Football Zebras™

Super Bowl live blog: Ravens vs. 49ers

SB47_chromeSuper Bowl XLVII

We will be live blogging the calls and rules interpretations from Super Bowl XLVII. (If you see continue reading below, click it to see the entire feed.)

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

Today’s crew is headed by Jerome Boger. The full crew list is at the bottom of this post.

Ben Austro
Mon Oct 24 • 1:23 am EDT

Seahawks at Cardinals (video)

Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner was able to sneak over the offensive line on an overtime field goal kick by the Cardinals. The contact, again, is incidental, and it is not a leaping foul. The casebook that accompanies the rulebook makes this clear under Approved Ruling 12.85:

On a Try that is successful, defensive player B1 runs forward four yards and leaps in an attempt to block the kick. He comes down with little or no contact to a teammate or opponent.

Ruling: Try is good. No foul since the contact by B1 was incidental.

As for the kick that ricochets off the upright and back into the field of play, this is immediately a dead ball. The only exception is that a ball that hits the upright can still go through for a successful field goal.

The game ended in a 6-6 tie, which is the third time this happened in the NFL since 1940. The previous two occurrences happened before overtime was used in regular-season games. The Cardinals were involved in all three:

  • 1970 St. Louis Cardinals at Kansas City Chiefs
  • 1972 St. Louis Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles
  • 2016 Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals
Ben Austro
Sun Oct 23 • 10:34 pm EDT

Seahawks at Cardinals (video)

Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner leaps over the Cardinals line and blocks a field goal attempt. A leaping foul, one of a suite of scrimmage kick fouls contained under the unsportsmanlike conduct rules, is called if a player runs to the line, leaps, and lands on a player (either an opponent or a teammate). Wagner’s foot tapped the back of the center, but this is not a foul. Incidental contact with another player is not considered in a leaping foul. If Wagner put any weight into the contact, such as a step, then this would be leaping. Referee Terry McAulay conferenced briefly and determined there was no leaping foul and no kick-formation foul on the defense.

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians sought to challenge the call. Arians really knows better, or his advisor on rules/challenge matters failed him miserably. There is some referee discretion if the challenge flag is thrown when there is genuine confusion over a reviewable aspect of a play. However, penalties (other than 12 men on the field) are not reviewable, and McAulay was not going to extend that benefit of doubt to Arians. The Cardinals are charged a timeout so that they don’t lose the challenge, and it would have been a 15-yard penalty assessed between downs if they didn’t have a penalty to give.

Update: Coach Arians addressed this in a postgame interview:

He definitely touched him. You know, I’m sure — we’ll talk to the league, and we’ll get some kind of explanation that’s all bullshit like normal

Mark Schultz
Sun Oct 23 • 10:32 pm EDT

Washington at Detroit (video)

Field judge Terry Brown and back judge Terrance Miles call a field goal attempt no good after the ball bounced off the top of the upright. 

Ben Austro
Sun Oct 23 • 9:42 pm EDT

Chargers at Falcons

Falcons receiver Julio Jones cannot catch a break on interference in the waning seconds of regulation. Last week, an unseen pass interference by Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman restricted Jones and no flag was thrown. This week, with 11 seconds remaining in a tied game, Jones was interfered with again on a pass that sailed over his head. This was ruled uncatchable, and the Chargers luckily dodged a flag.

Jones stopped his route and the ball was clearly overthrown. If the interference in any way prevented Jones from getting to the ball, the radius of catchability gets wider. Since Jones was leaping for the ball, the contact did not hinder Jones’s ability to get to the ball.

To be clear, this was not a held flag due to the game situation. It has everything to do with the trajectory of the pass in relation to the receiver.

Ben Austro
Sun Oct 23 • 9:32 pm EDT

Chargers at Falcons

After presiding over an overtime game last Sunday night, referee Bill Vinovich opened the microphone at the coin toss, and said, “Well, gentlemen, this is my second one in a row.”

Mark Schultz
Sun Oct 23 • 8:33 pm EDT

Buccaneers at 49ers (video)

Nick Bellore of the 49ers runs down to make a play….without a helmet. On the play, it is suspicious how Bellore lost his helmet; was it a missed facemask or hands to the face? Bellore didn’t seem to be upset that there was no flag.

