Was a touchdown (and, therefore, six fantasy points, which is really what we care about here) stolen from Megatron this week by the refs?
I know there has been plenty of discussion this week about how goofy the rules are surrounding completing a catch in the end zone, and I agree that those rules could be clarified. But I also have to take the side of the NFL officials in this one. It was not a catch.
It’s the receiver’s job to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he caught the football, even if you have to use your helmet to do it.
In Calvin Johnson’s case, he didn’t hold up his end. It’s a technicality, but it’s part of the game. You must protect and secure the football. Slamming the ball into the ground was unnecessary. If he had pulled it into his body, it would have spared us all this drama.
In case you just escaped from under a rock, here’s the tape…
Bill Polian explains (via Pro Football Talk):
And, ultimately, Polian said it was Johnson’s mistake to put the ball on the ground, rather than keep it in his hands and show the officials that he had it. Polian said it’s on the receivers to demonstrate to the officials that they’ve completed a catch, and not on the NFL to change the rule.
I have to agree with Polian here. Megatron clearly could have tucked his arm with the ball against his body, slid to a stop, and come up with the ball to show the refs. Instead, he spun into the ground and launched himself, using the ball, back to his feet.
Sure, he easily maintained possession all the way to the ground, and, sure, there is no question that he had control of the football. But you can’t call it a catch just because it seems that he had the chance to do it the right way.
To me, this whole incident isn’t much different from when DeSean Jackson prematurely dropped the football on his way into the end zone in 2008—just a young receiver neglecting the small details when he makes a big play.
I’m sure this won’t ever happen again to Megatron. His fantasy owners can count on that.