I Stand Alone
This is an old post from my Big Ten Football blog titled “Big Ten Football ATS From the Couch”. Some parts are out of date (Michigan St. beat Wisconsin in 2011 on a Hail Mary pass as time ran out. It was debatable as to whether the Spartans crossed the goal line.) but for the most part the sentiment still stands.
Originally posted 9-5-12 on Big Ten Football From the Couch
Your favorite team’s running back just busted off a nice run and lunged across the goal line, the referee’s arms go up and the announcer shouts “touchdown”. High fives all around, you get up to do your happy dance or whatever it is you do when celebrating your team’s success. But hold everything. The replay booth wants to take a look. As you wait for the ruling you watch various angles of the play and listen to the announcers debate on whether his knee touched before the ball crossed the goal line. In real time it looked like an obvious touchdown but you can see that the ball is just about at the goal line when his knee touched. Hard to say for sure. Is the camera angle true? Is that the tip of the football or another player’s shoe? The referee trots out to midfield and announces that the player is ruled down on the one inch line and you’ve wasted a good celebration. Have you noticed that this scene plays out way too often lately? Can’t celebrate a touchdown anymore. Gotta wait 5 minutes to analyze the centimeters that lie between the goal line and the ball the exact millisecond the runner’s knee touched. A few years back this was a touchdown and there wasn’t much debate about it. Before I go any further let me say that I like instant replay. I don’t mind waiting on it either. Nothing worse than a bad call altering the outcome of a good game. I just think we’re getting too nit-picky here. The view is usually obstructed and you wonder how reliable the camera angle is. “Indisputable visual evidence” is required to overturn a ruling but to this day I saw no such thing to support Keith Nichols’ game winning touchdown in the 2011 Michigan St.-Wisconsin game. I’m not saying he wasn’t in but I sure didn’t see that he was.
I have the solution to this problem, and here’s where I stand alone: If a player can extend the ball across the goal line after his knee (and only his knee) touched the ground, it should be ruled a touchdown. I’m not talking about a player laying on the ground a yard short and reaching the ball across as an afterthought. I’m just saying if his momentum is moving forward and the length of his body takes the ball into the end-zone after his knee touches they should count it as six points and move on.