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Steelers 24, Chargers 22

steelershelmet.jpgI hope Ben is okay. We can go a game without him - Charlie Batch can run a little bit better and, at times, is a good thrower of the ball. The Jaguars love a Big Ben style game, so keeping them guessing is fine. Heck, even two weeks would be okay, as the Bengals game will be more about the defense than the O.

The game was what it was. What I'd like to discuss is the absolute debacle that was "the refereeing." Perhaps you saw one play in particular - Charger Sproles waved for a fair catch on a punt. The ball then hit his face mask, bounced off of his hands, and leapt out of reach. Steeler Iwuoma, five yards away as the ball hit Sproles' facemask, grabbed for the ball that was flying towards him and muffed it himself before gathering the ball back as it became trapped between Sproles and Iwuoma. In other words, to everyone with common sense, it appeared that Sproles muffed the punt catch and that Iwuoma recovered.

Oh, but no, instead Iwuoma gets a 15-yard "fair catch interference" penalty because he did not "give the receiver a chance to catch the ball." Watching the ball bounce off of someone's facemask and hands and then fly out of their range is apparently not sufficient "opportunity" in the NFL.

Bullshit. The Steelers would have had the ball on the 11 - a sure three and a probably seven points. Instead, the Chargers got their own field goal. And that wasn't the only blown call that evening. A few went the Steelers' way, but the majority seemed to favor the Chargers.

5 Responses to "Steelers 24, Chargers 22"

  1. The receiver, when calling for a fair catch, has to be allowed the opportunity to catch the ball, even if he muffs it. Madden and Al were discussing this particular rule from the NFL rule book, and I concur with their conclusion: it's a bad, bad rule.

    I wasn't rooting for either team in particular, but the Steelers should have had the ball first and ten on the 11. I thought it was a great play on Iwuoma's part.

  2. I didn't have a dog in this fight, but though the rule may be a bad one, even Cowher said after the game that the officials correctly called the play.

    The NFL's fair catch rules page says that the fair catch signal is off if the ball hits the ground (which it did not) or is touched by a member of the kicking team (in which normal punt rules would apply). If the ball had hit the ground after the muff and before Iwuoma touched it, then it would have been a live ball.

    Confusing, possibly silly, rule, but nonetheless it was called correctly in this case.

  3. Erik knows that the play was called correctly. That doesn't change his opinion of the validity of the rule - that it's a retarded, stupid rule.

  4. For once I actually agree with Madden. Bad rule. Change it. All in all the officiating in that game just sucked. Let them play ball. I definately think the 'down by contact' on Ward was totaly BS. Can't blame everything on the zebras though. There were lots of big calls against the bolts too. (just not AS big, imho)

  5. 4. If ball hits ground or is touched by member of kicking team in flight, fair catch signal is off and all rules for a kicked ball apply.

    It is a stupid rule and after the attempted fielding of the ball while in flight, it made the fair catch nulled! It is even a miracle that people misinterpret things written in plain english.