Super Bowl LII will go down as one of the most entertaining Super Bowl games in the history of the NFL. It was a flurry of offense, hundreds of yards were thrown by both Nick Foles and Tom Brady and dramatic referee reviews that could have gone either way potentially changed the fate of the game.
One of those controversial calls (which wound up not being all that controversial) was the Zach Ertz touchdown run that put the Philadelphia Eagles ahead in the fourth quarter and ended up being the difference-maker in the game. The touchdown put the Eagles up 38-33 and they ended up scoring one more field goal before the game ended and the Eagles won their first-ever Super Bowl by a score of 41-33.
The question that many New England Patriot fans will be asking is, was ruling Ertz’s score that gave the Eagles the win a legitimate touchdown and ultimately the right call?
— NFL (@NFL) February 5, 2018
Unfortunately for Patriots fans, the call was correct and not all that much of a question mark.
The ruling came down that after the catch, Ertz became a runner on the play. Ertz caught a pass from Foles’ at the Patriots five-yard line, stepped around a tackler and lunged for the end zone. Because he stopped being a receiver and then became a runner, the rule suggests that even if the ball hit the ground first and he lost control, as long as he regained possession, it was like a runner making a fumble but recovering the ball. As a runner, by collecting the ball without it being first caught or obtained by a Patriots’ player, it was ruled an official touchdown when Ertz got it back.
Why this was even questioned and where this gets controversial for NFL fans, is in Week 15 of the season, Jesse James was viewed to make a similar score for the Pittsburgh Steelers in a play that was overturned and ruled not to be a touchdown. Until closer look, it’s hard to distinguish the difference between the two plays.
Where one play is vastly unlike the other, the ruling that Ertz became a runner makes all the difference. Because James’ touchdown was a pass that was ruled incomplete due to the ball touching the ground and James not having full control over the football, his pass was ruled incomplete. Catching the ball on the one-yard line, it’s tough to suggest James had an opportunity to become a runner. Ertz, on the other hand, was ruled to have control over the football on the five-yard line and as such was no longer a receiver but a runner.
If that explanation is still not enough for Patriot fans, consider what happened right after Ertz touchdown was ruled complete. James himself chimed in on Twitter to call the play a good touchdown and agreed with referee’s decision. There’s nothing more final than having the player for which the overturned call was made agree. This touchdown was, in fact, legit.
. @ZERTZ_86 caught it
— Jesse James (@JJames18_) February 5, 2018
It may have been a play that changed the game and it may have been the play that gave the Eagles the lead, but ultimately the call was correct and it was a clear touchdown.
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