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?



  1. Kermit the Frag says

    I was watching this one live. And it’s a blown call on three levels:

    1. Was it reviewable? I know there was a rule change this year based on the fiasco between Denver and San Diego last season, but the wording is vague.

    2. His elbow is down. Once again, the intent of instant replay has been lost: “Indisputable evidence” means there is no question. Walt Coleman has a habit of reinterpreting this, and based on his awful call last season in Baltimore (vs the Steelers), the league had, I thought, tightened up on that judgment call issue: Don’t guess, and rule on what you can actually SEE. Not in this case. The evidence to overturn this call just was not there.

    3. Most troubling is the whistle. McAlister (29) picks up the ball at least two seconds after the whistle was blown, and after the ref had emphatically made the “down” signal. In fact, McAlister doesn’t even run with the ball, despite having no one in front of him. If replay can now, all of a sudden, trump a whistle, and create a turnover ex post facto, McAlister should have been awarded the TD — and from now on, all NFL players should ignore the whistle, and whenever there is a ball on the ground, play hard: tackle, block, try to rip the ball away, etc. The whistle means NOTHING.

    It will be interesting to see how head WhiteWasher Mike Pereira will spin this one. Three mistakes on one call — wow.

    • Wendell Christian says

      As a 20 plus year High School Official this had to be a quick whistle at best! Even if it was a fumble the play was blown dead during a loose ball. National High School Federation rules has no options in this scenario, a quick whistle during a loose ball is an automatic replay of the down. I love the Saints but was shocked at the final ruling.

  2. To Kermit the Frag,

    There was another angle that shows the ball being ripped out of his arm before his elbow was down. If you can see that angle and I believe MP will show it on his show you will see that it was the correct call.

  3. Can anybody tell me where in the NFL Rulebook they cover actions on change of possession like the Flozell Adams mess from last Sunday? I can’t find anything about what happens when offense becomes defense and vice versa.