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Inside The Bills

Referee on Stevie non-TD play

Posted by Chris Brown on December 23, 2012 – 6:19 pm

After the game a pool reporter was able to get clarification on why Stevie Johnson’s touchdown play in the first half was ruled an incomplete pass.

Head referee Walt Anderson gave the following explanation on the call that was made on Johnson’s catch and dive for the end zone.

“The ruling on the field was that the receiver possessed the ball, but as he possessed the ball he is actually in the process of going to the ground,” said Anderson. “To complete the catch process, if a player is going to the ground, when he hits the ground he has got to maintain control of the football, which the side judge ruled that he did not.”

When asked about the fact that Johnson caught the ball, took two steps then dove, hadn’t he already completed the catch, Anderson maintained that it does not change the ruling.

“Whether you are in the field of play or in the end zone, if you are in the process of making the catch while still going to the ground, whether you hit the ground in the field of play or in the end zone, you still have to hold onto the football. So the fact that he had two, or even three (feet down), the number of steps is really not that significant if you are going to the ground.

“The key is, what’s the player doing in the act or process of making the catch. If he is going to the ground, then he has to complete all the elements of a catch, which is two feet, so he’s got to get at least two feet, and then if he is going to the ground, when he hits the ground he has to maintain control of the football.”

When asked if the rule to which he was referring was the Calvin Johnson rule, Anderson said it wasn’t.

“No, actually that rule has been in effect long before that play,” Anderson said.


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