Ravens coach John Harbaugh disagreed with the application of the "tuck" rule that reversed an apparent sack, strip and fumble recovery in the team's 30-7 pelting of the Kansas City Chiefs in Sunday's AFC Wildcard playoff game.
Harbaugh has an ally in a former NFL Vice President of Officiating.
The play in question occurred with the Chiefs beginning an offensive possession from their own 45-yard line.
Quarterback Matt Cassel dropped back to pass, but he was tackled from behind by cornerback Lardarius Webb, who dislodged the ball as Cassel tried to pull the ball back and and also recovered the fumble at Kansas City's 34,
Officials on the field initially ruled that the Ravens recovered the fumble. But after a Chiefs challenge sent play for an official review, the ruling was overturned to reflect an incomplete pass by Cassel.
On Monday, Harbaugh said he thought the first ruling was the correct one.
"Little bit confusing," Harbaugh said. "It looked like a fumble to me. The 'tuck' rule – that's one of the more confusing rules in football."Mike Pereira, the Vice President of Officiating between 2004 and 2009 who now writes for Fox Sports, said the officials applied the "tuck" rule correctly.
As he noted, Rule 3, Section 2 states "when a team 'A' player (passer) is holding the ball to pass it forward, any intentional forward movement of his hand starts the forward pass, even if the player loses possession of the ball as he is attempting to tuck it back toward his body."
But Pereira also questioned whether it's time to get rid of the rule.
"I think it's time to change this rule," Pereira wrote in his column Sunday night. "A pass should only be ruled incomplete if the ball comes loose in the actual act of passing the ball. If it comes loose in the tucking motion, then it should be fumble."
"I would support a rule change, although it took me a long time to get to this point," he continued.
To receive breaking Ravens news on your mobile device, text FOOTBALL to 70701 or sign up here.