Blog Entry

Meachem Play Discussion

Posted on: December 8, 2009 4:23 pm
 

It's become such an issue that it has its own title: The Meachem Play.

We've all seen it by now, and you guys probably read my explanation for how CBSSports.com decided to rule the play in Fantasy leagues. However, there is still a lot of questions and concerns brought to light as the result of our ruling, and it deserves more attention and more conversation.

Since Sunday afternoon we've received hundreds of emails, Tweets and message board posts (mostly from Meachem owners) surrounding this issue. We owe it to you guys to address the most common responses and arguments to our decision because this play has caused so much controversy. I'd also like to mention that while I'm the one who has responded to the issue, I am just part of the team that brings you the Fantasy content and product at CBSSports.com. As a team, we made the decision to reward the points as we saw fit.

Mike W. in Minnesota: While I do not disagree with your conclusion, your argument is fallacious. When Meachem recovered the fumble of Washington's offense (technically speaking), then the Saints defense gets two points as Meachem is technically a defensive player. But once Meachem gets the ball, Washington's defense is back on the field, and after change of possession Meachem becomes an offensive player once again, technically speaking of course. Thus, Meachem as an offensive player should get the points as he does in our league (but so does the defense).

Let's start here: How did Meachem obtain the football? Obviously it's a fumble recovery, but was it as an offensive player or a defensive player? If you read any explanation we've given, we established that Meachem recovered the fumble as a defensive player. Yes, this is even though he's a wide receiver by trade and he started the play as an offensive player. This is simply taking the NFL's rules at their word.

And so maybe here's where the confusion is: CBSSports.com has never rewarded points for a defender doing something on offense or vice versa. This has been our stance since the 1990s when we began running Fantasy games. This means that when the likes of Mike Vrabel score a touchdown, they did so as defensive players on offense and did not receive credit for it unless commissioners in leagues granted such credit. That's the crux of why Meachem isn't getting the touchdown -- he scored on a defensive play , not an offensive play. Technically speaking.

Now we're also aware that in the NFL's Gamebook from the Saints-Redskins matchup Meachem's score was ruled as an offensive touchdown. This is inconsistent with what we confirmed with the NFL on Monday. Furthermore, the Elias Sports Bureau, which as we've mentioned before is the official statistician of the NFL, has nothing to do with the NFL's Gamebooks. We have and always will rely on Elias as far as statistical issues are concerned.

Boz in Philly: You stated in your Monday podcast that once that Brees threw the INT, the Saints became the defensive unit and once Meachem forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and returned it for a TD, he did so as a defensive player. That's all fine and good. But you failed to explain what happened to the Redskins. Now that the Saints are on defense after the INT, the Redskins would have to be on offense, since they now have the ball and are trying to score, correct? If the Redskins had returned the original interception for a touchdown, would they have done so as an offensive unit or defensive unit? Conventional wisdom says that the Redskins DST would have gotten credit for the touchdown despite being on offense (by your logic). That doesn't make a lot of sense and is where your logic breaks down.

Let's pretend Meachem didn't make the strip and Moore returned the interception for a touchdown. In a standard league, the touchdown goes to the Redskins DST. In an Individual Defensive Player (IDP) league, the touchdown goes to Moore. So even though the NFL is classifying that the Redskins are on offense once they maintain possession of the football, it's commonly accepted in Fantasy Football that the defense gets the points. We should all be on the same page here.

That said, the exact same logic takes place in the case of Meachem's strip because he was considered on defense following the interception and when he got the ball back. Just like Moore was considered on defense at the time of the interception. And because we in Fantasy are treating it as a defensive fumble recovery, the entire play gets credited as a touchdown for the defense.

Marc J., Knoxville, TN: I own Meachem in an IDP league. If he made a play as a defender, how come I'm not getting credit for it?

For the purposes of scoring in Fantasy Football, Meachem only receives credit for plays he makes as an offensive player. Again using the Mike Vrabel example, the linebacker never received credit for touchdowns he scored on offense. Thus, Meachem shouldn't get credit for his score. However, in IDP leagues that do reward touchdowns to defensive players when they play on offense, Meachem should get credit.

