Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel called out what he believes was a missed fumble call involving Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.
The 8-4 Tennessee Titans finally had a moment of rest in Week 13, relaxing on their bye week as they prepared for a Week 14 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
While Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill chose to spend his bye week vacationing in paradise with his wife, head coach Mike Vrabel decided to unwind with a little Sunday Night Football.
But a ruling on the field declaring a dropped Travis Kelce catch an incomplete instead of a fumble got Vrabel’s head back in the game during the bye.
The NFL explained their official ruling on the field in a tweet, accompanied by a slow-motion video of Kelce’s dropped incompletion. Vrabel responded to the NFL’s tweet with a screenshot of the NFL rules regarding a catch. In his distinctly dry sense of humor, Vrabel drove home the point that the NFL was breaking their own rules on this one.
Mike Vrabel calls out NFL for mistaken call on Travis Kelce play during SNF
The ruling on the field, as the NFL explained in their original tweet, was so because of a third factor in completing a catch: time.
Kelce “did not fully complete the process of a catch, because the third element of a catch – time – was not met.”
However, Vrabel’s screencap doesn’t include a specific time factor, which is what makes each call rather subjective. All it says is that a receiver must “maintain control of the ball long enough” to make a football move, which could be a step forward, extension of the arm, and so on.
Kelce caught and secured the ball, landed on the ground with both feet, then stepped forward just as the ball was knocked out of his hands. The time factor is not specified, so if Vrabel was the one officiating, he could have potentially made an argument that Kelce possessed the ball and made a football move long enough to meet the requirements of a catch.
Alas, Vrabel is no NFL official, but he was a longtime player (and occasional receiver!) in the NFL with the New England Patriots. The rules have changed a great deal since Vrabel won Super Bowls, but he’s maintained the same gruff sarcasm over the years.
“It was a good opportunity to remind everybody the rules of the process of a catch,” Vrabel said of his tweet during a press conference.
“I have that on my phone, on my home screen, the rulebook. So, I took a screenshot, figured out how to tweet it out so that everybody that followed could understand what the process of a catch was and what it isn’t.”
The rules may change over time, but vintage Vrabel never gets old.