Wait…What Just Happened? : Catch?

football, advanced, catchLate in the Niners at Falcons game last night, Falcons receiver Harry Douglas kept the Falcons Super Bowl hopes alive with a big catch late in the game.

Or was it?

It’s one of those plays that is virtually impossible to call, especially since what defines a “catch” has changed in recent years. In days gone by, a catch wasn’t a catch unless the ball was completely controlled by the receiver. If there was any movement and it looked like the ball hit the ground, it was probably going to be ruled incomplete. But recently, it seems like the calls tend to favor the receivers.

Be that as it may, here’s what happened:

Douglas appears to have control of the ball all the way to the ground. Once he goes to the ground…it’s unclear. While the ball does move around a bit, his left hand seems to cover the ball at all times, indicating that he never lost control of the ball. Consequently, the refs called it a catch.

Jim Harbaugh subsequently flipped out, which is so out of character for him. He then threw the challenge flag.

One thing to note about challenged calls – there has to be indisputable evidence that the call was wrong to be overturned. In the face of mediocre (aka: inconclusive) evidence, the call is going to stand every time.

Since there wasn’t clear evidence that the ball came out and hit the ground while outside of the receiver’s control, the call stood.

Luckily, Jim Harbaugh didn’t lose his cool.

It ended up not giving the Falcons an advantage anyway though, since the Niners got a huge fourth-down stop and the Falcons turned the ball over on downs.

What do you guys think? Catch or not a catch?

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5 Responses to “Wait…What Just Happened? : Catch?”

  1. Jon January 21, 2013 at 7:40 am #

    No catch. If Calvin Johnson’s Week 1 (ok, it was last season, but still) non-catch vs. the Bears was ruled an incomplete pass, then there is no way this Harry Douglas “catch” was a complete pass! If needed I can provide further examples/evidence from this past season. ;)

    • Beka January 21, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

      I hear ya, Jon! I really don’t care what the call is as long as it’s consistent. And it seems like consistency in all areas has suffered a bit in recent years. What is and is not a catch, what is and is not a penalty, etc. We need an instant fix for instant replay :) Thanks for your thoughts!

  2. Michelle January 21, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

    I didn’t think it was a catch–it didn’t look like he had control.

    • Beka January 21, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

      You’re right, Michelle! It never looks like he has complete control, even if the ball does/does not touch the ground. I guess it depends on what the ref’s final determining factor is for a catch – ball control or hitting the ground? It should be both, but I think in this case since it was already called a catch they went with the “it didn’t hit the ground” part. Good thoughts! Thanks for sharing!

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