Blog Entry

Harbaugh: Bradshaw non-fumble like tuck rule

Posted on: January 24, 2012 1:59 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 2:00 pm
Harbaugh: 'In my opinion, that was a fumble." (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Head coach Jim Harbaugh has exceeded everyone's expectations in his first year with the 49ers. He led them to a 13-3 record, the NFC West title, and San Francisco was possibly one play away from the Super Bowl. No, not that play, the Ahmad Bradshaw fumble that wasn't.

With 2:29 to go in the fourth quarter and the scored tied 17-17, the Giants running back lost the ball -- except that the officials ruled that Bradshaw's forward progress had already been stopped. The play was blown dead and anything subsequent to that -- including a fumble -- didn't matter.

The Giants would go on to win in overtime.

On Monday, Harbaugh compared the Bradshaw ruling to a four-letter word that the NFL would probably prefer never be uttered again: tuck. As in "tuck rule."

"In my opinion, that was a fumble. I'm sure the league will defend it and the officials will defend it. But to me, that play was still going on," Harbaugh said during his news conference Monday, according to Rapid Reporter Michael Erler. "There was still struggling by Bradshaw. ... I felt like it was analogous with the tuck rule."

Judge for yourself:

Was Bradshaw's forward progress stopped before he fumbled?

The "tuck rule" game turned 10 years old last week and it's still hard for many of the Raiders players and coaches involved to talk about it.

Just like the Raiders-Pats game from January 2001, the NFL confirmed afterwards that the officials made the right call, citing Rule 7, Section 2 (b) of the NFL Rule Book which covers "dead balls": "An official shall declare the ball dead and the down ended: (b) when a runner is held or otherwise restrained so that his forward progress ends." That was the immediate ruling yesterday, which is not subject to a replay review."

This isn't tuck-rule magnitude type stuff although we're certain that doesn't make Harbaugh feel any better. The problem with forward progress is that, like most rules, it's not consistently enforced. And that, no doubt, is the source of Harbaugh's frustration.

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Since: Jan 24, 2012
Posted on: January 25, 2012 12:05 pm

Harbaugh: Bradshaw non-fumble like tuck rule

wasnt Pierre Thomas going backwards when he got hit and fumbled? Oh my bad. thats different RIGHT cuz the ball wasn't stripped.....Oh no thats not why....its cuz REFs didn't blow the whistle!!!!! Okay....I got it now. That rule RULES!!!!!

Since: Jan 24, 2012
Posted on: January 25, 2012 11:52 am

Harbaugh: Bradshaw non-fumble like tuck rule

The AHMAD BRADSHAW fumble - stop forward progress / play blown dead - is what really what killed us. It would have been a big momentum swing. It was a call that didn't go our way - and that played a huge factor of the outcome of the game.

It was such a BS call!!!!! These REFs need to step up their game - they are getting worst every year!!!!! I wonder what new Brady/Bellichick rule their gonna come up with in the SB to save their superstar. Jus like tackling a QB below the knees - wasn't these another Brady rule that was made up when he broke his leg. The NFL is the NBA - Nothin But Actors!!!!!!!

THE RULE states - "An official shall declare the ball dead and the down ended: (b) when a runner is held or otherwise restrained so that his forward progress ends." That was the immediate ruling yesterday, which is not subject to a replay review."

MEANING - its a JUDGEMENT CALL by the dumbazz REF - A phunkin JUDGEMENT CALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YOU DONT MAKE JUDGEMENT CALLS IN CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES - plan & simple!!!!!!!!! You let the players decide the outcome of the game!!!!

Since: Nov 6, 2009
Posted on: January 24, 2012 10:47 pm

Harbaugh: Bradshaw non-fumble like tuck rule

You are right there, but my main point still stands.  If there was any conspiracy as others have suggested, then why did the refs miss that one by initially calling it 49ers' football after the punt?   While the muffed punt was a gift, the Giants committing zero turnovers in wet conditions was not a gift. 

