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CallsQuick calls: Week 7

Quick calls: Week 7

Keep checking here for rolling coverage throughout the day on Sunday. If you see anything confusing, unusual, or controversial, please let us know.

Ben Austro Ben Austro October 26, 201512:03 am

Jets at Patriots (video via Streamable)

nyj formation runoffThe Jets were hit with a false start on number, receiver Brandon Marshall on a last-gasp attempt to get a touchdown. Marshall did not get set for a full second prior to the snap.The 10-second runoff that goes with the false start penalty ended the game immediately.

With the clock running under 1:00 in the half, illegal shift fouls are considered false starts. The requirement for a false start in “normal” time is an abrupt and deceptive movement, because the general intent is to catch the defense offside. With a running clock and a hurry-up offense, shifts are largely due to players that are not fully set before the snap.
In this case, there was already a receiver on the right side of the line, so one of the two receivers had to be set back from the line of scrimmage to be in a legal formation (click image to enlarge).

Updated to reflect the illegal shift takes precedence over the illegal formation, and the shift becomes the false start.

Mark Schultz Mark Schultz October 25, 201511:21 pm

Eagles at Panthers (video)

Line judge Julian Mapp and field judge Steve Zimmer rule that Panthers’ wide receiver Philly Brown did not re-establish himself in the field of play before making a catch. Instant replay over-rules the call saying Brown re-established himself and made the catch. Break for the Panthers, right?


According to the rules, if a player goes out of bounds, comes back in bounds and is first to touch the pass, it is a five-yard illegal touching penalty.

Ben Austro Ben Austro October 25, 201510:08 pm

Raiders at Chargers (video)

Raiders tackle Donald Penn was flagged for two infractions on the same play: an offensive holding penalty which then lead to an unnecessary roughness foul.Referee Jerome Boger announced that the roughness occurred “after the play was over.” When a play has a live-ball and a dead-ball foul, they are combined. If they are both by one team, the opposing team has a choice and declines the other. If they are by both teams, they offset (with exceptions).

The Panthers took the roughness foul, which is a dead-ball foul, meaning the down counts. Boger announced that the next down was fourth down, but Raiders coach Jack Del Rio argued that it should be third down.

In the video link, officiating VP Dean Blandino says the roughness foul was a live-ball foul, which is certainly possible. In this case the umpire would observe the foul and then observe if the ball is dead. (A whistle will always come after the ball being dead, not at the same time. Watching a replay, we can see two elements at the same time.) When it appears simultaneous, it is a dead-ball foul.

Blandino does not mention how the crew re-determined the roughness foul to become a part of the play, but Boger repeated third down in the end. It is possible that someone used the wireless headset (maybe in New York?) to tell the crew that their opinion was the foul should be a live-ball foul.

Mark Schultz Mark Schultz October 25, 20159:59 pm

Eagles at Panthers (video)

Referee Craig Wrolstad upholds one of the stranger looking interceptions of this season.

Mark Schultz Mark Schultz October 25, 20159:51 pm

Browns at Rams (video)

Referee Pete Morelli rules that Josh McCown did not have control of the ball as his arm was moving forward – thus a fumble and Rams’ recovery.

Mark Schultz Mark Schultz October 25, 20159:44 pm

Falcons at Titans (video)

Referee Brad Allen upholds head linesman Jim Mello’s ruling that the Falcons’ Julio Jones is short of the goal line.

Mark Schultz Mark Schultz October 25, 20159:28 pm

Cowboys at Giants (video)

Good whistle control by back judge Perry Paganelli on this muffed punt. Paganelli properly awarded possession to the Giants at the spot of recovery as it was a muff and not a fumble.

Ben Austro Ben Austro October 25, 20159:12 pm

Bills vs. Jaguars (video)

Bills cornerback Nickell Robey was flagged for defensive pass interference on a pass to Bryan Walters. Both Robey and Walters appear to be converging on the ball simultaneously, and both players have an equal right to the ball; the exception is that a player cannot go through the back of the opponent to obtain that path to the ball. Robey did not do that, but the fact that Walters fell probably sealed the foul in the opinion of the official.

One caveat: we do not have the angle that the head linesman had, instead both camera angles shown were roughly perpendicular to his perspective. Was there some other action that was not seen on the video? It doesn’t appear so, but that can’t be ruled out.

