Good afternoon Broncos Country! Much was made of a single play last night, and rightfully so. Andre Caldwell's near fumble deep in Broncos territory on the kickoff could have handed the ball back to Rivers and Charger offense in a 7-7 game. Instead, the officials reversed the decision on the field and the ball remained with Denver.
The call was close. If you're a Bronco fan you probably said "no fumble" and if you were a Charger fan or Bronco hater you probably said "fumble" or at the very least "there was no indisputable evidence that could overturn the call on the field."
After taking a closer look this morning, rewind after rewind after rewind, I can see it both ways.
The first shot shows Caldwell as the defender first makes contact with his hand. Notice the gold lettering on the football and how it points to the orange between two white spots in the middle of Caldwell's glove.
The second shot shows the moment Caldwell's forearm touches the ground. When I look at the ball in the 2nd shot and compare it to the 1st, it does appear that the ball has begun to move in the 2nd shot. If you focus on the angle the ball and Caldwell's right arm makes in both shots, the angle decreases which means the point has started to rotate. What isn't clear is if the ball starts to move before the forearm contacts the ground.
Even in slow motion it is hard to tell when the ball begins to move in relation to Caldwell's forearm touching down. From the stills, I can see that the ball does start to move, I just can't pinpoint when, and that's on a frame by frame basis something I don't think the referees have the power to see. With the gif, it's such a "bang bang" play and the result remains inconclusive.
That brings me to the next point. The call on the field was a fumble. You need indisputable evidence to overturn a call on the field. We don't have that sort of evidence here, we have a judgment call. Because the call on the field was a fumble, the replay official should probably have upheld the ruling on the field and possession should have remained with San Diego.
What do you think Broncos Country, did the refs make the right call?