things go poorly
sugar bowl 2012
Much as I respect both Brian and Seth, I don't think that it's obvious that Coales overtime TD catch, which was overturned on review, was incomplete. I'm not going to say that the review ref was wrong, but this was a tough call that could have gone either way, both on the initial call and on review. I'll start with Brian:
It's incomplete because the tip of the ball hits the ground and it shifts in his arms when it happens.
I'm not sure that's what the rules call for as part of "control". If it is it would lead to some absurd results in other situations. For instance: imagine a tackler punching at a ball while making a tackle. The ball's position shifts, but remains in the ballcarrier's hands. Would that be a fumble? The fact that the ball shifts position, by itself, doesn't necessarily mean that it isn't still under the receiver's control. Firm control doesn't mean absolute control.
The ball has the potential to slide through his upper arms when it impacts the ground...
Except it doesn't. The ref isn't there to speculate about what might happen, here's there to judge what does happen. And what happened was the ball remained in the reciever's arms and/or hands the whole time. Coales still had the ball in his hands after he hit the ground and rolled onto his back. You can argue about how tight his grip was, but nobody else touched it and it didn't roll away after Coales hit the turf.
...ground aids catch; not a catch.
I don't know how you can say the ground aided the catch. Normally if you're juggling something and then hit the ground, the ground jars the object loose. That clearly didn't happen here.
Meanwhile Seth asks about whether the replay official should have overturned the original call. He says no:
But it's too close to call/not enough evidence to overturn! If someone is saying this to you they are confusing a Law & Order episode for reality. They have conceded that "incomplete" is the correct call, and are essentially complaining that it should have been ruled incorrectly because of a technicality in the literal meaning of the review rule.
Seth confuses substantive rules with procedural rules here, and forgets that, when you're dealing with video replay, there's a procedure that's supposed to be followed. To put it another way, this kinda is "Law and Order". In real life, lawyers argue about procedure all the time.
The replay official is not there to substitute his judgement for the that of the field official on close calls, he is there to correct obviously incorrect calls -- that's what "indisputable video evidence" means. True, at this point the gripe is more about procedure than substance, but procedure matters too. The standard for a review official is high for a reason -- we don't want every tricky judgement call reviewed and overturned or we'd never finish the game. If the replay official didn't have "indisputable evidence" then he shouldn't have overruled the field official, even if he believed the pass was probably incomplete.
Okay, having said all that -- it was a helluva a game and I'm very proud of this team and the way they played. And even if Coale's catch had stood up, we would have won anyway. That's just how Team 132 was.