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Friday, January 24, 2014

NFL admits mistake in 49ers’ NaVorro Bowman fumble recovery

By on 1/24/2014 09:00:00 AM

Mike Coppinger of reports that the NFL made the wrong call on San Francisco 49ers NaVorro Bowman's incredible strip of the football of Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse.

By now, you have all seen the play; Bowman striped the ball from Kearse as he tried to score and had possession of the pigskin before the massive pile up.  Seahawks running back, Marshawn Lynch, came away with the rock and the zebras awarded possession to the Seabirds.

By BrokenSphere via Wikimedia Commons
The NFL gods saw fit to rectify the error by the black and whites because Lynch muffed the next fourth down play and the Niners took over.

NFL vice president of officiating, Dean Blandino, says the Bowman strip and Lynch recovery was not "the right call on the field." 

Rule 15, Section 9, Article 5 is a complicated rule but put simply, recovery of a loose ball not on the sideline or the end zone is a non-reviewable play.

 Blandino goes into further detail on the NFL Network:
The reason for that is that if we made that reviewable, then you potentially can have a replay reviewed on every pileup after a fumble when a lot of times it's difficult to tell who has it.  So you could create an exception, and when you look at the replays here, it's clear that Bowman did have possession of the football. If one of our officials had recognized that, we should have given San Francisco possession.
To add to the calamity, Bowman suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament on the play when Eric Reid smashed into Bowman's knee.  Miraculously, Bowman held on to the ball even though the refs fumbled the call.

Mike Florio of NBCSports reports that the 49ers plan to let his MCL heal before repairing his ACL surgically.  Head coach John Harbaugh told reporters that it is still unclear if Bowman needs surgery on his MCL, stating, “We’ll see how [the] MCL heals in the next two to three weeks.  But, that’s not known if that has to be fixed or not.  The fact of fixing the ACL is what we know.”

It is standard practice to let the MCL heal on its own before surgically repairing the ACL.  However, the longer the wait for surgery, the longer the timeframe to get back on the field and that should be a concern for the Niners.

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