There’s No Way Cooper DeJean Gave An Invalid Fair Catch Signal, And The Ref’s Explanation Is Equally Moronic

Iowa Minnesota

Iowa’s offense deserves to lose every time the Hawkeyes take the field. When a supreme defensive talent like Cooper DeJean drops deep on special teams and scores what should be a game-winning touchdown, it should be widely celebrated.

One of the most dynamic, electrifying punt returns you’ll ever see, however, was called back for an invalid fair catch signal.

Good thing DeJean can get the heck up outta Iowa City and into the NFL as a cornerback in 2024. I wouldn’t want to stick around trying to carry the Hawkeyes’ anemic offense, never mind have corrupt officials calling back the rare scoring play Iowa actually does make.

Sorry. I don’t mean to say “corrupt officials.” I’m just alluding to a little bit of history involving the crews overseen by head Iowa-Minnesota ref Tim O’Dey, who’s been suspended in the past for a sketchy call. Well, less a sketchy call than not knowing the rule.

How O’Dey failed upward from the MAC and overseeing that Central Michigan-Oklahoma State debacle in 2016 to the Big Ten is beyond me. Look at his explanation for the DeJean “fair catch” situation.

What a moronic medley of mental gymnastics this is.

If, by rule, the play is dead when you make any sort of “invalid fair catch” signal, why would you let the action play out? What O’Dey retroactively viewed as “indisputable evidence” of said signal wasn’t able to be discerned in real time to the point where DeJean was allowed to run all the way to the end zone.

You can’t convince me that if DeJean hadn’t made pretty much the entire Golden Gophers kick coverage unit miss on his way to scoring that they’d go through the trouble of even reviewing this play. It’s pretty damn clear to anyone with a brain and functional vision that DeJean is making a “PETER! PETER! PETER!” universal call to his teammates to get as far away from the football as possible.

When a receiver waves his arms below his shoulders, in essence giving the equivalent of a ref’s “incomplete pass” signal, they’re trying to get their teammates to not touch the ball so it’s not a live fumble that the kicking team can recover. There’s zero question that’s what DeJean was doing here, and he used his other hand to tell his teammate to block a guy. If DeJean were trying for a fair catch, what sense would it have made for him to let the ball bounce in the first place, or to corral it so close to the sideline!?

I feel awful for Hawkeye fans. Staying loyal through the program’s perpetual struggles to move the ball on offense is bad enough.

When your most electrifying player gets a winning TD wiped off the board, it has to be an especially potent gut punch.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock