After all this time, people are still butthurt over “Fail Mary”


I went to a wedding this weekend, and met a Broncos fan (sorry, bruh). We talked about the Super Bowl and football in general, and without prompting he soon brought up the infamous “Fail Mary” play.

He insisted it was an interception, and blamed the replacement refs. I informed him that the replacement refs (as well as the locked-out officials) don’t have the final say on a scoring play. His face had a look of bewilderment: “They don’t?” After a few more exchanges I turned and started making my way back to the bar saying, “Tape don’t lie, man. Tape don’t lie.” His reply: “In this case, it does.”

Wow. Ignorance has no bounds. My next beer tasted great while I struck up a convo with someone else.

Even two years later, football fans seem to bring up the Fail Mary play on every football-related website at least once a day. There’s still much butthurt on teh innerwebs. And nothing…NOTHING…will convince them that it was not an interception. Not replay officials. Not the NFL league office itself.

Not even tape. did an excellent, in-depth article showing how the play was correctly called by officials, and correctly upheld by the replay booth, and correctly upheld by the league office, as a touchdown. They used both actual NFL rules, and actual NFL images from the play, to make this fact crystal clear. It’s worth the time to read, but I’m going to attack the issue in a slightly different way.

MYTH: “The replacement refs cost the Packers the game by ruling touchdown!”
TRUTH: NFL referees (replacements and regular officials) do NOT have final say on a scoring play. More than a year previous, the NFL made a rule that all scoring plays are subject to review…with the possible result being that the ruling on the field is to be overturned. Translation: if it WERE actually an interception, the replay review would have overturned the call made by the replacement refs.

MYTH: “The replacement refs cost the Packers the game on replay review!”
TRUTH: The replay booth is staffed by full-time employees of the NFL. Team owners cannot lock these people out, like they did with the regular field refs.

In addition, the replay booth has 28 or more cameras available to review, many more than what you see on broadcasted replays, and they have state-of-the-art equipment that allows them to step frame-by frame, zoom and pan. They are also staffed by full-time employees who MUST know the rules of the game, and apply those rules to what they see on the replay.

MYTH: “The call would stand if it were called as an interception!”
TRUTH: NFL owners had just approved during the 2012 off-season a rule change for automatic instant replay review of all turnovers. Upon review, the replay booth would have likely overturned the ruling if it were called as an interception…and judge it as a touchdown.

Here’s why: catching the ball is not enough. For example, a receiver can catch a ball on the run, but if only one foot is in-bounds while the big toe of his other foot lands out of bounds…that’s an incomplete pass, because you did not establish possession of the ball (both feet in-bounds). The exact same criteria applies to defenders: if you’re going to intercept a ball, you must get two feet on the field turf in order to establish possession.

Jennings didn’t do that. Yes, he had two hands on the ball, but he also had two feet off the ground…it’s not an interception until not one, but both feet are on the ground. And Tate had his hands on the ball while Jennings was still in the air.

MYTH: Jennings had two hands on the ball, therefore he had more control of the ball than Tate!”
TRUTH: One-handed receptions are made every week in the NFL. These plays often make highlight reels, with great celebration. And tape shows a one-handed reception. But it was ruled a “simultaneous catch” instead.

In addition, before Jennings got his second foot on the ground to potentially establish possession, Tate already had his ass on the ground. And having your ass on the ground, after a simultaneous catch with your hands are on the ball, means that THE PLAY IS DEAD. It’s over. No possibility for Jennings to establish possession. Again…it’s not enough that you catch the ball, even with both hands: you must establish possession (both feet). If the play is already dead, it doesn’t matter if you got your hands on the ball: your feet fucked you.

Then there’s that whole “simultaneous catch” rule that would have negated an interception, and awarded a touchdown, even if Jennings got both feet down before Tate’s ass hit the turf. See where this is going?

A very wise man once said, “Your eyes can deceive you. Don’t trust them.” Many men have said, “Tape don’t lie.” Both are true. Both apply here.

So here’s the ACTUAL butthurt. Jennings could have easily won that game for Green Bay. EASILY, I say. All he had to do was DO HIS JOB: that is, prevent the receiver from catching the ball. Pound it down to the ground, or swat it out of bounds. He is a highly-trained professional, he knows how to do that.

But he decided he wanted even more glory. He got greedy. He tried to catch the ball instead.

Jennings didn’t do his job. He fucked up. On national TV.

THAT is the definition of butthurt.


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