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- Bad Call on Polamula's Interception

Chris Pokorny January 16, 2006
Chris Pokorny
PFC Owner & Writer

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The NFL has admitted that Referee Pete Morelli made the wrong decision when he overturned a Troy Polamula interception late in the fourth quarter against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. Manning was trying to drive his team back, when Polamula dove to intercept a pass. In the process, he rolled over on the ground, and as he tried to get up, knocked the ball out of his hands with his knees. The ruling was originally an interception, and then overturned as an incomplete pass.

Mike Pereira, the league's vice president for officiating, said that Morelli should have let the play stand as called.

"He maintained possession long enough to establish a catch," Pereira said. "Therefore, the replay review should have upheld the call on the field that it was a catch and fumble."

Because of the overturn, the Colts nearly came back and won the game. After the game, Morelli defended his decision.

"I had the defender catching the ball. Before he got up, he hit it with his leg with his other leg still on the ground. Therefore, he did not complete the catch. And then he lost the ball. It came out, and so we made the play an incomplete pass."

Pereira clearly defines what a catch is, however.

"The definition of a catch -- or in this case an interception -- states that in the process of making a catch a player must maintain possession of the ball after he contacts the ground," Pereira said. "The rule regarding the performing of an act common to the game applies when there is contact with a defensive player and the ball comes loose, which did not happen here."

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