News

Targeting fouls make an impact early in the college football season

Targeting has been a major focus of media and fans in the first few weeks of the 2021 college football season. It sped to the forefront when four targeting fouls were confirmed during the Monday night contest between Ole Miss and Louisiana in Week 1. In the Week 2 matchup between USC and Stanford, USC's kicker was disqualified on the opening kickoff for committing a targeting foul on the Stanford return player. Also in Week 2, an Oregon linebacker appeared to target an Ohio State receiver, but replay did not create a targeting foul. Steve Shaw is the national coordinator of

Controversy flares over taunting point of emphasis. As always, officials are stuck in the middle

This season, the NFL Competition Committee issued a point of emphasis to the game officials instructing them to strictly call a player for taunting -- language and actions that disrespect or demean an opponent. The first two weeks of the 2021 season has seen a spike in taunting fouls, leading to an outcry from fans, players, media and other "hot take" artists. https://streamable.com/jpeqql When the NFL issues a point of emphasis -- which involves multiple layers of communication with teams, including video -- it is up to the coaches and players to adjust. It used to be legal to grasp the face

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NFL100: When John McDonough called The Longest Game on Christmas Day

It's always hard for officials to be away from home on a special holiday. So it was for referee John McDonough and his officiating crew, scheduled to work the Christmas Day divisional playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the visiting Miami Dolphins. McDonough, who officiated Super Bowl IV, and was a AFL and NFL referee from 1960 to 1973, lead a veteran crew that included umpire Frank Sinkovitz, head linesman Leo Miles, line judge Bill Swanson, field judge Bob Baur and back judge Adrian Burk.  The NFL had never scheduled a postseason game on Christmas. A few years before the

Mechanics

For NFL officials, thankfully it is not 2020 anymore

When I wrote a recap of the 2020 season, I closed my column by saying "may we never again have another like it." This season, covid-19 is still with us, but for the officials, it will not be a repeat of 2020. Vaccines The NFL reported that 99% of its employees have been vaccinated. Getting the vaccine is a condition of employment. Hopefully, this vaccine will help prevent officials from getting sick, and we won't see a repeat of the frantic Week 17 massive substitutions from last year. More crowded sideline During a game, media members, photographers, cheerleaders, support staff and other sideline guests, have

Alternate officials will keep their eye out for simulated substitutions, after the Packers attempted it twice

Embed from Getty Images Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers loves to move his offense to the line of scrimmage quickly and snap the ball in an attempt to catch the defense off-guard, and perhaps with too many men on the field. Even the late great Alex Trebek knew this. However, in last weekend's Divisional Playoff between Rodgers' Packers and the Los Angeles Rams, the crew was able to stop the tactic by holding up play to allow for equal substitution. Early in the first quarter of the game, the Rams were penalized for too many men on the field, as their

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