Pereira's Calls: It's called 'indisputable' for a reason
Seahawks Nation is crying foul (fowl?) because they feel a late-game interception throws by Russell Wilson was actually incomplete. Sorry, people, you'll have to live with this call.
Did the Seahawks get the shaft?
Joe Nicholson / USA TODAY Sports
By Mike Pereira
Not disputable or deniable; uncontestable. Indisputable evidence; unquestionably real, valid, or the like.
When in doubt, go with Webster.
It was never more evident than on a key play that took place in the Arizona-Seattle game Sunday on FOX.
Here was the situation: Seattle had the ball, first-and-10 at the Seattle 26-yard line with 2:06 left in the game. Arizona led 17-10. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson attempted a pass to Doug Baldwin. The ball appeared to have bounced off Baldwin's arm while he was going to the ground and then was intercepted by Karlos Dansby. Many were suggesting the ball hit the ground, but after a booth review, the play was upheld.
What is indisputable? Did the ball hit the ground? Did the ball bounce off his arm? What caused the rubber pellets to fly up? Was it the ball? Was it the elbow?
Many questions, but what's the right answer? After many, many looks at replay, I thought the ball hit the ground and was incomplete.
But could I bet my life on it? No. I can't. It's not absolutely indisputable. It's not something I look at the first time and say the call on the field is wrong. It's not indisputable.
I'm not one that disagrees with decisions not to overturn calls when there is any question whatsoever.
So fans can be fired up and disagree, but in the end, if the officials make a decision on a close play not to overturn, I'm fine with that.
It was a point of emphasis by the league this week not to overturn calls unless there was absolutely indisputable evidence to do so, and I don't think you had it here.
MADNESS UNFOLDS IN GREEN BAY
For those who like chaos, Christmas came early in Green Bay.
It seems like every week we see a crazy play and Week 16's gift of confusion happened late in the third quarter of the Steelers-Packers game.
Here was the situation: Green Bay had the ball, fourth-and-5 at the Pittsburgh 5-yard line with 5:32 left in the third quarter. Pittsburgh led 17-14. The Packers' Mason Crosby attempted a 23-yard field goal that was blocked by Steve McLendon. Pittsburgh's Ryan Clark appears to recover the blocked kick and pitches it backward to William Gay. Gay muffs the ball and then Ziggy Hood bats the ball forward out of bounds. Hood was called for an illegal bat and Green Bay was awarded the ball back for a first and goal at the Pittsburgh 2-yard line.
Puzzled? You should be.
What we had was a blocked field goal attempt that never crossed the line of scrimmage. The ruling on the field was that Clark never fully possessed the ball. So therefore, it remains still a kick and not a fumble.
The key element of this play involves instant replay. A kick is a loose ball and recovery of a loose ball -- who recovers a loose ball -- is not reviewable if it occurs in the field of play. If it is in the end zone, it is reviewable since a scoring play trumps it. And it is at the sideline, if the recovering player might have been out of bounds when he first touched the ball. But in the field of play it is not.
Since they ruled that Clark had not possessed the loose ball, that aspect is not reviewable. The only thing they could do was to go to the illegal batting and enforce it from the line of scrimmage, which was correct.
In my opinion, Clark did possess the ball and his knee was down. So Pittsburgh should have retained possession.
So what's the solution? Maybe it's time to make recovery of a loose ball in the field of play reviewable. And I think it makes sense to do so. You make judgement calls in replay whether or not a pass receiver maintains control of a pass long enough to perform an act common to the game.
If there is a clear recovery out in the open in the field of play, like there was in this one, then I'd make that reviewable.
At holiday time, you always have some saints ... and some sinners.
We had both in the big NFC South battle between New Orleans and Carolina Sunday.
Here was the situation: The Saints had the ball, fourth-and-4 from their own 10-yard line. Thomas Morstead punted the ball 49 yards, however, an illegal formation was called on Carolina's Robert Lester, giving New Orleans a first down. Carolina led 10-6.
The thing I don't like about this call is the fact is that it's really marginal. Technically, it looks like Lester is just barely lined up over the outer edge of the shoulder pad. The rule states that you have to be outside the edge of the shoulder pad of the center on punts and field goals. But this is too technical to call when the umpire is not in position to get a good look.
It's easy to officiate this play on field goals because of the fact the umpire is behind the defensive line and is looking directly at the center. But on punts, he's lined up in the offensive backfield, 18 yards off the line of scrimmage and at an angle, so not looking directly at the center.
I'd lay off those calls when they are that technical and you are not in the best position to see them, because when you look at it, it takes a fourth down situation and turns it into a first down.
Too big a call in too big a game.
FORWARD PROGRESS IS REVIEWABLE
Jeff Curry / USA TODAY Sports
An interesting play at the goal line involving forward progress during the Tampa Bay-St. Louis game.
Here was the situation: Tampa Bay had the ball, third-and-4 at its 10-yard line with 5:11 left in the second quarter. St. Louis led 14-7. Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon dropped back to pass and was sacked at the Tampa Bay 1-yard line by T.J. McDonald. Rams coach Jeff Fisher challenged that Glennon was tackled in the end zone, which would have been a safety.
I got a lot people questioning me on Twitter, saying forward progress is not reviewable.
Not often, but it was in this instance. Forward progress is reviewable at the goal line and it is at the line to gain the first down.
And where the first contact was made by McDonald on Glennon, it was at the 1-yard line.