Giants head coach Tom Coughlin explained his decision to challenge Mario Manningham’s dropped 37-yard touchdown reception -- the one in which he failed to complete the reception all the way through (“Calvin Johnson Rule,” anyone?) -- to reporters on Tuesday.
“The idea was that the ball was in the end zone and the ball was on his stomach while he was on his back on the floor of the end zone,” Coughlin said. “At that point in time, he had control of it. Upstairs, they were asking is it or isn’t it. Why would I let a play like that go by without something? Maybe we don’t have as many camera angles. Maybe it is something that they see, and there have been three or four of these plays where there has to be some consistency established from a standpoint of getting it one way. We saw one on television that looked exactly like this one and it went the other way for a touchdown.”
The play Coughlin is referring to is Nate Burelson's 5-yard TD reception in the fourth quarter against San Francisco last Sunday. Burelson made a leaping grab with both hands in the back of the endzone. He got both of his feet inbounds, but began stumbling as he fell and dropped the ball. The back judge initially ruled incomplete, but Detroit challenged and the officials ruled that Burelson completed the reception with enough time before he stumbled and dropped the ball.
“I just felt like I did not want to let that one just go by if there was any chance at all that it would be overruled and be called a touchdown. I had all three [timeouts],” Coughlin continued. “Sometimes there is a reason to challenge even when you don’t have the full evidence or really don’t believe you are going to win it. You do it anyway at certain points in the game and you may have an ulterior motive and in this case, my motive was that if there was any chance at all after a play like that it could be ruled a score, I certainly didn’t want one of you coming to me and saying, you know that was a catch.”
The NFL is certainly going to have to look very closely at this rule and get it straightened out. Otherwise, they're going to be dealing with a lot of controversy in the future.