Are you sure it wasn’t a TD?

It is understandable why the call at the end of the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers game on Monday Night Football is clouded in controversy.

Like the NFL, I can very easily say that there was a Pass Interference call that wasn’t made on Golden Tate, but let’s be honest players get mugged on every Hail Mary.  If you want to debate if the flag should have been thrown or not, fine go ahead but at this point I’d rather just move on to some images of the play.

This image is from the exclusive video taken by Q13 Fox (KCPQ-Seattle):

Golden Tate Hail Mary TD

Image from exclusive angle video by Q13 Fox (KCPQ – Seattle)

For those that doubted that Tate had any sort of possession it is easy to see in the above image that he does indeed have his entire hand firmly around the ball.

The next image shows the ball before it gets to the players, and it shows a couple of important things.  The first is that Jennings’ feet are both still in the air, and the second is that Tate does have his left hand between Jennings’ hands.

This next image shows that both players appear to have possession of the ball.  However, what is important to note is that Jennings’ feet are NOT on the ground, and to fully “possess” the ball you must have both feet on the ground.  Speaking of feet on the ground, that is where Tate’s feet are.

Now in this image you can see that Jennings’ feet are both finally on the ground, and you should also see that it looks as if both players have “possession” of the ball.

If after seeing the above two images you still don’t buy that Tate had possession of the ball too, look closely at the following picture.  What you will see is that Tate’s right hand is actually under Jennings’ hand.  I circled each and you can actually see Tate’s fingers under Jennings’ hand — which also means Tate’s hand is the one on the ball.  You can’t see Tate’s left hand on the ball in this image, but it clearly shows his arm in a position that would allow him to be on the ball. If you refer back to the first image along with this one, it should be apparent that Tate had not one, but two hands on the ball, and one hand was actually under Jennings’ hand.

If anyone wants the original images emailed to them just send me an email and I will forward them to you.  They are much larger and will make it much easier to see Tate’s fingers in the last image.

Follow me on twitter,@SteveGalloNFL & if you have any questions please feel free to email me at


About Steve Gallo
Steve is an NFL Analyst and IDP writer for USA Today Sports Media Group( He is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America & Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

13 Responses to Are you sure it wasn’t a TD?

  1. Nate says:

    You forgot to site this example the NFL has:

    “First-and-10 on A20. B3 controls a pass in the air at the A40 before A2, who then also controls the ball before they land. As they land, A2 and B3 fall down to the ground.”

    MD had control first. End of story.

    • Rules Guru says:

      Wrong. This case book play refers to a player gaining uncontested control and another player later coming in to the picture. Tate begins the process of the catch at the same time, or possibly even before Jennings.

      But more important than the splitting of hairs in freeze frame is the fact that in live action it is virtually impossible to see anything but joint possession. Since the call must be made first on the field there is no other possible call that could correctly be made.

      This was a 100% correct call. Get over it. Game over Seahawks won. PERIOD!

    • Natecantspell. says:

      “Cite.” Welcome to the English language.

  2. RR says:

    Who landed first doesn’t matter. You don’t need two feet down for “control.” The NFL policy book specifically includes an example that if a defensive player achieves control in the air, and another player from the passing team subsequently achieves simultaneous control in the air, and then lands first, it’s still an interception, not a reception.

  3. Harry says:

    The NFL rule book clearly states “”a player (or players) jumping in the air has not legally gained possession of the ball until he satisfies the elements of a catch.” Both feet in the field of play is an element of a catch.

  4. RR says:

    Jack, I read Sando’s post first, which is how I found this page. Thanks for the accusation that I’m lying. Nate’s comment above (I swear we didn’t coordinate) cites the exact example to which I’m referring. You’ll notice that the definition of catch/possession, and control are different things. And the rule is this — “It is not a simultaneous catch if a player gains *control* first and an opponent subsequently gains joint control.” Jennings had “control” first, and when he lands is irrelevant to that specific question.

  5. Rules Guru says:

    Bottom line: The play was called correctly by rule, the NFL agreed that the play was called correctly by rule, this debate is over in the minds of all with intellectual integrity.

    Only those that are desperate to find some way to slant this so they can remain bitter are trying to twist partial criteria into something that is not valid.

    Give it up, you are 100% WRONG.

  6. Rules Guru says:

    Here is an idea. Since you can’t win the debate on this one, how about you invest a few days of your life into the Kasen Williams TD that beat Stanford. You should be able to spin the rules to claim that wasn’t a TD either.

  7. Peds Resident says:

    In regards to Tate’s “catch,” I contend he did NOT have enough control on the ball long enough to “avoid or ward off an opponent” as is required for a catch (see below). Also, if you are nit-picking semantics and the letter of the rules, the rule requires a player “secures control of the ball in his hands (PLURAL) not HAND (singular), as you argue. NFL Rule 8 Section 1 states:
    “A forward pass is complete (by the offense) or intercepted (by the defense) if a player, who is inbounds:
    – (a) secures control of the ball in his hands or arms prior to the ball touching the ground; and
    – (b) touches the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of his body other than his hands; and
    – (c) maintains control of the ball long enough, after (a) and (b) have been fulfilled, to enable him to perform any act common to the game (i.e., maintaining control long enough to pitch it, pass it, advance with it, or avoid or ward off an opponent, etc.).”

    Tate’s left hand simply cannot control the ball in it throughout the whole process of going to the ground while there are other hands also fighting for the ball. It is not physically (and I am referring to the laws of physics here) possible to control a ball with one hand when there are at least 2 sets of hands also fighting for the ball (unless Tate’s hands were at least 3-times the size of human hands). The fact that the ball was pressed firmly against Jennings chest and at no point was secured against Tate’s chest gives the possession and catch to Jennings.

    Also, the zoomed-in picture with the “stupid play button” caption was from after they were on the ground for several frames and Jennings was participating in typical back-and-forth struggle between him and Tate.

    • Steve Gallo says:

      You say it was physically impossible for Tate to have control with just one hand, if that is the case then Jennings should have easily been able to come away with the ball. The force of his fall put him in a position of dominance and if you want to talk physics he should have easily rolled away with the ball in his hands, leaving Tate grabbing air.

      As for when you say:
      “Also, the zoomed-in picture with the “stupid play button” caption was from after they were on the ground for several frames and Jennings was participating in typical back-and-forth struggle between him and Tate.”

      You need to realize that real time that is approximately 1-2 seconds after they touch the ball with their hands as the ball comes down to them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: