Spurlock’s Catch Will Spark Controversy

October 11th, 2010

michael spurlock 1010Micheal Spurlock’s crazy catch late in Sunday’s game came as a surprise to Joe because the zebras didn’t overturn it.

To Joe, the fact Spurlock appeared to bobble the ball meant he didn’t have possession. Thankfully, the zebras saw differently.

But this confused Don Banks of SI.com. A former Bucs beat writer, Banks now doesn’t know what is a catch and what isn’t a catch and believes Spurlock’s phantom catch will be talked about from near and far and not in any way a Bucs fan wants the attention.

I’d love to know what Calvin Johnson thought of that 21-yard, game-deciding catch by Bucs receiver Michael Spurlock in the final seconds of Tampa Bay’s 24-21 upset at Cincinnati. Really, NFL, that was a reception? Even though Spurlock clearly used the ground to help secure the ball as he landed, and the ball ended up moving in his arms as he came in contact with the ground anyway?

To repeat myself from Week 1, I’m not sure I know what a legal catch is any more. I was almost positive Spurlock’s catch would be reversed by replay, because I thought the cameras clearly showed he failed to maintain possession once he hit the ground. The way I saw it, Johnson’s nullified game-winning catch against the Bears in Week 1 was about three times more of a catch than Spurlock’s upheld reception against the Bengals.

Why do I think we’re in for another four of five days of raging debate about this latest call, and that the NFL’s rules for the possession of a reception just got more confusing than ever?

Joe knows that the NFL has different rules for touchdown receptions than it does other receptions, and that simply shouldn’t be. A catch is a catch no matter what area of the field a receiver is on.

18 Responses to “Spurlock’s Catch Will Spark Controversy”

  1. Bucnjim Says:

    The rules seem very different in the endzone compared to catches made in the field of play between the goal lines. The majority of the time an official won’t over rule the call made on the field unless their is overwhelming evidence. The difference between that play and TO’s was TO’s was a continuation of the play where the other was down by contact. That was a great effort by the way! There needs to be a universal rule (one rule) that describes what a catch is and that pertains to anywhere on the field.

  2. TrueBlue Says:

    Maybe the Zebras learned their lesson after the heat they took after the Bears game.

  3. Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    Thank God for Tampa the Zebra’s saw it differently. That catch broke the Bengals back.
    Anyone else see Josh Freeman becoming a big time QB, right before our eyes ?
    The big guy was blitzed all day, but in the end he made them pay!

  4. TAC Says:

    He caught the ball, two feet down in bounds, before the ball was bobbled in his hands, and touched the ground while in his control. He followed through with the catch by not completely losing it.

    That friends, is my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Don Banks is a Carolina Fan, and can’t understand how the bucs are 3-1, and his Panthers are 0-5.

    Like the Panther fan Banks, I thought the call could be overturned as well, who knows anymore, but Barth would have hit the field goal anyway.

  5. JDouble Says:

    Watching the replay highlight it looks like one of his toes actually leaves the turf before he makes tha catch also. I was also very surprised it didn’t get called back. Bout time we had one go our way. Still doesn’t make up for the Clayton “fumble” in last year’s Dolphin game. THAT and this year’s Calvin Johnson non TD call are the worst two calls I’ve seen this decade.

  6. booty traps Says:


    I saw the same thing. It appeard that his [right?] shoe left the ground BEFORE he caught the ball. But im glad the call went our way or was the CORRECT call to make with that play. I would like to hear what they say on NFL about that.

  7. booty traps Says:


    Can we get some love to Sabby? Critical play that turned the game.

  8. Ben Says:

    The difference that I saw between the Johnson catch and Spurlock’s was that Johnson used the ball to support himself and didn’t maintain possession long enough to lift the ball from the turf. Spurlock seemed to maintain possession and not lose it until he was coming up.

    Still, both should’ve been catches, IMO. Don’t care about the rule, both receivers just caught the ball.

  9. bucfanlostiniowa Says:

    I don’t think both feet were in either but who cares unless you’re a bungles fan?

  10. Joe Says:


    Can we get some love to Sabby? Critical play that turned the game.


    Keep reading.

  11. Pete 422 Says:

    I saw Spurlock legally catch the ball with both toes in bounds (awesome effort). I also saw him maintain control on the way down. The maintained control when he hit the ground because the ball moved around in his hands. The ball touched the ground while he still had it in his hands.

    I saw nothing wrong with that catch, similar to I see nothing wrong with that bathing suit in the next article.

  12. Rons13 Says:

    This is what Mike Pereira, NFL Vice President of Officiating 2004-2009 had to say about the call: “MY TAKE: There were two elements to this review. The first dealt with whether Spurlock maintained control when he hit the ground out of bounds. The second was whether he had both feet down in bounds when he first gained possession. No question the ball moved when it hit the ground out of bounds. But just because the ball moves that does not make the pass incomplete. The receiver must lose possession in order for the pass to be considered incomplete. Notice how the referees will never use the word “move” when describing whether a receiver completes the catch or not. You must see actual loss of possession.

    It was very close as to whether Spurlock had both feet down. You could make a case that his right toe might have been off the ground. Move and might, however, are not enough to overturn a call that was made on the field. I like the fact that the referees are staying with the original call that was made on the field, unless it was absolutely indisputable that the call should be reversed.”

  13. BamBamBuc Says:

    Good post, Ron, thanks.

  14. Miguel Grande Says:

    A couple years ago, it was released that the Refs do not get the same quality of replay that we receive at home. They don’t get the same angles, no freeze frame, no reverse play, and no slow motion. They do not want to overturn anything unless they absolutely have to and are heavily prejudiced not to show up an official. What we can clearly see at home is not available to them. Barth would have nailed the FG anyway. Overall, nice win for the Bucs, I had just told my wife that the Rays had won, too bad the Bucs were going to lose, when they pulled off a miracle. Brian Billick kept mentioning how the Cincy fans were hoping for home doubleheader victories parlaying the Reds and Bengals, how about a Ray’s, Buc’s road double victory?

  15. jaytek74 Says:

    I think it was a catch but I think we would have made the FG and won anyways but the catch did make me a lot less stressed about Barth nailing the game winning kick.

  16. Pete 422 Says:

    I agree with jaytek74. That would have been about a 52 yarder for Barth and I think he would have made it.

  17. Pete 422 Says:

    It all doesn’t matter, we are 3-1 and have the saints here on Sunday!

  18. Rons13 Says:

    Tks BamBam. Been a season ticket holder and Buc fan since 79, strange as it may sound, wish I had been on board from the beginning, 0-26 to Super Bowl would have made my day. So for now, just watching this team grow is enough.