Big Ten Officiating Crew Dropped the Ball on Wisconsin Badgers Touchdown


Once again Saturday night, mediocre Big Ten officiating reared its ugly head at Camp Randall Stadium where the Wisconsin Badgers could have come away with a shocking victory over the Northwestern Wildcats.

I say shocking because of how poorly the Badgers offense played for the majority of the game but still had one last chance to win it at the end.

Before I go on my Big Ten officiating rant, there are two things I want to go over quickly.

For starters, I am surprised at anyone that the Badgers were still one score down when they went on their final drive with just 1:47 left in the game. A team that committed five turnovers should have never been in this game so late, but credit to this Wisconsin defense for standing tough again throughout the game leaving the offense with ample chances to score.

And secondly, on that punt return for a touchdown by Alex Erickson that was called back. That apparently is the right call, so even though I was initially upset (as was all Badger fans) with the call it was the right now.

Now let’s get back to the matter at hand.

That touchdown that wasn’t to Jazz Peavy will be heavily debated and is another example that no one really knows what a catch is anymore. From the second I saw it to the endless replays I have watched since, I will debate that it was a catch until I am blue in the face.

Looking at the replay, you can clearly see that Peavy catches the ball, takes four steps, falls to the turf and hits his knee in bounds before rolling out-of-bounds and bobbling the football slightly. I know “complete the process” has been thrown around a lot. I’m sorry, but taking four steps and having your knee hit in bounds without losing control of the football should make the process complete.

And another thing I’ve wondered for many years. How come a runner, whether it be a running back, quarterback or receiver, can be running towards the goal line and be pushed out-of-bounds but as long as the football just touches the pylon it counts as a touchdown even if said runner loses control of the football right after? And as long as the nose of the football crosses the goal line then it is a touchdown, no matter what happens after that? It does not make sense then that a ball caught in the end zone has to have so many different rules for it to be a catch. In fact, it’s not just then end zone. It seems like week in and week out, especially in the NFL, a catch that seems like a catch is ruled incomplete because the player did not “complete the process.” What happened to the good ol days of a catch being a catch and using common sense to determine what exactly is a reception?

I don’t blame Calvin Johnson for all of this, but it all started with him five years ago and this incomplete pass.

Honestly with how poorly Wisconsin’s offense played, it never should have come down to this play. But it did and in my opinion that was a catch. The NCAA and the NFL need to revise what is and is not a catch in the off-season and try to make it less complicated. This is not just a Big Ten officiating problem. It’s an all around football officiating problem.