Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Suspended and “resigned” replay official botches call on Alabama reception at 1 yard line

By: @LivingCrimson

Video by BMXVideosLS
 
At 5:51 in the Alabama LSU game highlight reel above, Michael Williams makes a catch on the goal line. It’s the 4th quarter with 11:11 to go and the game is tied 6-6. Momentum is on Bama’s side after a couple of big offensive plays: an 18 yard McCarron-to-Maze pass to the Bama 45 for a first down, and a Trent Richardson rush for 24 yards to the 28 for a first down.
 
At 5:31 in the reel above, Marquis Maze is in the wildcat. DJ Fluker lines up on line of scrimmage on the left side and TE Michael Williams lines up on the right beside RG Anthony Steen. At the snap Williams immediately heads downfield, leaving an opening for two LSU defenders to bring pressure on Maze. Steen moves back to contain one of the pass rushers, but the other gets through. With a defender in his face, Maze floats a pass 27 yards to Williams, who is covered man-to-man by LSU S Eric Reid. 6’6” Williams jumps up and firmly catches the ball. 6’2” Reid is short on the jump and falls down with Williams, then scuffles for the ball after Williams is on the ground.
 
A series of photos clearly shows Williams with control of the ball (from TideSports, al.com, and the Chris Vernon Show), or at the very least simultaneous possession.
 
Williams reception Bama LSU Reid hand on ball
Williams reception Bama LSU 11-5-11
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Williams reception Bama LSU clearly possesses ball begins fall
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Williams reception Bama LSU Reid no int
 
Williams reception Bama LSU comment pic
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Williams reception Bama LSU 11-5-11 (2)
After the end of the play, LSU CB Tyrann Mathieu (who should have been ejected for a later clothesline hit on Dre Kirkpatrick that caused a concussion) stands over the duo waving off Bama possession. The referee on the goal line, without a clear view of the play, clearly looks at the LSU players and then rules interception. Reid then stands up with the ball.
 
An excellent article by College Football News’ Matt Zemek (@MattZemek_CFN) explains why Michael Williams deserved to be credited with a legal catch. He discusses the different interpretations of what happened on the play, and the NCAA rulebook on “control of the ball” and “simultaneous possession” with examples from other games.

In LSU-Alabama, Reid gained full possession while already on the ground; this was clearly not a situation in which Reid stripped Williams while standing up. The fact that Reid was already lying on the ground when he wrested the ball from Williams means that if Williams had control of the ball while also lying on the ground (in other words, after his butt hit the ground), the simultaneous possession rule applies.

Here’s where things get really interesting. The play is sent for review to replay official Ben Oldham.
 
Ben OldhamBen Oldham is the same official who as a referee was suspended in December 1999 for an almost identical bad call on the 1 yard line against Georgia. The game with Georgia Tech was tied, and Tech went on the win the game by 3 points in overtime. The ruling was a fumble when the ball clearly popped out after the Georgia player hit the ground. The SEC supervisor of football officials took the unusual step of suspending the entire crew and reports were never confirmed that the officials were fired.
 
In January 2000, it was announced Oldham had “resigned” from officiating and took a position as Georgetown’s Athletics Director until 2002.
 
He pops back up on the officiating radar in December 2008 as a replay official in the Rose Bowl featuring Penn State and Southern Cal.
 
In the Alabama LSU game, Ben Oldham’s review confirms the ruling on the field. LSU is credited with an interception and the Tide is robbed of its chance to punch in a score at the goal line.
 
The SEC office then goes on to add insult to injury by naming Eric Reid the defensive player of the week for the “interception”. Whether one disagrees or agrees with the call on that play, the SEC office was wrong to publicly flaunt such a questionable on-field ruling – one which is widely being hailed outside the SEC as a monstrously bad call.
 
Of course, allowing Tom Ritter’s crew to officiate the game doesn’t help the SEC look any better.
 
Exit question: How does a disgraced SEC referee end up as a replay official in a key conference game with national implications?
 
More Alabama updates on Twitter at @LivingCrimson. Comments always welcome.
 
 
UPDATED Wed., 11/9/11, with additional picture provided from the comment section. The picture shows Williams about to hit the ground with his hands still in possession of the ball and Reid with one hand on the ball. Simultaneous possession goes to the benefit of the offensive player. At no point did Reid have sole possession of the ball before Williams hit the ground.
 

22 comments:

Dash said...

I do not think you know what the word "clearly" means. It maybe clear to you, but to non UA/LSU fans, it was anything but clear. This post is a joke of homerism. "The ruggedly handsome and noble Alabama player - fresh off his mission trip to help feed the starving of Uganda - leapt from his mighty steed to snag the perfectly thrown spiral... but alas, the sneak thief gollum from LSU clawed up his back, shived him in the side and placed his hand upon the ball a full 10 seconds after hitting the ground, giving the ref he had paid in blood money the opportunity to rob our hero of his prize..."

Pee Paw said...

