Ochocinco's overturned completion: Did the NFL blow it?

In the 3rd quarter, Ochocinco had a completion overturned. What I saw was him gain control of the ball, and his (right?) foot come down well in bounds. His left heel then came down inbounds, followed quickly by the rest of his foot coming down with the toe of his shoe crossing the out-of-bounds line. ETA: it was originally ruled a completion, but Baltimore challenged it, and it was overturned.

First, assuming my description is accurate, should this have been a catch as soon as his heel came down?

What if he was facing the other way, and his second foot came down toe first inbounds, followed by his heel landing out-of-bounds. Any difference?

I guess you can also discuss whether you saw something different in the play, but for the above two questions, assume my descriptions are accurate.

No one here knows?

Didn’t watch the game, but based on your description, it would be a catch.

I didn’t watch the game either but I saw the replay. If it was overturned there was probably something on the video that made it clear that it wasn’t a catch, especially since they weren’t too upset about it in the post-game interviews when asked about it. The video replay judges have camera angles we’re not privy to and sometimes that makes a big difference.

If the heel comes down inbound but the toes of the same foot come down out of bounds in the same motion, the ruling is supposed to be out of bounds. I believe the same is true for the other direction ( toe-heel) if, again, it’s in a single motion.


I don’t think this is true.

The video replay officials have their own viewing equipment and get their footage from the network feed but we don’t always get to see the same angles. Mike Pereira has discussed it occasionally on Total Access.

Since his toes and heel came down essentially in the same motion as opposed to a heel or toe tap, then it was rightly ruled as an incompletion.

It’s true. The NFL operates its own cameras in addition to the network cameras at each game. Originally, this was just for NFL Films purposes - they like to show high angles and such that the networks don’t bother with - but they’re also available to officials.

I thought they had their own cameras too but wasn’t sure. It’s amazing to me sometimes how much difference the camera angle makes on a replay. There have been a lot of questionable calls that would probably make a lot more sense if we could see from the same angle as the official making the call.

Thanks all, the “one motion” argument would make sense. Anyone got a cite, or is the NFL one of the major sports that doesn’t have its rules available online?

I don’t think it’s a camera angle issue, since the shot they had seemed pretty clear.

The NFL refuses to publish its complete rulebook online because… well, because apparently they think that will get people to fork over $100-something for a paper copy.

However, there are a couple of .pdf scans floating around the interwebs.