Another referee explanation

There have been lots of emails about a ruling on a potential TD catch by Milt Stegall on Sunday in the Winnipeg-Saskatchewan game.

The explanation is based on Rule 6 (Passing), Section 4 (Forward Pass), Article 6 (Incomplete Pass), paragraph (e), on Page 43 in the Rule Book

It states that a pass shall be declared incomplete if…."while in midair a receiver of either team who has firm control of the ball, but loses possession of the ball when that player's feet or other part of the body hits the ground, with or without contact by the opponent."

On the play in question, Stegall did not retain possession of the ball when he came down to the ground. It is true that the ball was stripped from him by a Saskatchewan player, but in live speed, he did not retain possession long enough for the pass to be ruled complete.

Officials do not have the luxury of slow motion as the TV replay does. They officiate the game at full speed. In this case, they ruled that Stegall did not retain possession and therefore ruled the pass incomplete.

There is a myth out there that "the ground cannot create a fumble". I would point out that there is not, and never has been, any such statement or reference in the Rule Book. In fact in several instances a player can hit the ground, fumble as a result and the ball is "live".

Many of you may disagree with the ruling, but it is clearly consistent with the rule quoted above. And...those are the rules we use.

George R. Black
Director of Officiating
Canadian Football League

Stegall did hit the ground with controll of the ball, it was stripped when he was on his back, tough call to make at full speed, I support Cfl refs and do not fault them in any way. It's to easy to blame reffing in a loss. The Bombers made a hell of alot more mistakes than the ref's, untill we can play a game where we minimize our mistakes. The refs are not to blame..

I just wish I had seen the play

Tough call to make during live play, but to me on replay it still appeared as though he had control when he was down. I think Stegall got robbed, and no rule can make me think otherwise. . . :stuck_out_tongue: Seriously, though - I feel bad for the refs when they have to make calls like that one.

It was a greeat play ro, Steagall soaring threw the air and catching the ball with the greatest of ease. Made me drop the forty pounder of whiskey on my foot, now I have to stay off work and chat on the CfL forum..

40 lbs of whiskey? That's something I wanna see. . .

I think the emphasis was more on the "FULL SPEED" as opposed to the rule

Precisely - my wording was poor there. Sorry I was unclear - the full-speed thing is the primary reason that reffing is a challenge, particularly in calls such as that.

Then you are absolutely correct

great post…

Thats two posts in two weeks...Do you think Mr. Black is reading the posts here?

I would hope that he does.

There is no better place to find out how the fans feel

The ruling, though incorrect, was not bad, considering they have to go by what they see at full speed. That's true.

As for the "ground can't cause a fumble" myth, the main problem there is that the play-by-play guys and commentators keep repeating it, untrue though it is. The ground can cause a fumble, and can cause an incompletion (as was the ruling on the Stegall catch.)

Another such myth perpetuated by the TV people is that you only need to get one foot down in bounds to be considered a catch. That isn't true either: you need your first foot to come down in bounds. If your first foot comes down with any part of it on the line or out of bounds, it's incomplete, even if your second foot comes down in bounds.

Suitor and Walby are the worst ones for spouting these cliches. The difference is that Suitor knows the truth behind the myth, and only says them when they apply correctly. Walby doesn't know the truth and says them even when he is completely wrong. Regardless, though, they should all eliminate these phrases from their vocabulary.

I agree with your point on the announcers but I cant think of an example of when the ground could cause a fumble. It seems to me that when you are down on the ground the play is over

how do you rule in a split-second to whether Stegall had possession or not. pretty tough call... ... should have been immediately ruled a touchdown as soon as he hit the ground... just as a running play is when the ball breaks the goal line plane .in a was clear he had had enough possession be called a touchdown...then it was stripped...don't agree with the ruling...

A player is running by himself, trips falls on the ground and the ball pops out. That would be the only time the ground causes a fumble.

Again I did not see the play but there is a difference between control and posssession.

How many time do we see a reciever catch the ball but it pops out when he hits the ground? If he did not have controll it is rulled incomplete. Should they be rulled fumbles?

I think that is incomplete if you follow the logic that was written in ask the ref.

Here’s a thought Vancouver has a sports talk show, (Which is broadcast throughout all of BC on the satellite network) I’m sure all CFL cities have one. Why not a question and answer period with George Black…All networked together. All those questions could be answered! No bitching, no complaining, just technical questions…

Whadya think?

Might be nice to air something like that during halftime shows on CBC lately.

Let me put a little fuel into the fire on that was a great catch...but what you should have said was, Stegall soaring through the air while pushing off E.Davis and catching the ball ...this observation was also seen by others, not just Rider fans

Not disputing the call just the NO call.