In the NCAA if a player loses his helmet he has to go out for a play (unless he lost his helmet because someone fouled him). High school rules are the same and then NFHS adds another wrinkle. If this was a high school game, Bellore would have gotten a flag for participating in the play after his helmet came off.

Mark Schultz
Sun Oct 23 • 7:44 pm EDT

Chargers at Falcons (video)

Nice close up view of field judge Michael Banks calling a potential game-winning field goal no good.

Mark Schultz
Sun Oct 23 • 7:39 pm EDT

Bills at Dolphins (video)

Jarvis Landry of the Dolphins delivers a devastating block on Aaron Williams. Landry went in with the shoulder pads at chin level. The NFL wants this type of hit out of the game. Side judge Tom Hill flagged the personal foul. Umpire Fred Bryan called an offensive hold on this play and the Bills chose to enforce the 15-yard penalty.

Although it was a hard hit, it is not one that rises to the level of ejection. In-play ejections are extraordinarily rare, as contact is expected, as compared to post-whistle when there should be none.

Mark Schultz
Sun Oct 23 • 7:26 pm EDT

Chargers at Falcons (video)

Bill Vinovich’s crew with great clock awareness as the Falcons call time out with the score tied. While the clock ran out, the officials determined that the Falcons called timeout with one second left. The 58-yard field goal was no good and the game went to overtime.

Mark Schultz
Sun Oct 23 • 7:20 pm EDT

Raiders at Jaguars (video)

Marquette King makes lemonade out of lemons after scrambling for a first down on a bad snap from center. These are difficult plays to officiate as both teams are spread out and the officials have to widen their field of vision.

Mark Schultz
Sun Oct 23 • 7:12 pm EDT

Saints at Chiefs (video)

Head linesman Tony Veteri, Jr., picks up a flag for offensive pass interference. While the Saints did throw a pick at the line of scrimmage, the pass was caught behind the line of scrimmage, thus no foul.

Ben Austro
Sun Oct 23 • 7:11 pm EDT

Raiders at Jaguars (video)

triplette-double-thumbsRaiders receiver Johnny Holton and Jaguars Jalen Ramsey started swinging punches at each other. Both players were ejected, and referee Jeff Triplette introduced the double-ejection signal.

Ben Austro
Sun Oct 23 • 6:05 pm EDT

Bills at Dolphins (video)

A Reggie Bush touchdown was reviewed as he lost both the ball and his helmet as he crossed the goal line. By rule, when the helmet is completely off a ball carrier’s head, the play is dead immediately.

When the Bills running back loses control of the ball, it is not exactly clear where the ball is positioned, as he has it tucked inside his elbow. (It is also roughly the same time Bush’s knee came down, but there is still no definitive spot that takes the touchdown away.) Reviewing the helmet, it does appear to pop off prior to the ball breaking the plane. In order to make this determination, the helmet must be seen separated from the head. The freeze frame that shows his helmet askew can still be on Bush’s head, so the indisputable standard is not met. The touchdown call stands on both counts.

Patrick Weber
Sun Oct 23 • 4:26 pm EDT

Vikings at Eagles

At the 1:54 mark of the 4th quarter, the Vikings had the ball 1st and goal from the eight yard line. On the ensuing play, the Vikings were flagged for holding, and then were also penalized for an unsportsmanlike conduct foul, most likely for a foul against an official. Fouls against an official are not treated as part of a multiple foul, so they will stack on any other fouls in the play . Both penalties are enforced in this situation, and the Vikings then had 1st and goal from the 33 yard line.

Patrick Weber
Sun Oct 23 • 4:02 pm EDT

Vikings at Eagles

During the first half, there was a flag thrown for defensive pass interference on a long throw down the sideline to Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs. The flag was subsequently waved off, presumably because it was judged that Diggs simultaneously pulled on the shoulder of the defensive back. The initial call looked to have been the correct one however, because replays showed that the defensive back initiated contact with Diggs before ever turning to play the ball.


Ben Austro
Sun Oct 23 • 2:54 pm EDT

Raiders at Jaguars (video)

After Raiders receiver Michael Crabtree scores a touchdown, he immediately throws the ball over his head, then brings his hand up to his neck/shoulder area. Crabtree was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct foul for a throat-slash gesture.

