Breaking News Adrian Peterson must stay away from Vikings until legal issues are resolved ×

I Still Think Calvin Johnson Did Complete "The Process"

I’m still not sure what “the process” is for catching a pass. If you’re looking for an explanation of the rule, you probably won’t find it. I continue to check ESPN.com in an attempt for one of the talking heads to explain which part of “the process” wasn’t completed.

Instead, all I get is an article by NFC North writer Kevin Seifert stating that the call was correct “based on NFL rules.” He quotes the rule:

If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.

It’s a three sentence rule, so let’s step through each sentence to see if Calvin “completed the process” or not.

If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone.

The key phrase in this sentence is “he must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground.” Calvin did. He caught the ball, took two steps and fell on his butt. The fall did not jar the ball loose; control was still maintained at that point. So now we have Calvin Johnson on his butt with the ball still clearly controlled in one hand. This should satisfy the entire rule because control was not lost when his body touched the ground. Let’s continue with the next sentence anyway:

If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete.

This part is tricky, and it has to be where the confusion is, but I still don’t see where the play failed to live up to the rule’s standard. Because, clearly, the ball didn’t touch the ground before he regained control. He never lost control before the ball hit the ground in the first place, so I don’t think this portion applies. I think the next sentence clarifies this further:

If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.

This is the one that convinces me that the correct ruling on the play should have been a touchdown. He had control the entire time prior to the ball touching the ground. The rule states: the pass is complete.

It was never a question of possession either. Everyone could see he had full control of the ball with two feet in bounds. The only question was whether or not he maintained control after his body touched the ground. He did. Am I seeing something incorrectly here?

Even after fully reading the rule as written, do you believe Calvin Johnson made the catch?

Loading ... Loading ...

[EDIT: Zac] I don’t mean to add insult to injury but click here to see one play that was ruled a touchdown just last year. The rules haven’t changed since then.

[EDIT: Matt] Another video. This time from the Super Bowl.

Next Lions Game View full schedule »
Sunday, Sep 2121 Sep1:00Green Bay PackersBuy Tickets

Tags: Calvin Johnson Chicago Bears Detroit Lions The Process

comments powered by Disqus