls (BTW- they still would have lost the game!!).
    This bad call was different, as it most likely cost the 49ers the game. So Seahawk fans- here is your Super Bowl, handed to you on a silver platter, hopefully this will end all the whining about past Super Bowl losses!!


    It didn’t change the game at all. The 49ers got the ball back anyway.

  40. I think the NFL needs to look at a lot of plays- head hits, blocking in the back, plays like this but with the present replay system it would be a 6 hour game. It amazes me that they have replay capability on the stadium boards and that those aren’t used. Clearly, they need a replay official who can make decisions much more quickly.

  41. billh1947 says:
    Jan 20, 2014 9:45 AM
    Since the refs cannot get the calls right then instant replay should be allowed on everything that is questionable.the game now is too fast for the refs and everyone concerned with the game should demand it happens for the good of the game.mistakes will happen but reviews will quickly correct them.what does the NFL have to lose to get it right.


    The NFL wants to control the outcome of games. It’s that simple. They use certain crews of refs to do this. If all plays we’re challenge able and reviewable, think of the impacts. No Katrina Bowl in 2010 because the Saints don’t make it, no Harbaugh Bowl in 2013 because the Ravens don’t make it. The Patriots go completely undefeated because the Giants never make it. Ect, ect.

    The NFL is a business and controlling the outcomes of games is critical to the bottom line.

  42. Unlike when the Steelers were gifted the SB by the refs, this call had no impact. And on the punt the rusher didn’t even make contact. The punter came down on his hand and flopped.

    Your team lost because your QB folded and your defense couldn’t contain the Beast or the receivers you spent all week saying weren’t good enough.

  43. @justintuckrule says: Jan 20, 2014 9:27 AM

    Although it’s a bad rule and the 9ers got the poor end of it, must harbaugh whine and throw a tantrum like a 4 yr old girl after every call.

    Sadly, yes. I enjoy the winning, but I really can’t stand him as a person. I just wish he’d shut up or learn to win and lose with class, like Walsh or Seifert…

  44. “It didn’t change the game at all. The 49ers got the ball back anyway.”

    In fact, they got the ball back in much better field position the next play.

    Terrible call, though, as were a number of others (like Seattle running into the SF kicker). Neither team can really complain about calls.

  45. 49er fan here…

    Congratulations to the Seahawks on your win yesterday. With both teams playing well on defense, mistakes on offense were going to be key and your team got the takeaways at the right moments.

    I hope this game does do something to change the state of officiating in the NFL. Both Seahawks and 49ers have a right to be pissed on how it was called. I believe the wrong callon the punter was most egregious but I’m also no expert.

    I also understand why teams have nicknamed the 49ers “Whiners”. It’s easy and a demonstrative coach on the sidelines doesn’t help. However…I also believe there are 24 teams that would take Jim over what they currently have. So the guy has passion…give him some slack because you should be able to clearly see he loves the game of football.

    Good luck in the SB Seattle.


  46. Only the Whiners would complain about that call. In the end, it worked in their favor, but they’ll complain anyway and act like that’s why they lost (when we all know it’s because of all the turnovers).

    They got the ball between the 15 and 20 on the next play. That’s a LOT better than getting it at the half-yard line against a defense like Seattle’s.

    But Harbaugh will whine and complain anyway, and so will all the whiner fans. Whine, whine, whine. It’s never their fault when they lose, and they are incapable of winning with class. See ya later, losers.

  47. I really wish Lynch hadn’t fumbled and the Seahawks had scored as a direct result of that officiating. It would likely increase the chances of the rules getting tweaked to prevent it happening again.

    It’s time for the NFL to put an end to its cryptic system of what can or cannot be challenged. Coaches only get two red flags per game. Let them challenge anything and be done with it.

  48. If the refs AND the competition committee knew right away this was a loophole and punishes defenders from making a great play, then why didn’t they fix it in the first place? Why wait for a potentially game-changing play to then act?

    That said, Navarro Bowman is one heck of a player and tough as nails to hold onto the ball as his knee was being torn apart. It’s too bad the refs stole his great play.

  49. Inexplicable that ANY play involving a change of possession, is not subject to review.

    I’m not a fan of Harbaugh at all, nor do I appreciate the incessant tweaking of the rulebook… but NFL HCs need to have some form of real-time remedy available to them when the on-field officials so clearly screw up a call like this in a game of this magnitude. This definitely warrants serious discussion by the Rules Committee in the offseason.

  50. I wonder if the NFL will fine the guy that hit Seattle’s gunner when he was pushed out of bounds into the San Fran sidelines.

    As a Seattle fan, Sherman’s actions after the game were way over the top, and classless.

    What that San Fran player/employee did was classless as well. There was no call for that as well.

  51. Bad calls like that is why people are losing interest in the NFL. Fuzzy and situational rules that are unevenly applied at it’s worst.

    At least Seattle fans can stop bitching about calls that don’t go their way, but I will not hold my breath on that!

  52. grs27 says:Jan 20, 2014 10:11 AM

    As a Steeler fan, Ive had to listen to Seahawks fans Whine (endlessly) about the Super Bowl calls (BTW- they still would have lost the game!!).
    This bad call was different, as it most likely cost the 49ers the game. So Seahawk fans- here is your Super Bowl, handed to you on a silver platter, hopefully this will end all the whining about past Super Bowl losses!!
    Give SB 40 a rest. The only ones on here that bring it up are Steeler fans trying to justify the game.

    The officiating in that game was bad. Eight years later, it’s not any better, and may be worse.

  53. The rule CLEARLY needs to be changed. It’s a dumb rule that, where it not for a karmic seattle fumble on the next play, would have been a huge embarrassment for the NFL had ‘hawks scored.

  54. As a Seahawks fan, I’m glad now in hindsight that Lynch fumbled on the next play.

    If the Seahawks had scored then, that bad call would be the only play people cared about from that game.

    It was an awful call. I’m glad it didn’t lead to a game-winning score. The 49ers actually got improved field position because of the Lynch fumble.

  55. Harbaugh is the boy that cried wolf. He cried it once too many and the refs have tuned his whining out.

  56. I’m just glad I don’t have to see Harbaugh’s whiney antics and hissy fits on the sideline anymore.

  57. Lot of you are just clueless..When will u realize the games are fixed by the NFL thru the refs. They just claim bad officiating but the calls are too obvious. They have targeted the niners since the last super bowl with non calls. this year many, many instances including the saints game, and numerous others. I watched every play of every game.

    The roughing the punter rule my 12 year old knew!!! The plant foot is roughing and a 15 yd penalty first down. hitting the kicking leg is a 5 yarder and those hacks knew it. that changed the whole game.

    the NFL is more corrupt than Obama and that
    hack Goodell is a scumbag

  58. superyooper says:
    Jan 20, 2014 11:01 AM
    49er fan here…

    Congratulations to the Seahawks on your win yesterday. With both teams playing well on defense, mistakes on offense were going to be key and your team got the takeaways at the right moments.

    I hope this game does do something to change the state of officiating in the NFL. Both Seahawks and 49ers have a right to be pissed on how it was called. I believe the wrong callon the punter was most egregious but I’m also no expert.

    I also understand why teams have nicknamed the 49ers “Whiners”. It’s easy and a demonstrative coach on the sidelines doesn’t help. However…I also believe there are 24 teams that would take Jim over what they currently have. So the guy has passion…give him some slack because you should be able to clearly see he loves the game of football.

    Good luck in the SB Seattle.



    you’re no niner fan u fraud

  59. 3 thoughts:

    1. “What can be challenged” needs to be expanded/clarified.

    2. Automatic review should probably be expanded to include any potential change of possesion.

    3. Is it time to add more referies? With the game so much faster, and more spread out, the refs can’t cover all they need to.

    I dislike Harbaugh’s antics as much as the next guy, but it’s the goal of the officiating to get it right, regardless of who’s playing.

  60. Harbaugh didn’t “decry” the non call, he cried about the non call.

    I had respect for harbaugh after his post game interview, but that just flew out the window.

  61. Yes, thank God we’ve got those clearly more qualified (sic) UNION bozos in there and replaced those worthless, rationally-priced non-union referees. I’m so sick of watching mistakes made by the unionized refs getting paid many times what the replacements made. Yet, some people (you know who I’m talking about here) constantly pander to all things union. It’s really pathetic.

