Football Zebras™

Live blog: Giants at Packers

NFC Divisional Playoff

We will be live blogging the calls and rules interpretations from the Giants-Packers game.

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

Bill Leavy is the referee. Full crew list is at the bottom of the post.

Ben Austro
Mon Sep 26 • 7:59 pm EDT

Steelers at Eagles

From the comments:

Je says:

In the eagles game, did they switch sides correctly? The second qtr and the third qtr both had the eagles going in the same direction.

At the opening kickoff, the coin-toss winner selects from the specified options (see the Browns-Dolphins entry for detail). So if Team A wins the toss, and they choose to receive, Team B selects which goal they want to defend. That means for the second half, Team B has the first choice of options. Team B might choose again to defend a certain goal, and Team A winds up electing to receive. It is not a given that the team that kicks off in the first will receive in the third, although it is exceedingly rare to do so.

I highlighted a situation in my book (which comes highly recommended) where the Giants elected to take the wind in the first and third quarters. Since Washington did not score, they never kicked off once in that game.

When a team defers, then they opt to make the first selection in the second half, rather than the first selection in the first half.

Ben Austro
Mon Sep 26 • 12:04 am EDT

49ers at Seahawks (video)

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson suffered a knee injury on a sack by 49ers linebacker Eli Harold in the third quarter. Harold was flagged for a horse-collar tackle, although this was questioned by the announcing crew. Harold did grab Wilson from the nameplate area on Wilson’s jersey, which, under the new rule, is part of the horse-collar region.

It is immaterial that Wilson was pulled forward and not backward. The defender just has to pull the ball carrier downward. In this case, Harold’s pull-down caused him to swing into Wilson’s knee, underscoring the danger of the tackle.

Mark Schultz
Sun Sep 25 • 9:29 pm EDT

Bears at Cowboys (video)

Instant replay reverses head linesman Mark Hittner’s spot and marks Cole Beasley short of a first down.

Mark Schultz
Sun Sep 25 • 9:26 pm EDT

Bears at Cowboys (video)

Field judge Steve Zimmer marks Jason Witten short of the goal line. Instant replay confirms the call.

Mark Schultz
Sun Sep 25 • 9:05 pm EDT

Bears at Cowboys

Umpire Barry Anderson wears number 31 for the second straight week. Anderson is honoring the late Chad Brown.

Ben Austro
Sun Sep 25 • 8:58 pm EDT

Chargers at Colts

Given second life for a desperation untimed down (see the other entry for this game here), the Chargers were setting up for a multiple lateral play. To get extra skill players in on the play, coach Mike McCoy had three player with eligible-receiver numbers to line up as linemen. In order to do this legally, these players had to report as ineligible players. They are able to catch a ball off of a lateral, but are restricted as a standard lineman from catching the initial pass and from going downfield prior to the pass.

More detail is in our post, Everything you need to know about eligibility reporting.

Ben Austro
Sun Sep 25 • 8:40 pm EDT

Chargers at Colts

To run out the clock in the fourth quarter with a lead, the Colts punted the ball away and downed the ball with :00 showing on the clock. This was a mistake, as it gave the Chargers new life.

When the kicking team touches a punt that has crossed the line of scrimmage before the receiving team has, it is considered a first-touch violation (technically, as written, an “illegal touch,” but we’ll go with first-touch violation to separate it from other illegal touches). This is what allows for a “free play” where the receiving team can subsequently pick up the ball, and be free to revert back to the touch spot. The first touch is not a foul, but it is a violation; it retains many of the properties of a penalty.

A first-touch violation can extend any quarter, just a defensive penalty can. Therefore, the Chargers were allowed an untimed down.

If the Colts let the ball come to rest and don’t touch it, the covering official will pause briefly and declare the ball dead. If the Colts had done this, the game is over, since there is no first-touch violation.

Ben Austro
Sun Sep 25 • 8:11 pm EDT

Cardinals at Bills (video)

An interception near the goal line by Bills cornerback Corey Graham invokes the momentum exception rule. Graham lands at the 1-yard line without being touched by the opponent and slides into the end zone.

