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Giants' Tom Coughlin on WFAN: "There is no runner in the end zone"

Coach tells Mike Francesa "controversial" catch rule is a problem.

Touchdown or no touchdown?
Touchdown or no touchdown?
Al Bello/Getty Images

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin still has not let go of the Odell Beckham Jr. touchdown that wasn't during Sunday's 27-26 loss to the New England Patriots, which was clear during an appearance by Coughlin Tuesday on WFAN with Mike Francesa.

"We've made this a very difficult call," Coughlin said. "And the thing that bothers me about it is, first, the word "runner." There is no runner in the end zone. When a guy catches the ball in the end zone, that's it. He's not going to take another step, Mike. He's on the sideline."

Then, on the Beckham play in question: "It's not a simultaneous hit. He caught the ball. Now, do I want him to have the ball in tight? You bet. And is that a tough lesson for Odell to learn? Yes, it is."

You know the play. With 2:06 remaining Eli Manning throws to Beckham, who leaps, catches the ball cleanly with two hands and lands in the end zone with two feet down just before Patriots' cornerback Malcolm Butler swats the ball out of Beckham's hands. The play is ruled a touchdown on the field and overturned by replay officials.

We have argued ... and argued ... and argued about whether or not the Giants should have thrown the ball there. But, they did. And they thought -- and apparently still think -- they had a touchdown that would very possibly have won the game.

Here's a little more from Coughlin:

Former NFL head of officiating Mike Pereira said immediately after the game that officials got the call right. NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino agreed.

"They did get it right, and the rule is pretty clear on this," Blandino said on the NFL Network. "I know there has been a lot of debate about the rule, but it says you have to have control, you have to have both feet down, and after the second foot is down, you have to have the ball long enough to establish yourself as a runner. And that doesn't matter if you're in the end zone or in the field of play. It's that element of time.

"Beckham, the second foot hits, and it's a fraction of a second, maybe a fraction of a second after that, the ball comes out. He didn't have the ball long enough after the second foot was down to establish possession, that's why it was overturned to incomplete."

Final Thoughts

The problem here isn't the call, at least not in my view. And Coughlin seems to hint at that. The problem here is the rule. No one truly understands exactly what is and is not a catch under the current rule. It seems like there are several of these each week, and each time Blandino and Co. come up with a different way to explain what is and is not a catch. Which means, to be honest, that they really don't know what constitutes a catch, either.

I'm 100 percent with Coughlin on this one, even though by the letter of the goofed up way the rule is written the call was correct. How can you become a runner in the end zone? Where is there to run to? Why would you run? You've already accomplished the mission of getting the ball into the end zone, which is the goal. The play is over.

I have no idea how the ground can't cause a fumble, but it can cause an incompletion. Or, how you can have control of the ball with two feet down in bounds, take two steps out of bounds, fall down, lose the ball when you hit the ground and have that called an incompletion, which we have seen happen.

The problem is that there are too many things that have to happen, or possibilities that could happen, that would be considered "completing the process of the catch."

I don't know what a catch is, or the perfect way to fix the rule. At the very least, there has to be some acknowledgement that the regular field of play and the end zone are different places, since there is no further advancement of the ball in the end zone. My suggestion would be to simply go back to two feet down in bounds and possession of the ball. I know Blandino constantly says that would cause more fumbles, and he's probably right. At least, however, you would know a catch when you see one.

Your thoughts, Giants fans?