At the end of the Monday Night Football game, my lead to my fantasy football semi-finals had been squandered and I lost my game by .5 points. I went to set my lineup today for my third place game, and was shocked to see I was in the finals. How did that happen? Well if you let reddit user u/the_haashole (no relation) tell it, he brought big facts to the NFL offices and showed them that a fumble ruling by Ezekiel Elliot’s stat sheet was incorrectly called.
How can a fumble be incorrectly called? A valid question. Lets look at the play at hand. 4th and 1
Looks to be a fumble, eh?
Let’s read the_haashole’s explanation.
With the help of a few people on Twitter, I uncovered evidence that I provided directly to the top of the official score keepers of the NFL. This was not a cut-and-dry case, and I believe my evidence ultimately influenced their decision to overrule the turnover. The stat correction may have swung tens of thousands of fantasy football match-ups in Week 15. To those that are on the losing end of this stat correction, I apologize. My whole goal was to uphold the integrity of the NFL Rule Book and the stats that are sacred to fantasy football. Here’s how it went down:
On 4th-and-1 at the Indianapolis 3-yard line, Ezekiel Elliott received a hand-off and was stuffed for a 2 yard loss, fumbling in the process.
I have never argued that Elliott didn’t fumble the football. Instead, what I chose to focus on was the process surrounding the fumble being ruled a turnover.
If you watch the footage on NFL Game Pass, the referees never ruled the fumble as a turnover since the end result was the same: Indianapolis possession at their own 5-yard line. There also was no “marker” thrown to indicate the spot of the fumble and one angle shows a referee running to spot the ball, but not waving his arms indicating a turnover.
If the play had been ruled a turnover via fumble, per Section 2, Article 2 of the Official NFL Rule Book, “a request for replay review will be initiated when…(c) a fumble or backward pass that is recovered by an opponent or goes out of bounds through an opponent’s end zone.”
Additionally, “If the Referee does not have clear and obvious visual evidence as to which player recovered the loose ball, or that the ball went out of bounds, the ruling on the field will stand.” See: Cowboys-Eagles Week 14.
These two things are extremely important because the officials were never asked by the booth to review the play. The official stats provider of the NFL has access to certain logs that can let them know when a play is reviewed by the booth.
If they had looked at the replay, they would have seen that there wasn’t a clear recovery by the defensive player, Jabaal Sheard.
The best view of the play after Elliott fumbles can be seen here: https://twitter.com/veintiuno_96/status/1075436656277151744. At the :05 mark of the video I link, it looks like Elliott may have tucked the ball into his belly before Sheard rips it out.
Either way, this does not appear to be a “clear and obvious” recovery by the defensive player.
I understand the NFL not wanting to take the time to review a play that has the same net result, but the bottom line is that rules are rules, and they must be followed.
(14:15) E.Elliott left tackle to IND 5 for -2 yards (P.Desir). FUMBLES (P.Desir), and recovers at IND 5. DAL-X.Su’a-Filo was injured during the play. His return is Questionable.
So, in conclusion, a fumble was never called on the field because it was inconsequential to the game play. Fantasy football owners of Ezekiel Elliot however rejoiced.
You really do hate that the process can be affected FOUR days later to such a large extent but hey, rules are rules.
So with that, if you were affected adversely I will pray for you (I won’t) and to those like me who are rejoicing…Lets party.