The problem as I see it is that the initial call was an interception. Had the call been that it was a completion it too would not have been overturned. It was just that close. We see what we want to see and it's a simple as that. Tiger fans will see it as great interception. Alabama fans will see it as a completion and a bad call.

tide2bama said...

Thank you for writing how corrupt SEC officiating remains and is sanctioned by Sliva after reading their response to the call. It's disgraceful and disturbing on so many levels. What are we teaching honest athletes? Are the "Good Guys" always going to "move on" and let the "bad calls and bad guys" win? Why are we letting thugs and cheaters continue to thrive in the SEC? Certainly not for respect of the game or players!

What now? I pray UA fans and football purist will demand changes and not quickly "move on" for current and future athletes. If not, I am sure Oldham and his crew will officiate the LSU Arkansas game much to the Coonasses and Miles delight!

The Tide will survive and will continue to Roll with class, pride and traditional respect for having played with all heart and soul in a battle the Crimson warriors should have won on 11-5-11! IMHO But!!!! Enough is Enough!

Thanks again LivingCrimson for exposing these disgusting officials.

tide2bama said...

Thank you for writing how corrupt SEC officiating remains and is sanctioned by Sliva after reading their response to the call. It's disgraceful and disturbing on so many levels. What are we teaching honest athletes? Are the "Good Guys" always going to "move on" and let the "bad calls and bad guys" win? Why are we letting thugs and cheaters continue to thrive in the SEC? Certainly not for respect of the game or players!

What now? I pray UA fans and football purist will demand changes and not quickly "move on" for current and future athletes. If not, I am sure Oldham and his crew will officiate the LSU Arkansas game much to the Coonasses and Miles delight!

The Tide will survive and will continue to Roll with class, pride and traditional respect for having played with all heart and soul in a battle the Crimson warriors should have won on 11-5-11! IMHO But!!!! Enough is Enough!

Thanks again LivingCrimson for exposing these disgusting officials.

tide2bama said...

Sorry for the double post. Clearly the BUCKS and boogs are live and well.

Aladawg said...

Waaa waaa waaa

Doug Foster said...

Look at the photos. It is clear that Reid does NOT have full possession of the ball when Williams hits the ground. If there is a more clear example of "simultaneous possession" I don't know what it is.

Adam B said...

It would be Alabama fans to dedicate an entire website to whinning and moaning about something as simple and really unimportant as a football game. It really kills me to say it, because I don't hate the team or Saban,he's a great coach and they're a great team, but the fans, or at least the people who claim to be fans, are driving me nuts. Hey tide2bama, you talk about Alabama having class and pride. Class and Pride? Ok, riddle me this Batman. Where was that bama class when the tree at Auburn was poisoned? Where was the bama class and pride when you told Auburn fans to quit complaining about the 93 season or the 04 season when we got shafted? Where was that famous bama class last year when all you haters spent every waking hour trashing Cam Newton, for doing nothing more than being a winner and a superb athlete? OH! Wait. I know. You saved all that class for the Bcs National Championship last year, you know, all those cool supportive green and yellow signs with the big yellow A that said "because I hate Auburn that much." I'm an Auburn fan, but in 2009 I was rooting for bama. I have rooted for bama every game this season because I wanted the title to stay in Alabama for the third year. But this does it. Congratulations guys. You have proven how little class you really have. We cheered for the tide in 09, but you don't have the common courtesy to return the favor in 10? Judging by how screwed up the ranking system is you probably are still gonna get your precious moment in the sun, so please for the sake of humanity take your loss and stop your bitching. oh yeah, p.s. Bear Bryant was over-rated.

Dr.Jett said...

For the love of everything crimson, somebody please, punch up 911 and call The Waaambulance!

bama09 said...

Adam, i think that we have equal amount of classy and unclassy fans! i am 110% sure every team does! we all just need to realize that. i have seen so much class in both teams, bama and auburn, this year. when that crazy man poisoined the trees, there were bama fans raising money to help you guys out. when the tornado came through tuscaloosa. there were tiger fans gathering supplies to help us. :) dont bash and talk about how rude and unclassy "bama" fans are. bc i saw plenty of post saying "god must be an auburn fan" when the tornado killed LIVES in tuscaloosa, thats rude. but i know it is just the "rude" ppl that would say that....not just "unclassy auburn fans" we need to seperate ourselves. i say lets divide into 3...ALABAMA FANS, AUBURN FANS, AND THE UNCLASSY FANS(from both teams)

bama09 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CoonDago said...

Really? Bama fans are crying about Eric Reid's interception as "corruption" and a "bad call"? LSU fans clearly remember the LAST time the Tigers played in Bryant-Denny; the evidence FOR an LSU interception near the end of the game was clear, and that video WAS available to the replay officials, who, somehow still ruled it as a catch out of bounds. There was also the incessant questionable (illegal?) hits on our QB - notably Jordan Jefferson being intentionally speared in the back several times by a Bama defender, with NO call against the Gumps.

