Dec
23
2013
usatsi_7617510
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When the team you write about is as bad as the Raiders are this year, eventually the same old story line gets tiresome. So rather than talking, once again, about how the Raiders struggled in the second half and about the questions at quarterback, I decided to take a closer look at one of the more frustrating moments in Sunday’s loss to the Chargers.

When Rod Streater scored a touchdown that was not called a touchdown.

Twitter was ablaze with arguments over whether or not Streater had completed the catch and in fact scored a touchdown. While most Raiders fans believed it was a touchdown, there were a number both in and out side of Raider Nation who believed it was the correct call. Most of those who argued the call was correct did so by citing to the so called “Megatron” rule.

The “Megatron” rule is really a sub section of Article 3 of the NFL rule book entitled “Item 3: End Zone Catches“, which states:

If a player controls the ball while in the end zone, both feet, or any part of his body other than his hands, must be completely on the ground before losing control, or the pass is incomplete.

But there is a major problem with discussing that rule with this play, specifically that according to the NFL rule book, Streater had already made a catch before entering the end zone.

Before you get to “Item 3″, the body of Article 3 which is titled “Completed or Intercepted Pass” which states:

Article 3 Completed or Intercepted Pass. A player who makes a catch may advance the ball. A forward pass is complete (by the offense) or intercepted (by the defense) if a player, who is inbounds:
(a) secures control of the ball in his hands or arms prior to the ball touching the ground; and
(b) touches the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of his body other than his hands; and
(c) maintains control of the ball long enough, after (a) and (b) have been fulfilled, to enable him to perform any act common to the game (i.e., maintaining control long enough to pitch it, pass it, advance with it, or avoid or ward off an opponent, etc.).
Note 1: It is not necessary that he commit such an act, provided that he maintains control of the ball long enough to do so.
Note 2: If a player has control of the ball, a slight movement of the ball will not be considered a loss of possession. He must lose control of the ball in order to rule that there has been a loss of possession.

So, let’s break down the play based on the rule.

A pass has been completed when the player:

(a) secures control of the ball in his hands or arms prior to the ball touching the ground; and

I would argue that Streater secured the ball in his hands by image one where he snatches it out of the air.

RS1

Even if someone wants to argue that Streater did not have control in the photo above, how about after he brings it to his body in the photo below? He grabs the ball out of the air and moves it to his body. That ladies and gentlemen is control of the ball, and at the four yard line, by the way.

RS2

 

So, with control established, let’s take a look at the next part of the rule:

(b) touches the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of his body other than his hands; and

Ok, if you think there is an issue with whether or not Streater got both of his feet in bounds, you can feel free to move on to another blog and read what they have to say. This blog will be far too logical for you to enjoy.

So, we have control and we have two feet in bounds and we are still at the four yard line. Time to move on to the final requirement for a catch, the infamous “football maneuver”

(c) maintains control of the ball long enough, after (a) and (b) have been fulfilled, to enable him to perform any act common to the game (i.e., maintaining control long enough to pitch it, pass it, advance with it, or avoid or ward off an opponent, etc.).

It should be noted, at this point, that a football maneuver does not actually need to be achieved:

Note 1: It is not necessary that he commit such an act, provided that he maintains control of the ball long enough to do so.

If you take a look at the next three pictures, it is clear that Streater does in fact “perform any act common to the game”. Actually, he performs one of the acts used as an example by the NFL rule book by advancing the ball.

RS3 RS4 RS5 RS6

Streater controls the ball at the four yard line. He catches the ball in mid air and at no point does it bobble or move as he brings it to his body. That easily satisfies part (a) of Article 3 which states that the player does not even have to bring the ball to his body. A catch with his hands is sufficient.

Again, if you have issues with subsection (b) you should have stopped reading a while ago.

As for subsection (c), Streater advances the ball four yards and into the end zone, maintaining control the entire time. The fact that he then, after gaining four more yards and crossing the plane of the goal line, hits the ground and loses the ball is irrelevant. He is then a runner and is no different than the running back who leaps over the pile, breaks the plane and then has the ball knocked out of his hands. The play is over once the ball breaks the plane of the end zone.

The “Megatron” rule plain and simply does not apply here. Rod Streater made a catch and advanced the ball into the end zone. Touchdown. Period.



Comments
  1. Bottom line is as much as I like Streater he has to make that play . Cannot blame officials . Had man beat but had to wait on ball. Nice breakdown James of play, rules and call .

  2. RaiderSparky

    And this happened one day before the 41st anniversary of the immaculate deception. Cooinidence? Maybe but the officiating crew clearly got the call wrong. They compounded the error by not correctly overturning the call.

    Bad form!

  3. Ok FOrget this play, but wouldn’t the same rules apply to the TD catch that was challenged?? He bobbled the ball while his feet were out of bounds…how is that a catch and this is not??