NFL senior vice president of officiating Dean Blandino released his officiating video addressing specific situations from Week 2 of the NFL season.
Blandino addressed the concussion protocol timeline and when players are and are not allowed to return to the game. In the event a player appears to be concussed, referees will err on the side of caution and use their discretion to send player off for an evaluation. It’s important to note that referees do not make a diagnosis. Two neurotrauma consultants at each game will conduct preliminary sideline tests. These consultants work with team medical staffs and wear a blue NFL cap for ease of identification.
The consultants run through a focused neurological exam – if player passes, he can return. However, if a consultant determines a player needs further evaluation, he or she will send them to the locker room for further evaluation. If player is diagnosed with a concussion, he cannot return to the game. If player passes the locker room tests, he can return to play but will be periodically checked throughout remainder of the game at medical staff discretion. Medical staff on the sideline can also review the mechanics of the play to see how the injury occurred.
Separately, and in addition to the sideline consultants, independent certified athletic trainers (ATC spotters) will use video replay to also determine potential head injuries. Players removed by an ATC automatically trigger the concussion protocol.
Blandino also covered automatic instant replay triggered by turnovers. In the case of the catch and fumble at by Tyler Boyd in the Bengals versus Steelers game, which we covered in a separate post, there must be “indisputable evidence” to overturn the call. In the case of the Boyd fumble, there was not sufficient evidence based on the video angles to overturn the call on the field.
The subject of batting the ball was also discussed, and the play that generated questions occurred in the Chargers vs. Jaguars game on Sunday afternoon. A late onside kick was batted out of bounds by the Chargers receiving team. The officials determined the ball was batted legally due to the player batting it perpendicular to the sideline and not forward, or toward the opponent’s goal line.
Lastly, Blandino covered penalty enforcement. In the Texans-Chiefs game, the Texans defense jumped offside at the snap and intercepted the pass downfield. At the conclusion of the play the defense engaged in a “group demonstration.” This was flagged as a dead ball unsportsmanlike foul for group choreographed celebration. The Chiefs took the live-ball foul and replayed third down because accepting the dead-ball foul would have resulted in the down counting and would have given Houston possession of the ball minus 15 yards.