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Why replay got the Chris Ivory fumble right, technically

Jacksonville Jaguars v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Jacksonville Jaguars left Missouri with another loss on Sunday, this time to the Kansas City Chiefs thanks to multiple turnovers. In all honesty, the Jaguars were lucky the Chiefs were missing more than a handful of their top players, or it might have snowballed out of their favor way more than it did on Sunday. One turnover in particular fueled most of the conversation and has already been the focus Monday morning along talk radio. The Chris Ivory fumble into the endzone that fans are convinced was a touchdown, but was ruled and upheld as a fumble with a Chiefs recovery. While I agree it was probably a touchdown, the NFL replay officials actually ruled correctly on the play.


The ruling for the play on the field was a fumble and in real time it appeared that’s what it was. The big question was if Ivory had broken the plane of the goal line before losing control of the ball. From the full speed replays, you couldn’t really tell. The booth came back with a ruling of the call on the field stood, so instead of six points for the Jaguars, it was another takeaway for the Chiefs. That missed score ended up being huge later on, as the Jaguars ended up losing by five.

As I mentioned however, the replay official by rule, ruled correctly. The call on the field should have stood, which was a fumble, because there was not clear and obvious evidence that Ivory didn’t lose possession prior to crossing the goal line. Now, before you post the still image of Ivory with the ball over the goal line to proclaim that I’m an idiot and the officials are wrong, that image is irrelevant and doesn’t actually prove he had control prior to crossing the plane. If you watch the play from the angle of that screenshot frame by frame; the frame prior you can see the ball, then it appears to be in his hand, then the very next frame it’s out. You cannot see, with certainty, that the ball isn’t moving, which is ultimately why the call was upheld. They needed clear obvious evidence otherwise, and despite what the freeze frame shows, they didn’t have it.

The game announcers, who were awful throughout the game by the way, didn’t help matters by erroneously stating that replay officials cannot use freeze frame to reverse a call. That is 100 percent incorrect, as they can and often do for things like checking if a player was down or in-bounds. For this particular play, the freeze frame was irrelevant and it wouldn’t have been useful to change the ruling. They had to confirm that Ivory had control of the ball prior to crossing the plane and with all the video angles provided, you couldn’t. Had this play been ruled a touchdown and gone to review, it would have stayed a touchdown, because again you cannot see what happened prior to breaking the plane.

Yes, I think it should have been a touchdown, but by rule the replay official got it correct.

Also, maybe don’t fumble?