The universe continues to shit on the Detroit Lions

Maybe I’m not qualified to comment, as I don’t know shit about football, but this sure as hell looks like a touchdown to me.

My question is this… Is there any historical precedent for the NFL changing the outcome of a game once it’s been called on the field? I ask because it seems as though, based on the national press that this particular call has been getting, that the so-called Going to the Ground rule may be on its way out. And I’m wondering if there’s any chance that, assuming it happens, the Lions might earn a retroactive win for Sunday’s game. (My guess is no.)

Here, in case you haven’t seen it, is the rule in question:

N.F.L. Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 1: Going to the ground. If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.

And, as long as we’re on the subject, here’s another question. Why was this rule applied to the Lions on Sunday, but not to the New Orleans Saints, who did the same damned thing during last year’s Super Bowl?

[note: Had I posted this last night, instead of tonight, it probably would have sounded a bit more like this. (NSFW)]

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  1. josh
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    in baseball, the league commissioner can change any call after it’s been made. i know this only because of the perfect game that was denied the tigers’ pitcher. i’d bet it’s similar for football.

  2. Posted September 14, 2010 at 3:41 am | Permalink

    I don’t know if it’s possible for the NFL commissioner to change a call after the fact, but I know Goodell doesn’t. There have been cases were it was an issue not of a poorly-conceived rule but of actual wrong calls by refs, in which the ref in question acknowledged their error, but the league did not change the call or the outcome of the game after the fact.

    For example, ref Ed Hochuli made a bad call — which he promptly admitted had been wrong — in a 2008 Broncos-Charges game. If the call had been made correctly, the game almost certainly — let’s say 99.999% — would have gone the other way. The league allowed the call, and the game outcome to stand. If they didn’t overturn that, there’s no way they’ll overturn this, even assuming they could.

    Also, I’m pretty sure that rule changes are approved by the owners (collectively), so the league can’t just change a rule, no matter how much people whine about it. The best they can do is bring it up at the owners’ meeting in the next off-season.

  3. Knox
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    It’s my understanding that, even though the umpire came out and said that he’d made a bad call in Armando Galarraga’s perfect game, that it didn’t change the final result. I’m not aware of the result of any game being changed after the fact. I’m not a sports historian though.

  4. Robert
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    You may notice that this sort of thing happens far more often in games where the bookies have collected significant bets regarding them. Of course, for most people, emotional investment overrules any insights which statistical analysis might suggest.

  5. TeacherPatti
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    I agree that it was bullshit. Shitty rule, shitty call. But like Jim Schwartz said, one call didn’t lose the game for them. If they had gotten another touchdown, etc., it wouldn’t have been an issue.

    Having said that, I really enjoyed the defense in the game (for the most part), especially when they kept the Bears out of the endzone after the fumble on the 5 yard line or wherever it was.

  6. Edward
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    The nation has a short attention span. Today, no one cares. All that anyone wants to talk about is the Hispanic sports reporter with the incredible ass who was harassed in the Jets locker room.

    And, FWIW, I agree with Patti, and coach Schwartz. That play didn’t lose them the game. It still sucks balls though.

  7. Robert
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    That’s the great thing about contests, you can say that no particular thing actually made the difference. You can say it shouldn’t have been close in the first place and in that sense put all the blame on the loser for their loss. That way it just takes a slight tweeking to shift the whole thing.

    When in this year’s olympic hockey semi-finals, the Slovakian team almost tied with the Canadians and the US team creamed Finland 6 to 1, I told all my friends to put as much money as they could on Canada to beat the US in the final game by one goal. Few people knew how I was able to so confidently predict that particular outcome.

