Former officials’ boss says the intentional grounding safety on 49ers a bad call
Former NFL vice president for officiating and current FOX Sports football officiating analyst Mike Pereira broke down three very interesting plays from Week 13, including an intentional grounding call in the endzone that resulted in a safety on the San Francisco 49ers (video).
Pereira says Carl Cheffers and crew missed the call in Saint Louis where the crew called the 49ers for a safety due to an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone. In order for there to be no intentional grounding, the ball has to cross the line of scrimmage and the quarterback has to be out of the pocket. Cheffers, with the help of head linesman Ken Payne ruled that the ball did not cross the line of scrimmage. Pereira says the officials by rule should not judge where the ball crosses the sideline but rather where the ball lands out of bounds in determining whether or not the pass crossed the line of scrimmage. Since the ball landed out of bounds beyond the line of scrimmage, Pereira says Cheffers and crew were wrong to flag the 49ers for intentional grounding and awarding two points to the Saint Louis Rams for the safety. The score was tied at the end of regulation and the Rams won in overtime. How the head linesman or the line judge can turn his back on the field of play, follow the ball out of bounds, look through the crowd on the sideline and judge where the ball landed is a question to me; however that is the rule and it appears to be an incorrect call.
Pereira then focused on a rare illegal block in the back call on a punt in the 49ers – Rams game. This time, the officials got it right. The Rams, who were the kicking team, were flagged for an illegal block in the back during the punt. Pereira says this is a very rare call, but the officials got it right. The kicking team is not allowed to block the receiving team in the back while the kick is in the air. Once the kick is caught or hits the ground, the kicking team can block in the back. The receiving team cannot block in the back at any time during the play. The kick was clearly in the air when the block in question occurred so Cheffers got the call right.
Pereira then focuses on a situation in the Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks game where the Seahawks stopped the Bears on fourth down, taking over on downs. Pereira says while there was a change of possession due to the fourth down stop, this play is not subject to an automatic booth review. Line to gain replays, no matter the situation, are not covered under automatic booth review. Pereira adds that the Bears could have challenged to spot without violating the “red flag rule.”
As of this writing, I have not been able to find the Pro Football Talk segment with NBC Sports Network officiating analyst Jim Daopoulos. Pereira and Daopoulos always have interesting officiating plays to discuss each week and we’ll be sure to break them down – if they are posted online!