Was it the fumble that wasn’t? Or the non-fumble that was? Either way it was confusing and the end result was another Jets loss. We can debate the call as much as we want, nothing anyone can say will change the result of the game. “It is what it is, it was what it was.”
To be clear this one call, this one inexplicably bad call, didn’t cost the Jets the game, the Jets found other ways (interceptions, blown coverages, inability to run the ball etc. etc.) to give the game to the Patriots, and even if you granted the Jets seven points that would only have tied the game and of course the Patriots would have adjusted their strategy at the end of the game. But it’s one thing to be on the wrong end of a bad call, it’s a whole other thing to be on the wrong end of a call that makes absolutely no sense.
Tony Corrente explained the decision after the game, but that explanation describes seeing something that can’t be seen in. any of the available replays.
“The final shot that we saw was from the end zone that showed the New York Jets runner, we’ll call him a runner at that point, with the football starting to go toward the ground. He lost the ball. It came out of his control as he was almost to the ground,” Corrente said. “Now he re-grasps the ball and by rule, now he has to complete the process of recovery which means he has to survive the ground again. So in recovering it, he recovered, hit the knee, started to roll and the ball came out a second time. So the ball started to move in his hands this way… he’s now out of bounds in the end zone, which created a touchback. So he didn’t survive the recovery and didn’t survive the recovery and didn’t survive the ground during the recovery which is what happened here.”
Sure, that sounds good except for the fact that no, it doesn’t. This explanation might make sense if the call on the field was a fumble, then this explanation could be used to explain why the call on the field would stand, not be confirmed but stand. This explanation does absolutely nothing to explain why the call of a touchdown would be overturned due to indisputable evidence.
You can watch the play here. After watching it the play and reading the explanation multiple times it seems clear that yes, Austin Seferian-Jenkins bobbled the ball right as he was crossing the goal line. That part we can all agree on, but he very clearly looked to regain possession immediately or at the very least you can not rule that he absolutely did not regain possession. The sticking point seems to be that after Seferian-Jenkins regained possession he hit the ground, as he hit the ground he switched the ball from on arm to the other. The ruling was that that switching of arms somehow meant he didn’t have possession until after the switching of arms, but that’s absurd. It’s entirely possible to maintain possession and switch arms and that’s exactly what happened on this play. Seferian-Jenkins had possession as he hit the ground, switched arms and maintained possession all the way through. And if you can’t say that to be the case with 100 percent certainty you certainly can’t claim with 100 percent that he lost possession there.
It was a bad call, a ridiculously horrendous call, and a bad rule. The rule that a fumble out of the end zone awards the ball to the other team is silly, why should the other team be awarded the ball when they didn’t possess it either? If the same play happens at the 50-yard-line or the one-yard-line the ball stays with the offense, but this is hardly the first play to expose the nonsensical nature of this rule and the rule is a rule regardless of how silly it is.
After the game the players in the locker room were frustrated, partly because of the call but mostly because they let the game slip away from their grasp. There was a lot of confusion, some grumblings of “BS call,” but mostly a lot of resigned, “it is what it is,” or “it was what is was.”
“It is what it is – it’s frustrating because you fight back into a game like that, and to have it go that way on a call is frustrating, but the refs are doing the best job they can. They look at it, they make the best call they can, and you move forward,” Josh McCown said. “That rule, just by losing possession and being a touchback, it’s hard for me to see why you – it’s not like they gained possession, so it’s a difficult rule to understand, but at any rate, refs are a part of every game and we can’t point at that and go, ‘Man, that’s the reason.’ There are so many other things that we have to do better and that we hold ourselves accountable to and that’s our standard, and we just didn’t do that and execute well enough today.”
Seferian-Jenkins disagreed with the call, he thought he scored a touchdown, but he wasn’t about the pass the buck and blame the refs. He took responsibility and said he needed to have “better ball security,” He shouldered the blame and said he felt like he “let the team down and I’m definitely going to have better ball security next time.” But he said he wasn’t simply ‘taking the high road,’ it’s just that it is what is is.
“No, the high road is just the honest road. I can’t take it back. It’s not going to say touchdown, it’s a fumble and a touchback,” Seferian-Jenkins said. “That’s what it is. It’s not like I’m taking the high road, I’m just saying what the facts are. I don’t think it does anything for me to come up here and blast the official or blast the rule. The rule is the rule. They called it. It is what it is.”
Chris Nimbley is the editor-in-chief of JetsInsider.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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