  8. jeff davis
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    been doing some research on the origins of ypsi for almost 2 years now, here’s what i’ve found so far.

    according to hugh heward’s journal of his trip down the huron river in the spring of 1790, godfroy’s trading post was already here. then known as sans craints, likely named after its founder and builder jean baptiste sancrainte.

    gabriel godfroy was even already here. godfroy was a trader and well known business man, but more importantly was an inturpitor with the native americans as was sanscrainte as well. his father jacques godfroy was getting land deeded to him as early as 1776 from native american tribal nations, proving that the native americans would deed land.

    as early as 1784 sanscrainte was selling land to gabriel godfroy, as they both lived in the monroe – detroit area.

    in the 1780’s and 90’s the ypsilanti trading post then known as sans craints was a few cabins dealing in corn, likely whiskey and furs and sending them to detroit. with a unknown number of native american population that seemed to work at the post as well.

    what seems likely to be the case is that sanscainte was deeded the land from one of the tribal nations then built the post between the late 1760’s to 1780’s and then sold it to gabriel godfroy in the 1780’s, who then after 20+ years of proof that he had been on and working the land went to the U.S. government and was given the french claims in 1809.

    if this is what happened it would make ypsilanti an 18th century settlement.

  9. Ed Beaty
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    And this has what to do with the Calvin Johnson’s touchdown, Mr. Mayor?

  10. dragon
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Be careful jeff, the google might start treating you differently.

  11. Kim
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    I’m dying for the rest of the story. What happened between 1809 and when the Lions got fucked over on Sunday?

  12. Andy C
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Um, football has instant relay. Refs sit in a back room watching from ever angle in slow motion to make that call. Football players and fans are such whinny little shits about stuff like this.

    You should try baseball. What ever the umps say goes, right or wrong. It’s just a part of the game. Armando Galarraga’s loosing his perfect game was NOT over turned and the ump who made the bad call was devastated by it. Yes, the league commissioner could over turn a call but they never do. Do it one time and you got to go back and review them all.

  13. Dirtgrain
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    It does seem like a weird rule, as it applies to that scenario. Still, Calvin Johnson is tens of millions of dollars, and he doesn’t bother to learn the rules that relate specifically to his position? I hope he’s learning now.

  14. Randall
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Replay has crept into baseball and it just happened in the Tigers’ game tonight. It’s limited to home runs and fan interference I think, but it’s there.

  15. Andy C
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    You’re right Randall. It’s anywhere an ump isn’t, like in the out field. Sometimes it’s too far away for them to see.

  16. Posted September 15, 2010 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    I agree with Dirtgrain. A veteran player getting paid that much should know the rules.

  17. Andy C
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    So much for instant replays in baseball, after the ump reviewed the tapes, they still stuck with the bad call. Very stubborn. Also pitches dead over the plate called a ball. It happens.

  18. Kurt
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    It’s a bad rule but my question is this: why didn’t Calvin Johnson know this rule? Pro and major college sports are big business first, games second. Any receivers coach who doesn’t make his players aware of every pass-catching-related rule that might come into play–no matter how stupid or obscure–has committed coaching malpractice.

    What’s more, this is exactly the kind of thing coaches go over during the pre-season. This is especially true for any rule that was reviewed by the NFL’s Competition Committee during the off-season. It’s my understanding that this stupid and obscure rule was reviewed last spring and, for some reason, left as-is. So, I would bet that this rule was discussed in Mr. Johnson’s presence at some point during the last several weeks. If the Lions’ receivers coach isn’t fired after the season, I’ll take that as proof I’m right.

    Not that I’m letting Mr. Johnson off the hook, of course. Any player who ignores the rules that affect his position is stupid and risks looking stupid and pissing off his teammates. Fortunately for Mr. Johnson, the Lions are so bad that no one will be ruing this loss by the time we December rolls around and he’s such a ridiculously gifted player that he’ll continue to be paid for playing football for as long as he remains healthy.

  19. Robert
    Posted September 20, 2010 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    If anybody is interested in pulling their head out of their ass, they might want to read Brian Tuohy’s ‘The Fix Is In’.

  20. Lions Fan
    Posted October 11, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    And we emerge from that universal shit victorious!

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