Steelers First Down Measurement Versus Browns With Referee Explantation

First down measurement picture versus Browns!

First down measurement picture versus Browns!

Walt Anderson – Re: fourth down measurement

Question: Why it was a first down
Walt Anderson: “The ball has to penetrate the plane of the stake. When we set the ball up ready to measure and we bring the chains out, the chains are set beside the football, they\’re not put down on top of the football. So I get on the side and I\’m looking straight in at that angle. So when the stakes go down I\’m sighting in between the nose of the football and the stake. So if the nose of the ball touches the stake then it\’s a first down. It\’s kind of like a football touching the plane of the goal line. But we don\’t actually put the stake up against the nose of the ball because of the way the ball is shaped. The chains and the stake are laid beside…so it kind of depends on the angle you might be looking at it from.”

Question: Picture showed ball short of the stick
Walt Anderson: “It depends on which angle you might be looking. I\’m looking from straight on so I guess it\’s conceivable that\’s why I don\’t get it back at an angle because it can be deceptive because there\’s a little bit of a distance probably in the neighborhood of five or six inches between the actual point of the football and where the stake actually sets on the ground. If you shot at an angle maybe from back behind the ball it might look like it\’s short. If you shot at angle the other side, it might actually look like it\’s further in advance of the stake then what it actually.”

Question: Where he was measuring the nose of the ball was at the stake?
Walt Anderson: “It touched the plane of the stake because that\’s what I\’m looking at.”

Question: The correct call was made and you stand by it?
Walt Anderson: “Yes”

  • charlie

    biggest joke of a call I’ve ever seen in my entire effing life. fixed BS.

  • David
  • blake

    nice try david. the lines aren’t correct on the picture aligned with the yard marker anyway, so gives us another reason

  • drew

    Although I appreciate the lovely drawing david, according to the line that is so perfectly placed, the referee is holding the ball at about a 135 degree angle… c’mon now… whether it was or wasn’t a first down, I don’t know, but that line is so BS, it’s funny. I could draw another line at a completely different angle and make it look like it’s parallel to the hash mark. It’s not enough that the steelers whip on the browns every year, twice a year… they also have to come up with ridiculous drawings so that they can cover up what seems to have been a turnover on downs. Either way, I’m not naive enough to say it would have changed the outcome of the game.

  • Thomas

    C’mon now… I know that camera angles and what-not come into play, BUT the NFL shows many games a week across the nation and in about 20 years of watching NCAA and NFL football every week, I’ve never seen a BAD angle shown at the first down measurement. NEVER have these “bad angle” calls been up for so much discussion on the net and NEVER have these “bad angle” calls been mocked and questioned by the commentators that are announcing the game. When the QB of the team that gets that call says “we got lucky”… it’s obvious that IT WASN’T OBVIOUS.

  • Mike

    Drew – don’t forget basic geometry. You’re looking at a 90-degree angle (ball-to-yard-line) from above and to the side. This will make the *apparent* angle significantly greater than 90 degrees. I just tried it with a desk model, with my viewpoint approximating the angle of the camera shot, and the apparent ball-to-yard-line angle I saw looks about the same as what’s in the picture David linked. As for being able to “draw another line at a completely different angle and make it look like it’s parallel to the hash mark” – no way that I can see. The lines in that shot look a tad off, but correcting them would look more like a first down instead of less.

    Finally, Thomas – while Ben did say they were “lucky”, when I read his full comment he sounded like he was talking about making the first down despite stepping in a “three-foot divot”, not the measurement. Or did he give an explanation later that I missed?

  • Jack

    Look at the photo, please. We’re looking at the ball directly over the top of a player’s helmet. Is that player’s helmet on the imaginary line where the nose of the ball is? Or is he a yard or two behind that line? Look at the stick itself. Look at the red surface. We’re not even close to looking at that from the narrow side. We’re seeing a whole lot of the flat side of that red surface. The camera is not even CLOSE to being even with the nose of the ball.