Referees were worse than we thought in Sunday’s Dolphins’ loss
The officials ruled that Vernon had illegally batted the ball and enforced a 10 yard penalty from the line of scrimmage. Instead of 3rd and 29 at the 45, it was 1st and 10 at the 13.
The Patriots would convert a touchdown four plays later and go up 27-17 with just over seven minutes to go.
Rule 3-2-5(g) says that batting is “the intentional striking of the ball with hand, fist, elbow, or forearm.” Rule 12-4-1(a) says that illegal batting occurs when “a player of either team bats or punches a loose ball in the field of play toward his opponent’s goal line. ”
In live action it looked like they got it right and it is not a reviewable play.
The play happens so fast and the human mind, by design, takes what it sees and completes the picture on sometimes fills in the blanks on its own based on expectation.
In this case, you see Vernon dive to the ground and extend his hand towards the ball as Nate Solder rapidly approaches and the ball goes squirting down the field. Common sense says that he illegally knocked the ball away from the opponent and your brain will fool you into believing that this is what your eyes saw.
This is what allows illusionists to make a living.
Unfortunately for him and the Dolphins, the NFL makes only certain plays reviewable, which is a ridiculous limitation considering that you are already constrained as to how many plays you may challenge in a game.
A slow motion look at the play proves that Mr. Vernon attempted to bring the ball into his body with his left hand and the ball was propelled by his mishandling of a live football as he was diving for it and not by an intentional act.
It is unfortunate that people want to twist Olivier Vernon’s post game non-denial as an admission of guilt. Talking about the officials is bad form and I would not be doing it unless I felt a journalistic responsibility to Dolfans and football fans alike. (continued on page 3, CLICK HERE)