Calvin Johnson thought he caught a game-winning TD pass to beat the Bears and vault the Lions into first place atop the NFC North for the first time since the Clinton era. But a quirky rule of what defines a catch sent Johnson and the Lions home with their twenty-first consecutive road loss. Here’s the video clip:
Don’t get me wrong, as a Bears fan I’m thrilled with the call, but I think we all know a catch when we see one and that was a catch.
Here’s what referee Gene Steratore had to say about the controversial play after the game (via ChicagoBreakingSports.com)
Referee Gene Steratore spoke to a pool reporter after the Bears’ 19-14 victory Sunday over the Lions, in response to questions about the ruling that overturned an apparent touchdown catch by Detroit’s Calvin Johnson.
Q. What is the rule used on the near-Detroit touchdown at the end of the game?
A. The ruling is that in order for the catch to be completed he has got to maintain possession of the ball throughout the entire process of the catch.
Q, He was on his behind before he rolled over. If he stayed on his behind, would it have been a touchdown?
A. No. We don’t play with the two feet or one knee or anything of that scenario. We’re talking now about the process of the catch. He’s catching the football; as he goes to the ground, he must maintain possession of the ball throughout the entire process. So as he continues to fall, if he fell with two feet and his elbow hit the ground and came out, it would be incomplete.
Q. It looked like he had the ball up in one hand while on his rear end, but there was continuation?
A. Well, the process was not finished until he finished that roll and the entire process of that catch.
Q. How long did it take to determine that?
A. We had the normal time as far as the video was concerned. We would not run it any longer.
The Tribune’s Fred Mitchell provides this clip of Calvin Johnson and his thoughts on the call after the game.
Don’t be surprised if the “Calvin Johnson Rule” is revisited this offseason, but in the meantime, we’ll take it! What do you think? Vote in our poll and share your Comments below.