The momentum exception looks at where a player gains control of an interception. When a player’s feet come down, it is where the second foot lands that determines the interception spot. In this case, Graham landed on the ground, and that is the spot. Graham does not get an unearned benefit of a touchback; instead possession is awarded at the interception spot.

If the rulebook did not have the momentum exception, the play would be ruled a safety, because the defense brought the ball into its own end zone. The word exception refers to this rule being an exception to the safety rules.

The next snap was a safety, which is another entry here.

Mark Schultz
Sun Sep 25 • 6:36 pm EDT

Jets at Chiefs (video)

Line judge Mark Perlman initially calls this play a Spencer Ware touchdown, but in replay, referee Bill Vinovich reverses the call to Jets ball and a touchback. The replay shows Ware losing control of the ball before the goal line and the ball touching the pylon. (Since it is not in secured possession, this is essentially a loose ball going out-of-bounds in the end zone.) Perlman had to stand in at the goal line (and did a great job breaking to the goal line at the snap), with all sorts of traffic in front of him and obstacles behind him.

Perlman did everything right mechanically on this bang-bang play. That’s why the NFL has replay.

Mark Schultz
Sun Sep 25 • 5:56 pm EDT

Bills at Cardinals (video)

Aaron Williams picks up a bad snap on a field goal attempt and takes it to the house. On this play, referee Walt Anderson and line judge Byron Boston and head linesman Jerod Phillips have to make sure someone is a the goal line. For Anderson, he has to make sure he stays out of the way and wasn’t able to run ahead of the play. Phillips had less traffic to contend with and was able to follow the play to the to the goal line. The officials used excellent teamwork to make sure everything was covered.

One potential “ding” on this play is number 36 for the Bills, was in the white area during the play and could have drawn a foul for interfering with Phillips’ ability to call the play. Phillips wasn’t impeded in calling the play (or he was so locked in on Williams that he didn’t see number 36) so there was no foul.

Ben Austro
Sun Sep 25 • 5:41 pm EDT

Washington at N.Y. Giants

The Giants blocked a fourth quarter punt, and the loose ball was batted out of bounds. Since the ball was batted forward when going out, this was an illegal bat. The Giants committed a personal foul downfield on the same play.

The two live-ball fouls prior to change of possession combine to offset, and the fourth down was replayed.

If the illegal bat was the only foul, the Giants would decline the foul, as it would wipe out the punt block, and fourth down would be repeated.

Mark Schultz
Sun Sep 25 • 5:37 pm EDT

Jets at Chiefs (video)

Another Jets’ fumble. This time Brandon Marshall coughs up this kickoff return and Demetrius Harris is there for the scoop and score. It was a huge hit and the officials again wisely held the whistle.

Ben Austro
Sun Sep 25 • 5:35 pm EDT

Washington at N.Y. Giants (video)

A pass to the end zone to Giants receiver Bobby Rainey was bobbled, and Washington cornerback David Bruton had possession of the ball out of bounds, leading to a ruling of incomplete.

On review, Bruton’s elbow touched the ground as he rolled out of bounds, which counts the same as “two feet down” in the catch criteria. Bruton did not lose control of the ball, but replay opted to let the play stand. Washington lost the challenge.

This was a case where, I feel, any referee would reverse the call to an interception, but with SVP/officiating Dean Blandino involved in the replay decision, they are going with “stands.”

Mark Schultz
Sun Sep 25 • 5:28 pm EDT

Jets and Chiefs (video)

Head linesman Phil McKinnely and side judge James Coleman rule a Chiefs fumble recovery. McKinnely initially was going to rule the ball carrier down but wisely held his whistle as he processed the call. 

Mark Schultz
Sun Sep 25 • 5:17 pm EDT

Rams at Buccaneers (video)

Benny Cunningham does a great job on this draw play. This type of play is one of the reasons the umpire was moved to the offensive backfield. That play would have been right in the umpire’s lap in the defensive backfield and he could have been pin-balling between players.

Ben Austro
Sun Sep 25 • 5:09 pm EDT

Rams at Buccaneers

During the commercial break, Rams defensive lineman Eugene Sims was flagged in a shoving match that happened after an extra-point attempt. TV had no video of the infraction, and said the ejection was for unsportsmanlike conduct, but they were not sure of the specifics. If it was unsportsmanlike conduct, it would be a foul on an official to warrant an ejection. If it was a personal foul (roughness, etc.) instead, then it can be a closed-fist punch that warrants an ejection. We are looking for clarification.

Mark Schultz
Sun Sep 25 • 5:07 pm EDT

Cardinals at Bills (video)

LeSean McCoy is dropped in the endzone for a safety. Head linesman Jerod Phillips on the call. The proper mechanics on this play should be for the wing official to retreat to the goal line at the snap to judge if the entire ball gets out of the endzone.

Matt Holmquist
Sun Sep 25 • 5:01 pm EDT

Chargers at Colts

Chargers defensive end Corey Liuget is penalized for leverage on a field goal play. Leverage is one of the league’s points of emphasis for the 2016 season for field goal/extra point rush tactics.

Mark Schultz
Sun Sep 25 • 4:59 pm EDT

Cardinals at Bills (video)

John Brown of the Cardinals with a big kickoff return. Head linesman Jerod Phillips and side judge Laird Hayes team up to get the spot. Hayes is staying ahead of the play to make sure he’s at the goal-line and then when the play goes out of bounds, he has to “flow” with the players out of bounds so he isn’t run over. Phillips, trailing the play, is in better position to get the spot. Both officials use proper mechanics for this type of play.

Mark Schultz
Sun Sep 25 • 4:49 pm EDT

Browns at Dolphins (video)

Terrelle Pryor sprints across the field for a long gain. When a runner reverses his field the officials have to be vigilant for illegal blocks in the back. There was a suspect side block early in Pryor’s run, but it was a good no-call.

Ben Austro
Sun Sep 25 • 4:45 pm EDT

Browns at Dolphins

The Browns won the coin toss to start overtime. Their choices are one of the following:

  • To receive or kick
  • To select which goal to defend

(The “defer” option is essentially meaningless in regular-season overtime, as there is no 2nd half to defer to. But a team may do this to give their opponent first selection.)

The Browns elected to kick, the Dolphins selected the end they wished to receive in. If the Dolphins kicked a field goal on the opening possession, the Browns would have the second possession, which could have been played more less conservatively for a tie or win.

This was invoked last season by Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who prearranged that the team wanted the kick option, even though it confused the captains.

The Browns, like the Patriots last year, lost the game. Both the Dolphins and the Browns had possession during the overtime.


Ben Austro
Sun Sep 25 • 4:28 pm EDT

2&DQ rule

Giants center Weston Richburg is the first player ejected for two unsportsmanlike conduct fouls under the new rule.

Ben Austro
Sun Sep 25 • 3:16 pm EDT

Raiders at Titans

On an interception by the Raiders, the game clock did not start on the snap, but started rolling during the play. At the conclusion of the play, the clock showed 3 seconds, but the clock operator ran the remaining seconds off as an adjustment.

Tony Corrente announced that the 3 seconds should be placed on the clock, not aware of the clock operator’s error. This was apparently noted by the replay official or by someone in the New York command center, as Corrente was receiving information through his wireless headset. (The clock operator may also have phoned the replay booth in this process.) Corrente then announced:

The clock operator did not properly start the clock after the play [started], and the allotted number of seconds did run out when the player ran out of bounds. Therefore, there should be no time left on the clock. This the end of the first half.

This is reviewable under a new rule that can correct the clock in very limited circumstances, such as a clock operator error.

Cameron Filipe
Sun Sep 25 • 2:36 pm EDT

Cardinals at Bills (video)

Buffalo wide receiver Robert Woods extended to haul in a 24-yard reception in the first quarter, which was ruled a catch on the field. On the play, as Woods was going to the ground, the ball hit the ground, and it seemed that Woods lost possession on his way down. Field judge John Jenkins threw a flag for defensive holding on the play, as well, but that penalty was declined due to the ruling of a completed pass on the play. Arizona chose not to challenge the reception, and Buffalo scored a touchdown on the following play.