  62. Story to say to say 49ers fans…HARBAUGH = Schottenheimer 2.0

    You all will win a lot do games and contend for a lot of championships…..but I doubt seriously that he can lead you all to winning the ultimate game. If Gruden was coaching the 49ers last night you all win easily. His bunch formations, crossing routes and overall route distribution would have killed that defense.

  63. vusnu says:
    Jan 20, 2014 11:23 AM
    Moot point. Niners got the ball back a couple of plays later in better field position.
    Not really. A bad call is a bad call. 9 times out of 10 Seattle would have probably scored. That fumble was somewhat of a fluke. As a 49er fan, I’d actually rather they got the call right and give the Niners the ball where it was recovered. I know it’s horrible field position, but at least get the call right.

    Note: While there were some questionable calls, I don’t blame the refs for that loss. Three 4th quarter turnovers will rarely win you a playoff game.

  64. I wonder how many of the posters on here complaining about the bad calls tonight are the same people who posted 3 weeks ago telling steeler fans to get over the bad SD KC calls? What goes around comes around, bad calls are made every game, and either you live with them, or you complain about them all, you can’t selectively choose which ones to be upset over. The calls in the SD KC game were bad just as these calls tonight were. game. The call everyone is complaining about is the fumble. First of all it’s a rule that the play can’t be reviewed, so how are the refs cheating? The refs went with what they “saw”. Be upset they were out of position but it’s not their fault rules won’t let them review it. Besides not only did the call not effect the outcome, but the 49ers end up getting the ball in better field position when Seattle fumbled it on the next play. So for those 49er fans complaining tonight, I sure hope you aren’t the same people saying big deal about the SD KC game. If you are, get over it, bad calls happen.

    Same goes for you Seattle fans still upset over the SB Loss to the Steelers. Seahawks lost that SB by 11. The calls fans were upset about were judgement calls holding, and PI. The Rothelisberger TD, was called a TD on the field and there wasn’t enough visual evidence to overturn it. The only bad call was the one against hassleback, and it didn’t effect the outcome. Holmegran made boneheaded mistakes managing the clock costing the Seahawks points. Now switch to the Seahawks 49ers game. Again mostly judgement calls, the PI, the late hit, again judgement calls like the SB game. But the one big difference for you Seahawk fans is THE MISSED call was the running into the kicker call. That call “by rule hitting a kickers plant leg” is a roughing the kicker penalty not running into the kicker. So yes that call effected the outcome. So Seahawk fans, stop complaining about the SB. The call you got last night to make it to the SB was far worst than the hassleback call the steelers got. The rest of the calls were all judgement calls.

  65. Where was all the whining last week? Boldin gets away with a headbutt (then gets fine by the NFL but Captain does not get fined for the same thing but was flagged) and then 49ers get away with 12 men in the huddle. Panther Fans are told to stop whining you got beat. So, 49ers fans stop whining you got beat.

  66. This very obviously was a bad call, and the 49ers got screwed a few times. That being said….when is Harbaugh going to grow up and conduct himself in a professional manner? Throwing a temper tantrum on the sidelines every single time something doesn’t go his way is ridiculous and getting old. I have no respect for a grown man that acts in such a way on a consistent basis. Someone needs to teach him how to be a true professional, maybe then the team can start shaping up after his example.

  67. It doesn’t matter Jim thinks the good calls are still bad calls against his team. he should have at least 5 flags thrown at him for being on the field on every game!!!

  68. ha ha ha ha whiner fans whinning again.. i love it!!!.. keep the excuses coming.. harbaugh is the biggest crybaby ever.. i’m so glad we dont have to see his crybaby ass tell next year!!! get over it whiners… you lost!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  69. This issue has been a problem in the NFL for a LOOONNNGG time now. Whenever a ball is fumbled, it doesn’t matter who recovers it right away, there’s always a pileup and guys are always jumping into the pile even when the ball is recovered because they know if they jump in and grab or knock the ball away even when the player is down they can get the ball back. The refs have now been trained to the point where even if a guy like Bowman is clearly down, they won’t even blow the whistle until there’s a pileup of some sort for them to go through. In a situation like this, they could see that Bowman had the ball but since it was a fumble they waited for the pileup to commence and tried breaking it up first.

    For a league that tries to protect players, to let scrums like this happen so easily where players can get hurt is so hypocritical. But then again, that’s the NFL for you…

  70. No doubt there was the hometoen cooking during the game , but san fran got a few calls.. Game was lost because kap turned the ball over on the last 4 drives they had the ball.

    Two teams that are pretty much equal equates to turnovers deciding the outcome.

    Except for the vikings because they have to transfer from the arena football league to the nfl this year..

  71. as long as harbaugh is in the league, i am buying stock in kleenex…he will keep it at a 52 week high for years to come…

  72. 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.

  73. That could have affected the outcome of the game. If SF gets it on the one or two Seattle has a better chance of a safety. Seattle gets two more points and the ball.

  74. The worst thing about awarding Seattle possession is that the receiver never actually caught the ball. He did nothing to demonstrate possession (like a football move) before the ball was taken away by the defender. Rather, the referees blindly ruled a fumble which implies a catch. SF should have challenged the ruling of a catch and fumble (which is within the framework of the rules).

  75. good lord, you’d think the seahawk fans would have stopped crying about losing their last superbowl, the refs didn’t cost you the game, willie parker’s td run, wards td catch and your offense not being able to make any plays cost you the game so get over it! You have a much better team this time, but I guess if they lose you’ll all cry that the refs ripped you off again!

  76. Unless you review every play officiating mistakes will happen. Fortunately, this mistake did not affect the game as the Hawks subsequently turned it over anyway.

  77. I’m just glad Carlos Rogers decided to play….getting toasted on the 4th and 7 was an instant classic….That was awesome!

  78. I still don’t get why they couldn’t challenge that Bowman had possession and was down by contact before the “second fumble” occurred. It’s not like the 49ers wanted to review who came out of the pile with it….

    Stupid rule amongst many stupid NFL rules.

  79. Reminds me of the story of the “Little Boy who cried Wolf”. After a while, no one pays attention.

    Harbaugh, a professional coach, embarrassed himself on national TV.

  80. here’s an idea….he could have challenged the spot. then, when the refs looked into where the ball should be spotted, they would see what really happened. ‘after further review, we missed a fumble and its recovery. we’re sorry, i left my heart, and my eyeglasses in san francisco’

  81. I’m no fan of Harbaugh, by any stretch of the imagination, but he has a point here. If that had been the Seahawks getting robbed of a fumble, (which is exactly what it was), I would have been pissed too.

    It’s a bad rule, and needs to be addressed to enable a replay option. It could have been critical to the outcome of the game.

  82. Love the comments by all of the lame Seahawk fans. “Yeah but you’re guy did this, you’re guy did that.” The worst fanbase in the NFL. Always defending their team’s bs tactics, and coaches actions, yet, whenever somebody points out a perfectly legitimate screwup that would have been against the seahawks, they whine and bitch and point out 25 other things that should have been called against other (and in many cases, just plain made up). By the way, there is nothing conclusive to say whether the gunnerthat was out of bounds was hit on purpose or whether he ran into the guy. Don’t tell me otherwise, because I’ve seen the replay as many times as anybody else, and there is a person right on front of the gunner and the other guy, and all you can see is that the collided and other guy didn’t get out of the way because he doesn’t have to. That doesn’t mean he tried to block him, Seattle fans, even though you all think it’s part of the mass conspiracy against you. And that gunner couldn’t go for the ball anyhow, unless it touched another seahawk first. And it was clear from the play that Bowman broke his leg, that he had the ball as soon as he hit the ground and he was clutching it with nobody standing over him, while Kearse-on the ground-is touching him which would have been down by contact. Geezus Seattle fans. You’re the worst. That’s why nobody likes the Seahawks. Their fans are tools who only know one thing. “Woe is us. They’re all out to screw the Seahawks.”

  83. Of course, we’re all very well aware that, if the opposite scenario had happened, with a 49ers player being stripped of the ball, a Seahawk clearly possessing it, and then a 49ers players taking it away again in the scrum, Jim Harbaugh would have ZERO problem with this “loophole.”

