Posted November 04, 2012

Ben Roethlisberger fumble vs. Giants ignites tuck rule controversy

Pittsburgh Steelers

A little over nine years ago, the “tuck rule” entered the popular football lexicon, thanks to a pivotal, controversial call in the 2001 divisional playoff game between the Patriots and Raiders. In Week 9, the rule reared its ugly head again in the Steelers-Giants contest.

Ben Roethlisberger dropped back to pass in the second quarter Sunday, tied 7-7, when Osi Umenyiora got a hand on him, knocking the ball loose in what initially seemed like an incomplete pass; Roethlisberger, thinking the play was dead, showed no urgency in trying to get to the loose ball, which was shockingly allowed to remain live while Michael Boley scooped it up and returned it 70 yards for a go-ahead touchdown. The referees ruled it a fumble by Roethlisberger, which sparked a number of angry and baffled comments on Twitter.

The NFL rule book states: NFL Rule 3, Section 22, Article 2, Note 2. When [an offensive] player is holding the ball to pass it forward, any intentional forward movement of his arm starts a forward pass, even if the player loses possession of the ball as he is attempting to tuck it back toward his body. Also, if the player has tucked the ball into his body and then loses possession, it is a fumble.

First, judge the play for yourself:

Now, see the reaction from Twitter:

21 comments
YahooUser
YahooUser

I've never been a fan of the tuck rule, but I can see instances where it's a good call. Still, be consistent. There have been many harder to call tuck rule examples than this. Refs will make mistakes, but if we're taking all this time to review plays, then again, call it consistently. This was a CLEAR example of the rule and should have been incomplete. I agree that there were many bad calls against the Steelers in that game.

Rosie
Rosie

Read the rule sentence by sentence, while watching the video.  Easiest call in the world.  Incomplete pass.....  Dooohhhhhh, those refs musta been watchin' Conan under the hood. 

ewalker1966
ewalker1966

The real issue here is not so much this one bad call but rather what appears to be a tendency by referees to call penalties against some teams more than others and even go so far as to call penalties on these teams when it was in fact a clean play. Unfortunately, the Steelers are one of the teams that fall into this category and seem to have a large number of very questionable calls go against them. I question whether the refs just don't like the teams or are actually being compensated by someone in some way to influence the outcome of the games. The NFL needs to step up and recognize that this is an issue that is beginning to call into question the 'reality' of football and put a stop to it. Players are fined for their big mistakes during a game and I think it's about time the ref's start getting their fines as well. Maybe some discouragement for making blatant mistakes on their calls will force them to start leaving their flags in their back pocket and let the teams play football.

Robert41
Robert41

If you watch the whole game, there was at least 6 calls by the refs that were disgustingly bad and all went against Steelers that gave Giants the first 14 points.  Phantom pass interference?  Phanton helmet to helmet unsportsmanlike conduct?  Phantom fumble?  No block in back on Giants?  Phantom block in the back on Steelers on a great return?  Roger Goodell was in the stands for this game and told the refs to give this one to the Giants.  Too bad for Goodell that Steelers still kicked their arse....

HorizontalGophers
HorizontalGophers

2 things - this view doesn't show the open receiver Ben was throwing to and it's in super slow motion. Incomplete pass. All the BS analysis of the hand turning is moronic. Throw a ball and mentally time yourself. Can't do it can you? Neither can Ben and he's a pro. The fact his synapses fired quickly enough to even try and close on the ball after it registered he'd been hit is nothing short of a pro-athlete's ability.

WR2 

Kevin78
Kevin78

This is silly.  I don't see how people can claim this is a fumble.  Osi hits Ben's arm before it moves forward.  Ben begins his arm motion but tries to stop it by turning his arm inward.  Watch how the ball moves exactly as Ben's hand moves.  If the ball was coming out, it would not move as his hand moves.  At the end of the arm motion, you can see Ben's forefinger and thumb snap together.  This occurs when you are holding something in your grip and it slips out of the grip.  The last indicator is the manner in which the ball came out.  The ball came out sideways, which would be the same way it would come out when the inside of your hand is facing inward.  If the ball was coming loose before that, it would not have come out in a sideways motion in that fashion.  It was a terrible call and Phil Simms is a shill.

