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Blakeman crew cool under chaos

Week 13: Lions at Saints

Clete Blakeman’s crew officiated a game that could have easily become uncontrollable at any moment. It didn’t help that they were shorthanded.

Umpire Garth DeFelice left the game midway through the first quarter with a foot injury. That required the crew to readjust their mechanics to officiate most of the game shorthanded. Side judge Greg Meyer moved into the umpire position, leaving only two deep officials.

The game (highlight video) had six personal foul penalties, including the following:

  • Lions receiver Titus Young was involved in a post-play push near the goal line (video)
  • Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew contacted line judge Jeff Seeman (video)

Seeman, under the circumstances, could have called for Pettigrew’s ejection. Impermissible contact with an official is not, despite widespread opinion, an automatic ejection, and it took tremendous restraint not to disqualify Pettigrew. In the analysis, Pettigrew was still reacting to the play when Seeman was hit. While it was still a penalty, the officials realized that the contact was not directed at Seeman. It also appears that Pettigrew apologized right away, to help save his place in the game.

While there was a lot of dead-ball action that had to be controlled, the crew made certain that they maintained their composure throughout.

Ben Austro
Ben Austro
Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)

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