Football Zebras
2016 Postseason2016 Divisional PlayoffsOfficiating video: Headline calls of the divisional round called correctly

Officiating video: Headline calls of the divisional round called correctly

NFL senior vice president of officiating Dean Blandino released the weekly officiating video for the Divisional Playoffs (see below), and covered the illegal substitution penalty on the Cowboys that we covered at length in a post here. The short version of that post confirms what Blandino has since stated: that referee Tony Corrente was correct in his determination of an illegal substitution because the player came inside the numbers to the huddle and did not participate in a legal play. The rule allows for referee discretion and seeks to minimize deception by the offense, specifically noted where there is a coach’s decision to change between a fourth-down attempt and a punt. The rule states that a simulated substitution is when a player approaches the huddle and communicates with a teammate; mechanically, this is a player who has entered the field coming inside the numbers and exits without participating in a play. Blandino confirms this in his assessment:

The theory behind the rule is to prevent the offense from simulating substitutions to confuse the defense, to run players in and out and now the defense isn’t sure, or they get caught with the wrong personnel in the game.

At the end of the half, the Cowboys had a fair catch on a punt. They could also have taken a fair-catch kick by trying to kick the ball through the uprights for 3 points. Normal kickoff rules apply with the 10 yard restraining line, player positioning, and the opposing is allowed to return the kick if it does not go out of bounds (liveblog, :00/2nd qtr.).

In the Seahawks-Falcons game, Blandino covered two separate instances of the catch rule, specifically as it relates to a player going to the ground and not becoming a runner. In the first play, Falcons receiver Justin Hardy caught a pass before going to the ground out of bounds. He appeared to secure the catch while hit the ground and maintained possession. After established control, he lost the ball after rolling into sideline personnel. The play was ruled incomplete but it was overturned (liveblog, 13:45/4th qtr.). In the second play, ruled an intercepted pass because the runner player did not did not maintain control of the ball through hitting the ground. The ball popped up and free and was intercepted by the Falcons. The replay official determined there was enough to confirm the call without having a stop-down review with the referee. Blandino was in the officiating command center for the call, and discussed the confirmation with the replay official (liveblog, 2:29/4th qtr.).

Lastly, Blandino covered the holding penalty on the two point conversion at the end of the Chiefs/Steelers game. The Chiefs left tackle was flagged for holding and negated the two point conversion attempt. A holding foul is determined by several criteria. For a blocker to not be flagged for holding, he must stay square to the defender and be able to continuously move his feet. If a defender gets outside the blocker, the next step is to determine if the blocker reached across the defender to restrict his movement from getting to the ball carrier. Next the referee will determine if the defender used a “rip” technique to gain leverage. If he did, there is no foul for holding unless the blocker causes the defender to lose his feet (liveblog, 2:43/4th qtr.).

4 thoughts on “Officiating video: Headline calls of the divisional round called correctly

  1. I wonder how many times a player has incorrectly substituted in this same fashion, and no penalty called. I am willing to bet this has happened many times.

  2. Lol lol lol lol of course no mention of uncatchable having drastically different meanings in the last 2 weekend

    T bone

  3. To the Football Zebras writers. You claim to be a site for analysis and commentary on football officiating. I keep going to your site hoping for reai analysis and commentary and all I ever see is excuses for why the officials are always right. It seems theat the reason your site exists and the purpose of your site is to be an apologist for all officials. How about really analyzing for a change and go after all the poor and biased officiating out there instead of always defending every official and every call. That would make you a really useful site. By the way I watched the Dallas game and the player did not enter the huddle because it was not formed yet. Please try to watch the games you comment on.

  4. @Jimmy: “did not enter the huddle because it was not formed yet”

    According to the rules:
    “A Huddle is the action of two or more players in the field of play or in the end zone who, instead of assuming their normal position for the snap, free kick, or Fair Catch kick form a group for receiving instructions for the next play or for any other reason.”

    There is no such thing as biased officiating in the league if the grades are determined by their calls.

    If there is a miscall, we are going to examine why. If an official is screened or has made a judgment that is only readily apparent by slow-motion replay, we are going to reflect that. If it is flat out incorrect, we will note that, as we have done many times. An overwhelming majority of the time, it is the correct call, and our coverage reflects that, even if it goes against a team with a chip on its shoulder.

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