Jesse James thought he had just given the Pittsburgh Steelers a last-second win over the New England Patriots on Sunday, but he didn’t – at least not according to instant replay.
Indeed, with his team trailing 27-24 late in the fourth quarter, the tight end “caught” a pass from Ben Roethlisberger near the goal line, turned, reached the ball across the end zone. Only the ball hit the ground in the process and the pass was ruled incomplete.
Steelers lose. Patriots win. Social media explodes.
“You have to hold on to the ball when you hit the ground when you are going to the ground,” Fox Sports rules analyst Mike Pereira said on Reiter Than You. “That being said, I’m sick of talking about it. To me, if there’s this much misunderstanding about what is a catch or what is not a catch, then we better deal with this. This has been three years, four years, where we’ve been dealing with this.”
And it makes fans angry.
“It makes players angry,” Pereira pointed out. “It makes coaches angry. Instant replay has crated this monster. Instant replay has gotten into what is a catch, what is not a catch, is the ball moving, did he lose possession – we’ve just broken it down into this minutiae that we’re just so technical now. We’re taking a play where the officials on the field have a gut feel whether it’s a catch or not. It feels like a touchdown. It looks like a touchdown. And then replay gets involved and they over analyze it and say, ‘Well, the ball moved a bit.’ It just got too technical. I think that that’s ruined, in fact, what is a catch or not a catch.”
Pereira does not believe reviewing a catch should be part of instant replay.
“It’s too much of a judgement call,” he said. “Judgement replay should be about facts. If I had my magic wand and they made me commissioner for a day and you let me change one rule, I used to say it was pass interference. I think making it a spot foul was too punitive. Now I say let’s pull instant replay away from what’s a catch and what’s not a catch. You’ve ruined it. Let’s leave it in the hands of those that are on the field to make the judgment based on how they feel about the play. . . . All of that being said, (the officials) did the right thing in replay. But was it good for the game? I don’t know. I’m starting to question that.”