Yes, clearly, the SEC has it in for the Tide - NOT. A bad call is a bad call; two years ago, it was CLEARLY a bad call that went against LSU. This time, the call is only clear depending on whose team colors you wear. I think it was an interception, and the SEC concurs. However, even if you Bama fans think it wasn't an interception, you have NO room to gripe considering the game the refs GAVE you two years ago in your own stadium. Karma's a B*!T*, ain't it?

CoonDago said...

Also, the play the refs screwed up on two years ago denied LSU the chance to come back and possibly win the game. The play the refs got right in this game (my opinion)didn't hurt the Tide nearly as bad. You had the chance to go to overtime, you got the first possession, you could have put points on the board, and you didn't - LSU did, and won the game.

In the end, even if the refs "got it wrong" this time, the effect on your team wasn't anywhere near as bad as it was on our team.

It happens. More so lately, it seems, but then again maybe that's just the effect that super-high-def cameras bring to the "official's review" part of the game.

Regardless, though, sometimes you win the toss, and sometimes you don't. Two years ago, a CLEARLY bad call allowed 'Bama to keep winning, and go to the big game. This year, a not-so-clear call went against the Tide, but the call (regardless of how you view it) it didn't give LSU the same benefit that taking away our INT did in 2009.

In fact, even IF the call was wrong, what did it do? The way the Tide had been running, there was no guarantee you could have put it in the end zone against the LSU defense. And the way your kicker had been playing, it wasn't a sure thing that he'd have gotten it through the uprights, either. And the end result was pinning LSU on the 1 yard line - a perfect chance for the vaunted Bama D to come through and prove their mettle; get a safety, get a turnover for a TD, whatever....

So, even if you think the refs "stole" that catch from the Tide, they also gave Bama a golden chance to prove that their defense was true to the hype; it wasn't, and the Tiger punting game ruled the day.

So, again, please, give it a rest. And if you need consoling, go back and watch replays of the last LSU/Bama game in Bryant-Denny, and then give thanks that the refs got the call wrong against LSU because that bad call sent Bama to the BCS championship game (where, I'm proud to say I rooted for Bama).

Adam B said...

bama09, that's a good point. I have a bad habit of flying off the handle without thinking. I do feel terrible for the people who lost loved ones in the tornado and I couldn't imagine what that feels like. Sorry if I offended you or anyone else. I think I let this game get the better of me more than I care to admit. I really do hope bama gets another shot. Hell, I might even wear crimson that day. Well......maybe. lol

bama09 said...

adam, i am a BIG bama fan:) and i will b wearing orange and blue next weekend, to the au vs samford game, bc my bf took me to the bama vs. lsu game (he is a die hard au fan) and he wore crimson:)p.s. that was NOT an interception clearly a bad call!!:)hehe

Dr. Craig M. Matherne M.D. said...

http://i44.tinypic.com/2qlemfm.jpg

Dr. Craig M. Matherne M.D. said...

You left out a picture in the series. I believe intentionally.

Heather said...

Dr. sorry but I am not understanding what you are trying to prove? The pic you posted still shows the ball "clearly" in Wiliams hands. There was a bobble but before he hit the ground he had regained control. Receivers ball. Please explain your point.

Adam B said...

thanks for the support bama09. i'll definitely be wearing red the next bama game. As far as the auburn game though, don't hold your breathe. if they keep letting gus call the plays and the draw out of the shot-gun works one time, WE'RE DOOMED! :)

Allen said...

Clearly the best team did win. LSU crossed inside the Alabama 10 yard line twice, had shorter field goals.
Alabama never made it to the 10 yard line. Matter of fact Alabama had the ball 7 times inside the 35 yard line. LSU made field goals, plays and your team didn't. If Maze would have throw that pass sooner it was a TD. There were calls the referees didn't call on Bama btw.Just be glad you are back to having a top tier program and not where you were a few years ago.

healthguyfsu said...

I had absolutely no dog in this fight as an FSU fan but as a football fan I watched the game. It was a definite interception. A group of stills don't show the story accurately.

The unwritten rule is that to be considered a reception you have to leap have control and land cleanly while maintaining ball in hands. Had the ball they were fighting for rolled to the turf that's an incomplete any day of the week. It happened to roll into the hands of the defender...unlucky break for Bama but horrible throw in the first place.

jadennis said...

Your mistake in interpretation is the following: "The picture shows Williams about to hit the ground with his hands still in possession of the ball...".

Having two hands on the ball in the air doesn't represent "possession". Had he landed with two hands solidly on the ball and in sole possession, you might have an argument. But as you can see in the picture, his hands are not clearly, firmly possessing the ball.

At the very least, the replay official didn't have sufficient evidence to overturn the play.

My guess is that if it had been ruled a catch on the field, the replay official wouldn't have overturned that call either. The fact is, neither had sole possession when they hit the ground, in which case it was almost a "loose ball".

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