The Detroit Lions might not be in the NFL postseason this year, but their legacy was strong in Sunday’s AFC divisional round game between the Bengals and Bills. The infamous “Calvin Johnson rule” made an unwelcome appearance.
Lions fans know the rule all too well. After Johnson was robbed of a touchdown catch by a stringent application of a subjective rulebook technicality, everyone quickly caught onto the rule. A receiver must maintain control of the ball while going to the ground to complete the process of the catch.
Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase sure appeared to do that in the first half of Sunday’s game. The officials on the field thought so too, but the “catch” was later overturned on a very lengthy booth review.
In the letter of the interpretation of the law, overturning the call on the field is probably correct. But as was the case with Calvin Johnson’s non-catch in Chicago a decade ago, the application of the rule and the rule itself are both terrible for the game.
The football-watching public vehemently disagreed with this application of the infamous rule. A small sampling: