By: Will Burchfield
It was a touchdown until it wasn’t, a win until it was a loss.
It all happened so quickly on Sunday afternoon, and so unexpectedly, that Golden Tate’s phone was a jumble of congratulations and condolences when he got back to the locker room.
“You can’t really un-send text messages. I had a lot of people (say), ‘Oh my gosh, game-winner. Amazing! Go Lions, we love you guys.’ And then, minutes later, ‘Oh crap, I’m sorry. Dinner’s on me next time.’ A lot of that happened,” Tate said on Wednesday, able to smile it about now.
Time heals all wounds, and about three days have passed since the Lions’ grueling 30-26 defeat versus the Falcons. Tate, whose-game winning touchdown was called back after video review, is doing his best to move on, but his frustration — and confusion — lingers.
On Monday night, he watched the Cowboys’ Dez Bryant score a touchdown that looked similar to the one he was robbed of a day prior. Tate wondered via Twitter how that could be.
To be clear, Tate isn’t necessarily upset with the fact his touchdown was reversed.
“As far as the call, rules are rules. The referees saw it the way they saw it,” he said.
It’s what happened afterward that sticks in his craw.
“The only thing I would strongly disagree (with) and hopefully the league will look at, is the whole 10-second runoff. We didn’t challenge the play, therefore we shouldn’t really be penalized for it,” Tate said.
Glover Quin made the same point on Sunday, and it’s a hard one to rebuff. The Lions lost a chance to win the game through no fault of their own.
What’s more, one could argue they were doomed no matter what. Even if the refs had made the correct call on the field, a replay review likely would have ensued inside two minutes, triggering the 10-second runoff all the same.
“In that case, we’re on the half-yard line with eight seconds left. We didn’t even get a chance, we didn’t get a shot to do anything,” said Tate. “It was just like, okay, all touchdowns are reviewed. If they don’t call it a touchdown and you did catch it, 10-second runoff — ballgame. That sucks. And it seems like the Lions are always the ones that are on that side, the wrong side of success in that. Hopefully, they’ll get it fixed.”
Indeed, the Lions have a strange knack for bringing flawed rules to light. They’re like guinea pigs for the NFL rulebook. Tate has been involved in a couple such instances, and Sunday’s, he said, was one of the hardest to move on from.
“Yeah, it was tough. But one thing I’m working on this year is trying to be okay once I leave the locker room, because it’s not fair to my wife and my family and my friends for me to have an attitude the entire night. They’ve come miles and miles away to see us, so I try to just breathe and let it go, put it all in perspective and realize that we have 13 more games, 13 more opportunities,” Tate said.
Fortunately, on Sunday, he had a group of family and friends to help him get over the hump.
“After I walked in the locker room, I was upset, I was in pain, but once I saw all them it made me feel better, knowing I have friends and family here to support me no matter win, lose, draw,” said Tate. “Spending time with them actually helped me get over it.”