Dean Blandino released the week 6 officiating video (see the bottom of this post).
In it, he covered the horse-collar rule in a play we covered in our Sunday liveblog. In the Redskins-Eagles game, a player tackled and pulled down by the hair is not a horse-collar tackle since the defender’s hand was not on the nameplate or inside the collar. For more on the rule, we covered it extensively here and here.
Blandino also covered the catch rule again. A pass ruled incomplete in the Saints-Panthers game (shown above) was overturned and ruled a touchdown. The receiver got control of the ball, got two feet down in bounds and while going to the ground he controlled the ball while going to the ground. After the receiver has established control, any action taken by a defender to hit the ball loose is not considered an incomplete pass.
He also added that on the same play, any personal foul by the defense on a scoring down is assessed after the kickoff but cannot be enforced on the point-after try. Any non-personal foul penalty on the scoring down is declined and the result is a score.
Defensive pass interference was a hot topic of discussion this week and Blandino covered several examples of what is and what is not defensive pass interference. He said, “We put a tape out to both the coaches and the game officials to show examples of what is pass interference and what isn’t pass interference as we continue to strive for greater consistency in this area.”
Defenders cannot play through the back of the receiver to get to the ball before it arrives. Contact as the ball arrives is legal. Blandino also stressed that not playing the ball by itself is not pass interference if the defender does not make contact. The defender can legally face-guard (obstruct the receivers view) but if they make contact, then it shall be pass interference. Defenders may also contact the receiver before the pass but cannot hook and twist or turn the receiver before the ball arrives.
Lastly, Blandino covered a safety kick that occurred in the Thursday night Chargers-Broncos game. A safety kick is still considered a free kick so same rules apply as on a standard kick off, including formation rules: four on either side of the kicker, three outside the hash, and one outside the numbers. If the kick goes 10 yards, the kicking team can legally recover it even if the kick is muffed on a fair catch signal or not touched by the receiving team.
Photo: Michael C. Hebert/New Orleans Saints