It was a costly penalty, as the Jaguars were able to get the first down on third-and-long, extending the drive in which they scored the game-winning touchdown.

Mark Schultz Mark Schultz October 25, 20159:05 pm

Raiders at Chargers (video)

Dean Blandino explains the unnecessary roughness foul on Donald Penn of the Raiders and why Jerome Boger repeated the down.

Ben Austro Ben Austro October 25, 20156:46 pm

Raiders at Chargers

Walt Coleman IV — son of the veteran referee — is the side judge for the Raiders-Chargers game. The elder Coleman has not worked a game for the Raiders, home or away, since Jan. 19, 2002, when he correctly ruled that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had not fumbled the ball. Under the Tuck Rule (since removed from the rules), Brady was ruled to have been still in a forward-pass posture, making the loose ball an incomplete pass. The Patriots were able to kick a tying field goal and won the divisional playoff game in overtime.

The senior Coleman has worked more than 300 games since that day, and the do-not-schedule provision for the Raiders remains.

Mark Schultz Mark Schultz October 25, 20156:29 pm

Jets at Patriots (video)

Good job by the Vinovich crew, especially side judge Gary Cavaletto, covering the Jets onside kick. Discipline, whistle control, and good mechanics are needed on potentially chaotic onside kicks.

Mark Schultz Mark Schultz October 25, 20156:23 pm

Cowboys at Giants (video)

Head linesman Greg Bradley, number 98 takes a hard spill on a Giants pick six.  He was bumped while running at full speed, lost his balance and went
down rather hard. Thankfully it didn’t look like he was injured, but he
will be sore for a week.

Ben Austro Ben Austro October 25, 20156:14 pm

Vikings at Lions (video via The Big Lead)

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was seen dipping chewing tobacco on the sideline with six seconds remaining in the game. This is a violation of the league’s policies on game-day appearance and the use of tobacco. It is not a penalty, but Zimmer will face a fine, for certain. The catch-all “general appearance” fine for players is $5,787, but coaches have been fined considerably more than players for breaches of NFL policy. The league provides the following information for all teams:

In addition to the information on alcohol in the NFL Substances of Abuse Policy, you should be aware of the following League policy:

NFL players, coaches, and other employees must not endorse or appear in advertisements for alcoholic beverages (including beer) or tobacco products.

While fully recognizing that the use of alcohol and tobacco is legal, the NFL nevertheless has long been of the view that participation in ads for such substances by its employees may have a detrimental effect on the great number of young fans who follow our game. In particular, endorsements or other close identification of NFL players with alcohol or tobacco could convey the erroneous impression that the use of such products is conducive to the development of athletic prowess, has contributed to their success, or at least has not hindered them in their performance.

For the above reasons, players and other club and League employees (including game officials) must not use alcohol or tobacco products while in the playing field area or while being interviewed on television.

Further, NFL policy prohibits the use or presence of alcoholic beverages, including beer, in club locker rooms at any time during the preseason, regular season, or postseason, including during the practice week and on game day.

Ben Austro Ben Austro October 25, 20155:56 pm

Steelers at Chiefs (video)

Martavis Bryant caught a pass for a touchdown while juggling the ball for control. This was confirmed on review. Vice-president of officiating Dean Blandino was involved in the call, and ruled that Bryant secured the ball simultaneous with the first foot down in bounds, as he states in the video linked above. The second foot came down in bounds as well, and the catch process in complete shortly thereafter. The steps Bryant makes while bobbling the ball do not count toward the required two steps inbounds.

Mark Schultz Mark Schultz October 25, 20155:46 pm

Cowboys at Giants (1:27 | 2nd qtr.)

The Giants almost had an interception. The officials initially ruled that the ball bounced off of the receiver’s foot, but referee John Parry overruled the call, saying the ball hit the turf.

Mark Schultz Mark Schultz October 25, 20155:35 pm

Cowboys at Giants 2:53 | 2nd qtr.

Dallas calls timeout right before a delay of game penalty. The ball was snapped and the officials were blowing the play dead. JT Thomas of the Giants was flagged for a personal foul for a late hit on the Cowboys’ ball carrier. A tight call, but John Parry’s crew is not on record that post-whistle shenanigans will not be tolerated.

Even if the Cowboys were guilty of the delay of game penalty, it is a simple-5 (5 yards with no runoff, loss of down, etc.), and it would have been a 5 vs. 15 enforcement: The down repeats and the 15-yarder is enforced. This avoids a major penalty being offset by a minor infraction.

