Ok. If you’ve been following this blog, you know that we try to stick to marketing fails in our weekly #FailFriday segment. (We’re an interactive marketing company, after all!) But if you follow this blog you also know that we are sports fans. Especially football fans. And as proud Iowans (and Iowa State grads), we get excited when ESPN comes to Ames, Iowa, for a nationally-televised football game between Iowa State and Texas. We get even more excited when our perennial underdog Cyclone squad somehow has a 30-24 lead over the revered Longhorns with less than 2 minutes to play.
So, like many of you, we were watching when THIS happened:
With their backs against the wall, this resilient ISU team appears to strip Texas running back Jonathan Gray of the ball near the 1-yard line. ISU linebacker Jeremiah George makes the game-saving (and potentially season-saving) play of the night and the game should be over. However, the Big 12 officiating crew ruled that Gray was down by contact before George stripped the ball. The play was reviewed in the booth, and much to the dismay of thousands watching the replay in the stadium and thousands more watching around the country, the call was upheld: no fumble. With new life, Texas punched it into the endzone on a quarterback sneak 2 plays later with only 51 seconds remaining in the game. Final score: Texas 31, Iowa State 30.
Now, Iowa State had other opportunities to win this game. They let a Hail Mary prayer-of-a-pass beat them for a 44 yard touchdown on the last play of the 1st half. They also failed to convert near the endzone on the drive immediately before the controversial fumble, getting a field goal instead of a touchdown and keeping the door open for Texas. Iowa State had also had some dumb penalties throughout this game.
With all that said, the Cyclones did enough to win this one. They outplayed and outworked a more talented Longhorns team. And with that defensive effort near the goal line, they deserved to win.
If you watch that video again, you can clearly see at the 0:04 mark that ISU’s Jeremiah George has the football in his possession, and no whistle has blown. You can also see that George has the ball just before Gray’s right knee falls to the turf. It’s close, no doubt about it, but the refs are paid to make these tough calls. They get to review the play from every angle and every speed. And they missed it. How?
David Pollack, who was in Ames and broadcasting the game for ESPN, had this to say after the game via Twitter:
Bill Byrne, a retired Athletic Director for Texas A&M University, said he has seen this before. Referencing past games that his teams played against Texas, Byrne tweeted this after the game:
Zach Johnson, PGA golfer and Iowa native, saw a fumble as well:
So how does this happen? With so many people seeing a fumble, how did these Big 12 refs miss it not once, but twice during an official review? Will the Big 12 offices review the call? Should there be consequences for these officials if the call is reviewed as incorrect? Would you like to see officials be required to hold press conferences (just like coaches) after the game to explain what they saw? Let us know in the comments below!
And just for your viewing enjoyment, here is Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads and his, ummm… feelings… after the game:
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