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 ifâ€¦."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