Cardinals/Giants: Bad Call On Potential Fumble, According To Rules, Isn't Bad Call At All

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 02: Wide receiver Victor Cruz #80 of the New York Giants falls to the ground untouched after a reception against the Arizona Cardinals during the fourth quarter of the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 2, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Giants defeated the Cardinals 31-27. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

I think pretty much everyone thought he Arizona Cardinals were jobbed when Victor Cruz gave up the ball before he was touched in the fourth quarter. The TV analysts thought it was wrong, the fans thought it was a fumble, the replay showed it was a fumble and even Mike Pereira, former head of officiating, though it should have been called a fumble. It was a critical play because the Arizona defense, experiencing a letdown after having the call not go their way, gave up the deciding touchdown as Patrick Peterson was burned deep by Hakeem Nicks and Eli Manning.

After the game, the NFL released a statement to clarify the ruling that was on the field and believed to have been a gaffe.

The NFL rule book on page 35, Rule 7, section 2 says:

"An official shall declare the ball dead and the down ended: (e): when a runner is out of bounds, or declares himself down by falling to the ground, or kneeling, and making no effort to advance."

Referee Jerome Boger made this ruling on the field:

"The ruling on the previous play was that the receiver gave himself up by going to the ground. That cannot be challenged. So there is no challenge allowed by Arizona. It is first down, New York."

The wording of the ruling on the field is what was debated, with the "receiver gave himself up" statement. It was clear by the replay that Victor Cruz tripped and fell. He did not "give himself up." 

However, according to the rule, as Cruz did not make an effort to advance after that, the play should have been blown dead. 

Declaring oneself down includes falling down and not trying to advance. That is what Cruz did exactly. He didn't mean to fall down, but once he did he made no attempt to gain more yards.

In the end, it makes no difference now because the Cardinals are not going to protest the game as a result. And while a fumble there would have likely sealed a Cardinals victory, we certainly don't know exactly how theings would have transpired after that point. 

So when all was said and done, after all the emotions and disappointment, the right call was made. As maddening as it may seem, what we all want to see -- getting the call right -- was exactly what happened. 

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