Bears Saints Football

Bears tight end Zach Miller pulls in an apparanet touchdown reception, which was later ruled incomplete upon review Sunday in New Orelans.

Butch Dill, Associated Press

The gruesome leg injury suffered by Bears tight end Zach Miller on Sunday should be our main concern, regardless of the final score and whether or not we're fans of the game.

Miller, 33, dislocated his left knee on an apparent jump-ball touchdown catch against the Saints and underwent emergency vascular surgery that night.

The Bears said in a statement that Miller’s procedure was successful, but he remains hospitalized in New Orleans for the foreseeable future.

The injury certainly will end Miller’s season, and perhaps his career.

As he was being carted off the field, officials were viewing the instant replay and Miller's TD was disallowed.

The catch or no-catch controversy raised its ugly head once again, no thanks to a vague NFL rule.

Miller wasn't the first receiver victimized, nor will he be the last until there is a clearer interpretation of what exactly constitutes a catch.

According to the website Quora, the average NFL game features 15 cameras and 13 tape machines. The average Super Bowl has more than 30 cameras.

If you watched the Bears-Saints game, you would've bet your mortgage on Miller's TD catch, without a doubt. He went high for Mitch Trubisky's pass, grabbed the ball, hit the ground awkwardly, rolled over in pain, and held on.

Opinions differed, depending of which locker room you visited.

"I felt like there were three or four (calls) that could've gone either way," Saints coach Sean Payton said afterward. "I felt like we had good angles. I felt it was 50-50."

Bears coach John Fox could only shrug, helplessly.

"It doesn't matter what I think. You know our restrictions (on criticizing officials). It can be complicated to understand, no doubt about it," Fox said.

"Zach made a heck of a catch and it was a great effort on his part," Trubisky added. "The call was what it was."

Said wide receiver Tre McBride III: "I thought it was a touchdown, just like everybody else on the sideline."

Referee Carl Cheffers offered a brief explanation after the game that didn't sway the feelings of the Bears or their fans.

“We ruled that (Miller) was going to the ground as part of the process of the catch. So when he goes to the ground, he has to survive the ground," Cheffers told a pool reporter. "He went to the ground and he temporarily lost control of the ball. The ball hit the ground, therefore it’s incomplete.

"The ball hit the ground out of his control. So as part of the process of the catch, he did not complete that process, and therefore it was incomplete, and they overturned the call on the field.”

TV replays didn't show the ball hitting the ground. In fact, it appeared to be resting on Miller's chest as he lay on his back.

"As long as the ball is in my hands and it never touched the ground and I get up with the ball, that’s a catch as far as I'm concerned,” Bears receiver Tre McBride said Monday.

This much we do know. The catch or no-catch rule continues to confuse players and coaches who regard it as nothing more than a judgement call.

This "process" garbage is just confusing rhetoric.

We're told game officials Sunday saw a better, more decisive view of Miller's play which the FOX network did NOT have, so where's the transparency?

I still remember the Lions-Bears game at Soldier Field in Week 1 of the 2010 season and Calvin Johnson's disputed catch late in the action when officials determined he did not secure the game-winning touchdown because he let go of the ball as he hit the ground.

Actually, Johnson was simply putting the ball on the turf and he jumped up to celebrate.

I saw it. I was there. It was a great catch.

The Bears hung on for the win and their fans walked out with a wink-wink and a sigh of relief.

Question is, who'll be victimized next?

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com.

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