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After Further Review

After Further Review: Teamwork saves crew on 1st play of season




Teamwork helped Jerome Boger (obscured in the shot) and his crew on a tight call on the first play of the game.

A roundup of the calls from Sunday

Bill Leavy’s crew has a very visible downgrade coming their way. The attention it received swooned mostly due to the fact that Mike Pereira — Leavy’s former boss and current Fox Sports rules analyst — pointed it out during the game broadcast and that the ensuing play scored a touchdown.

On a third-down play, a late-hit foul and an unnecessary roughness combined to offset. Since the first foul happened an instant after the ball was out of bounds, the ruling should have counted the down. (Full analysis of the play.) Leavy’s crew instead erroneously repeated the down.

Leavy met briefly with a pool reporter after the game, and said “the down should have counted. The penalties were both dead ball, and they should have offset at the spot where the runner went out of bounds.”

While this one slipped through the cracks, another crew worked really well together on a difficult call. Jerome Boger’s crew may have taken a little longer than usual, but they correctly called a rare safety on a kickoff play (see the quick calls).

Teamwork is so important for officiating crews at all levels.  The NFL encourages all officials from rookie to grizzled veteran to raise an issue with the the referee and fellow crew-mates to make sure they get the call right. A misapplication of the rules by one official is borne by the crew as a whole.

Also from Sunday, two process of the catch calls:

  • Johnson was diving for the ball, falling to the ground, and then lost control of the ball in the process of going to the ground (video).
  • On the Sunday night game, Giants receiver Victor Cruz was turning and reaching for the end zone, then was contacted by a Cowboys safety and bobbled the ball after breaking the plane of the goal (video).

While they both involve the process of the catch, these two plays are not similar. Since Cruz was not initially falling,  his second act of reaching for the end zone ended the process of the catch earlier than in Johnson’s case. John Parry’s crew had the call in Detroit, Tony Corrente’s crew was in Dallas, and both were ruled correctly. Of course, not everyone agrees.


corrente_punterCorrente would have a more interesting call a little later in the game. Giants punter Steve Weatherford had an exaggerated follow-through on one punt, which caused contact with a Cowboys defender. There was no flag thrown for a running-into-the-kicker foul. Because Weatherford turned his leg to the side in a motion not common to a punt, the punter does not get an extended cone of protection just because of the nonconventional move. Rule 12-2-9:

No defensive player may run into or rough a kicker who kicks from behind the line unless such contact … (b) is caused by the kicker’s own motions.

But it was Corrente’s gesture to illustrate why there was no call that made it even more notable. To fully appreciate it, Deadspin even has an animated image of the “signal.”

And, for good measure, there is an image on that same page of referee Ed Hochuli illustrating a forearm hit in the Buccaneers-Jets game.

Written by Ben Austro with contributions from Mark Schultz.

Images: Donn Jones/Tennessee Titans; NBC Sports/NFL/Deadspin