Al Capone is turning over in his grave with pride at this hour as the Detroit Lions and their heartbroken fans try to recover their football souls after being robbed of a win Sunday in Chicago.
You can try to cut this up any way you want, but the bottom line is the officials on the field and in the review booth blew the call when Lions receiver Calvin Johnson appeared to have hauled in the game-winning touchdown with 24 seconds remaining.
They all should be fired immediately. If the league had any footballs they would overturn the Bears victory by using their own written word in the NFL rulebook.
Here is the 2009 version of the NFL continuation rule the mindless and spineless zebras used against Johnson making the catch.
My response follows each paragraph.
"A player is in possession when he is in firm grip and control of the ball inbounds. To gain possession of a loose ball that has been caught, intercepted or recovered, a player must have complete control of the ball and have both feet completely on the ground inbounds or any other part of his body, other than his hands, on the ground inbounds.
(Huge opinion: Johnson had both feet on the ground with possession.)
"If the player loses the ball while simultaneously touching both feet or any other part of his body to the ground or if there is any doubt that the acts were simultaneous, there is no possession. This rule applies to the field of play and in the end zone."
(Huge opinion: Johnson never bobbled or lost control of the ball until both feet, his knee and the other hand touched the ground.)
"A player who goes to the ground in the process of attempting to secure possession of a loose ball (with or without contact by a defender) must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone.
(Huge opinion: He had secured possession of the football before he touched the ground so this does not apply.)
"If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, there is no possession. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, it is a catch, interception or recovery."
(Huge opinion: This part of the rule validates his catch as a touchdown.)
Here is the NFL rulebook on what defines ball possession of the ball:
"Possession: When a player controls the ball throughout the act of clearly touching both feet, or any other part of his body other than his hand(s), to the ground inbounds."
Detroit's Calvin Johnson catches the ball in the end zone while being defended by Chicago's Zackary Bowman.
(Huge opinion: So, once Johnson touched both feet, it's a touchdown. Do officials carry a rulebook with them like my Little League umpires used to do?)
Now, if a runner can cross the plane of a goal line with possession of the football for a touchdown, then once Johnson put both feet on the ground with possession, it should have been a touchdown.
Here is the league rule on touchdowns:
"Touchdown: When any part of the ball, legally in possession of a player inbounds, breaks the plane of the opponent's goal line, provided it is not a touchback."
(Huge opinion: What I have seen on video 50 times and what this rule says along with every other NFL bylaw proves there is an injustice here that deserves some recourse on the NFL paid officials who blew this call.)
This is not another Jim Joyce situation we had in baseball back in June.
The officials on the field and in the booth had the advantage of using instant replay. They don't deserve to work another game in the NFL. When you only play 16 regular-season games, officials can't take away games by their own incompetence.
Someone has to pay the price for this travesty.
If someone preaches any more forgiveness in sports to me for not being perfect when you have a rulebook and video replay to right your wrongs, I will scream.
A win Sunday would have meant the world to a franchise looking for something to build on.
I will say even if Johnson's catch would have been the game-winner, it still would not have helped this team long term. The unknown health and football future of Matthew Stafford is a bigger blow than any blown call means to the Lions organization.
The suffering will continue for all as we watch left tackle Jeff Backus allow defenders to continually knock his quarterbacks out of games.
For coach Jim Schwartz to defend Backus as one of the better offensive linemen in the game shows he may not be the judge of talent we think he is or the head coach who takes them to the next level.
For a man who came to Detroit to infuse defense, his team's first-half defensive game plan was picked apart by an offensive coordinator the Lions previously fired in Mike Martz.
The good thing is the defensive line looks like it belongs in the NFL.
Easy to coach a guy such as Ndamukong Suh, who can just run over people. The back seven on defense, outside of Louis Delmas, look like they belong at home with us.
Also hidden in the game-ending emotion was an offensive game plan against the Bears that was conservative and outright foolish. To not use Johnson more the entire game is a coaching staff not ready to win games.
The only good thing about the replay drama is that it buried what still is bad about the Lions.