Jonathan S.: In your article you say that post-interception, the Saints offense became the Saints defense. If that's the case, wouldn't the Redskins defense then become the Redskins offense? If so, why is it that CBS still shows the points against for the Redskins to be 33. The Saints defense scoring on the Redskins offense shouldn't count and therefore the points against for the Redskins defense should be 27.

This essentially depends on how you score your Points Against category. In our free and premium leagues, and as a default in our commissioner leagues, the standard Points Against category is used. This takes into account all points scored against the team of the DST. We do offer a Defense Points Against category for our commissioner leagues (as well as a DST Points Against category). In leagues that use those specific types of scoring, the points resulting from the Meachem Play do not count.

R. Russell Last, Golden Valley, MN: Our league says that the team that is on offense when the ball is snapped is considered the offensive team throughout the entire play. Ditto defenses. Excepted are punts and kickoffs, since changes of possession on those plays are intentional. Very simple and logical. So how are we wrong?

You're not -- they're your rules for your league, and frankly it's a rule that every league should adopt if not simply consider. For those owners who pay to play at CBSSports.com with their friends and co-workers, we realize that you guys put up a lot of money for the service of running your league. And as such, it's your league . We only govern our free leagues and premium leagues. You should be taking advantage of what you pay for and running your league your way.

If you're in a customized league and have a problem with our ruling on the Meachem Play, at the very least you should request a league-wide vote from your commissioner on how the play should be scored in your league.

Jim. C., Elizabeth, NJ: I'm disappointed in your ruling and am considering changing Fantasy league providers. What assurances can you give me and my league mates that this kind of ruling will never happen again?

This is a little beyond my place -- I'm a writer and just a part of the team that determines how CBSSports.com'sleagues function -- so unfortunately I can't give any assurances.

But what I can tell you is that we do meet after every season to go over events like the Meachem Play and consider offering more customization options for our commissioner leagues and even our standard free and premium leagues if deemed necessary.

A few years back when Kevin Curtis recovered an offensive fumble for a touchdown, his owners were outraged that he didn't get credit for the Fantasy points. This was because most leagues did not know they could score offensive fumble recoveries for touchdowns. Since then, we made the category a default of all leagues, so even if they don't know if they can score it, it counts unless they opt out.

We'll definitely review the play and we'll also take into consideration the emails we received from people who didn't fully understand our logic. We make plenty of enhancements to our product year after year, and it would be completely ignorant of us to not at the very least consider making an enhancement here.

Wait! I have more Meachem Play points to make!

The message board underneath this post is for future comments involving this play. By participating, I expect respectful and intelligent discussion. No cursing out me and CBSSports.com because we cost you a playoff seed. This doesn't mean you have to agree with me -- by all means if you're passionate about your point of view, here's your chance to discuss it.

Thank you for reading.

Comments
fuzznutz
Since: Oct 6, 2006
Posted on: September 29, 2010 4:40 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Dec 14, 2009
Posted on: December 14, 2009 11:02 am
 

Meachem Play Discussion

I mentioned this on another post.....With the logic used for this play there can be no points awarded for defensive touchdowns ever, unless and offensive player scores it. 

If Meachem instantly becomes a defensive player when a ball is intercepted or a fumble is recovered by the defense, then the defensive player should instantly become an offensive player when that player intercepts the ball or recovers the fumble.  It only makes sense that it should go both ways.  So tell me CBS, how can there be a defensive touchdown??  In order for me to get points for Charles Woodson returning an interception for a TD, I would have to draft him as the offensive player he becomes after that interception.

Make sense???



Since: Dec 8, 2009
Posted on: December 12, 2009 2:07 pm
 

Meachem Play Discussion

Sorry dont know how the print go so big in the post above . Did not intend for that to happen.



Since: Dec 8, 2009
Posted on: December 12, 2009 2:02 pm
 

Meachem Play Discussion

Elias Statistics 2003 & 2009
Same Ruling-Elias does not specify offensive or defensive TD in either case.



