Blog Entry

Coughlin upset by 2 calls vs. GB, NFL explains

Posted on: January 16, 2012 7:43 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 11:19 pm
Tom Coughlin is oh-fer on his last eight challenges. (

By Ryan Wilson

NFL fans are familiar with Bill Leavy. He was the official in Super Bowl XL, often referred to as "that game where the Steelers were gifted the Lombardi Trophy over the Seahawks." After two controversial calls in Sunday's Giants-Packers game, Leavy is back, again for the wrong reasons.

First, there was what appeared to be a Greg Jennings fumble in which he was initially ruled down by contact. The Giants challenged, replays showed that Jennings had in fact fumbled, and all that was left was for Leavy to emerge from under the hood and announce that it was New York's ball. Except that didn't happen. Instead, inexplicably, he declared that "the ruling on the field stands."

(We went into this in great detail in Monday's Pick-6 Podcast, as well if the NFL should go to full-time officials. Spoiler alert: No. Either way, you can listen below.)

On Monday, the league explained Leavy's decision (via PFT).

“Rule 7, Section 2, Article 1 of the NFL Rule Book (page 35) states: ‘An official shall declare the ball dead and the down ended: (a) when a runner is contacted by a defensive player and touches the ground with any part of his body other than his hands or feet,’” the league said in a statement emailed to PFT by NFL spokesman Greg Aiello. “So by rule, if Jennings’ calf was on the ground prior to the ball coming loose, he is down by contact. Contrary to what was suggested during the game, there is no need for the runner’s knee to be on the ground.”

Uh-huh. We suppose you could look at this replay and say that maybe Jennings' shin (really, the shin?) was down before the ball came out. But you could also argue that Jennings lost possession before his shin contacted the turf.

Jennings sure looked like he fumbled.

In general, we don't like to whinge about the officiating because by the end of the season, it usually evens out for everybody. And credit to New York. Despite two atrocious calls (the other was when Osi Umenyiora was flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Aaron Rodgers even though no part of his helmet came close to Rodgers' head), they won by 37-20.

A day later, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin remained confused by the two calls. He was asked Monday if there was anything on film that made the Jennings' non-fumble clearer. “There is but I won’t get into it,’’ he said.

And Umenyiora's roughing-the-passer penalty?

“Aggressive football play,’’ Coughlin said via the New York Post. “The quarterback is following through as he releases the ball. The hit is from the side. There’s not helmet involved. It’s from the shoulders to waist. We’ll coach that one forever.’’

Now all that's left if for Leavy to apologize to the Giants and their fans. That generally takes about four years.

Here's what he told the media in August 2010, unprompted:

"It was a tough thing for me. I kicked two calls in the fourth quarter [of Super Bowl XL between the Steelers and Seahawsk] and I impacted the game and as an official you never want to do that. It left me with a lot of sleepless nights and I think about it constantly. I'll go to my grave wishing that I'd been better. I know that I did my best at that time, but it wasn't good enough. When we make mistakes, you got to step up and own them. It's something that all officials have to deal with, but unfortunately when you have to deal with it in the Super Bowl it's difficult."

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Since: Feb 16, 2007
Posted on: January 18, 2012 9:12 am

Coughlin upset by 2 calls vs. GB, NFL explains

Botom line, umpires(MLB), refs in football(especially NFL) & basketball(NBA & NCAA) have gotten worse over the years.  They are paid very well yet their quality is atrocious.  Time for full time officials in every sport.  Most officals don't deserve the steep pay they receive considering the poor that quality effects outcomes of games which is not fair to palyers, coaches or fans.  

Since: Mar 5, 2011
Posted on: January 18, 2012 8:31 am

Coughlin upset by 2 calls vs. GB, NFL explains

The thing that really bothers me and nobody is talking about, is the fact that when the play happened, the refs let it go and obviously thoght it was a fumble, and then inexplicably said that the call on the field was down by contact, when that clearly wasnt the case.  This made it easier for them to call him down, since they just stayed with the call on the field and didnt have to reverse it.  Another thing, there is noooo way his shin was down, that was just a BS way to weasel out of a horrendous call and if you people dont think its possible that a ref is cheating to help the point spreads, you are in a fantasy world, im not saying he definitely did, but cmon, its a possibility, look what happened in the NBA, 

Since: May 27, 2009
Posted on: January 18, 2012 7:24 am

Coughlin upset by 2 calls vs. GB, NFL explains

Don't overlook the third blown call from Sunday's trifecta of home cooking in GB - the spotting of the ball on Ware's first down (on a 3rd and long, that forced the Giants to punt when GB still had hope). The officials took an obvious first down and suddenly made it a fourth and short.

Since: Jan 3, 2009
Posted on: January 18, 2012 4:59 am

Coughlin upset by 2 calls vs. GB, NFL explains

How do we know that Leavy does not have any skin on the line? We would never know what is going on with this. It looks like he is trying to help the Packers and perhaps he was thinking if a couple calls can help the Packers win over cover the spread, someone can come out big the other end of the bet. This will not be the first time an official is doing something illegal.
The NFL should investigate to see if there is something else is going on or if it is just incompetence.
If he is discreet about this, he may get away but with today's technology, it will be a lot harder to cover your intention or incompetence.
Home team always gets a couple favorable calls and the Packers got them. Maybe it was the NFL that was behind the call, to have the dream match-up between the Patriots and the Packers.

Since: Mar 6, 2009
Posted on: January 18, 2012 3:49 am

Coughlin upset by 2 calls vs. GB, NFL explains

How does he still have a job. I dont understand how you can repeatily blow calls even in the instant replay era. I think it has more to do with ego. Get rid of this guy. 

Since: Sep 4, 2006
Posted on: January 17, 2012 10:30 pm

Coughlin upset by 2 calls vs. GB, NFL explains

Them doing this and not going with the standard knee is what matters is going to open the door for all kinds of controversy next season.  How many times do you watch a run at the goal line and his "shin" is clearly on the ground yet the TD stands cause his knee wasn't.  The NFL just shot itself in the shin with this one, next season challenge flags are going to be flying and the league will have a whole lot more splaining to do.  Leavy is a disgrace of a ref, I'd hate to see him ref a reg season game that mattered let alone the playoffs after this.  And I'm a niner fan!!

Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: January 17, 2012 9:15 pm

Coughlin upset by 2 calls vs. GB, NFL explains

The thing i dont get is how this Leavy guy keeps getting playoff games. I mean, after that SuperBowl, anyones entitled to a second chance... but if he is ever officiating another playoff game, there needs to be an investigation.

Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: January 17, 2012 5:51 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: January 17, 2012 5:45 pm
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Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: January 17, 2012 2:06 pm

Coughlin upset by 2 calls vs. GB, NFL explains

Montweet, FYI: whinge is a word.
How do you like that? Whinge is a word. I guess you learn something new every day.  --Montweet, in reply to Andy Benoit

Hey, Andy, I think that Montweet just impugned your manhood, in a trollish sort of way. Or, to be fair, maybe he's just contemptuous of all that book larnin' and such.

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