September 16, 2010
We should have all moved on from the Calvin Johnson(notes) non-touchdown catch by now. Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz did so immediately after the game, telling his team to man up and not "take the coward's way out" by blaming the call for the team's loss. Lions fans need to do the same. It's a tough way to lose but, hey, look at the bright side: At least your squad was good enough to nearly have won a season-opener against a division rival. That call is in the past. Let's look ahead, shall we?
That's what should happen, but it's pretty hard to do that when you get quotes like the one below from Indianapolis Colts GM Bill Polian. While on the NFL Network's "NFL Total Access", Polian explained why the ruling was correct (bold is mine).
"When a forward pass is thrown, there is no possession unless the play is completed, as opposed to a running back extending the ball over the goal line, he has possession. A receiver doesn't have possession until the play is completed. Finally, in order for the official to officiate really tight plays -- the receiver rolls over and the official loses sight of the ball -- he has to know that the receiver has completed the play. And the coaching point that is given to receivers by both coaches and officials is, 'Show me the ball. Come up there with the ball. Show me you have the ball.' And in this case, unfortunately Calvin did not show him the ball.
"He let the ball hit the ground, therefore no possession, therefore no completion of the play, therefore no touchdown. Correct call."
"The bottom line is you have to complete the play, you have to show the official that you completed it. The catch phrase is 'Show me the ball.'"
Before I thought the rule was stupid. Now it's insulting.
No need to belabor the point of how bad the rule is; we (and everyone else) have already done that. And nothing against Polian, who gives the best explanation yet of how the rule is interpreted. But how is "show me the ball" a viable rule in the NFL? There are seven officials on the field. Find the damn ball yourselves.
I hope Calvin Johnson catches a touchdown pass this week and then follows the back judge around the field for the next 45 minutes holding the ball up in front of his face. Have Chad Ochocinco(notes) catch one in the end zone and have Terrell Owens(notes) break out a digital camera to show the refs visual proof of the catch. Install one of those "Clockwork Orange" chairs on the sideline so the officials can watch a replay of the ball being caught on the HD video boards. If the NFL wants to be literal about this, be literal.
"Show me the ball." Ugh. Sounds like a reject line from the first draft of "Jerry Maguire" anyway.
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