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Super Bowl LI liveblog: Patriots vs. Falcons

Follow us here and through the game for our live coverage of the calls and rules interpretations of Super Bowl LI  from  NRG Stadium in Houston.

This will conclude our coverage of our eighth full season, and we have four new writers completing their first with us: Cam Filipe, Matt Holmquist, Patrick Weber, and Rich Madrid. We will have our all-star crew on the game which also includes Marcus Griep, Josh Lewis, assistant editor Mark Schultz, and editor-in-chief Ben Austro.

Carl Cheffers is the referee for Super Bowl LI. His all-star crew includes:

         Yrs 2016 crew College Occupation
R 51 Carl Cheffers 17    California-Irvine sales manager
U 64 Dan Ferrell 14 Corrente Cal State-Fullerton director, parts logistics and supply chain management
HL 79 Kent Payne 13 Cheffers Nebraska Wesleyan teacher
LJ 45 Jeff Seeman 15 Parry Minnesota brokerage sales
FJ 67 Doug Rosenbaum 16 Morelli Illinois Wesleyan financial consultant
SJ 109 Dyrol Prioleau 10 Triplette Johnson C Smith manager, law firm
BJ 30 Todd Prukop 8 Corrente Cal State-Fullerton medical sales representative
ALT R Walt Coleman 28    Arkansas manager dairy processor
ALT U Tony Michalek 15 Hussey Indiana USA Football officiating director
ALT LoS Mike Spanier 18 (swing) St Cloud State middle school principal
ALT DEEP Michael Banks 15 Vinovich Illinois State carpenter foreman
ALT BJ Greg Yette 7 Torbert Howard defense contractor
  • Replay official: Tom Sifferman (Hochuli)
  • Replay assistant:  Marvin LeBlanc (Houston-based)
  • Supervisor: Gary Slaughter
  • Observers: Dean Blandino, Al Riveron

Image: Football Zebras graphic by Chad Young, photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images Sport

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15 thoughts on “Super Bowl LI liveblog: Patriots vs. Falcons

  1. Big missed pass interference on the Patriots on the opening drive of the third quarter. This should not decide the game, but as tight as they called it against the Falcon’s defense, they need to call it both ways. They make up for it with the pass interference near the goal line.

  2. Aside from the questionable non-DPI calls, this looked to be a well-officiated game. I think the officials deserve a pat on the back for a good job well done.

  3. Can someone please explain the difference between a good block and a hold? It really seemed Brady would have been sacked a bunch this game if his o line didn’t hold back the falcons.

  4. This was one of the worst officiated games I have ever seen. The New England Offensive line was not called for holding even one time. The replays showed holding on numerous occasions. There were several chop blocks that were never called. New England had a flagrant face mask on a Falcons receiver, but the officials were too busy calling holding on the Falcons offensive line and ignored the face mask. This took the Falcons out of field goal range. The officials, once again gave this game to New England.

    Truly pathetic officiating. I wonder if Bob Kraft paid off the officials before the game started?

  5. Would the facemask on sanu been offsetting if they called 2 facemasks and an offensive holding?

    I think that was a bad missed call

  6. Once again, poor officiating by yet another set of the “best.” Where do we start? I haven’t analyzed fully, but let’s take a look at some calls that could have been game changers, depending upon how the game played out. Again, here is just a few I can remember: Atlanta 2d TD, defender times jump perfectly, no flag should have been thrown, and kick was missed. Incorrect call, but it allowed Atlanta the opportunity to re-kick. Kick was good. One point that should not have been. Edelman punt return. Overweight deep wing out of position to see returner step OOB. Official was not straddling the sideline trailing the play, but 1 and a half yards off the sideline, when he was not in danger. Completely missed Edelman’s foot stepping on sideline. Officiating 101. Simply piss poor mechanics. Then, Atlanta called on a huge hold in 2d half which brought back a big gain. Only problem is Atlanta receiver was tackled by his facemask. Missed call, would have offset. Instead, Atlanta backed up ten yards. Should have offset and take it over. Then, in 2d half NE receiver held – bad hold – not called and Brady throws incomplete. Should have been first down. Pats made the first down next play, but if they didn’t? We’d be hearing about this one. A runner was clearly hit late, OOB down inside the ten; also in 2d half. Can’t remember which team, but hit should have drawn a flag. Player safety foul. No flag thrown. Then the big one. Overtime. NE first and ten at 25. Out in the open, a huge chop block is made. How they missed this is beyond me. Understood sometimes these are tough gets in the interior line, but this was wide out in the open. Atlanta defender trailing play on swing pass to back on the right side, closing in on tackle. NE RG sheds his initial block and heads downfield, attacks defender low while the NE center who was ahead of the play curls back and blocks defender over the guard who was engaged low at teh 25 yard line. Here is the rule: ARTICLE 3. CHOP BLOCK. A Chop Block is a block by the offense in which one offensive player (designated as A1 for purposes of this rule) blocks a defensive player in the area of the thigh or lower while another offensive player (A2) engages that same defensive player above the waist. All Chop Blocks are illegal, including in the following situations…. This was a dangerous block; another player safety foul that can’t be missed. Should have backed NE up 15 yards. Instead, NE gains ten yards and the next play the DPI is called, game over. Huge miss. These are just a few. That’s what you get when you have no accountability in the ranks. Suck up and move up. Sad to say there is another female coming in next season, who believe it or not is worse than the one currently employed, and you can’t get any worse than Sara Thomas.

  7. Quite a few calls were missed in this game which were obvious (i.e., facemask, chop block, illegal formation, etc.). As usual the Patriots came out on the winning side both in points and w/ the nod from officiating.

    NE 4 – 23
    ATL 9 – 65

    That’s a 3x advantage in penalty yards. One could firmly conclude NE only first half points were nearly entirely the by product of ticky tack calls against ATL D. I am fine w/ games that are called a “certain” way a long as it’s both ways. It was clear that late in the game the officials put away their whistles if it was NE question, but reached quickly for whistle when was ATL issue.

  8. Chop block play was marginal foul at best, no call was clearly the correct call. The defensive pass interference on Butler from NE was bad call, perfect defense. Plus the two late hit OOB calls that were not made. Additionally missed two obvious false start calls on Atlanta . Lastly the NE defender perfectly timed the snap on the block of the PAT by Atlanta, no foul, missed call.

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