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Quick calls: Week 16

Keep checking here for rolling coverage throughout the day on Sunday. If you see anything confusing, unusual, or controversial, please let us know.

Ben Austro
Sat Dec 24 • 2:53 pm EST

Vikings at Packers

Vikings center Joe Berger does not get the ball through his legs on a shotgun snap. While a snap must go to a player who is not on the line, once the ball touches the ground, any offensive player, including the snapper, may recover and advance. In this case, it did not matter, as the Packers recovered.

Mark Schultz
Sun Jan 1 • 2:57 pm EDT


Browns at Steelers (video)

Very tough call for wing officials Ron Marinucci and Wayne Mackie and DeAngelo Williams barely gets the ball out of the endzone to avoid a safety.

To avoid a safety the entire ball has to break the goal line and get into the field of play.  

Excellent positioning by Mackie and Marinucci to break back to the goal line. There were in great position to rule on the Williams run.

Mark Schultz
Fri Dec 30 • 8:19 pm EDT


12:52 | 1st qtr.

First foul of the night. Pass interference on Michigan thrown by the back judge. Easy call.


Mark Schultz
Fri Dec 30 • 8:10 pm EDT


Beautiful night for a ballgame! 60-degrees and clear.

Referee Matt Austin leads the Southeastern Conference officiating crew.

FYI, the NCAA always assigns neutral crews to officiate bowl games. Up until about 25-years ago, there would be a split crew between the conferences playing in the bowl game.

Matt Holmquist
Sat Dec 24 • 7:08 pm EDT


49ers at Rams (video)

49ers running back Carlos Hyde caught a short pass from quarterback Colin Kaepernick and subsequently dropped the ball. Walt Anderson and crew officiated the play as if it was a catch and fumble, but later ruled that the pass was incomplete. This was challenged by the Rams. It was determined that Hyde caught the pass, turned upfield and fumbled the ball, and that there was a clear recovery by the Rams; therefore the call on the field was reversed.

Matt Holmquist
Sat Dec 24 • 6:47 pm EDT


Colts at Raiders

Ed Hochuli (and crew) flagged Derek Carr for intentional grounding. This is a “crew call”, where the officials near the pass bring information to the referee who then combines that with what he has seen and makes the determination. Carr threw the ball with no receiver even close to being in the vicinity. However, it didn’t appear that Carr was under pressure, which is a necessary element to the penalty.

Hochuli’s announcement of the rule was not incorrect: after Carr protested (picked up by the stadium mic) that his receiver ran the wrong route, Hochuli explained that the intent of the receiver does not matter when determining if he  was  in the vicinity.

Matt Holmquist
Sat Dec 24 • 5:35 pm EDT


Buccaneers at Saints

On a punt by the Buccaneers to the Saints, Buccaneers DB Ryan Smith was forced out of bounds on the coverage. By rule, if forced out, a  kicking team player must return in bounds in a “reasonable amount of time.” Instead of this, Smith juked as if he was coming back in bounds and  continued to run out of bounds in an attempt to get around Saints blockers. This is, by rule, enforced as an unsportsmanlike conduct foul.

Mark Schultz
Sat Dec 24 • 5:02 pm EDT


Colts at Raiders

Chippy start to the game. Ed Hochuli flags offsetting personal fouls. The crew is pinching in on just about every play to snuff out any tinderboxes. Hochuli was also seen scolding two players who were threatening fisticuffs. It will be a busy game for the crew.

Ben Austro
Sat Dec 24 • 4:44 pm EDT


Vikings at Packers (video)

Line judge Sarah Thomas had to leave the game, presumably to be evaluated for a concussion, after being mixed up in a sideline tackle. Thomas returned later in the game.

Matt Holmquist
Sat Dec 24 • 4:11 pm EDT


Dolphins at Bills (video)

The Dolphins kicked a field goal to tie and send the game  to overtime with 6 seconds remaining. Bills coach Rex Ryan realized that he only has 10 defensive players, attempted to call timeout and “ice” Dolphins kicker Andrew Franks, but did not call timeout in time. After the play, Ryan was quite flustered, protesting that he called timeout. Broadcast replays confirmed that the timing of his request was indeed too late.

Bills cornerback Corey White (#30) can be seen signaling timeout before the snap. However, he was in very close proximity to (although also behind) the side judge. If he was verbalizing “time out”, he would have at least gotten the official’s attention, but appeared to simply signal it in the general direction of the sideline. The signal itself does not grant a timeout — players or coaches must be recognized by the official.

Mark Schultz
Sat Dec 24 • 3:15 pm EDT


Titans at Jaguars (video)

Jason Myers hit a 56-yard field goal. While it’s an exciting play, the officials are calm when signalling. Even though they exhibit a cool facade, making big calls is fun for the officials.

Mark Schultz
Sat Dec 24 • 2:46 pm EDT


Vikings at Packers (video)

Sarah Thomas calls this closer-than-it-looks Aaron Rodgers touchdown scramble.

Ben Austro
Sat Dec 24 • 2:26 pm EDT


Washington at Chicago (video)

Bears quarterback Matt Barkley throws into triple coverage and is intercepted at the goal line by cornerback Bashaud Breeland. The call on the field was that the interception occurred in the end zone.

The review showed that Breeland was touched on the helmet on his way to the ground, which puts him down by contact by rule.

Without the contact, however, the same ruling would be made. Since Breeland lands in the field of play, this is where the interception occurred under the intercepting momentum rule. This means, if the ball is intercepted at the 1, a player’s momentum cannot carry him into the end zone for a touchback. If he doesn’t attempt to advance from the end zone, the momentum exception reverts the change of possession back to the 1-yard line.

Ben Austro
Sat Dec 24 • 12:00 pm EDT


Today’s officials


  • U 81 Roy Ellison* to Coleman’s crew (SD-CLE)
  • LJ 101 Carl Johnson to Blakeman’s crew (NYG-PHI/Thurs.)
  • FJ 95 James Coleman* to Cheffers’ crew (CIN-HOU)
  • SJ 89 Jon Lucivansky* to Corrente’s crew (DEN-KC/Sunday night)
  • BJ 39 Rich Martinez to Morelli’s crew (TEN-JAX)

*Swing officials that are moved between crews each week.

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13 thoughts on “Quick calls: Week 16

  1. 4th Quarter in GB:

    3-7-MIN 18(9:07) (Shotgun) PENALTY on MIN-E.Griffen, Neutral Zone Infraction, 5 yards, enforced at MIN 18 – No Play.

    Did the play clock hit zero before Griffen jumped? Aikman on Fox seemed to think it might have. If so, should have been delay of game on GB, right?

  2. In Thr Giants bs Eagles game, there was an offside on the receiving team that the crew enforced at the dead ball spot. This is not an option in NCAA, it could only be declined or enforced at the previous spot. Is this a unique NFL rule for penalty enforcement for a foul before the kick on the receiving team? Thanks in advance

  3. In the Bengals last second FG, why is there no motion penalty on the kicker? He obviously took a step forward before the snap.

  4. 1st Quarter in PIT:

    2-4-PIT 31(5:11) B.Roethlisberger pass incomplete short left [M.Judon].

    Roethlisberger launched the ball to the left. The ball clearly crossed the line of scrimmage, but Roethlisberger was still in the pocket, no eligible PIT receiver was anywhere near the area, and the BAL pressure did not alter the throw coming out of Roethlisberger’s hand. Why was there no intentional grounding called?

  5. @phoenix – you are correct- it should have been IG on BEN but as usual some qb’s get the calls while some don’t. Favoritism runs wild in the NFL.

  6. Do you have a video of the 49ers-Rams Davis hit on Kerley for personal foul? I thought Kerley had caught the ball for a first down, but play-by-plays say it was ruled incomplete.

  7. Okay Ben & staff help me out. Just going to stick to the MNF game with Lions & Cowboys. How can you justify what this crew is seeing and not seeing????? It’s criminal and truly makes me feel there is an agenda with outcomes. Mystery defensive holding on Detroit leads to offsetting call; next play Dez gets a handful of facemask, but no call on him? Lions DB tackled by #70 on Elliott TD but no call??? Random unnecessary roughness call on Detroit for I’m not sure what? Can you please help me understand this?

  8. MNF. Between 2nd half kickoff and first play Jason Garret hugging an official. A few minutes later same official call an unsportsmanlike- unnecessary roughness for a defensive tackle ‘after the play’ for a tackle where he pulled Elliot down on top of him. Really? Elliot hadn’t even stopped forward progress I realize players, officials, coaches have friends not on their team, but during the game? Is that really acceptable to Mr. Blandino? Please could you respond? Please?

  9. It is absurd how one-sided the officiating has been tonight. The NFL wants Dallas vs. winner of Pittsburgh/New England in the Super Bowl

  10. The Dallas Cowboys deserve none of the credit for their success. We all know that Jerry Jones provides Dean Blandino with prostitutes in exchange for favorable officiating. Tonight’s game was a good game until the Cowboys whined to the officials when Stafford clearly broke the plane of the goal line. Then the officials refused to call the Cowboys for pass interference on a play that they held the receivers arm so that the ball bounced off his knee and was almost intercepted. Then Dez Bryant gets away with grabbing the facemask in the endzone. Remember how the Dallas fans were claiming that Eric Ebron facemasked when his fingers touched the defanders facemask during that PI that was inexplicably picked up. The last play that I watched was the unsportsmanlike conduct for picking up a RB and falling to the ground. I knew the outcome was decided before the game was even played.

    What bothers me is that such a dirty, criminal, drug using, wife beating team like the Dallas Cowboys and their corrupt owner gets away with so much, year after year.


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