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Officiating Dept. VideoOfficiating video looks at punts: downing at the 1, lining up over center, and kick-catch interference

Officiating video looks at punts: downing at the 1, lining up over center, and kick-catch interference

In the Week 4 media tape issued by the officiating department, senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron covered the following calls from Week 4:

  • When a kicking team does not present a standard punt formation or shifts in a punting situation, the defense is not longer restricted from lining up over center. The mechanic is that the referee and umpire point with both hands toward center, signaling the defense that the defensive formation restrictions are lifted for the play.
  • At the other end of the punt, the receiver was not given the opportunity to field the kick, which is kick-catch interference. Without another foul complicating the process, this is a 15-yard penalty from the spot of the interference. (Not noted in the video, but there are different rules for fair-catch interference, which is 15 yards if there is contact or interference prior to the catch, and 0 yards if a muffed punt is still airborne and interfered with. Fair-catch interference awards the fair catch.)
  • The process of the catch is reviewed when a player touches the ground with the football; in this case, it was a catch, because control was demonstrated immediately before and after touching the ground.
  • A downed punt at the goal line is examined for a potential touchback. Possession by the kicking team makes the ball dead (as long as it isn’t subsequently carried into the end zone).

Notably missing from this week’s tape were the unusual replay reversal of a Cardinals touchdown (see our Quick Calls) and the backward/forward pass in Cleveland that was reviewed, but no ruling was issued.

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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