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Football Zebras
NewsRoundtable: Did Jets push into line, too? Were Lions psyched out of challenge?

Roundtable: Did Jets push into line, too? Were Lions psyched out of challenge?

belichick michalek

2 controversial plays involve new rules

Football Zebras Roundtable

By now we’ve heard every angle of Rule 9-1-3(b)(2) that gave the Jets a second chance to attempt a field goal in overtime. This was an addition to the rulebook in the offseason that prohibits a defensive lineman on a field goal attempt to push his teammate into the offensive line in an overweight conga-line-like rush.

Vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said this was the proper call by umpire Tony Michalek (pictured above discussing the overtime penalty with Patriots coach Bill Belichick). However, what about the other field goal attempts by both teams in this game? Were they consistent?

Former officiating supervisors Jim Daopoulos and Larry Upson join us at the Football Zebras Roundtable to discuss.

Did the Jets commit same foul in regulation?

The one field goal attempt that generated the most speculation of a line push was the game-tying attempt by the Patriots at the end of regulation (images). My analysis only fanned the flames.

Larry Upson: There is absolutely no violation of the new rule on the part of the Jets on this field goal attempt.  There is no one directly behind the Jets players rushing to block the kick.

Jim Daopoulos: I did not see any illegal moves by the Jets during the Patriots’ field goal attempts on Sunday. But I would assume that this has been happening, and that would be the reason the league would want to make the officials more aware of it at this time.

Schwartz scorched by Schwartz Rule

I dislike the practice of “naming” rule changes after the person who did one thing one time — quick, what is the Don Majkowski Rule? — but it is fitting here that the coach still isn’t clear on his eponymous rule.

The play: The Bengals blocked a Lions field goal. During the runback, there was a forward fumble, the ball was muffed forward again, and recovered by the Bengals (video).

Ruling on the field: The recovery was ruled legal and not considered an illegal forward pass. Lions coach Jim Schwartz said he was told by an official that there was nothing to review on the play. (It is not automatically reviewed by the replay official, because a blocked field goal is not one of the play types that are treated that way.)

Larry Upson: There is an illegal forward pass thrown by the Bengals player during the run after the blocked kick.  In my opinion, yes, there is sufficient video evidence that the pass was thrown forward.  You see the Bengals player clearly running with the ball in his possession, and then he tosses it forward, where it is muffed by one Bengals player and recovered and advanced by another.

Jim Daopoulos: Bengals No. 20 who has control of the ball and after running attempts to throw the ball to No. 96, and the ball goes forward. This is an illegal forward pass and reviewable. Since this situation is not an automatic review by replay, the team is allowed to challenge. The review would have returned the ball to the spot of the illegal pass (45-yard line) and Cincinnati would have been penalized 5 yards and had a 1st and 10 from the 40. I cannot answer why the officials did not allow Detroit to challenge this play but it was a play that could have been and should have been challenged.


Here is the grading card for the plays:

  Daopoulos Upson
Jets not called for pushing into line
Checkmark Checkmark
Bengals not called for illegal forward pass
Ding Ding

Football Zebras Roundtable is a periodic feature we will present on an ad-hoc basis to analyze select calls with experts.

Image: David Silverman/New England Patriots

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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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