Since: Jan 13, 2012
Posted on: January 24, 2012 9:31 pm

Harbaugh: Bradshaw non-fumble like tuck rule

Actually YeahYeahYeah, you couldn't be further from the truth, but that's only due to your ignorance regarding the NFL rules...simply put, ANY punt return "MUFFED" CANNOT be returned, not for even an INCH. By rule, at least those of us that understand the game of football and know that MUFFS CANNOT be ran back, a MUFFED punt by RULE is a DEADBALL at the point the ball is recovered by the Punt Team, therefore they WERE NOT robbed of anything and the play was called correct and spotted properly. That was a GIFT and you should just be thankful that it happened at all, because the GIANTS did NOT FORCE the turnover and had that FLUKE play not happened the chances that the NY Giants scored again, as they didn't, would have been slim to none. As in the fumbled Punt Return in OT would never had happened because more than likely the Giants lose in REGULATION and SF more than likely wins 17-10. With that said, once the game went into OT the Giants EARNED everything they got because they FORCED the second fumble and that is how SF won their games all year long, so the Giants won fair and square in OT as far as I am concerned and should be commended for doing so. Just saying, don't throw in things like "the first Wiliams fumble should have been a TD" if you don't understand a rule that has been in place for at LEAST 30 years that I know of...go ahead, ask anyone on the planet and NOBODY would agree with that interpretation of the MUFF PUNT rule, only because everyone, but you apparently, knows better....just sayin'

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 8:00 pm

Harbaugh: Bradshaw non-fumble like tuck rule

as a fan of neither of these two teams, ill throw iin my two cents.  if harbaugh wants to think that was a fumble hes an idiot.  bradshaw was not only being held up, but also pushed back.  the refs blew the whistle and appropriately so!

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 7:48 pm

Harbaugh: Bradshaw non-fumble like tuck rule

Watching this game we all agreed on one thing: this was a very sad officiating crew. None of us had a team to root for in the game. All of us saw decision upon decision that did not seem worthy of NFL officiating expectations. But this play was not one of those. This play was called a little quickly but Bradshaw was clearly going backwards. The problem was that other plays were not stopped while the receiver or runner was held up and attempts to strip were made. Consistency is important in any league. It is expected in a playoff crew and even more so in a championship game. The NFL did not get this crew right and they did not get the AFC championship crew right either (winning TD was called an incomplete.) But it is part of any sports game that officials err. This day they did more than usual.

Since: Sep 17, 2007
Posted on: January 24, 2012 7:11 pm

Harbaugh: Bradshaw non-fumble like tuck rule

@ HouseRulz
I appreciate the in depth analysis but to me it's as simple as this-- refs should not blow the play dead before the play is actually dead. The same thing happened in the Pittsburgh-Denver game when Roethlisberger threw a screen to the right that was dropped and recovered by Denver but ruled incomplete. On replay, the pass was actually shown to be behind the line of scrimmage and the premature whistle that blew the play dead could very easily have cost Denver the game. I think the refs have been excellent thus far for not calling the kind of ticky-tack penalties we routinely see in the regular season but those are two of the most obvious blunders in my opinion, and both occured because the refs blew the whistles too soon.

Since: Jan 24, 2012
Posted on: January 24, 2012 6:37 pm

Harbaugh: Bradshaw non-fumble like tuck rule

Just like the strike zone in baseball, all we as coaches, players, and fans can ask for is CONSISTANCY. The biggest problem in the nfl and with replay is the officials are inconsistant. One ref call watch a replay and there is not enough to overturn, while the next guy will see enough to overturn. One ref calls a  big hit a personal foul, while the next calls it legal. Was forward progress stopped? Not if I was the ref, but it was by this official and is unreviewable. I have seen that hold em and strip em play a thousand times, and over 900 of those times it would have been a fumble. The officials in the NFL are getting farther behind every year. The game is too fast for those guys, maybe we need more of them. Replay could be great for the game, but it must be tweeked every year. For the first offseason tweek, PLEASE stop penalizing teams for the refs missing calls. IF a team wins its first 3 challenges, there is NOW WAY they should be out of challenges. You want to keep the game moving and not have multiple challenges, better the officials, until then UNLIMITED successful challenges and limit of 2 unsuccessful with loss of time out.

Since: Aug 23, 2010
Posted on: January 24, 2012 6:27 pm

Harbaugh: Bradshaw non-fumble like tuck rule

Unforturnately for the 49ers this call didn't go their way.  I thought it was a fumble but it is a judement call and the play was blown dead.  Close call that was called correctly but could have changed the outcome of the game.  49ers needed to do better on third down which I think was really their downfall along with the fumbles.Cool

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 6:19 pm

Harbaugh: Bradshaw non-fumble like tuck rule

I didn't think one bit that was a blown call unless they changed the rule last week.  It was a good call.  Ok worst case scenario lets say it was a fumble.  We earned it w/ the 45 blown calls in GB.  San Fran you lost to the better team.  Deal w/ it

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