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Week 4 officiating video: Illegal formation is point of emphasis

image Dean Blandino, NFL vice-president of officiating, released his weekly video highlighting several penalties and rules highlights throughout the league for Week 4 (video download). We’ve wrapped them up for you here:

  • Blandino hinted that a new point of emphasis for the league going forward would be illegal formations. He highlighted an illegal formation during the Colts-Jaguars game from week 3 in which a tackle (or two, perhaps, according to the video) lined up with a slight advantage behind the ball. While referencing it in week 4 during a punt return, Blandino stated that the mechanic is first to warn the player (if its not deemed egregious by the official), and then flag it. We should expect to see more emphasis on illegal formations going forward.
  • We also got a refresher today on the basic 10-second runoff rule. Remember, inside the final two minutes of the second and fourth quarters, replay reversal can result in a 10-second runoff. We covered this on Sunday as it was happening. In the contest between the Falcons and the Vikings, a Vikings touchdown was overturned to down at the one-yard line, creating a 10-second runoff and the ball was placed on the 1-yard line. In this instance, the referee will approach the defense first to ask if they want the runoff (Atlanta affirmed they did want the runoff). To avoid the runoff, Minnesota could have chosen to take a timeout, but they declined.
  • You may have seen the touchdown catch by San Francisco wide receiver Stevie Johnson. Johnson caught the ball while in the end zone, ensuring the ball broke the plane. He was then immediately shoved out of bounds by Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Cary Williams. Johnson was granted forward progress at the point where he secures the ball with two feet down. The subsequent step of maintaining possession is critical for completing the process of the catch; but the spot of the catch is granted in the end zone. Johnson clearly did this and it was correctly ruled a touchdown on the field.
  • Finally, Blandino discussed the rules of an onside kick and referenced the surprise onside kick Sunday during the game between the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans. When a ball is kicked directly into the ground, all fair catch rules go away and the receiver cannot then have direct, unimpeded access to the ball since it was not kicked into the air. In this case, the receiver was contacted beyond 10 yards but it is legal, because the ball was kicked into the ground. This resulted in a successful onside kick by the Colts.
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2 thoughts on “Week 4 officiating video: Illegal formation is point of emphasis

  1. “With catches in the endzone, the rule states that the receiver does not have to complete the process of the catch, rather he just has to control the ball while it is in the endzone.”

    What rule are you referencing? Rule 8-1-3 Item 3 states: “The requirements for a catch in the end zone are the same as the requirements for a catch in the field of play.”

    And if so, in the 3rd qtr of last Thursday NYG vs. WAS, in a pass to the end zone Randle has control and 2 feet down but the ball is knocked loose. The referee rules no touchdown because the receiver “did not complete the process of the catch” and is upheld on replay.

  2. Where are the notes from the meeting where the refs went over their blown calls? The Packers being given a first down when clearly a yard short. The Packers not being called for delay of game when play clock ran out before ball was snapped. Hands to the face call on Packer player when it was actually a Bear player. And many more bad calls from this one game. All the games have three teams now. Two football teams vs the team in stripes. A drag on the game. Refreshing to watch NCAA football, however. Those refs let them play, calling blatant calls, not every tiny technical “violation” when that slows down the game, affects outcomes, and frustrates fans, the ones who pay for this league in every respect. Since the strike, the refs have had an undue influence on games, too many flags. And apparently there is a “law” against speaking out about bad calls. None of the highly paid announcers and sports writers have the guts to speak out. Pathetic!

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