- The NFL’s catch rule once again came under fire when the Buffalo Bills lost a touchdown with a controversial decision.
- While it appeared Kelvin Benjamin had two feet down in bounds, the officials determing Benjamin did not have control of the ball.
- The incident is just the latest of several controversial catch rulings this season.
NFL officiating was once again the unwelcome center of attention on Sunday when the Buffalo Bills lost a touchdown during a replay review during their game against the New England Patriots.
Officials initially ruled Kelvin Benjamin caught Tyrod Taylor’s pass in the end zone, and was able to get both feet down before being run out of bounds by defenders. But, during the mandatory review of the score, officials determined that Benjamin did not gain complete control at the time his feet were inbounds. The play was overturned and the touchdown was taken off the board.
Fans and commentators alike were quick to criticise the call, with many expressing frustrations that have been brewing all season due to what some deem the current overanalysis of what precisely constitutes a catch.
Dean Blandino, an NFL rules analyst for Fox Sports, broke down why he thought it was a bad call, arguing that the officials were being “overly technical” in their decision making.
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) December 24, 2017
Additionally, Mike Pereira called out the decision on Twitter, and bemoaned the fact that referees on the field were being overruled by men in suits watching from afar.
regarding the Buffalo no touchdown, nothing more irritating to an official than to make a great call and then someone in a suit in an office in New York incorrectly reverses it. It is more and more obvious that there isn't a standard for staying with the call on the field.
— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) December 24, 2017
Still, the NFL is standing by the decision, and clarified the call for anyone still confused as to their reasoning.
In #BUFvsNE, when Kelvin Benjamin gains control, his left foot is off the ground. The receiver only has one foot down in bounds with control. Therefore, it is an incomplete pass. -AL
— NFL Football Operations (@NFLFootballOps) December 24, 2017
The moment likely would not have caught so much attention had the ruling of “what is a catch?” not already been an ongoing issue all season. Just last week, the Steelers had a touchdown taken off the board in very similar circumstances against the Patriots after overanalysis concluded that a catch had not been made.
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