2003




The NFL's official statistician is Elias Sports Bureau. We've personally spoken with their representatives and they've told us that their OFFICIAL ruling on the play was that it was a Fumble Recovery TD. They haven't and we've been told won't specify if it's an offensive or defensive fumble recovery TD - it is considered a "miscellaneous play" as far as the NFL is concerned. The one web page that shows this most clearly is the the of that game, where that fumble is listed under the "Misc" heading, not the "Regular Defensive Play" or "Special Teams" heading. The differentiation between "offense" and "defense" is only relevant to fantasy football in this case, and is not required by their contract with the NFL. In short, contrary to many posts you might have read on the various message boards discussing this topic, the NFL does not officially characterize this as either an Offensive or Defensive play, regardless of what statistics you might find on the NFL.com site or other sites that imply (but never state) otherwise.





In 2009


http://www.opensports.com/community

/user/blog_entry/9/153caf95-7ae4-40

f9-8797-63090d9a2f27





 "A buddy at Elias Sports Bureau, who provides stats for several fantasy companies, sent me his take on the Meachem play: "Officially, we do not label these fumbles as offensive and/or defensive. Meachem is credited with a fumble return, fumble return yards for a fumble return TD and six points scored. We categorize the fumble return for TDs into Own team and Opponent team. So in this case, Meachem’s is an opponent team’s fumble returned for a TD … We let the client decide how they want to handle these types of TDs as we give them TDs broken down as Offense, Defense and Special teams in their data.” Got that? Me neither. But it sounds like Meachem gets a TD, but not the Saints DST. And it sounds like my buddy has lost some hair over this issue."






 

Posted October 8th, 2003 @ 10PM Eastern Time

<small>Updated October 10th, 2003 </small><small></sma
ll> <small>@ 12:30AM Eastern Time to include URL to Mercury News Article</small>

There's certainly been a lot of debate over the McCardell's second TD in the week #5 MNF game. That's not too surprising, as we believe that the last time that a play like this occurred was week #11 of the 1997 season.

First, a little explanation of the purpose of this document. It is not meant to serve as a definitive end-all, be-all answer as to how to score this play - based on all of the discussions and feedback we've received in the last two days, we are convinced that there is no one-size-fits all answer. This document is not meant to convince you we are right in our decision on how to score this play. Only you, and your league-mates, can decide the right way to score this play for your league.

This document is simply meant to further clarify our position, and describe what modifications we've made to our system to accommodate those who do not agree with our position and were unwilling or unable to follow our prior instructions regarding how to use the "Score Adjuster" for manually over-riding our scoring decision.

We've taken more than 36 hours to look at all the evidence since our just a couple of hours after the game was over, talked to a variety of people, read countless message board posts both as well as , and have come to the following conclusion.

The NFL's official statistician is Elias Sports Bureau. We've personally spoken with their representatives and they've told us that their OFFICIAL ruling on the play was that it was a Fumble Recovery TD. They haven't and we've been told won't specify if it's an offensive or defensive fumble recovery TD - it is considered a "miscellaneous play" as far as the NFL is concerned. The one web page that shows this most clearly is the the of that game, where that fumble is listed under the "Misc" heading, not the "Regular Defensive Play" or "Special Teams" heading. The differentiation between "offense" and "defense" is only relevant to fantasy football in this case, and is not required by their contract with the NFL. In short, contrary to many posts you might have read on the various message boards discussing this topic, the NFL does not officially characterize this as either an Offensive or Defensive play, regardless of what statistics you might find on the NFL.com site or other sites that imply (but never state) otherwise.

For further verification of this official decision, please read .

Simply stated, one of the more common arguments that we've seen as an objection to scoring this as an offensive fumble recovery touchdown has been "The NFL considers this a defensive touchdown - how can you over-ride the NFL's decision?" is an invalid argument. The NFL does not consider this a defensive touchdown.

After looking at all of the facts, we still hold the opinion that this play should be properly scored as an Offensive Fumble Recovery TD for McCardell and not for the TBB DT position (see for our initial justification of this, which basically boiled down to the fact that the Tampa Bay offensive unit was on the field at the time the play happened), and based on the disucssions we've seen so far, the majority of our customers share that opinion.

