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Tag Archive for Bengals

NFL grooming players on officiating ‘fast track’

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The NFL could soon see more former players become officials. The league is sending 14 former players and one active player to a pair of officiating clinics over the next three days. The first clinic is tomorrow, March 13. It is the league’s Fast Track Clinic, run by the Football Officiating Academy and NFL Player…

5 observations from Wild Card weekend

After wild card weekend, it always strikes me — only seven more meaningful football games this year.  In an attempt not to get too maudlin, here are five things that stuck out to me in regard to the officiating this past Wild Card weekend. Jeff Triplette’s crew called an awesome game Triplette, rightly or wrongly,…

Referee assignments for Wild Card games: Anderson, Vinovich, Triplette, Hochuli

Football Zebras has confirmed the officiating crews for the Wild Card weekend. Officials are listed with their uniform number, years experience (including this season), the crew each official worked with in the regular season (by the referee’s name), college, and outside occupation. All times are Eastern. Three alternates are assigned to each game: one is…

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Week 7: Bengals at Lions

Lions coach Jim Schwartz is very cautious now about launching the red challenge flag, after being burned by a since-overturned rule last season. On Sunday, he asked if he was allowed a challenge, and, according to Schwartz, he was told he had nothing that he could.

The play in question was a blocked field goal that was recovered and run back by the Bengals (video). The mantra of “all turnovers are reviewed by the replay official” creates a misleading gap. The turnover rule for replay applies to:

  • interception
  • fumble (or a muffed backward pass) recovered by opponent or going out of bounds in the end zone
  • muffed scrimmage kick

A blocked field goal is not muffed, because it has not cleared the line of scrimmage. Even though there is change of possession, the Lions would have to use a challenge if there is any dispute on this play.

Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports Schwartz believed that there was an illegal forward pass when the Bengals fumbled forward. “They had forwarded the ball,” he said. “I thought it was a forward lateral.” Schwartz said that an official told him there was nothing to challenge.

“They said that there’s no such thing as a forward fumble on a blocked kick.” 

Schwartz was not told he could not challenge, but mindful of the high profile red-flag incident last year, no doubt, he hedged his bets after talking to the official. (Schwartz also thinks that it is still a 15-yard penalty for challenging a play that he is not entitled to. That rule was changed to charge the team a timeout instead.)

The league office says that there was a challengeable aspect to the play — well, kind of. The statement from the NFL provided to Football Zebras would only indicate that this was not subject to an automatic review (that Schwartz would have to initiate the challenge) and that this play was governed by replay rules of standard running plays. They did not comment on the validity of the forward fumble, the merits of a challenge, or about the coach’s conversation with the official.

We will examine the play with our roundtable of experts this week.

Image: Gavin Smith/Detroit Lions