PJ Fleck Very Passionate About How Noncontroversial an Invalid Fair Catch Ruling is

NCAA Football: Minnesota at Iowa
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

PJ Fleck knows what we know. He has taken in the facts of the situation and come to the only logical conclusion. The invalid fair catch call that nullified an Iowa Hawkeyes punt return touchdown late in a Minnesota Gophers win on Saturday evening is not controversial.

The rule is the rule and the referees made the right call. It doesn’t matter if you saw it, I saw it or Kirk Ferentz saw it. Nor does it matter whether or not the Iowa head coach new the rule or understood the explanation afterwards. If any other penalty would have been called — ie: a hold, or block in the back — the result would have been the same.

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PJ Fleck passionate about uncontroversial invalid fair catch

So when asked about the “controversial call” on Monday, during his weekly press conference, Fleck made it very clear he did not appreciate the adjective used to describe the invalid fair catch signal called on Cooper DeJean yesterday.

“There’s nothing controversial about it. An offsides is an offsides, a false start is a false start, a hold is a hold. An invalid fair catch signal is an invalid fair catch signal. Now the way the rule states, is ‘invalid fair catch’ so everybody thinks it has to be above your shoulder and it has to look like a fair catch but that’s not part of the rule.

The other part of the rule, that was implemented years ago, is the poison rule. When you “poison” or “Peter” any call, you cannot advance that ball. You can point to a ball. That’s fine. But, with one hand, you can’t shue away people at all. You can’t do that. We got called for that weeks ago, if you remember. We shooed people away from the ball, caught it, wanted to return it, but it was blown dead.

The only thing that should have happened, and I’m not a referee, nor am I blaming anyone, but it should have been blown dead right there. Don’t even let that play happen because it doesn’t exist. Because it is a “poison” or “Peter” call and it’s a dead ball. No controversy about it.”

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Fleck touched on all things Iowa for most of the press conference but clearly was sick of going over the very non-controversial invalid fair catch ruling. He lauded the players hard work and effort, in the win, and talked about how them grabbing the Floyd of Rosedale and the smiles they had on their faces while doing, are what makes his job so great.

I can’t disagree with him. Those are the moments that make fandom worth it too, even if those moments seem few and far between sometimes.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan