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Aaron Rodgers rips Iowa-Minnesota punt return controversy

Rodgers called it "ridiculous" and "awful."
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Aaron Rodgers thinks the officials robbed the Iowa Hawkeyes from a win over the Minnesota Gophers on Saturday when they overturned Cooper DeJean's punt return touchdown late in the fourth quarter of Minnesota's 12-10 win.

"That was the most ridiculous call that I saw all last week," Rodgers said during his Tuesday appearance on The Pat McAfee Show. "I'm not going to say all time because there's been some bad ones. I've been apart of a couple of them, one in 2012.

"This is so ridiculous. Nothing about this says fair catch. Absolutely nothing about this. The ball is on the ground, he's pointing at it for his gunners to get out of the way. And then all [the officials] were looking at was did he step out, correct? 

"And then they're going to go back and waive this thing off. Absolutely ridiculous call. Classic of them to double down and say, 'yep, totally a fair catch.' Nothing about that had fair catch in it. Absolutely nothing. Feel terrible for the kid. Gutted for him, for Iowa fans. It's awful."


Is Rodgers wrong? Kind of, maybe? 

For starters, Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck said Monday that the officials never told him they were reviewing the play to see if DeJean stepped out of bounds and that the review was about the invalid fair catch signal from the very start. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said he was told it was to see if DeJean stepped out, so make of that what you will, but even Fleck agrees that DeJean never called for a fair catch. 

"There wasn't a fair catch, correct. But if you just go like this," Fleck said, motioning his hand at his side to imitate DeJean, "that's going to be dead. Anything low, 'get away from the ball,' that's going to be dead."

Fleck said the play should've been blown dead as soon as DeJean motioned his left arm, and that's the part of the rule that nobody either A) understands or B) had no idea existed. 

NCAA rules editor Steve Shaw told the Des Moines Register that "if there's waving motion, and I think clearly you can look at the video and it's indisputable that there's waving motion, then by rule, it's an invalid fair catch signal, which causes the ball to become dead."

Iowa lost the touchdown but still had the ball with great field position, the wind at their back and a chance to kick a game-winning field goal, but Gophers defensive back Justin Walley intercepted Deacon Hill's pass and that was the ballgame.