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Eagles could not get second life from leverage call

phi atl not leverage

Week 1: Eagles at Falcons (video)

In the first game of the Monday night doubleheader, a seesaw battle headed to the end of the fourth quarter with the Eagles attempting a go-ahead 44-yard field goal. The field goal sails wide right as Falcons linebacker Kroy Biermann leaps over the line into the Eagles backfield, likely causing pressure on kicker Cody Parkey.

Another angle was played which I was certain showed a foul (h/t @bzref for tweeting the clip):

This looks like Biermann is guilty of leverage, an unsportsmanlike conduct foul that prohibits a player from gaining height by placing a hand on another player, be it an opponent or a teammate. Incidental contact with the hand is always acceptable, but in this case Biermann places two hands on the Eagles’ lineman — whose head dips down slightly as a result — and Biermann leaps over the opponent.

The league ruled that the no-call was, in fact, correct. NFL spokesman Michael Signora responded to Football Zebras with the following e-mail:

Not leverage. He used hands to jump through in attempt to block the kick. He did not use his hands on the down linemen to gain additional height.

Had leverage been the correct call, the Eagles would have had an automatic first down at the 13-yard line and more than two minutes on the clock.

Ben Austro
Ben Austro
Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)

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