  84. All you who are saying it doesn’t matter because Seattle lost the ball on a fumble on the very next play. Sure don’t know anything about football. The ball would have be spotted at the one. This would have called for different play calling and could have lead to drastically different results.
    Also the officiating is going from bad to worse. Not just because of the bad calls but the way the officials are performing. On the Bowman fumble what was the line judge on that side looking at. Bowman was not in the pile. That official should have had a clear view of the recovery. On a unnecessary roughness the official saw the hit and called nothing but when the player ran into something he then decided to throw the flag. And on the Davis TD that was ruled incomplete the official couldn’t have know whether it was or wasn’t because he was looking off into space. Poor mechanics, ignorance of the rules are unacceptable faults of too many officials.

  85. They should simplify things. All fumbles should be reviewable, not just those that have been recovered by the opposition. That means either the officials upstairs can review it or the coach can challenge the ruling on the field.

  86. Bottom line, game came down to a TD Seattle scored on a possession that was never legitimately theirs.
    That was the biggest difference in the game.
    And marred results like this will never stop happening until the league moves to full-time officials & a wide-sweeping review system.

    It is pathetic for a 10 billion dollar business to have its fate hang on the decision making of 4 hour a week part timers.

  87. Of course the 49ers should have and could have won the game if they had paid attention to details and had someone else other than Roman calling plays. Having said that and accepting that, there is no reason for the poor officiating. First, it should be the best crews that officiate instead of creating new crews based on the rating system for all officials. This is about NFL teams and players, not NFL officials. But, how do the highest rated NFL officials miss the fumble recovery, miss the roughing the kicker play and calling Skuta for hitting the helmet? Come on now!!

  88. I’m with you Jim Harbaugh; everything needs to be reviewed when the stakes in the playoff games are so high.

    Yesterday’s game left me wondering also who was on the take. I’ve thought for a long time that either the VIPS in the booth were paying off the referees to miscall certain atrocities or to turn the other cheek on blatant atrocities such as the one with the 49er coming up with the ball at the bottom of the pile and the ball was given back to the Seahawks. How much more obvious could that one have been. And then there was the blatant goading by a Seahawk to a 49er (I’ll slit your throat) and when the 49er retaliated simply by smacking the Seahawk’s helmet, he was the one to get the personal foal. Just how fair is some of this. You have to wonder who is getting paid to overlook these things. When Harbaugh questioned reviewing the one obvious error and was told “no can do”, the refs – 2 of them that I saw, simply shrugged their shoulders. WHAT? We all know there has to be some money exchanging hands and this obvious miscall proved it; it was just to obvious. These players play their hearts and souls out and to be treated this way–I don’t care what team you are a fan of–no team deserves this sort of treatment. At any rate, the refs need serious investigating and or at best, when a call is missed or miscalled, they need to be penalized themselves and thrown out of the game. I’m sure there are plenty in the pool wanting to referee these games. Enough is enough and my life is to short to sit by and not say anything anymore when it was right there in front of me. As for the Seahawk getting sideswiped on the side lines–to bad he didn’t fall flat on his face. By that point, too many missed calls had happened and I was ready for some revenge.

    Thank you.

  89. God, I am so tired of hearing all this whining. It would have been better FOR SEATTLE if the Niners had recovered. The Niners would have gotten the ball on less than the one. Chances are that Seattle would have earned a safety. As it was, Seattle came away with zero points and the Niners with MUCH better position. And then they did nothing.

  90. Some of you knuckleheads posting here need to get your heads out of your – I mean, need to get your heads out of this particular game and look at the underlying point: replays clearly showed SF recovered the fumble, but the call stood. IT WAS A BAD CALL, regardless of how you feel about the teams involved or the outcome of the game.

    ANY call should be challengeable – after all, there is a cost if the call is upheld.

  91. I would actually like to have an instant upstairs only review for every “targeting” penalty called. In almost every case, it was a legitimate tackle and the ref had the wrong angle. Out of 15 I have seen this last year, only one was an actual penalty. I think that is relevant enough to warrant a change to go along with the fumble review.

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