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Officiating Dept. VideoOfficiating video: legal contact on the QB, the catch process, penalty enforcement at halftime, and coach’s challenges

Officiating video: legal contact on the QB, the catch process, penalty enforcement at halftime, and coach’s challenges

Senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron released the week 10 officiating video (below). Among the items covered were:

Legal contact on a quarterback. Contact after the quarterback has thrown the ball is under consideration for a foul when a defender leaves his feet to make contact. In this case, it was legal since that action is not followed by forcible contact to the head or neck area. Other considerations to look at on the play include that the defender doesn’t throw his whole weight on top of the player and doesn’t take more than one step before initiating contact. 

Catch process: going to the ground. In a play from the Seahawks at Cardinals game, running back Andre Ellington caught a pass and in the process of securing the pass was going to the ground. He appeared to fumble the ball and it was scooped up and recovered by Seahawks safety Cam Chancellor. The rule automatically shifts to a runner going to the ground since he didn’t stay upright long enough to ward off contact. In this case, he must maintain control of the ball after his initial contact with the ground. If he losses control and the ball touches the ground, it is an incomplete pass. If he regains control without the ball touching the ground, it is a completed pass. This play happened with less than 2 minutes to go so was not subject to a team challenge. The reason a player must maintain control after hitting the ground is to prevent cheap fumbles. 

Penalty enforcement at the end of the half. At the end of the 2nd of half of the of the Packers at Bears game, offensive lineman Bradley Sowell was flagged for shoving an opponent to the ground after the play was over, ending the half. The resulting penalty for unnecessary roughness would then be enforced on the kickoff at the start of the next half, or in overtime if the foul occurred at the end of the 4th quarter.

Coach’s challenges. In the Giants at 49ers game, Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard caught a pass that was challenged by the 49ers. The red challenge flag was out before the snap, and just prior to a Giants false start foul. (By rule, the false start didn’t happen because of the challenge flag preceding it.) Riveron used this to explain hypothetical examples of when fouls would prevent a replay from occurring.

Update 11/18: The first entry was updated to reflect that the defender did leave his feet and how that affects the judgment of a foul.

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