Apparently there is an epidemic of disconcerting signals that is breaking out.
It is illegal for a defensive player to simulate or override the quarterback’s snap count. Rarely is the disconcerting signals penalty called (one instance from 2010 against the Colts [video] is all we can recall), but when it is, it is a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct foul.
- Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said that Broncos defensive lineman Kevin Vickerson simulated the snap count on two plays from the 1-yard line. Vickerson was a teammate of Hasselbeck’s with the Titans and the Seahawks.
- On the Monday night game, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo had to play improvized sandlot football on at least four plays — one leading to an interception (video) — because center Phil Costa allegedly heard the Redskins defense mimicking the snap count. A reel of the errant snaps (video) was posted at NFL.com; on the third play in the clip package you can hear a “hut, hut” as Romo was looking to his right, so he clearly wasn’t calling for the ball at that point.
Look for the league to issue a warning memo to all 32 teams regarding disconcerting signals this week.