I did not see the flag from the back judge who was in the frame before the TV cut away to another shot. The announcers said this was where the alleged foul occurred, and it is unclear if there was an additional unseen gesture that drew the foul. If this is not the case, then this should not have been a flag.

Because of the new unsportsmanlike rules, this action (or nonaction) is even more costly. Crabtree faces an automatic ejection for any other similar unsportsmanlike foul in the remaining half of the game. This is an incredibly harsh penalty if the first infraction was in error.

Ben Austro
Sun Oct 23 • 2:41 pm EDT

Vikings at Eagles

The Vikings were flagged for roughing the kicker on a successful extra-point kick by the Eagles. Rather than kicking off at the 50-yard line, the Eagles opted to take the 1 point off the board and assess on a 2-point try. This gives the ball to the Eagles at the 1-yard line, and quarterback Carson Wentz carried the ball for the 2 points.

Ben Austro
Sun Oct 23 • 2:11 pm EDT

Colts at Titans (video)

After scoring the touchdown on the tackle-eligible play, Titans punter Brett Kern bobbles the hold on the extra-point attempt. Kern attempts a pass to kicker Ryan Succop, who is an eligible receiver by virtue of lining up in the backfield. If Succop was able to get to the end zone, it would have been a 2-point conversion, even though it was a 1-point play.

While 2 points may be scored this way, a team cannot line up for a 2-point play and attempt a kick, either by dropkick or an improvised placekick. If such a kick goes through the goalposts, it is a failed extra-point attempt.

Before the implementation of the 2-point conversion rule by the NFL in 1994, a botched snap on the kick would result in a 1-point conversion if the kicking team was able to get the ball into the end zone.

Ben Austro
Sun Oct 23 • 1:48 pm EDT

Colts at Titans (video)

Titans offensive tackle Taylor Lewan reports as an eligible receiver and catches a touchdown pass from Marcus Mariotta. Lewan was lined up legally at the end of the line, based on his reporting eligible.

Ben Austro
Sun Oct 23 • 12:01 pm EDT

Giants vs. Rams (video)

London was treated to one of the most spectacular interception returns you’ll ever see. Giants safety Landon Collins ran an interception all over the Twickenham Stadium rugby pitch to the end zone, dodging tackles all the way. At the conclusion of the play, offensive guard Bobby Hart was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. But wait, the Giants were on defense; why is there a flag on an offensive player?

Hart entered the field to celebrate the touchdown, which is an unsportsmanlike conduct foul.

CBS analyst Dan Fouts said that Hart is one unsportsmanlike foul away from ejection, but this shows Fouts’ lack of understanding of the rule. There are many unsportsmanlike acts, but the ones  that count towards an ejection do not include celebration fouls, unless it involves an act of taunting.

Ben Austro
Sun Oct 23 • 9:00 am EDT

Today’s officials


  • U 124 Carl Paganelli* to Morelli’s crew (TB-SF)
  • LJ 90 Mike Spanier* to Parry’s crew (CHI-GB/Thurs.)
  • FJ 95 James Coleman* to Hussey’s crew (MIN-PHI)
  • SJ 89 Jon Lucivansky* to Boger’s crew (IND-TEN)

*Swing officials that are moved between crews each week.

      Yr. Crew College Occupation
R 23 Jerome Boger 9 Boger Morehouse College commercial insurance underwriter
U 76 Darrell Jenkins 11 Morelli San Jose State retired
HL 22 Steve Stelljes 11 Anderson Friends business planning manager
LJ 18 Byron Boston 18 Anderson Austin tax consultant
FJ 4 Craig Wrolstad 10 Hochuli Washington athletic director
SJ 73 Joe Larrew 11 Boger St Louis attorney
BJ 105 Dino Paganelli 7 Steratore Aquinas College educator

21 comments for “Super Bowl live blog: Ravens vs. 49ers

  1. C.J.
    February 3, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    First big call. Looks like they got it right on initial replay.

