I’ve watched this video and similar ones about a dozen times this morning, and I’m at a loss to explain it. I’m a big fan of seeing people struggle to understand something only to swoop into the conversation with the answer, like Batman except with “well actually” powers instead of ninja powers. On a related note: No one likes me.
In one of the more pivotal plays from Sunday afternoon’s contest between the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins, a fumble took place in the fourth quarter. This much, we know. Browns running back Duke Johnson puts the ball on the ground with the Browns down four and driving. After that, it’s a mystery that even the NFL hasn’t explained yet.
The video shows Johnson standing upright with the ball over his head as an official stands over a pile of players. No one seems to be looking at Johnson when the official points the other way, awarding Washington the ball.
Is it an optical illusion? Is Johnson holding a shoe over his head? A ham? A football hologram? Has society collectively imagined the football?
No, that’s a football, and this official may have made the worst call of 2017. When the pile unraveled and there was no ball, how did the officials spot it? Weren’t they confused when no one on the red and yellow team was holding the ball?
You’re probably saying, “Dave, what’s the big deal here? Of course, all turnovers are reviewed and obviously the ball was returned to the Browns.” Wrong, smart guy! None of the replays showed the “clear recovery” required to overturn the call on the field. Washington would punt, pin Cleveland deep, then Josh Norman picked off a pass from whoever is Cleveland’s third-string quarterback, and that led to the back-breaking TD that made it a 31-20 ballgame.
Here is the explanation of the call from the NFL, but we’re still not satisfied.