However, we realize that some leagues may either have rules explicitly contrary to this decision (if that's the case, we truly admire your foresight!), or interpret the facts differently and prefer to award this as a Defensive Fumble Recovery TD for the TBB DT, and didn't find the "" solution previously outlined acceptable. As a result we will, starting at 10pm Eastern time today (October 8th, 2003) offer all commissioners the option to have their week 5 results recalculated by having this touchdown scored as if it were a Defensive Fumble Recovery TD. We will also be adding a home page message for all league commissioners detailing the stat changes and allowing them the ability to make this change for their league. By default, if a commissioner does nothing, the system will continue to score this event as an offensive fumble recovery.

In addition, McCardell has been awarded a fumble recovery on the play which has also been counted as part of the TBB team fumble recoveries. Since the NFL does not break fumbles out in it's team stats (the term TEAM implies that these are the stats generated by the entire team), his fumble recovery would be included in the team's total. Many leagues have the Fumble Recovery rule defined for the DT position. This does NOT mean that we feel this was a DEFENSIVE fumble recovery. It merely means that he has a fumble recovery for the team and your league may have awarded this to the DT position. You can always use the Score Adjuster to account for this discrepancy.

 




Since: Dec 9, 2009
Posted on: December 10, 2009 12:47 pm
 

Meachem Play Discussion

  One more concept to add to a message I posed yesterday on this point.  Fundamentally, I don't think it should  matter whether Meacham was technically deemed an offensive player or defensive player when he scored the TD.  What matters is: (a) He's on the field; (b) He's one of MY designated Wide Receivers; and (c) He scored an "Individual Fumble Recovery TD," which is a specific way of scoring within the SELF-CONTAINED scoring category "Special Scoring for Wide Receivers".

     But, even if it mattered whether Meacham technically was on offense or defense when he scored, the result would be the same because he was, in fact, on offense when he scored according to CBS' own logic.  If the New Orleans offense technically became the defensive team and the Washington defense technically became the offensive team at the moment of the INT, then (by the same logic that possession dictates which squad is offense or defense at any given moment) during a live play) each squad swithched back to its original status during the course of the play as of the moment of Meacham recovered the fumble.  He scored as an offensive player because his team (by virtue of his fumble recovery) regained possession as of the time he scored the TD.



Since: Dec 8, 2009
Posted on: December 10, 2009 1:42 am
 

Meachem Play Discussion



Dave Richards said--"You cannot advance the ball on an offensive fumble recovery. THAT'S an NFL rule."




This statement is not entirely true.

The same offensive player that fumbles can once again pick up his fumble and advance the ball.






Fumble

  1. The distinction between a fumble and a muff should be kept in mind in considering rules about fumbles. A fumble is the loss of player possession of the ball. A muff is the touching of a loose ball by a player in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain possession.
  2. A fumble may be advanced by any player on either team regardless of whether recovered before or after ball hits the ground.
  3. A fumble that goes forward and out of bounds will return to the fumbling team at the spot of the fumble unless the ball goes out of bounds in the opponent’s end zone. In this case, it is a touchback.
  4. On a play from scrimmage, if an offensive player fumbles anywhere on the field during fourth down, only the fumbling player is permitted to recover and/or advance the ball. If any player fumbles after the two-minute warning in a half, only the fumbling player is permitted to recover and/or advance the ball. If recovered by any other offensive player, the ball is dead at the spot of the fumble unless it is recovered behind the spot of the fumble. In that case, the ball is dead at the spot of recovery. Any defensive player may recover and/or advance any fumble at any time.
  5. A muffed hand-to-hand snap from center is treated as a fumble.


NFL--The : The won a , , contest against divisional rivals the through another intentional fumble. With ten seconds left, down 20-14, quarterback fumbled the ball forward to avoid being at the Chargers' 15-yard line. Two other players, and , attempted to recover it but batted it forward when they could not. Finally it reached the end zone, where Casper fell on it for the tying touchdown, which cleared the way for the that gave the Raiders the win. Officials decided to allow the touchdown on the grounds that the fumbles did not appear to be intentional and thus could not be considered , but Stabler freely admitted his was. Chargers fans have referred to the play as the Immaculate Deception ever since, and the NFL quickly instituted the current rule that a forward fumble in the last two minutes of play (or on fourth down) can only be recovered and/or advanced by the player who originally fumbled.




