Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The (real) official NFL official statement

Dear You People,

Last night, NFL football fans witnessed one of the most thrilling conclusions that any game can muster — the Hail Mary pass. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson heaved a desperation attempt into a crowd, with wide receiver Golden Tate and Green Bay Packers safety M.D. Jennings ultimately fighting for the ball.

While the ball is in the air, Tate can be seen shoving Packers cornerback Sam Shields to the ground. This should have been a penalty for offensive pass interference, which would have ended the game. But it wasn’t called, so it didn’t happen and thus nothing to regret. Screw it.

When the players hit the ground in the end zone, the officials determined, hilariously, that both Tate and Jennings had possession of the ball. Under the rule for simultaneous catch, the ball belongs to Tate, the offensive player. Under the rule that actually applied, the one where the defender decisively had charge of the ball from air to ground, the ball belongs to Jennings. But eh, his name was too long.

The call on the field was a touchdown. Or touchback. Or incomplete pass. Depending on which official you were facing.

"OK, we've got the X and F ... who's got L?"
We chose touchdown because, under official replacement rules, the official with the highest hands crosses the plane of correctness. At least, I think. Guys? Let’s huddle up and figure this out real quick.

The play was reviewable via instant replay because it took place in the end zone. We could determine who, if anyone, had possession. The instant replay booth is really neat. You don’t see this spiffy stuff in D-III or in the Lingerie League.

Referee Wayne Elliott determined that no indisputable visual evidence existed to overturn the call on the field that we chose, and as a result, the on-field ruling of touchdown stood. See, to overturn an on-field call, you have to have indisputable evidence. And at the time, we didn’t have the photo that’s become a meme on Facebook and Twitter. Or, apparently, eyes.

You'd think there'd be at least one nuclear-green glove on the ball at any point.
The NFL Officiating Department reviewed the video today and supports the decision not to overturn the horribly incorrect on-field ruling following the instant replay review. The result of the game is final. As if you didn’t see that coming.

Have we overturned a game, ever? I think not. That would be un-American! And if there’s one thing America never does, it’s overturn past decisions, no matter how awfully they reflect upon us.

The NFL has a long and proud tradition of integrity, one that would only be besmirched by reversing the verdict of the play. Think of the precedent that would set. Fans would be furious! You’d accuse us of harming the integrity of the game. And here at the NFL, integrity is our hallmark. We know you won’t stand for controversy. Neither will we.

Applicable rules of the play are as follows: (Take notes, replacements)

A player must catch the ball to catch the ball.

Book of Goodell 8:1: Definition of catch. A catch is when the ball falls into a receiver’s hands and the player, when legally inbounds, maintains possession. A catch is not when any of that doesn’t happen.

Book of Goodell 8:3: Simultaneous Catch. If a pass is caught simultaneously by two eligible opponents, and both players retain it, the ball belongs to the passers. If the defender catches the ball in a decisive manner to where there is no doubt, like last night, but the call is stupid, too bad. Because:

Book of Goodell 8:4: Infallibility. Even when we’re wrong, we’re not wrong.

Amen.

Love,
Your NFL Superiors

(Read the real thing here)

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