Zaggs
Zaggs

Well, just follow his fingers.  Or the palm.  As it is still back his palm goes from on the ball, to off.  While his arm still back, they flex, ball is coming out.  He never tucks the ball back to his body.  In fact his arm is fully extended.  He did have full control when his arm was back, or going forward.  Fumble.

Zaggs
Zaggs

Well, just follow his fingers.  Or the palm.  As it is still back his palm goes from on the ball, to off.  While his arm still back, they flex, ball is coming out.  He never tucks the ball back to his body.  In fact his arm is fully extended.  He did not maintain full control when his arm is going forward.  Fumble.

floorme1955
floorme1955

The ball was hit but Ben still had the ball in his hand until the very end- making a full throwing motion ~THAT is CLEAR , EVIDENT and indisputable from the slow mo- It is the TUCK RULE ABSOLUTELY-

 

   I guarantee this- if TOM "CHRIST" BRADY had been the QB- multiple whistles would have blown, the Referee would have removed TOM's Spikes and Kissed his feet and then adjusted Tom's skirt for him as well. This officiating crew also threw a flag on a GHOST interference call- A GHOST helmet to helmet call in the end zone ( Victor Cruz has a RIB INJURY NOT A CONCUSSION) and ignored the blatant clip on Miller on the return of this TUCK - NON TUCK Touchdown return.  Bring back the replacement refs! If these guys are THIS BAD- Might as well pay as little as possible for POORLY REFERRED Professional Games. 

brighat
brighat

Bill Leavy is a terrible referee; my brother and I worry if certain officiating crews will call 49ers games and Leavy's is one of them. It was clearly an incomplete pass. Even if somebody hit his arm, it did not affect the throw. Don't forget the clip during the run back to help Michael Boley. At least Pittsburgh won so nobody will care after a few days. However, it just gives more fuel for the fire to people who think the New York Giants have the NFL in their back pocket.

hank_arnold
hank_arnold

If you're going to write an article, write an article...don't just give us the rule, a video and a bunch of Tweets I don't care about - you didn't use mine! INCOMPLETE PASS by the way

JonWW
JonWW

His throwing motion was affected, but he never lost control of the ball until he fully extended his arm. I don't see this as a fumble. The back up refs could have done just as bad as these refs. A giant player hit a steeler helmet to helmet, and the flag was picked up. A bad pass interference call against the Steelers helped the Giants get down field. The refs were very bad in this game - just as bad as the back up guys.

DJL329
DJL329

The Tuck Rule ONLY applies to Tom Brady.  Same goes for the 'no hitting the QB below the knees' rule.  The NFL has to keep its princess clean and shiny. ;)

thomas.hall13
thomas.hall13

The refs tried so badly to give this game to NY because of all they've been through. I feel for the folks of NY but c'mon refs! pull you're head out of your butt. Luckily the Steelers were able to overcome the poor officiating in this game. Also I have no doubt A-hole Goodell told the refs to try and do everything they can to get this win for NY. Goodell needs to go! If I saw him in person I'd spit on him. Nothing but a lousy POS.

Gary11
Gary11

The refs in this game were incompetent, from start to finish. Dont forget the invisible pass interference call on Taylor at the beginning, then the fabricated hit to the head call in the endzone. 

These refs were a disgrace and much worse than any performance I saw from the replacements. Where is the hue and cry now from the media who were so busy to analyze every bad call from the replacements?

Matthew24
Matthew24

this is not even the tuck rule, that is an incomplete pass!

sterculius65
sterculius65

As the rule is written I cannot see this can be anything other than a pass. Also why no mention of the non call on the clip by JPP. Two f-ups on the same play.

Guatemiguk-saram
Guatemiguk-saram

That would not have been called a fumble if the New England QB had been involved. Am I right?

KathleenRedmond
KathleenRedmond

 @Zaggs you are an idiot and probably should apply for a job at espn or with the nfl itself. how in the hell could you call that a fumble put down the bong and the finger paint and actually watch the play and read the rule

 

Hotbite
Hotbite

 @JonWW Yes, and don't even get me started on the "after the play was over" call against Ryan Clark!