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‘Official Review’ catch-up



[Editor’s note: We have not been posting recaps of the NFL Network segment “Official Review,” because it appeared that they were not posted online. For some reason, when searching for “Official Review” (as well as “Carl Johnson” and “Dean Blandino”) on, it did not return any results after Week 12. After manually scanning down the list of videos, we were able to find the video links that did not come up via search. To complete the record, we will briefly recap here.]

Week 15: Process of the catch (video)

First thing noted was that vice-president of officiating Carl Johnson was becoming a full-time official. There was an implication that the move had something to do with Johnson not being present in the segment. Director of officiating and head of replay Dean Blandino presented the segment alone.

The process of the catch was discussed, and Blandino noted that the definition of “catch” is reviewed each offseason by the Competition Committee using film from the previous season. As always, an element of time, which can only be truly determined when viewing a replay at full speed, must exist before the process of the catch is completed.

Notably, the first quarter catch and fumble by 49ers receiver Delanie Walker was not reviewed by the referee because the replay official confirmed the call. Blandino said this was a miscall, because there was not enough time for the receiver to complete the process of the catch prior to fumbling. Therefore, it should have remained 49ers ball on an incomplete pass, instead of a turnover by the Patriots.

Week 14: Red flag rule remains, no helmet blow, RO picks wrong angle on pick-6 (video)

Blandino presented the segment from the NFL’s New York headquarters. He began by noting that a controversial rule will not be revised for the playoffs; namely, the rule that disallows a replay review when the coach challenges the call on a play that is solely at the discretion of the replay official. It will, no doubt, be looked at for a revision to take effect next season.

Bengals safety Reggie Nelson was flagged for leading with his helmet on a hit to Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant. Blandino said this was not a foul, because it was a shoulder-to-body hit, and Nelson did not lead with his helmet.

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck should have been ruled sacked prior to throwing a pass that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. We noted that referee Pete Morelli did not review the definitive angle on the play. It was determined by replay official Howard Slavin that there was not enough evidence to rule Luck down, so that replay angle was not available to Morelli. (Slavin is not Morelli’s usual replay official; Slavin had to be moved to his crew to tamp down a controversy with him and the Packers because of his involvement in the infamous “Fail Mary play.)

Week 13: Process of the catch, inadvertent whistle (video)

In Week 13, another process of the catch call was under review. It was incorrectly called a fumble.

The inadvertent whistle that killed a Texans fumble return-touchdown was also discussed. On the play, Johnson, the vice president of officiating, shows the covering official to have declared the ball dead with the runner down. Johnson indicated that he counted the runner down, but he was screened by several players and did not see the loose ball. This is the cause of many inadvertent whistles: the official makes a call that the ball is dead based on the player without seeing the ball. This is not common at the NFL level, because officials are trained to make a call based on the player and the ball.

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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