If you haven’t seen the replay of the Ben Roethlisberger fumble at the end of the Steelers-Dolphins game, go ahead and watch it. If you haven’t heard the outcome of the play, be prepared to take precautions so your head doesn’t explode.
With just over two minutes left in the game, Roethlisberger dove at the goal line on 3rd and goal. The play was originally called a touchdown, but the replay showed Big Ben clearly loses control before breaking the plane.
In fact, it was so obvious that it has caused some to wonder why the play was ruled a touchdown to begin with.
After Roethlisberger loses the ball, Dolphins linebacker Ikaika Alma-Francis appears to be the first to fall on the ball in the endzone, which would mean a touchback and would give the ball to Miami at the 20-yard line. And with just over two minutes left and a two-point lead, it’s likely the Dolphins would have been able to run the clock and win the game.
But after the official announces that the replay has shown it was a fumble, he goes on to say that there must be conclusive evidence of which team recovered the ball — and since there was no such evidence, the ball would go back to the Steelers near the goal line and a 4th and goal situation.
The Steelers kicked a field goal to give them a 23-22 lead and that was it.
So first off, let’s forget the fact that the head referee was from Pittsburgh and may or may not have been a Steelers fan and held a slight bias — there is clear evidence that Alma-Francis and not anyone from the Steelers recovered the ball.
And Exhibit B:
Clearly, there is plenty of evidence that the Dolphins fell on the ball in the endzone. If nothing else, the video shows at least two Dolphins players jumping on the ball before the Steelers even realize it could have been a fumble. That alone should be plenty of evidence to give the Dolphins the ball.
Did the official ignore the evidence, or is he simply incompetent?
I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but this is very shaky to me. It seems like this guy saw the opportunity to use the rule interpretation as a crutch and didn’t want to make the tough call. In doing so, he robbed the Dolphins of a win.