Football Zebras™

Live blog: Broncos at Patriots

AFC Divisional Playoff

We will be live blogging the calls and rules interpretations from the Broncos-Patriots game.

If you have any questions or comments, use the comments section of this post, or tweet us @footballzebras.

Gene Steratore is the referee. Full crew list is at the bottom of the post.

Sat • 11:25 pm EST • Ben Austro

4th qtr | 3:10. Just to keep it interesting, the Patriots punted on third down! First time I ever recall seeing that.

Sat • 11:15 pm EST • Ben Austro

4th qtr | 6:33. Steratore improvised a signal for a horse-collar tackle. The only signal is the personal foul signal.

Sat • 10:05 pm EST • Ben Austro

First half summary. Penalties: Broncos 1 for 15 yards, Patriots 1 for 5 yards. Replays: one replay review upheld a Patriots touchdown

Sat • 9:53 pm EST • Ben Austro

2nd qtr | 1:19. A timeout was called by the Broncos slightly after play clock expired. However, you gain about a half second as the officials have to observe :00 first, then turn their attention back to play. If, in that brief moment, they see a timeout signal (or if they see the ball is snapped), the offense gets the benefit of the doubt.

Sat • 9:42 pm EST • Scott Diller

2nd Qtr | 1:57 There was some hand contact between Deion Branch and Andre’ Goodman on the touchdown, which is allowed if neither player gains an advantage. Branch did push off a bit, but it was not called, as it rarely is in similar plays.

Sat • 9:07 pm EST • Scott Diller

2nd Qtr | 13:45 No illegal contact to Gronkowski on the 2nd down incomplete pass, as it was within five yards. If the ball was already in the air, it could’ve been pass interference, but the pass was not yet thrown.

Sat • 8:51 pm EST • Ben Austro

And you can tell that Steratore is also a college basketball referee. While announcing the call on the field, he punctuated the announcement with “forward progress,” as if he was yelling to the scorer’s table.

Sat • 8:47 pm EST • Scott Diller

1st Qtr | 5:23 Good forward progress call on the Demaryius Thomas catch. Once he starts getting pushed back, there can be no fumble unless he starts making progress again before the whistle is  blown.

Sat • 8:38 pm EST • Scott Diller

1st Qtr | 6:42 Unbeknownst to Phil Simms, the point of the ball can hit the ground, as long as the receiver maintains control the whole time, which it appears he does. An angle not shown on the broadcast showing the ball moving would be needed to overturn this one, as the few they showed appear to be a catch.

Sat • 8:28 pm EST • Scott Diller

1st Qtr | 10:07 First big call of the game, and it was an easy one, as Tebow fumbles. The ball was out before his arm started forward.

Sat • 8:21 pm EST • Ben Austro


  • R — #114 Gene Steratore (9th year, 6th as referee)
  • U — #129 Bill Schuster (12th year)
  • HL — #106 Wayne Mackie (5th year)
  • LJ — #107 Ron Marinucci (15th year)
  • FJ — #25 Bob Waggoner (15th year)
  • SJ — #73 Joe Larrew (10th year)*
  • BJ — #105 Dino Paganelli (6th year)
  • Alternates — Carl Paganelli (#124, U from Jerome Boger’s crew), Greg Steed (#12, BJ from Alberto Riverón’s crew)

*Larrew is a substitute from Jerome Boger’s crew.

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