Saved by the Bell: Counselor makes big call in big game

By Emily Powell, Web and Business Editor

Counselor Grantis Bell, who serves as a Southeastern Conference football official on weekends, was called on for one of the most important games of the season: the College Football Playoff semifinal at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex., on Dec. 30.

During this game, Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins made a one-handed catch toward the back of the end zone. Bell, the back judge, immediately signaled touchdown.

“You don’t even think about it,” Bell said. “You react, you go off of what you see, and then if it goes to replay and replay changes it, they change it.”

As part of his job, Bell could discuss the specifics of that call. But because of the importance of the call, it was immediately reviewed by officials in the reply booth. To the chagrin of Notre Dame coaches, players and fans, the booth upheld Bell’s on-the-spot call.

“Ninety-six percent of the time we (officials) make a call we’re right,” Bell said. “So at that time, you don’t pat yourself on the back because you’re getting ready for the next play.”

Posted: Feb. 19

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