    Dave Richards--"So even though the NFL is classifying that the Redskins are on offense once they maintain possession of the football, it's commonly accepted in Fantasy Football that the defense gets the points. We should all be on the same page here."


    It is good to see common sense prevail here because that is the spirit of the rule. If we did not do this no DST would ever score
    a defensive touchdown as the NFL rule says they are now offensive players on the change of possession.

    Here is where CBS and your logic has failed.
    It is perfectly acceptable for CBS Sportline to disregard the NFL rule that defensive players have become offensive players
    for the sake of DST scoring, but they cannot accept that on the second change of possession that defensive and offensive players go back to their original roles as stated in the NFL rules.

    Are you not Dave and CBS cherry picking which NFL rules you wish to acknowledge ?

    Either you follow the NFL rules to the letter of the law equally for both DST(defense is now offense)/Offense (offense is now defense) scoring. 

    Or you use the common sense approach equally to both Offensive & DST scoring on change of possession that you just stated for DST scoring above.

    You have to be consistent on both sides of the ball with the NFL rules and common sense during change of possession for Fantasy Football scoring.






Since: Mar 16, 2008
Posted on: December 9, 2009 11:48 pm
 

Meachem Play Discussion

It makes perfect sense actually. 

If Brees had thrown the interception and Moore had run it back for a touchdown Washington Defense gets credit for a touchdown because at the moment that the ball was turned over Washington was on Defense. 

But this did not occur.  Brees threw interception.  New Orleans on Defense...Washington on Offense.  Moore fumbles the ball to Meachem who returns it for a touchdown.  At the moment that Meachem gained possession of the ball he was on Defense. 

If Meachem fumbled the ball to Kareem Moore again then the Washington Defense would get the points because at the moment Moore gained possession of the ball he was playing Defense.

The fact that one team or another starts a play on Offense has no bearing on the argument.  The nfl rule book is very clear about designating "Offense" and "Defense".  Their rule is simply the team with possession is on Offense.  Their opponent shall be the Defense.  And that those designations can change many times as you want during one play.  You can expand your scenario out for 3000 fumbles and recoveries and changes of possession but that's the rule.





Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: December 9, 2009 8:06 pm
 

Meachem Play Discussion



One more thing: please check the box score and see if Meachem is listed under "defense" and the "FF" column.  Not surprisingly, he is not.  He obviously forced the Moore fumble, right?  So how come he isn't listed?!  Simple answer: HE WAS NOT PART OF THE DEFENSE!!!





Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: December 9, 2009 7:58 pm
 

Meachem Play Discussion


Dave:

You have lost all the hard earned respect I had for you.  You are 100% wrong and, sadly, not man enough to admit it.  I can even tell that Jamey does not agree with the CBS ruling, judging by his chat on Tuesday and him laying low.

Let's start with this, from the NFL site: .  Please tell me where do you see a defensive TD registered for Meachem under either situational splits or game splits.

Secondly: you dance around the main issue: if Moore laterals to a teamate, whom scores, why is the Redskins DST still getting the TD?!  Per your repeated scenario, the Redksins went on offense when Moore acquired possession, so how could they still score as a DST?!

Thirdly: if the Redskins getting possession made them become an offense and Meachem became defense, than why isn't Meachem granted the change of status again, upon regaining possession?!  This is so obtuse and ignorant!  You change status on the first change of possession, but you don't do it when possesion is changed the second time on the same play?!

SHAME ON YOU FOR SKIRTING THESE QUESTIONS AND APPLYING EVEN YOUR OWN LOGIC SELECTIVELY!

Robert




Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: December 9, 2009 5:17 pm
 

Meachem Play Discussion

There's no error in logic, folks.

Please read my latest on the issue, complete with new confirmation from the NFL:

http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/

entry/5839124/18846846


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com