Ben Austro
Sun Sep 25 • 2:34 pm EDT

Lions at Packers

img_20160925_133222686.jpgKick returner Ty Montgomery had a heads-up play to give his Packers excellent field position. A Lions kickoff was bouncing near the sideline, and Montgomery deliberately stepped out of bounds. With the ball in bounds on the 2, Montgomery reached in bounds to touch the ball. The play was whistled dead.

Outward appearances are that the Packers get the ball at the 2. However, it is a foul on the kicking team if a kickoff goes out of bounds. The touch by Montgomery puts the ball out of bounds, which is charged against the kicking team regardless of how the kick goes out of bounds, unless an in-bounds receiving team player is the last to touch the ball.

Because of the astute play, the Packers get the ball 25 yards from the kickoff spot, which is the 40-yard line.

Incidentally, this was a situation that was covered in detail in my book So You Think You Know Football? using a situation when Randall Cobb did this for the Packers in 2012 (p.26).

Update 9/26, to address the questions whether it is legal for a player to go out of bounds and be the first to touch the kick:

The foul for illegally touching a kick applies to the kicking team only, as stated in Rule 8-2-4:

Item 2. Player Out of Bounds. If a kicking team player goes out of bounds during the kick, he may not touch or recover the ball beyond the receiving team’s restraining line, unless it has first been touched by a receiving team player. If a kicking team player touches the ball before re-establishing himself legally inbounds, it is a free kick out of bounds.

There is no restriction on the receiving team. Further, for both sides of the ball, there is no penalty for a player touching the ball while out of bounds, therefore Montgomery’s actions are treated as any other loose ball that touches an out-of-bounds player.

As to whether a player may deliberately go out of bounds during the play, the rule being referred to applies to punts, where a kicking team player must not “ride” the sidelines. He must make an attempt to return into the field of play if pushed out, because there is a very dangerous collision risk in that white border. It does not apply to kickoffs.

Ben Austro
Sun Sep 25 • 2:03 pm EDT

Lions at Packers

img_20160925_131938042_hdr.jpgPackers linebacker Nick Perry is assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct foul for doing a cut-throat gesture on a 2-yard loss by the Lions. The penalty turns it into a 15-yard gain.

Additionally, Perry is given a “yellow card” or a warning for picking up an additional unsportsmanlike conduct in the specified categories. In that case the second infraction is an automatic ejection.

Ben Austro
Sun Sep 25 • 1:00 pm EDT

Washington at N.Y. Giants

Jay Glazer is reporting on Fox NFL Sunday that Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was fined $ 36,000 for a hit on Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro from behind that was far away from the play. The fine was more than the minimum because of Beckham’s repeat offender status, which was largely established the last time Beckham faced safety Josh Norman in last year’s game against the Panthers. Norman is now playing for Washington, and matches up against Beckham today.

Because of the escalated fine, Beckham’s history puts him on track to receive a suspension for any infractions this season. This is not an automatic, but usually a player gets some cushion from infractions in past seasons. Without that cushion, Beckham runs the risk of getting another suspension, much like his post-Norman entanglement last season.

SJ Jonah Monroe and LJ Tom Stephan — covering opposite sidelines — were assigned to last year’s game with the Beckham-Norman extra-curriculars, and the crew was criticized for not ejecting at least one of the combatants at various stages of the game. Referee John Hussey met with both players prior to the game to establish a zero-tolerance policy for this type of action today.

Ben Austro
Sun Sep 25 • 11:45 am EDT

Today’s officials


  • R 35 John Hussey heads McAulay’s crew (WAS-NYG)
  • U 124 Carl Paganelli* to Tobert’s crew (SD-IND)
  • LJ 90 Mike Spanier* to Corrente’s crew (OAK-TEN)
  • FJ 95 James Coleman* to Vinovich’s crew as SJ (NYJ-KC)
  • SJ 89 Jon Lucivansky* to Parry’s crew (DET-GB)

*Swing officials that are moved between crews each week.


  • R — #127 Bill Leavy (17th year, 11th as referee)
  • U — #44 Jeff Rice  (10th year)*
  • HL — #54 George Hayward (21st year)
  • LJ — #9 Mark Perlman (11th year)
  • FJ — #63 Jim Quirk (2nd year)
  • SJ — #128 Larry Rose (15th year)*
  • BJ — #93 Scott Helverson (9th year)*

*Rice is substituting from Jeff Triplette’s crew. Rose and Helverson are substituting from Scott Green’s crew. (Leavy’s side judge is a rookie, and therefore ineligible for a postseason assignment.)

39 comments for “Live blog: Giants at Packers

  1. john
    January 15, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    I don’t believe this could be called this crews best game. I know they want like the post game meeting.

  2. Steve Ronis
    January 15, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Bill Leavy, I believe has some more apologizing to do. His two blown calls, one on review, not overturning the call on the field of a Packer fumble even had Mike Perreira confused. And the roughing call on the Giants, imaginary head slap of Rogers could have cost the NY giants the game.

    At least he should have asked the other zebras if they saw any roughing.

    At this level these calls are inexcusable

  3. BigBriii
    January 15, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    The worst officiated game I’ve seen in a loooooong time.

  4. adam yezer
    January 15, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Terrible job by the refs, as they said on a post game it looked like the regs were paid by State Farm Insurance to see more of the Aaron Rodgers Commercial. There were also some late hits on Manning that were not called but Rodgers a clean hit Osi.
    Even with instant reply still missed the fumble.

  5. joey D
    January 15, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Clearly biased officiating crew for the Pack. Didn’t matter, Giants won, but the game should have been Giants 37, Packers 7, Officials 13.

    At least 1 blown fumble call, but more likely it was 2.
    Horrible penalty against Osi.
    Incredibly horrible spots of the football against the Giants on numerous calls, but especially on Ware’s 3rd and 2 run, which was clearly a first down, but the spot showed virtually NO GAIN.

    These officials should be barred for the rest of the playoffs. Just an embarrassing job. The fact you didn’t think this was a bias job makes your site less credible.

  6. Ben Austro
    January 16, 2012 at 12:41 am

    The crew actually did very well. Yes, you heard me correctly. However, it was referee Bill Leavy who made two bad calls that sustained Packer drives.

    Keep in mind that the Packers still had to drive for the those additional points that the officials “gave” them. Good teams overcome bad/questionable/close calls just as much as they have to deal with weather conditions. It’s a part of the game.

    And no official has it “in” for any team. The risk is so great for no reward.

  7. Steve
    January 16, 2012 at 1:47 am

    You’re kidding, right? Who cares about the “crew” doing well? The referee is the key. Was this a well officiated game? Hell no. And it’s not just the fans who are dumbfounded, it’s all of the media as well. What about the horrendous spot on a Giants third down? This is the first time I’ve been to your site… and the last.

  8. chris
    January 16, 2012 at 4:53 am

    TOTALLY agree with you Steve. This was one of the most obvious examples of an attempt to fix a game I’ve seen in quite some time. Reminded me of Ed Hochuli in that Pitt-SD game a few years ago. Also reminded me of the first game between GB and NY this year…

    I know alot of the pro money was on the Giants bc the line opened at 9 and closed at 7.5… I’m guessing the fix was coming out of the Vegas bookmakers. Same could be said for that Pitt-SD game. The fix in the regular season game was straight from the league….wanting to see GB stay undefeated.

    The fact the Giants won this game handily, in spite of this obvious fix, is amazing!

  9. Steve
    January 16, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Chris: I don’t buy into the fix angle. Just certain teams getting the benefit of bad calls. Especially at home, But it doesn’t seem to apply to the Giants as witnessed by the horrendous job the Triplett crew did in the Green Bay game in NY. And then in the Atlanta playoff game, the calls went against the Giants.
    But how can a site like this that evaluates officiating say they crew did a good job. Ben, you care to respond?

  10. Curt
    January 16, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Towards the end of the second quarter, the Giants were in a position to score. On third down, ey threw a pass into the endzone that was dropped. On replay it looked clear that the Packer defender hit the receivers right elbow and that caused that hand to move prior to the ball arriving. Did I not see that correctly? Looked clear to the four of us watching at home, but one of my friends maintains there was no contact.

    I don’t like either team, just looking to see if anyone here caught that play so we can settle the argument.

  11. January 16, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Could anyone here tell me when/where I could find out who will be officiating the Giants-49ers playoff game on the 22nd.

    Thank you!

  12. Steve
    January 16, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    I believe that was TE Jake Ballard in the middle of the end zone. There was contact, but a couple of things:
    1) It was not flagrant. I’ve seen that type of play not flagged just as often as it is; and
    2) I believe the ball may have been tipped. In which case, contact is allowed.

  13. Justin
    January 16, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    I understand what Ben means about the officials calling a good game. Only 6 penalties in all and the game moved quickly from one play to the next without too much interference. Yes, that was clearly a fumble which calls Leavy into question coupled with the roughing call on Osi, but overall the game moved at a good pace without needless holding and PI calls to slow the whole thing down.

  14. Ben Austro
    January 16, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    If you are looking for a site that just bashes the officials, this is not for you. We feel that the internet has plenty of options for that type of commentary. We do call out bad calls, but it is in the context of the larger picture.

    We cover the officials as if they are an NFL team. When a team executes a good game and there are one or two plays where the quarterback makes a boneheaded decision, the coverage of the team reports that proportionally. A solid performance by the six gets overshadowed by some isolated decisions of one.

    Nobody is up in arms about the Giants maybe getting a break with no 12-men-in-the-huddle penalty. I don’t have any conclusive evidence, based upon the camera angles, but if it was a miss by the crew, it sustained the opening, momentum-setting drive.

    That doesn’t minimize Leavy’s calls and their impact on the game. I saw the fumble that wasn’t called. I saw the phantom roughing the passer. We all did. We also evaluated the 155 other plays that were part of the game and that is what Football bases its analysis on.

  15. Bison21
    January 16, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    If you’re going to support your argument with a non-call against the Giants then you need to look at some of the other calls/non-calls that went against the Giants. First, holding against Snee, giving the Giants a 1st and 20, was mild (if it was holding at all) compared to some of the blatant grabbing I saw by the Packers O line. Second, there was at least one occurrence of Eli getting slammed in the back and head well after the pass was thrown with no flag.

    12 men in the huddle? That’s feeble, Ben.

  16. J Moscardini
    January 16, 2012 at 3:57 pm


    I do understand the “big picture” (150+ plays) view, but I’m also a fan of statistics. And when you have such a distinct statistical imbalance in the bad or missed calls, which went against the Giants, a closer look (and some raised eyebrows) is certainly justified. If the Giants has lost this game, there would have been a angry mob calling for heads to roll, and there would probably have been an apology from the league. Just because the Giants won doesn’t release the the League from that apology. Despite all the talk of the blown fumble and roughing calls, I think the third down mis-spot of Ware’s run was absolutely unconscionable. I’ve replayed it several times. Just a horrible spot; one of the worst I’ve ever seen.

  17. Curt
    January 16, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Thanks Steve. I did not recall the ball being tipped. If that happened then yes the defender is free to hit that receiver.

    I also don’t disagree that the contact wasn’t flagrant and often wouldnt be flagged, however, if it occurred before the ball got there and it caused the receiver to involuntarily move his hand I think it should be flagged if the ref saw it. I know many calls are judgement calls, but it would greatly simplify and make the game more fair if the rules were strictly enforced and consistent for both teams in every game. At least that’s my opinion.

  18. Ben Austro
    January 16, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    @Curt — pass interference is called by all downfield officials when one player has leveraged an advantage against the other player. How that is interpreted by those officials leads to inconsistency from crew to crew, but is generally — generally — called the same within a game.

  19. Ben Austro
    January 16, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    @Bison21: You are right, there are many other plays. The holding penalty on Snee seemed to be minor; could make a case that he overpowered the defender causing him to fall. The fact that it happened near the ball carrier gave an advantage to the offense, so I can see Leavy making the call there.

    I also saw that hit on Manning that should have been called. The defender clearly took two steps before hitting Manning after he threw the ball. It is missing from our coverage, because I we were having server issues at that time, and the live blog was not updating. I was busy under the hood trying to become an impromptu web server genius.

    I was not throwing out the solitary example to create some kind of balance. When the questionable/close/bad calls are tallied, the Packers got the advantage. It’s just the way it worked out, but it was not a concerted effort by the crew to tilt the scale in the Packers favor.

  20. Ben Austro
    January 16, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    By the way, we will be deconstructing the whole play that was under review in its own post. Working on that as we can find the time to do so.

  21. Curt
    January 16, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    @Ben -I agree however the first Action listed in the NFL rule is:

    (a) Contact by a defender who is not playing the ball and such contact restricts the receiver’s opportunity to make the catch.

    I would suggest that hitting the elbow and moving the arm and hand would restrict the receiver’s opportunity to make the catch and the defender clearly was not playing the ball. The contact may have been small but it doesn’t take much to cause someone to have their hands out of position to make he catch.

  22. Ben Austro
    January 16, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Unwritten, though, there is regular season pass interference and postseason pass interference.

  23. Curt
    January 16, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    I guess the point I’m making is that if the referee sees it, the call should be made according to the letter of he rule. Interpreting whether or not X contact or action made enough of a difference will often lead to the referee making the wrong decision.

  24. Steve
    January 16, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    The point is this. The preponderance of bad calls went againts the Giants in this game and in the regular season game in NY. Ballard was in bounds; Jennings never had complete control through the catch.
    I don’t believe there is a conspiracy; just some lousy officiating. For you to rate the officiating in yesterday’s game as adequate is a joke. Just listen to the experts who are weighing in.
    Could you imagine if the Giants had lost? There would really be an outcry.
    How can you compare a 12 man in the huddle non-call to:
    1) A blown fumble call which was switched on the field and then upheld;
    2) A phantom roughing the passer call;
    3) A ticky-tack holding call on Snee, when Pierre-Paul seemed to be held a couple of times:
    4) Possible uncalled roughing the passer penalties on Manning;
    5) A HORRENDOUS spot on the Ware third and two run. While you’re reviewing the Jennings non-fumble, please take a look at this play too and let us know what you think of the spot.

  25. Ben Austro
    January 16, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Steve, as I said above, I isolated out one play and was not looking to show balance. Clearly, the bad calls favored the Packers. We covered #1 and #2. Number 3 is more borderline than you indicate, because a defender went down right near the ball carrier’s route. That will get called. #4 should have been called, too.

    As for the spot on Ware’s 3rd and 2. He’s sitting on the turf with the ball in his right hand. Both the line judge and head linesman spotted it short immediately. It was a good call, in light of the fact the I would have given him the first down without benefit of replay.

  26. Steve
    January 16, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    Ben: You’re right. I stand corrected on the Ware spot. Still doesn’t take away from the overall below par officiating effort. I’ll leave it to you and the NFL to rate individual officials. As a fan, we look at the overall fairness of the calls, and this game did not leave many of us walking away with a positive feeling.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:50 am

    i was looking for answers to the disturbing calls I saw last night, after reading all of Ben’s explanations, it makes me feel disgusted to hear him trying to defend the impossible. It’s simply not possible that so many bad calls went only in Packers favor and still he thinks there is no evidence of a major plot. COMMON!!!! this is why I’ll never comeback to this site again. It’s simple disgusting to see someone ridicule himself in such a blatant way.

    January 17, 2012 at 7:20 am

    It’s common sense that if a ref is determined to change the outcome of a game, he isn’t going to miss the majority of the 150 calls, because that will draw too much attention, HE IS SIMPLY GOING TO “MISS” THE CRUCIAL CALLS. So Ben’s explanation that there is no plot just because the other 145 calls were done by the book, it’s simply a dumb reasoning. The problem for Bill Leavey is that he started the bad calls in hope that Packers will turn around the game soon but as time went by, he had to keep calling bad calls or missing obvious penaltys to the point we and MANY OTHERS will continue having this discussion. Hopefully he has raised so much fire, that more and more eyes will be on him, when he starts doing it again on another crucial game, CAUSE HE WILL, many others outraged football fans will raise their voices against this blatant cheating.

  29. Joe
    January 17, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    The League should be ashamed of themselves for harboring a criminal.

  30. Joe
    January 18, 2012 at 5:00 am

    Ben, shut down this ridiculous site. Leavy kept two Packer drives alive and ended two Giants drives unjustifiably in Lambeau field with Rodgers quarterbacking. A good team does not overcome the corruption which the entire nation, except for you, witnessed. It took Eli Manning a very hot defense and a very good Giants coaching staff to overcome.

  31. Mark
    January 18, 2012 at 8:59 am

    That frame above was after Ware was driven back. I’ve replayed it many times in slow motion and forward progress had the ball over the line before Ware “sat on the turf”. It was a terrible spot.
    I’ll agree, with a few exceptions, the crew in *general* did an ok job. But Bill Leavy proved to the world he has no business being on the field. And your pointing out the possible non-call with 12 Giants in the huddle just points out another blown call by Leavy and crew. Can’t he or they count to 12?

  32. Ben Austro
    January 18, 2012 at 9:20 am

    The still taken above was before Ware lunged forward, not afterward. To put it another way, Ware had not yet crossed the yellow line at the point of that image.

    We are unsure of the 12 men in the huddle penalty, because we don’t know if a substitute entered the field outside of the huddle or if the Giants even huddled at all. Those situations are not penalized. We will never know unless another camera angle comes forth to show us what happened while the network had us focused elsewhere.

  33. Mark
    January 18, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Not the way I remember it, but I didn’t save the game so can’t check it again. I’ll watch the replay of the game tonight on NFL Replay and if you’re right I’ll come back and say so.
    As for the 12 men in the huddle issue, you missed my point. *Our* view may have been focused elsewhere, but not the zebras, (or shouldn’t have been). *IF* the Giants got away with one, who’s fault would that be, Ben?

  34. Ben Austro
    January 18, 2012 at 10:21 am

    You answered your own question there. The officiating department has access to more video than we are, and they will know with absolute certainty one way or the other. (The league has one camera called “all 22,” which has all 22 players on the field in frame to check things such as this.)

  35. Mark
    January 18, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Great, glad to hear it. That means they’ll be able to see the illegal hits on Manning that weren’t called either. What isn’t clear however, is what the league does about it when they see missed or incorrect penalties. I understand that all officiating crews are examined and graded after the games, but that’s all I know. Perhaps you could elaborate further?

  36. Ben Austro
    January 18, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    The average accuracy of the officials is between 98% and 99% every year, according to the league. During the regular season, your on-field accuracy is one of the factors to get a playoff spot, which was the case with Mr. Leavy.

    Officials do get fired for poor accuracy marks — accuracy marks that you and I would struggle to achieve. One game, however, does not end a career. Scott Green held his flag on a botched field goal in a Giants-49ers playoff game in 2003. Terry McAulay incorrectly called pass interference on a desperation pass in a 1999 game in New England. Both were very pivotal calls in determining the result, and in both cases word got out that their boss thought they made a bad call.

    Later in their careers, Green and McAulay were promoted to head referees and both have been the crew chief at the Super Bowl.

    As for the evaluation process during the regular season, we have a post up on that from 2009.

    January 18, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Ben, just answer me this, Why are you so obsessed with justifying ref Leavy? Do you really believe someone can go from 99% accuracy during regular season earning a spot on the playoffs to missing by mere coincidence half of the big calls, and all of your “misses” were coincidently in favor of the same team, the one that needed the “break”, are you that naive?

  38. Mark
    January 18, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’d have to struggle to achieve a 50-60% accuracy rate. This isn’t the first big game Leavy has blown calls on either…he admitted botching Superbowl XL.
    If you can botch the Superbowl and not get fired, what the heck does it take?

  39. Mark
    January 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Just to follow up on the Ware spot, that entire drive was mysteriously missing from the reshowing on NFL Replay so I wasn’t able to review it again. Giants recover the fumble after Osi swats the ball loose from Rodgers with 10:28 on the clock, 3rd period. Next play shown is 1st and 10, Green Bay ball with the clock at 8:48. I can only imagine why they didn’t want us to see it again….