Blog Entry

On Boise State's controversial missed field goal

Posted on: November 27, 2010 3:12 am

Posted by Adam Jacobi

So, Boise State lost at Nevada tonight, after leading 24-7 in the third quarter and 31-24 with under 5:00 to play. Did you watch? Please tell us you watched. While Nevada's comeback against the vaunted Boise defense was certainly startling, and the Kellen Moore bomb to Titus Young with 0:01 left to set up a game-winning field goal was one of the greatest plays of the year, all anybody will be talking about tomorrow will be the 26-yard field goal that Boise State kicker Kyle Brotzman missed(?) in regulation that sent the game into overtime.

Here's the video of the kick, which from the end zone angle looked so good that ESPN momentarily gave the points to Boise State on the bottom ticker:

Now, immediately after the kick, many viewers thought the kick was good, and wondered why there weren't any referees under the goalposts -- it's hard to see any signals coming from the usual spot, right? Blame the camera angle and fans, though; as the picture to the right shows, the referees were there, just completely obscured from the televised angle until well after the kick (which, annoying as it may be to viewers, doesn't prove that the referees weren't in correct position at all).

As to whether the kick was good or not, that's plainly impossible to tell from the end zone angle there -- the ball "crosses" (relative to the camera's angle) the upright when its path is above it, so anybody who declares an answer one way or the other based on that footage is just a self-sure speculator, and lord knows the world doesn't need more of those. For what it's worth, I thought it was good when I first saw the kick. I also know there's a reason referees don't use that camera angle.

More to the point, though, it's a wonder in this day and age that it takes the judgment of two referees to determine whether a field goal travels through the uprights or not. I've been (pardon the term) kicking this idea around for a while now, but what's to stop college and pro football from developing a more foolproof solution to this? After all, Arena Football doesn't need two referees under its uprights, because the equipment itself is sufficient: outside the two uprights are two tight nets designed to bounce the ball back into play, while inside the uprights is a looser net designed to catch a successful kick. There is never, ever any controversy as to whether a kick is good or not with this setup.

Obviously, Arena Football's outside nets are completely useless in college football, but designing a new goalpost with its loose netting attached to the uprights all the way down to the crossbar seems like an obvious choice -- as would be raising the posts to a regulation standard of 37 feet, to minimize judgment calls like what Boise State and Nevada just went through. Considering the vast sums spent on college football programs this season (and, ahem, the ludicrous amount the NCAA and its conferences receive from television contracts), it seems unfathomable that all I-A teams could not easily afford a new set of goalposts designed to take judgment out of the "is the kick good" equation once and for all.


Since: Nov 30, 2010
Posted on: November 30, 2010 1:07 am

On Boise State's controversial missed field goal

Oh and, you don't need technology. Just make the posts higher.

Since: Nov 30, 2010
Posted on: November 30, 2010 1:06 am

On Boise State's controversial missed field goal

@NHladky: What are you talking about when you say refs weren't in position to make the call? If you watch the video, you can see 2 refs walking from under the goal posts after the kick.  How can you tell where they were standing other than parallel to the posts? You can't see them until after the kick.

Since: Nov 30, 2010
Posted on: November 30, 2010 12:47 am

On Boise State's controversial missed field goal

Am I the only one that noticed that field goal apparatus is crooked? Look in the video at the cross bar and the goal line. They're not completly parallel. I gues it could be the camera but wouldn't both the goal line and the crossbar be offset the same if that were the case.  Only the trigonometry guy would know what kind of difference that would make.

As for the kick. I think if the posts were higher, the ball hits the one squarely and is no good. If that is the case, that means that the ball went over the existing post so by rule the kick should've been good.  I do not agree with that rule so I agree with the call. And somebody said the kicker's reaction was all you needed to know. That's a good point.

I'm surprised there wasn't a bigger debate about this. It like a conspiracy or something.

Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: November 29, 2010 7:33 pm

On Boise State's controversial missed field goal

I like what your saying...except that I am positive that the backstop net is futher away than just 8 feet.  Appears to be about 15 feet (5 yards) back from the goalpost.  Also, I don't think that you can accurately say when the ball actually hits the net...clearly the net has quite a bit of slack in it at the can see this when the ball tumbles down the net and seemingly moves back towards the center of the frame.  I think this gives the appearance of the ball crossing that "net line" much wider than it actually did. 

Also, all of this is dependent on how far the camera is from all of these various points of reference.  From 75 feet behind the goalpost, the angle of view is skewed enough that there is a couple of feet of difference  (less) in actual distance.  So if the ball appears to hit the net 6 feet (just for instance) to the left of the upright, it's actually only about 4 feet left of the post. 

I've actually sketched up the same thing you have and, even if I generously OVER-estimate the measurements, the ball would have hit the upright...and to the inside enough that it may have actually "doinked" through the uprights!  Most of the calculations I came up with had the ball passing through with roughly a foot to spare.  Obviously this is all just academic and moot...but, it does support the notion that there should be much better methods of veryfing such situations.

And, for the record:  I don't believe there is some kind of evil anti-Boise conspiracy afoot.  I DO think that the ref made a poor judgment and was almost definitely swayed by the roar of the home crowd.  Once again, all academic and moot!

Since: Nov 29, 2010
Posted on: November 29, 2010 4:09 am

On Boise State's controversial missed field goal

Your math excludes drift. A footballs aerodynamics allow it to curve as is slows down. This is why a kicker can be seen kicking a ball toward one corner of the field yet it lands on the center or opposite side regardless of wind. This is usually preventable by the place holder tilting the ball toward the wind or the angle of snap withdrawl on the kickers foot (also how kickers get that nice spiral). In this video you can clearly see the angle is inside, however curves drastically at the end. It does appear inside then suddenly curves out. This is natural and there is no trig or geometry that accounts for it correctly. That said, if your math says it was over the post, and you know the ball has curve and can visually verify it, then you can also assume that while it was too close to call by the eye of that camera, it was a good kick, though not by much. As I understand it, the teams on the field both hesitated because they waited for the officiators because it was that close. Even the officials took their sweet time deciding and not throwing their arms up or flagging it as missed. No video evidence exists showing another angle (conveniently since the shot of Nevada was from strait behind the kicker), and can not be found on the web. I strongly feel that Coach Pete missed an opportunity to have the ref's review the video footage and if they could not PROVE the ball was in or out, to replay the kick. I find it too convenient that no other footage exists, and that the goal refs were not standing directly under the goals as they are supposed to, but further back, and this is evident in the video footage, where you only see 1 ref, and not the other that would have been better able to call the goal.

Higher goal posts or even goal post cameras or sensors given our day of technology ought to be a given at this point. I have backup sensors in my car that are good up to 15 feet away and my backup camera is so tiny I had to search for it when I bought the car so I could clean it during the dirty winter months. Just why is it we have all these goodies on hand but the NCAA and NFL do not make use of them to make better calls and have solid evidence. Build them into the goalposts and just service them before each game. Problem solved! Total cost of parts, 50 bucks max per goal post. Cost to maintain, less than the heartache of a good kick that made it being called as a miss.  Are you listening NCAA? The cost of 1 ticket to 1 game to resolve this!

I was routing Nevada to make it close cause I like the Wolf Pack, but I am and will forever be a Boise State Fan.

Since: Nov 27, 2010
Posted on: November 27, 2010 11:23 pm

On Boise State's controversial missed field goal

Good theory but you assume that the ball traveled in a straight line.  It could have had a slight curve..  Also, if you pause the replay it shows the ball directly above the post just before it hits the net, which makes now sense  because the net is 8' behind the post AND the angle of the camera would make it appear further outside than reality.  There was no real good camera angle like in the NFL.  The was no question that two key PI calls were missed.  Still BSU should have made a stop on 3rd down and should have called timeout at the end to try to ice Nevada's kicker.

Since: Sep 22, 2008
Posted on: November 27, 2010 7:43 pm

On Boise State's controversial missed field goal

What gets me is they had forever to review it, Replays were good and then they said lets review it, then reviewed it for about 20 seconds and said yep its good.....What conference were the refs from? The halo call was horrible. The Boise State guy just timed it perfect..........

Since: Nov 27, 2010
Posted on: November 27, 2010 3:48 pm

On Boise State's controversial missed field goal

I completely agree with you FBF614.  

It is unconscionable that the ref's should be allowed to completely change the face of a game to this extent.  Nevada really came on strong in the 3rd, no question, and they were a different team than in the 1st half, but plays like that recovered fumble on punt by BSU and the 3rd down conversion face mask that caused the incomplete pass are plays that shift momentum and would have given BSU the boost they needed right then.  

Instead BSU was let down.  BSU would have gotten the ball on Nevada's 20 yard line (after the fumble recovery), eaten up more time and likely scored.  That call, completely wrong at the time and on review, changed the game from that point on, clearly in Nevada's favor.

BSU definitely had the opportunity to win this game in regulation by making the "easy" field goal. But the ref's strike again, icing the kicker.  Clearly the ball was caught on the reception prior to the kcik.  Nevada didn't have time out's left.  So why did the refs wait so long to call that review? BSU was set, Brotzman ready to kick and Then the ref's call a play review!

This game was about as one-sided as I've seen regarding the calls made or missed by the refs.  Did the BCS tell the refs to screw up BSU this game so there would then be no questions about the BCS process? Just kidding....really.

FootballFan614, I agree with you; they should investigate the officiating in this game.  Let the guys play and win or loose on their ability.  Making (or missing) calls that are that obviously bad causing these huge momentum changes and taking away scoring opportunities ruins the game....for everyone.

Since: Sep 19, 2008
Posted on: November 27, 2010 3:11 pm

On Boise State's controversial missed field goal

Surprised Too bad Boise St. won't get a shot at finding out Ms. Whitney64.   Actually it's lucky for Boise's QB.....Moore won't have to get the snot knocked out of him by one of those girlie SEC defenses and might get a shot to hop into the NFL injury free.

Since: Nov 15, 2006
Posted on: November 27, 2010 1:37 pm

On Boise State's controversial missed field goal

Whitney is easy for teams like Boise State and TCU to have great defenses when you have teams like the Mississippi School of the Blind and Nashville Auto Diesel College on the schedule.  They are great teams, but you can't recreate the speed in the SEC week in and week out.  Boise lost that game because they are not used to being in pressure situations.

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