  2. C.J.
    February 3, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Should have had two ejections in the melee.

  3. Joey D
    February 3, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    Wow. This is the best crew? Look like replacements. Botched the coin toss; Kruger lined up clearly in NZ on his sack in first qt which stopped 49ers drive (huge advantage gained by being a foot into NZ); Illegal contact by 49ers against Balt stopped Balt drive (might have been td pass but for the IC) but nonetheless wasn’t called; Covered up the IW on niners fumble – clearly heard the whistle from the mics; missed OPI on Balt receiver; and the most embarrassing the R pointing wrong direction on the roughing passer penalty against Balt. Unbelievable.

  4. Dave
    February 3, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    On the 109 yard kickoff return, two Ravens players were holding 49ers #49 for several seconds before the kick returner even passed by.

  5. BS
    February 3, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Hold tight…the OG is coming to the rescue again!!!

  6. gottafixthe refs
    February 3, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    Game decided by the officials! Hate to see the game decided on the biggest stage by the refs. Clear PI, or at a minimum holding against Baltimore at the end of the game, lots of other calls bad both ways during the game, but that missed call at the end sealed the game, no chance for the receiver to get to the ball and decide the game on the field, we don’t know who would’ve won if that was called right, but we do know that those refs decided it!

  7. Rob
    February 3, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    On Gore’s (SF) long run to the left side at about 2:40 in the 4Q, I noticed that the Field Judge ran back up-field towards the LOS and LJ instead of getting to the goal line. Was there a reason for this? Is this an NFL mechanic?

  8. candoor
    February 4, 2013 at 2:46 am

    Was there a Ravens facemask missed that spun the SF RB before the first fumble? I thought so. Was there an Ravens offensive pass interference missed on a relatively easy SF interception. Yes. Selective holding calls all game? Yes. The Lead Ref known for leniency chosen after his 8 in-season errors were overturned (a couple of overturns is a lot, but 8?)… The most penalized defense in the game? Seems like a recipe for inconsistency in defensive calls. No surprise that is what happened most of the game. I won my fantasy Survival Football league because I picked Baltimore (so this is not sour grapes by a SF fan) and SF coaching calls inside the red zone were poor at best, but as a football fan, I am disgusted with having the refs so involved in the outcome of the games all season.

  9. Dennis
    February 4, 2013 at 7:01 am

    My college white hat has a great saying…”Let the strongest team win”. Meaning let the team who wants it most win the game. I thought the crew was very consistent on their calls. They got the obvious one’s. I don’t think U had a single call all night–Nice job! Both teams Wide-Outs and DB’s played physical and Wings let them do so to a certain point–Nice job letting the players decide. Jerome did a nice job on managing both teams during the blackout. Few penalties called and the fans, players, coaches, as well as the officials like that–Nice Job guys!

  10. Mike Assaf
    February 4, 2013 at 8:06 am

    There was blatant inconsistencies on the defensive holding.

    SF got called on a 3rd and 9 for holding (I think Torrey Smith was the intended target), but it looked more like Smith was the one that pushed off with his right arm, clobbering the SF defender.

    There was a non-PI call on Crabtree on a deep ball, the defender pulled or hooked his arm.

    Holding on the kick-off return.

    No holding/PI called on the 4th and 5 SF last drive.

    No Ejections for #29 who was throwing punches AND bumped an official.

    I could go on and on, it was very poor officiating, but SF still had a chance to win this game, they left 8 points out there (first quarter Kaep overthrew Crabtree while he was sitting on th goal line all alone, and late in the third quarter Davis was open on a corner route for a TD but Kaep threw a ball to Ginn Jr. that had no chance – both possessions ended up in FG’s).

    I also question the play-calling on the last 4 SF possessions. They had no RB in the back field – at the very least, call the pistol formation so the D has to guess. The threw it all 4 times, which gave the Ravens a huge advantage.

  11. Boonie
    February 4, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Agree with the thought that this crew let it get away from them early. I understand its the Super Bowl but they had a bubbling pot that came close to boiling over into a grease fire. Ravens #29 played great but he was the number one stirrer.

    Absolute missed hold on the Jones return. I recall seeing a hug on Kaepernick’s TD run, I think. I’ll have to check the replay this week.

    I like what Dilfer said this morning about the non-call on the final SF play- it was a def. hold but don’t bail out a bad play by the offense.

  12. Mike Assaf
    February 4, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Dilfer is a moron.

    How was that a bad play? Crabtree would have had a good chance to catch that.

    A bad play would have been an un-catchable throw – then I agree not to bail them out, but that was a no-brainer and should have been called.

  13. Ben Austro
    February 4, 2013 at 10:06 am

    By the way, I have to wait for the replay on NFL Network this week to check some of these calls. Apparently, I must not have set the DVR.

    Generally, the officials stayed out, and what really jumped out at me were two continuing-action fouls that were not called, but not a mid-play objectionable call.

  14. Tom
    February 4, 2013 at 10:41 am

    14:50 1st qtr, it might have been a good call but not sure why the umpire made it. He is doesn’t have a good view of who is on or off the line of scrimmage, wingmen’s call.

  15. Dennis
    February 4, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Somewhat surprised at the no holding flag on the safety. At least make Jimmy happy by dropping a flag, even if it has zero impact on the game. (it’s a safety for committing a penalty in the end zone, or a safety for him running out. Either way they’re not putting time back on the clock.)

  16. Ben Austro
    February 4, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    I’ll have to look back at that, but I can support a no flag in that situation. As means of example: if on a series of laterals on the last play, one of them goes forward, but then very soon after it goes out of bounds, don’t flag the illegal forward pass.

    If an official went to throw a flag on a holding call (which takes a second or two), and the punter is near the back of the end zone, going out of bounds, I can see the official holstering his flag and calling it a wash for “the pace of the game.”

    Net result would always be a safety, and the penalty cannot carry forward to the free kick

  17. Marshal
    February 4, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    Who ever said this was a well called game must not have been watching the same game. The refs blew so many calls as well as non calls. On the two point convention Baltimore was offsides not called. On the safety Baltimore held not called and on the Michael Crabtree end zone play he was held. Yes he pushed off because the corner was all over him. The refs should not cause the reason for the game to be given to Baltimore.

  18. scot
    February 4, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Was every Raven instructed to hold on the safety play? Why was holding not called? The hold on Dixon was particularly egregious. And it occurred right in front of Boger. But maybe this is a flaw in the rules. Holding in the end zone would have resulted in a safety, which is what the Ravens wanted anyway. Maybe the free kick would have been from the 10 instead of the 20. But there still would only have been 4 seconds left. Perhaps the rule ought to call for 10 seconds being added to the clock, as it is taken off the clock when the defense commits the penalty.

  19. Doug
    February 4, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    The Holding on the safety was probably intentional in that if they held/tackled the defensive rush, the kicker could allow MORE time off the clock, knowing that ultimately it would result in the same penalty – safety. I thought on first view the hold on the 4th and goal was PI/Hold, but after watching from the other angles, I thought a good no-call as both guys were guilty. And like Austro said, when the WR initiates contact, he loses some of his clout.

  20. Mike Assaf
    February 4, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    I am starting to think that the Ravens set the tone for the officiating when early in the first quarter #29 shoved one of the officials and did not get a game ejection.

    Please, when does a player get away with that in the NFL. Does anyone recall Andre Reed getting ejected in a playoff game vs Miami when Doug Flutie was the Bills’ QB? Late 90’s, he got up after being tackled and chest-bumped an official in-inadvertently to dispute something but the official immediately threw the flag and ejected him.

    These officials, next to the Seattle-Pittsburgh SuperBowl, were the worst that I have seen. From what I understand, neither of them had even worked a Conference Championship game, yet they are thrown in to the SuperBowl? What an absolute disgrace for the NFL for this sham.

    Gene Seratore and Ed Hochili didn’t get a sniff in this year’s playoffs, yet they have a goon-squad group of clowns officiating a SuperBowl (and I am no fan of Hochili, believe me).

  21. Ace
    February 4, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Interesting note I found out these refs that were doing the Super Bowl never even did a conference championship game ever what does that tell ya these refs according to the NFL Referee Association they are not qualified to do the Super Bowl the “FIX WAS IN”.

    Flags where all one sided favor of the Ravens only 2 calls where made on the Ravens the whole game there name should be changed to the Baltimore Refs.

    Put it this way if Ray Lewis can get away with Murder so can the Ravens.