Referee Walt Coleman Explains Santonio Holmes Touchdown Review Reversal

(On why it was ruled a touchdown)
“You have to have two feet down to complete the catch. He had two feet down and completed the catch with control of the ball breaking the plane of the goal line.”

(On if the ball broke the plane)
“Yeah, the ball was breaking the plane. He had two feet down. When he gained control of the ball, the ball was breaking the plane and then he fell into the field of play. But to have a touchdown, all you have to have is a catch, which is the two feet down, possession and control of the ball breaking the plane.”

(On why was the original call was not ruled a touchdown)
“[Head linesman Paul Weidner] felt like when the receiver gained possession of the ball, the ball was not breaking the plane of the goal line.”

  • bud

    Consider a comeback route to the FRONT corner of the endzone, the reciever has two feet in the endzone’s corner, reaches in front of the goal line and out of bounds and makes the catch. The ball never breaks the plain, but his feet were in the end zone before he was pushed out of bounds. Touchdown right? 2 feet in the endzone, falls out of bounds, ball doesn’t need to break the plain. This catch is being explained wrong, you can’t move the same play to center field and demand breaking the plain. Has anyone considered this?

  • chris


    Finally! Thank you. I have been saying this since the catch was made. The question isn’t whether or not the ball crossed the plane…it’s if he had 2 feet down or not…which he clearly did.

  • dave

    Actually, that’s wrong. If the player reaches in front of the goal line and he’s pushed out, the ball is placed where the ball went out of bounds (assuming it doesn’t break the plane). The thing with the goal line is that it goes on infinitely (so to speak). For example, let’s say the player is in the front corner of the end zone. The ball is thrown to the effect that it goes out of bounds across the 2 yard line and the player, with both feet in bounds, stretches out and catches it before landing it is ruled the TD. It’s ruled this way because the player is inbounds and the ball broke the plane (even though it didn’t happen between the pylons).

    As far as last night’s catch, it’s ruled a TD because the ball did break the plane. The ref only mentioned the two feet being down to establish possession. It still would have been a TD if the ball broke the plane and only one foot was in the endzone. Just need to establish possession WHILE the ball is breaking the plane. This is why running backs can score when only the nose breaks the plane.

  • bud

    Dave, I respectfully disagree. I understand the concept of an infinate goal line, but if a player catches a ball with 2 feet in the endzone and is pushed out of bounds with the ball never having crossed the infinate goal line, I believe this would be ruled a TD. Now I do agree that Tone had posession in the endzone anyway, because as soon as the ball touches the goal line the play is over, so you can’t push him out or “take away” his forward progress. I mentioned the corner of the endzone scenerio because we’ve all seen those types of plays called a TD.

  • admin

    By rule, his feet did not have to be down, however, when the ball crossed the goal line — he had to be in possession of the ball when it broke the plane of the goal line and then, to complete the play, his feet had to touch the ground.

    “When he gained control of the ball,” Coleman said, “the ball was breaking the plane and then he fell into the field of play.”

  • Brent

    So Dave, the hypothetical call is that a ball is placed where the ball goes out of bounds. If a catch is made on the sidelines, the player is pushed, but maintains himself inbounds by ‘walking the line” for 10 yards like a tight-rope walker with his arms outstretched, all the while the ball is in the hand that was out of bounds; do the extra 10 yards of gain become erased and the ball marked where it first was stretched out of bounds?
    I am a big Stillers fan, but I was watching on a projection screen at the casino, and my view was not indisputable that the ball was over the line, but I didn’t have an HD set to see. I am obviously happy for the call, but this same situation has apparently happened before, MNF 12-15-2003, which was overruled to be a TD (found after doing some research on the subject, but didn’t get the complete details thought the description sounded quite identical)

  • bud

    You’re right Brent. I’ve never seen a ball spotted where it was held out over the sideline. The player must go out of bounds, not the suspended ball.

  • Jeff

    What about this: player catches the ball in front of the goal line has one foot down, leans over so ball crosses the line but before he gets second foot down, is driven back and tackled on the playing field?

  • Sarah

    Santonio Holmes did not have both feet down!! His right toe never touched. It may look like it did because both bottoms of the cleats are yellow and blend together. making it hard to tell where one shore begins and the other ends. BUT you can see that both legs are strched to there fullest and still the right heal is 2 or 3 inches higher than the left. If you freeze the play and take a good look you can see the diffrence inthe two shoes and clearly see the right “toe” never touches the turf.

  • ben

    Does anyone agree with me that there was no way Big Ben’s knee hit the ground on the touchdown reversal in the first quarter.

  • sean

    Its obvious his right foot never touched the groud, but the media and casinos and America needed the steelers to win, so Im glad they helped them out in the reviews. Our economy needs help!

  • waynesworld

    Holmes had both toes down. Ben’s knee never hit..see the shadow..and here’s a new one for ya’ll… Take a look at Fitzie’s first TD..the ball hits the ground. Also has anyone seen Justin Hartwig’s hold in the end zone yet??? I have watched the replay 100 times and still can’t see it. The ref who threw the flag was in no position to even see the phantom hold.

  • Big Lew

    Sarah and Sean, you need to get HDTV…..anyone who didn’t see both toes on the ground has either bad reception or is totally blind!
    As for Fitzie’s first TD….I also agree…..the ball hit the ground before he received it. And another, Ben’s knee never hit the ground, it was a touchdown!……I guess we still have a few sore losers. Bottom line….the Cards needed to play some defense on the last series….they forgot the game is played a FULL 60 minutes(as Tomlin says). They were already celebrating on the sideline when Fitz scored, thinking that the game was over.