FanPost

In Defense of a TD


I keep seeing this picture as evidence that The Play should have been ruled an interception:

Badpic_medium

I think that's pretty misleading. I don't want to post a wall of text or a bunch of bland rules that you can easily go look up yourself, so I'll link to this comment by Arthur Chavez and this comment by The Typical Idiot Fan (no, really, that's actually his name... he's a cool guy!). They both sum up a number of the pertinent points. But the gist of it is, possession--and thus evidence for "TD vs INT"--isn't determined at the point in the above photo. It should be determined already. Here is the money shot:

Goodpic_medium

Look at that picture and tell me who has possession. Both players are down--that is, both feet (and in Golden's case, his butt) are down, and both seem to be possessing the ball. At this point, there isn't clear evidence that one or the other possesses it more or less. Both appear to have equal claim on the ball. Once Golden rolled completely onto his back, Jennings' momentum gave him leverage that rolled him into a "more possession" position, but there is no such thing as degrees of possession. Either one does, both do, or neither does. And as far as any person can tell, "both do" is the only conclusion you can come to with any degree of certainty.

Whether Jennings had more possession in the air or not is irrelevant. There is no such thing as possession in the air. Possession inherently implies two feet, a butt, a shoulder, and elbow, a knee, a hip, some body part touching the ground. At the point when it most mattered, when both players hit the ground, both players had an all but equal claim to the ball. Any rolling or twisting or manhandling afterwards is pointless. Once both players hit the ground in a state of dual possession, the play is dead and it's a touchdown.

There are very reasonable arguments to be made that it was an interception. When you break it down and go frame by frame, it looks like Jennings probably has more of a claim to it on the ground. Unfortunately, the official whose call it was to make didn't have the luxury of breaking it down frame by frame. He had to make the bang-bang call as he was watching six players go up and come down, all clawing at the ball. It looked to him like it was dual possession as they came down, and he had to make a call immediately before it turned into a brawl (like that's ever mattered to them before), and he signaled TD--a decision that, fortunately for the Seahawks and unfortunately for the Packers, could not be undone.

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