Major League Baseball's expanded video replay format has been front and center over the past week, but the NFC championship game on Sunday night magnified a huge glitch in the football challenge system.
In the fourth quarter, Seattle Seahawks receiver Jermaine Kearse caught a pass deep in the red zone and than lost control of the ball as he was tackled at the San Francisco 49ers' 1-yard line.
It was obvious from several camera angles that the ball came loose and was recovered in the air by 49ers defender NaVorro Bowman, who maintained possession even as he suffered an ugly knee injury.
There was absolutely no question the ball was fumbled and recovered by the 49ers, but -- inexplicably -- no official saw the fumble and allowed the Seahawks to maintain possession. Turns out, the NFL replay rules do not allow a challenge when a ruling is made on a fumble unless it happens in the end zone.
As if there really is some justice in the world, the Seahawks went for the touchdown on fourth down and fumbled the ball away, which saved the NFL a ton of embarrassment.
No doubt, they'll close that loophole the next time the competition committee meets during the offseason, but the fact that there was no mechanism for correcting that call in the biggest NFC game of the year is a disgrace.
If the intent of replay is to get important calls right in important games -- instead of just carving out a few more commercial breaks -- that kind of hole in the system just doesn't make any sense.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun