USA TODAY Sports activities

With Thursday evening’s sport tied at 23, the Patriots had the ball in Minnesota’s six. It was third and purpose.

Tight finish Hunter Henry caught the ball on the purpose line and reached for it earlier than it hit the bottom. He misplaced possession of the ball then completed the catch within the area of play.

The official close to the motion dominated it a landing. The query through the replay was whether or not Henry saved the ball after hitting the bottom. NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating Walt Anderson, who handles all replay issues, dominated the ball touched the bottom when Henry landed, making it an incomplete cross.

After the sport, Patriots coach Invoice Belichick informed reporters, “Why do not you go see them together with your pool reporter and ask them in regards to the sport? Isn’t that what you do?

Certainly, it’s. And certainly they did.

This is how Anderson defined the choice to reporter Mike Reiss of ESPN.com: “He was going to the bottom, the ball ended up hitting the bottom, then he misplaced management of the ball in his arms.”

Why wasn’t Henry declared in possession of the ball earlier than the ball hit the bottom?

“As a result of he’ll the bottom, he has to maintain management of the ball when he hits the bottom,” Anderson mentioned. “The generally used time period is ‘survive the bottom’. Many individuals consult with it. In order he goes to floor he has the weather of each toes and management, however as a result of he goes to floor he has to keep up management of the ball when he goes to floor.

As Reiss identified to Anderson, Henry had each arms on the ball.

“Nicely, if he had saved management of the ball with each arms, even when the ball touched the bottom, in case you did not lose management of the ball after it touched the bottom, it might nonetheless be a snag.”

The choice raises an attention-grabbing query as to the appliance of the “clear and apparent” customary. The choice on the sector was a catch for a landing. For proofreading, right here is the appropriate query: Was the choice on the bottom clearly and patently unsuitable?

There are two distinct components to the “clear and evident” customary on this case. It was certainly plain and apparent that Henry had misplaced possession when he landed and regained possession earlier than the tip zone. That might have given New England the ball on the one-inch, fourth-and-goal line.

However was it clear and apparent that the ball hit the bottom and moved sufficient that it wasn’t caught in any respect?

Keep in mind that reversals are solely imagined to occur when they’re clear and apparent. Fifty drunks in a bar must be okay, because the saying goes.

On this case, it appears clear and apparent that it was not a landing. Nevertheless it does not appear clear and apparent that it wasn’t a snag; Henry’s hand was below the ball always. So New England arguably ought to have had the ball simply outdoors Minnesota’s finish zone, fourth-and-goal.

Whereas it is doable the Patriots went for the sector purpose and the 26-23 lead, the Patriots might have opted to attempt to hit for a landing. Had the method been true to the “50 drunks to a bar” customary, the Patriots ought to have had that possibility.


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