You can follow our coverage on Twitter, but we will post some of the more notable calls from the weekend here in our liveblog.
Did you see something in Sunday’s game that you thought was not called correctly? Did you want to give props to an official who made a great call? (I know, this isn’t likely, even though it happens all the time.) Let’s us know by giving us the quarter and time (if known) and what happened in the comments section below or tweet us.
Patriots at Falcons
Was it good? A Patriots field goal attempt by Steven Gostkowski appeared from the TV camera angles to pass right over the right upright. On kicks, the field judge and the back judge are stationed beneath the uprights, and will look up at the outside plane of the goalpost. If the official sees ball, then the kick is no good.
Should the posts be extended? They were in 1966, redesigned in 1967, and extended again in 1974, but have remained untouched since then. Perhaps a simple solution has cables extending upwards from the uprights to another cable that follows the plane of the end line, well beyond the height of a kick. This way a ball could deflect off of the cable in the same ways that it would the uprights.
History of goalpost changes: Pro Football Hall of Fame
The “Baltimore Extensions” of 1966: Chris Pika, WNST/Baltimore
Cowboys at Chargers (video)
On a fumble recovery in the end zone, Chargers cornerback Richard Marshall started to return the ball out of the end zone before taking a knee for a touchback. Marshall did not bring the entire ball out of the end zone, so it remains in the end zone by rule.
Jets at Titans (video)
Well, not a good day for back judges. After first-year back judge Dale Shaw got caught out of position, Billy Smith (a 20-year veteran) nearly broke up this 77-yard touchdown reception by Titans receiver Nate Washington. Apparently, Smith was positioning for a sideline route, but needed to change his angle when the play came up the middle.
In both Shaw’s and Smith’s collision, they must have awareness of the flight of the ball in their positioning. It rarely happens that the officials get mixed up in the play, but it is another consideration beyond the rules for all of the officials, particularly the deep ones.
Cardinals at Buccaneers (video)
Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson delivers a hit on a defenseless player. Obviously, Jeron Brown, the Cardinals receiver, was in a defenseless posture. On the play, the officials are watching for Goldson’s actions with the head. Because Goldson lowers his head in a manner to deliver a blow (and not to redirect his target), this is a foul.
On that punt play in Denver (one entry below), Shaw was a bit out of position. He was clearly in the middle of the gunner’s path. Side judge and field judge have responsibility for the goal line. Glad to see he’s okay and that he made a quick recovery. And good that it didn’t have an effect on the play.
Eagles at Broncos (image)
Rookie back judge Dale Shaw (#104) takes a tumble at the goal line as the Eagles try to down a punt. An Eagles player got partially blocked into Shaw. He was hit from behind and landed on his front. He got up in time to make the touchback call.
h/t GIFD Sports
Seahawks at Texans
Prior to the game-winning drive by the Seahawks in overtime, the Texans punted with the gunner Eddie Pleasant stepping out of bounds. Pleasant was attempting to get around the Seahawks coverage, and swung out of bounds to do so.
During a punt that crosses the line of scrimmage, and prior to a change of possession, it is a foul if a kicking team player goes out of bounds voluntarily (without being contacted) prior to the end of the kick.
If a member of the kicking team is forced out of bounds, or goes out of bounds voluntarily, and does not attempt to return
inbounds in a reasonable amount of time, it is a foul for Unsportsmanlike Conduct. See 12-3-1-(t).
Penalty: Loss of five yards.
Pleasant was not bumped
significantly, if at all , so he went out of bounds on his own volition. He also was angling to return to the field, so he was subject to the 5-yard foul, and not a 15 yarder. It appears that side judge Ron Torbert threw the flag, as he lead the discussion with referee Tony Corrente. Head linesman George Hayward joined the discussion to apparently support the call.
This sideline rule does not apply to the offense and defense on non-punting plays, but there are other rules that come into effect if a player steps out of bounds.
Seahawks at Texans (video)
Head linesman George Hayward calls a personal foul on the Texans in overtime, getting the Seahawks into Texans territory. The Texans player had stopped the Seahawks player’s forward progress, Hayward blew the whistle, and the Texans player body-slammed the ball carrier.
What makes this call even more impressive is that Hayward is on the Texans’ bench. It is easy to make a call that your bench will like, but it takes something extra to make the call against your bench.
Cardinals at Buccaneers
Gene Steratore and his crew are in Tampa today. Joining the crew for the first time is line judge Jeff Seeman. He was out the entire preseason and the first three weeks of the regular season after suffering a freak off-field injury. One source told me that Seeman was on a flight where some item in the cabin of the plane was not secured. He was in the first row and was hit in the knee by the object upon takeoff.
Steratore, himself, joined the crew in Week 1 after missing preseason as he finished rehabbing from offseason surgery on his Achilles tendon.
Great to see Seeman healed and back on the field!
Bears at Lions (video)
Field judge Doug Rosenbaum (#67) is in great position to rule this long Alshon Jeffery catch.
Giants at Chiefs (image)
Chiefs coach Andy Reid tosses the challenge flag to head linesman Greg Bradley, who catches it in midair.
Thanks to Deadspin.
Bears at Lions
Watching Mike Carey work this game, I am still amazed that the Super Bowl 42 referee is 64-years old!
Bears at Lions (video)
The Lions sack Cutler and get a scoop and score. Nice job of referee Mike Carey and umpire Chad Brown to hold their whistles when the ball is temporarily out of sight. It is unusual to see the umpire make the touchdown signal.
Steelers vs. Vikings
In the London game, Vikings punt returner Marcus Sherels was penalized for an invalid fair catch signal. The receiver must signal above the helmet and waving side-to-side to count as a fair-catch signal; raising a hand otherwise (except to block the sun) is a foul.
Giants at Chiefs (video)
Giants punt rusher Damontre Moore was flagged for either running into or roughing the punter on Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt. Because Moore contacted the ball, these fouls largely come off the board, and Terry McAulay’s crew correctly picked up the flags.
No defensive player may run into or rough a kicker who kicks from behind the line unless such contact: (a) is incidental to and occurs after the defender has touched the kick in flight
A hypothetical situation could have a punt rusher intentionally sweeping at the plant leg of the punter while successfully blocking a punt; this would be still be ruled a roughing foul. But in nearly all blocked punt cases, the contact with the punter would be resulting from the defender’s block of the punt.
And, even though the ball has traveled beyond the line of scrimmage, it is still not a foul. The defender only has to have perceptibly touched the ball.
Patriots at Falcons
A fourth quarter challenge by Patriots coach Bill Belichick was denied because the replay equipment was malfunctioning. In this case, referee Walt Coleman waited the required two minutes to allow the replay monitor to become operable. If it is still not working at that point, he must abandon the replay. The Patriots are not penalized a challenge. Belichick was obviously upset at the call (image).
The replay official is not permitted to confirm or overturn a call in this case.