Gene Steratore finally gets it right

Submitted by Supa Hot Fire on February 4th, 2018 at 11:20 PM

Super Bowl LII was one for the history books. What a great game! Perhaps unnoticed was the fact that the referees were fairly reasonable. Aside from some questionable PI calls and non-calls, it was solid. The Patriots Ref jokes are endless but can't really be applied to this game. It was good that the terrible NFL catch rule didn't cost the Eagles that game winning touchdown, and Steratore did a good job making the right call. I personally fully expected it to be overturned. Now if only he could fairly call a Michigan game...


M Ascending

February 5th, 2018 at 11:12 AM ^

The problem with the first call is that there were multiple perfect views of the entire play. Thus, the call should have been either confirmed or overturned. To say that the call stands when you have all the relevant information is just a way of CYA.

BTW, I agree that the first call should have been overturned and the second was correct and a no-brainer review.


February 5th, 2018 at 9:57 AM ^

I actually was glad they kept the call on the field on the first TD. Seems to be heading in the right direction. 

Clearly catches the ball and is in possession for a split second. The player then readjusts the ball in his hands to prep for the landing. The ball never touches the ground, gets jarred loose from contact with the ground. In between all that he gets 2 feet in bounds.

Was their a slight bobble on the readjust? Yeah? But isn't their always on a readjust? And doesn't the readjust tell you he IS actually in possession? And why are we looking at replays in slow motion still? When the spirit of the rule is that only the obvious mistakes are overturned. Calculating the amount of friction between dimples on a football and the rubber of the gloves while the player is running at 20 mph and surviving the impact of a low speed car crash seems to be looking at the whole thing too damn closely.  

The RB burned double coverage, and Foles threw a dime over the defender. The RB snagged the ball out of the air, got two feet on the ground and kept the ball off the ground. Let's get back to the basics here people.


February 5th, 2018 at 10:48 AM ^

Except for the part where he double clutched and didn't get the second foot in bounds, you have a point. The ball went from hand to being trapped between forearm, bicep and body. That is not continuing possession, it is reclaiming possession and requires 2 steps from that point. It was a bad call, but it did not cost the Patriots the game.


February 5th, 2018 at 11:01 AM ^

IMO, readjusting the football the way he did shows that he WAS in possession the entire time. It's like when you have a football in your hands and you kinda restlessly spin it around like a rubix cube. Are you ever out of possession? I'd argue no. But the ball is moving around. On the Clemente TD, if the ball was actually loose/out of possession, he would have dropped it when he impacts the ground. 


February 5th, 2018 at 8:59 PM ^

I believe one hand has to move with ball while maintaing control for it to an adjustment.  The Lion's player was readjusting and they didn't get the TD.  The Eagle player bobbled the ball as there was separation and the ball was momentarilly moving in a direction not dictated by either hand.  

A Lot of Milk

February 4th, 2018 at 11:28 PM ^

By dumb NFL rules, neither was a catch. But hopefully refs are just learning to ignore those rules and call actual catches, catches. Also Gene should stick to one sport. And it ain't basketball

Blue Hokie

February 5th, 2018 at 11:59 AM ^

If you agree that he secured it after an initial bobble, I am still of the opinion that he got two feet down - or one foot and a toe drag.  If you agree his right foot was down when he regained possession, the photo below would seem to indicate he dragged his left foot (and kicked up the rubber pellets) before fully planting out of bounds.  IIRC only one of the replay angles showed the pellets - the dark blue end zone made it difficult to see in the others.


February 4th, 2018 at 11:37 PM ^

"Call Stands" was huge in this game. Did the refs actually see enough on the field to call both plays touchdowns, definitively? Or did they call them TDs bc they knew that all scoring plays are reviewed without either team risking a challenge. If so, they cost the Pats 2 TDs, bc neither play was confirmed. So in another universe, both could have been ruled incomplete on the field, and both would have stood as incomplete, and the Eagles would've been out 2 challenges, 2 timeouts, and had no challenges for the rest of the game (assuming they would've challenged both). It's hard for me to believe they could've definitively saw Ertz make a clean catch when he went to the ground, bobbled it, regained possession, etc etc..


February 5th, 2018 at 12:39 AM ^

My bad. It was some new gray area where he went to the ground, but somehow he was determined to be a runner or whatever. I don't think I've ever seen that called that way before. Definitely think Jesse James' TD against the Pats should've been confirmed then. The catch didn't take him to the ground, he leapt for the endzone.


February 5th, 2018 at 11:28 AM ^

They both caught the ball and would've had no problem maintaining control if they were not lunging for the endzone.

The "catch" didn't make James bobble the ball -- the lunge to the endzone did. James caught it, his knee hits, he has total control of the ball, then he reaches for the endzone, his elbow hits (with both hands firmly around the ball at all times), and then after crossing the line and hitting the ground, the ball moves.


February 5th, 2018 at 11:37 AM ^

And you can say Ertz took a few steps and James didn't, but what happened to "maintaining the catch all the way to the ground". I've seen dozens of plays where a guy catches an endzone fade, takes 2, 3, 4, steps ... lands out of bound by some camera guy, and then the ball moves slightly. They rule it incomplete because he didnt' "survive the ground". 


February 5th, 2018 at 11:33 AM ^

Right, but if they ruled it incomplete, it's not a scoring play -- so they would have had to burn a challenge. That's why it is easier to rule it a TD (whether he truly saw the play perfectly or not), and just let replay decide, but then you get screwed it the call "stands". 

It's the same with turnovers. You might as well call everything a fumble b/c turnovers are automatically reviewed. But then if it's controversial enough that the play stands, then it goes back to call on the field -- but who knows if the ref actually saw it as a fumble, or just called it one b/c he knew it'd be reviewed.



February 4th, 2018 at 11:55 PM ^

Please, someone correct me if I'm way off, but if the player is a runner, td is by breaking the plane of the goal line. If the player is in the process of catching the ball, the player must maintain control of the ball even if it makes contact with the ground.

My lay opinion is that he wasn't a runner because he never had his balance to make a run. Although he took a few steps, they were all while he had no balance and was going to the ground. So I thought he was still in the process of completing the pass.

That determination is going to be an opinion by anyone who claims one way or the other.


February 5th, 2018 at 1:45 AM ^

At a minimum -- you could even say three steps before contact, whether you think the defender hit his right or left leg/foot.

Regardless, he was, in my opinion, easily a runner -- he was running on his own and the contact with the New England player made him start to lose his balance and while he did, he leapt and went into the end zone.

Very different from, say, the Dez Bryant "catch" where he was falling the entire way.


February 5th, 2018 at 8:18 AM ^

  1. secures control of the ball in his hands or arms prior to the ball touching the ground; and
  2. touches the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of his body other than his hands; and
  3. maintains control of the ball after (a) and (b) have been fulfilled, until he has the ball long enough to clearly become a runner. A player has the ball long enough to become a runner when, after his second foot is on the ground, he is capable of avoiding or warding off impending contact of an opponent, tucking the ball away, turning up field, or taking additional steps


February 4th, 2018 at 11:43 PM ^

Except, according to the rulebook, the Eagles were gifted 2 TDs by the refs. Both reviews should have been overturned. If that was the Lions, they would have been ruled incomplete.