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Week 9 Officiating Video: Special Teams Plays a Focus This Week



Dean Blandino, NFL vice president of officiating, released the network and media video covering rules and calls of interest from Week 9. Blandino focused on special teams, injured player timeouts (again, but quickly) and forward progress determinations (video download).

  • Special teams plays were of particular interest in this week’s video. Several weeks ago, the Rams ran a fake punt play that was ultimately successful. Blandino highlighted the fact that when a team presents a punt formation, the opportunity for some penalties go away.  Removed from penalty consideration are most illegal contact flags, as well as pass interference violations on the two players set widest out on the field, usually the gunners.  However, defensive holding still applies on the field, though it has to be overt, and obvious that a player in a run route is tackled prior to the pass being released.
  • Blandino also discussed blocked punts, and whether or not they are reviewable in terms of ruling a safety on the field.  In Cincinnati on Sunday, the Bengals successfully blocked a punt that was ruled a safety as it went out through the end zone.  While the linesman initially ruled it down at the 2-yard line, two other officials with a better view ruled it as a safety.  This was deemed not reviewable because the spot of an airborne kick going out of bounds is not reviewable unless it contacts something tangible, like a pylon.  Since it did not, the safety was not reviewable.
  • 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick fumbled the ball on what was arguably the biggest play of the game.  Because no clear video evdence showed if Kaepernick was down when he lost control, it was ruled a fumble due to lack of indisputable evidence.
  • On Sunday, we covered the forward progress call on a long field goal attempt in the game between the Rams and 49ers, as did Blandino this week.
  • If you were watching Monday night, you saw how quick the Colts ran a play after what many thought was a questionable catch by receiver Colby Fleener.  Indianapolis then ran a quick play so the Giants could not challenge, which they ended up trying to do anyway. (Coach Tom Coughlin’s challenge flag was thrown after the ball was snapped, so it was moot).  Blandino discussed this play and indicated that even if reviewed, the call would have stood because Fleener completed the process of the catch with possession long enough to “do something with it.”
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