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To fumble or not to fumble?

I was fortunate enough to be at a place yesterday that had the Saints/Redskins game on. A quick sidenote, NFL Sunday Ticket is one of the best things ever invented in my opinion. I’m still not exactly sure what’s wrong with the Redskins, but that’s another story for another website.

In overtime, the Redskins won the toss and elected to receive.  On the Redskins third play, Jason Campbell threw a short pass to Mike Sellers. Sellers was tackled and lost the ball but was ruled down by contact. The Saints called a timeout giving Replay Official Larry Nemmers the chance to buzz down to Referee Carl Cheffers to review the play. Cheffers reviewed the play and reversed it, giving the Saints the ball and setting them up for the game winning field goal.

 

The play occurs at the 4:55 mark of this video, was it the correct call? Or was Sellers left arm down before the ball came loose?

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Is 5 yards that big of a deal?

I’ve noticed several comments about this call already, so I wanted to give some details to it.

With third and 9 from the Steelers 34, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco fumbled the ball at the 42. The ball was recovered by the Ravens at the 37 with 18 seconds left. With no timeouts remaining, the Ravens went into fire-drill mode to try and get a last second field goal attempt off. In all of this confusion, however, Ed Hochuli and his crew mistakenly spotted the ball at the 37.

Ed Hochuli

NFL Rulebook 8–7–6: If a fumble by either team occurs after the two-minute warning:

(a) The ball may be advanced by any opponent.

(b) The player who fumbled is the only player of his team who is permitted to recover and advance the ball.

(c) If the recovery or catch is by a teammate of the player who fumbled, the ball is dead, and the spot of the next snap is the spot of the fumble, or the spot of the recovery if the spot of the recovery is behind the spot of the fumble.

There were alot of things that the officials had to do at this time: spot the ball, make sure there were only 11 players on the field, watch for the field goal try, make sure there wasn’t a false start, and be aware of a possible timeout called before the kick.

Regardless of this, is there any good reason for Hochuli‘s crew to err in the spotting of the ball and turn what should have been 59 yard try into a 54 yard try? Should the replay official have buzzed in to correct the call? thereby forcing an officials timeout and giving the Ravens time to set up?

I don’t believe there’s a good reason here for this to have happened and the ball should have been correctly spotted, that’s the rule. Do you think they should have stopped the action and got the spot right?

The overturned fumble in the Wisconsin-Fresno State game

All of the attention is (rightfully) on the Denver-San Diego mess, but there was another very controversial call this weekend.  In the Wisconsin-Fresno State game, a Fresno State fumble was overturned after a replay review.  What makes this unique is that the replay review was apparently badly blown.

According to Colin Cowherd on his radio show this morning, this was an absolutely insane call.  He has no doubt that the replay official should be fired, and they should all be very embarassed.  I guess the difference is that this call didn’t quite cost Wisconsin the game, while the Hochuli call very definately cost the Chargers their game.

I didn’t see the play, so I can’t comment for sure.  If you saw it, what did you think?  Was it an obviously blown call, or did they get it right with the review?

Also, did anyone catch the name of that official?  I can’t find it anywhere.

Here is the play for those that missed it: