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Officiating video: Clearing linemen from the path of a leaping kick blocker


Senior vice president of officiating Dean Blandino reviewed some of the rules and interpretations in the Week 10 officiating video (below).

First, the blocked-extra-point-kick-turned-defensive-two-point-conversion play that was the game-winning score for the Broncos was discussed. The tactics by the defensive tackles to essentially lower the Saints offensive line were legal. By keeping the offensive linemen low, it gave safety  Justin Simmons an unimpeded path to leap over the line. As we covered in our liveblog, it is defensive holding only if there is a pull-down, but a top-down push is completely legal.

On the same play, the review of the sideline for a potential step out of bounds was also reiterated, following the same lines as Sunday’s discussion. In this case, a regional Sunday game did not have a useful angle in replay, whereas a primetime game is likely to have more camera angles. As has been the standard, Blandino stated the purpose of replay is to correct obvious errors, not to reofficiate the play.

Blandino also showed a downed punt at the 1-yard line, and that a player is not considered in the end zone if he is touching another player in the end zone. A touchback ruling will only apply to the player if he is in the end zone, or he has not reestablished two feet in the field of play after touching the end zone.

The enforcement of penalties with a between-downs foul was discussed as outlined in our post. A clearer shot of the ejectable offense was shown, where  Titans lineman Trevor Lewan pushed an official.

Also, as discussed here on Sunday, a defensive pass interference foul that is also a personal foul results in both fouls being assessed.

The no-catch/catch reversal in the Thursday night game (Week 11, Saints-Panthers) was also reviewed.

Finally, Blandino covered legal formations on the offense, specifically as it relates to players considered “on the line.” The general criteria is that a player whose helmet breaks the plane of the snapper’s belt is considered on the line of scrimmage. When a standard formation is presented, there is a bit of leeway granted, rather than a strict enforcement. (An official will discuss with a player during a stoppage if this is being pushed too much, as part of proper preventative officiating.) When a team presents an exotic formation, however, there is no benefit of the doubt offered to the offense, since there is already an intent to create confusion. In a standard set, the linemen/eligible roles are clear, but they are not when spread or swinging gate formations are used.

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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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5 thoughts on “Officiating video: Clearing linemen from the path of a leaping kick blocker

  1. I tried to watch this video w/o the volume on. Are there no subtitles/close-captions? Is this a problem of the source video (and i should complain to the nfl) or is the pipeline to get video posted on this site stripping them?

  2. No captions, sorry. I don’t think they will put them in, either. The purpose of the video is to inform broadcasters and reporters on rules matters. They just happen to put them in a public spot now, but the general population is secondary.

  3. How about the Fair Catch interference during the Packer Titan game. The Packers returner bobbled the ball and was hit prior to the ball hitting the ground.

  4. Would contacting the long snapper to hold him down to allow a teammate to leap over him fall under the roughing the snapper rule? In the the snapper was not given time to return to a defensive position before contact was made? Thx. Bob.

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