While most of the NFL-viewing public and even current and former players wonder what, exactly, constitutes a legal catch, Eli Manning has no such issue.
On Monday, as it was in many places, the Pittsburgh Steelers touchdown taken off the board vs. the New England Patriots when it was decided after a long deliberation that tight end Jesse James didn’t maintain control of the ball when he fell over the goal line was still a topic of conversation in locker rooms across the league.
That included East Rutherford, N.J., home of the New York Giants practice facility.
Via the New York Post, the Giants’ quarterback, Manning, understands exactly why the touchdown was negated on replay.
“I know the rules,’’ Manning said.
The much-discussed play happened on first down, so the Steelers still had two downs to get the game-winning touchdown, and fourth down to kick the game-tying field goal and force overtime. Instead, what looked like a botched fake-spike play became a batted-ball interception for the Patriots, sealing the win for New England.
Like others, as it happened Manning thought it was a clean catch. But on replay, he saw that it wasn’t.
“I was watching the game live, you see it, and it doesn’t look like an incompletion at all,’’ Manning said. “Once they slow it down and see him going to the ground and the ball hitting the ground, incompletion …
“You hate it, when you’re watching it live, you don’t even think about that not being a catch. When they run it down, hey, when you go to the ground you got to finish with the ball in your hand. When it hits the ground and there’s movement, I was like, ‘I think that’s enough evidence where they’re gonna reverse that’.”
It’s so clear to Manning, he doesn’t understand why others are confused as to what constitutes a catch in the NFL
“I think it is clear what a catch is,’’ Manning said. “Especially when you’re going to the ground, you got to control the ball the whole time. You got to have it. If the ball hits the ground, you’re going to the ground, the ball moves or hits the ground and there’s a little loss of contact through the end of the play, it’s gonna be an incompletion.’’
The Giants had a similar situation earlier this season against the Eagles. Sterling Shepard did not maintain control of the ball as he ran out of the end zone, crashing out of bounds.
“Same deal,’’ Manning said. “Caught it, had two feet, went to the ground, ball comes out, it’s gonna be an incompletion.’’
Thanks for clearing that up for us, Eli.
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