Ben Austro Ben Austro October 25, 20153:20 pm

Jets at Patriots (video | video)

Referee Bill Vinovich had two first-down spots reversed. The first was Jets receiver Eric Decker, whose knee was down prior to the ball reaching the line to gain. The second was Patriots receiver Brandon LaFell, who had an elbow down with the ball about a yard short of the first down. Both reviews were by coach’s challenges by each team.

If the ball is re-spotted as a result of replay and a measurement is necessary, the measurement must change the call on the field to be a successful challenge. If the chains have already moved to a new first-down location, there are two clips on the chain that are fastened at a five-yard stripe. The clip from the previous set of downs would still be on the chain, which facilitates resetting the chains to the previous series.

Ben Austro Ben Austro October 25, 20152:36 pm

Bills vs. Jaguars (video)

E.J. Manuel completes a touchdown pass to Bills receiver Robert Woods. The second foot being in bounds was in question. The call on the field stands, with no conclusive evidence that the foot is out of bounds.

Ben Austro Ben Austro October 25, 20152:16 pm

Saints at Colts (video | video)

Saints coach Sean Payton challenged two incomplete passes by Marques Colston and Benjamin Watson in the first quarter. In both cases, the receiver did not maintain control of the ball as he contacted the ground. These were very straightforward calls by the letter of the rule, and both calls were confirmed. The Saints were without challenges at the 2:45 mark of the first quarter. (They also were out of timeouts for the first half.)

In the case of the Watson catch, he was extending for the first down. Since Watson was already going to the ground, the reach does not make him a “runner” under the catch-process rule. He remains a player going to the ground, and has the responsibility of maintaining control when the ball touches the ground.

Ben Austro Ben Austro October 25, 20151:54 pm

Bills vs. Jaguars (video)

Allen Robinson catches a pass from Jaguars quaterback Blake Bortles, lunges for the end zone, and loses the ball. Since Robinson is not going to the ground, his attempt to ward off a tackle makes him an upright runner, completing the process of the catch. The ball comes out after it breaks the plane of the goal, so it is a touchdown.

Ben Austro Ben Austro October 25, 201512:58 pm

Today’s officials

Referee assignments for Week 7 (2015 crew rosters)


  • U 102 Bruce Stritesky (swing official) to Boger’s crew (SD-OAK)

From Football Zebras editor Ben Austro

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19 thoughts on “Quick calls: Week 7

  1. What the hell was up with that pass interference call against buffalo on the 3rd and 15 play that was followed by the winning touchdown. He was definitely making a play on the ball

  2. NFL is turning into the NBA, too many BS calls. Referee who made that call should be suspended at a minimum. NFL is turning into a joke with respect to referees, they make they are definitely deciding the outcomes of the games, when that starts happening you have a problem. You guys stole one from the Bills this week, what a shame to see a team come back like they did only to have the outcome decided by the referees.

  3. Once again- Tripette’s crew blew it. With TB up 24-21, offensive PI was just called against TB when NO contact was made. How do these guys still have jobs in the NFL? It’s always something with his crew.

  4. Dave: Believe it or not, they got that call correct. Breaking it down, the defender turns to look for the ball. Good. Now, both players have equal rights to the ball. The receiver then, with his left arm, hooks the defender’s right arm, and as he secures/clamps down on the defender’s left arm, he uses this leverage to pull the defender down towards the ground. This is the material restriction an official must see, in order the throw the flag. Then, we observe the receiver’s right arm slightly push the defender. This second act, by itself is a big nothing. However, the clamp down on the arm and drag down towards the ground is what freed up the receiver to make the catch. Easy call, and absolutely correct call. More often than not, these guys make correct calls. However, the percentage of mistakes, on a whole, by these “elite” officials is simply unacceptable for any industry. Unfortunately, nothing will ever be done about it because the union in conjunction with the league does not hold the officials accountable. Now, fast forward to the Chargers/Raiders game for a textbook example of a blown call – OPI called which was non-existent. #13 of the Chargers runs an out/timing pattern in the EZ. As the receiver breaks and turns out, there is incidental contact between the defender and receiver. Absolutely no material restriction AT ALL. Although the defender falls down, he does so on his own volition (contrary to the Bucs call discussed above where the defender was pulled down) In fact, as the announcers said, “13 made a highlight reel TD catch.” He certainly did. This was a huge blown call. The real effect however? This should have been a Charger TD with 32 seconds left, to make it a one score game. If the Chargers made a successful onside kick? They get the ball back with about 27 seconds left in the game. That is enough time, from inside the 50, for a team to get off 3 perhaps 4 plays, and a potential tying touchdown. Because the official blew the call, the Chargers did not score until there were 6 seconds left. Not enough time to do anything after the onside kick. A properly trained high school official would not have thrown this flag. The official here did not see the whole play. All he saw was the defender slip, and then incorrectly assumed the fall was caused by the receiver. Nothing could be further from the truth. The defender simply slipped as he tried to stop his retreat and make a play. No OPI whatsoever. Now, here comes the kicker. You know how nepotism and cronyism has dramatically weakened this officiating staff? Guys (and now gals) getting pulled up when they have no business working this level? Guess who threw the flag on this play? #87 WC Jr. Who is his daddy? #65. Let the nonsense continue…..

  5. Crusty Retired Vet, after reading your analysis, I’m now more certain that Jeff Triplette and company were WRONG. Only you would moan week after week about officials being wrong when they’re actually right and then have the gall to defend them when they actually are wrong. Your weekly rants give good lols, so at least there’s some reason to keep posting…even though your officiating points are cynical and outdated.

  6. Last year, when a PATRIOTS* player was lined up illegally on the last play of the Jets-Pats* game, an official literally pushed the player back into position rather than throw a flag. When it’s not the Pats*, out comes the laundry. But when New England* does it, Blandino says “Preventative officiating is the accepted mechanic.”

  7. Seahawks at 49ers (Thursday), was curious about a no-call on what appeared to be a running into a kick receiver after a fair catch by a Seahawk player. This was with about 5 min left in the 4th quarter. There was a separate personal foul called on the 49ers on the play, but I never saw an explanation for either the call or the no-call.

  8. Anyone else notice the punt that went out of bounds on the SJ side at the 11 (HIT IN THE WHITE!) and the SJ marked it out at the 16!

  9. Anon? You have no idea what you are talking about. Read the analysis, it is spot on. I acknowledge you do not possess even the most basic officiating knowledge, but for those officials (or former officials) who actually post here? When viewing the plays on video they will have no choice but to accept my frame by frame analysis of these two OPI calls. The call in the Bucs game by Triplette’s crew was correct. Did you bother to look at the play? It unfolded exactly as I analyzed it. You may continue to malign my posts, but anyone with some modicum of officiating sense will acknowledge I am correct. Triplette’s crew called OPI and that was a correct call. WCJr called OPI and that was an incorrect call. Two very simple plays to analyze, actually. I am not sure why you don’t understand this, other than you just like to complain about my expert analysis and factual commentary…or as you call it, moaning. I deal with facts. If you call that moaning? So be it. I do not name call, but I will add that your ignorance of officiating is rather amusing.

  10. You’re really a piece of work aren’t ya Crusty? You’re wrong. Deal with it.
    Also, stop with your cynicism; I’d take you a lot more seriously (and that is no lie; I truly mean it) if you were simply nice…which you clearly are incapable of being, you bitter bitter being.

  11. I suggest you go look up the definition of cynicism. Again, I deal in facts. There is no bitterness nor is there niceness mixed in. As Joe Friday used to say, “Just the facts, ma’am.” You can enjoy my expert analysis for what it is. Expert analysis of officiating calls. Or move on to read some other posts.

  12. TB vs Washington 16 penalties on Tampa, only 4 on Washington (all pre snap) seemed that Tripletts crew was a little biased when throwing the yellow hanky a lot of judgement calls against Tampa (some legit) where were the flags on Washington? There was holding on plenty of plays which got no response from the officials, does our head coach need to be more aggressive and yell at these fools or should we just accept the same fate other bad teams do and let them keep piling calls on us and letting the other team slide?

  13. Well then I refuse to take your views seriously CRV. I’ll continue to read your posts just to see how much you moan throughout the year & will respond in kind. Please try and be nicer next time. Have a day (I’d say nice, but it’s you.)

  14. Patrick – also note the Pats get away with a lot of defensive holding on the opposing recievers. I see it a few times last week with Vinovich’s crew working that game.

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