The Detroit Lions were robbed of a victory Sunday when officials ruled that a late-game catch from Calvin Johnson was not a touchdown due to an obscure rule. Trailing the Bears by five, Johnson reeled in a 25-yard catch to give Detroit the lead with under one minute to go.
While Johnson clearly appeared to have possession of the ball, officials ruled that he did not maintain control long enough. The play was ruled an incompletion, and the Lions were unable to score afterwards.
ProFootballTalk posted the relevant rule at the center of the controversy:
The rule in question states, "If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete."
On Twitter, smartfootball wrote, "How many body parts need to touch the ground? Two feet, his butt, his arm and his elbow... and then the ball comes out." J.A. Adande of ESPN added, "How can that not be a touchdown?"
Scroll down for video of the catch. Was it a catch, or were the referees right?