Philadelphia Eagles running back Corey Clement made a great play in the back of the end zone for a touchdown, but many believed it should’ve been ruled incomplete. Among those was NBC’s Cris Collinsworth who said on the broadcast that he couldn’t understand how it was ruled a catch.
The NFL’s catch rules require a player to get two feet down in bounds and control a ball through the process of going to the ground. Clement never allowed the ball to touch the ground and had his left foot already down when he caught the ball. He then touched his right foot down.
The question is whether or not an adjustment of the ball in his arms after he lifts his left foot constitutes him still gathering control.
While Collinsworth thought it should’ve been incomplete, former NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino disagreed:
Issue is control. Looks like he has it initially and gets both feet down in bounds. There is some movement of the ball, but don’t think enough to say loss of control. Call should stand.— Dean Blandino (@DeanBlandino) February 5, 2018
What was key on the play is that it was originally ruled a touchdown, meaning referee Gene Steratore and the league office needed to see indisputable evidence to justify an overturn of the call on the field. On such a close play, it’s not surprising that the call was left as is.
Steratore is no stranger to catch controversy and was the referee for two of the most debated plays — incomplete passes intended for Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant.
This time around he ruled a close play was a catch, and that worked in the Eagles’ favor.