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Week 7 officiating video: legal blocks, instant replay, 10 second run-offs, and illegal celebrations

Al Riveron released the week 7 officiating video today.

In it, he addressed the following points:

Legal blocks. In the Panthers/Bears game, a Bears offensive player threw a block toward the direction of his end line on a play in the first quarter. The block was deemed legal since the Bears receiver stepped in front of his opponent and delivered a block with his shoulder to the shoulder/chest area of the defender. Moving toward the end line, a blocker is not allowed to make contact with the defender in the head or neck area or below the waist.

Instant replay. Also from the Panthers/Bears game, Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky appeared to score a touchdown while being hit at the goal line. The scoring play was reviewed and showed how the officiating booth pieces together a replay to make a determination. The first thing they looked at is whether or not the ball crossed the goal line. It appeared to do so. Next thing to assess is whether or not the knee was down and if Trubisky was contacted.

The first angle (above) shows the knee down prior to the ball crossing the goal line but does not definitively show when Trubisky was contacted.  The second angle (below) shows that he was contacted as his knee hit the ground but does not show whether or not the ball crossed the goal line. Next, from the two angles, the officiating booth determines that he was contacted down before the ball crossed the goal line and the call was reversed.


10 second run-off. In still yet another play from the Bears/Panthers game, the Panthers tried to get to the line of scrimmage after a completed pass with 10 seconds left in the half. As Panthers quarterback Cam Newton got the snap off to spike it with 1 second left, one of the Panthers receivers was still moving into position. This illegal shift inside 2 minutes becomes a false start which carries with it an automatic 10 second run-off, thus ending the half since the Panthers had no timeouts left.

We covered the 10 second run-off rule in greater detail here.

Celebrations. Lastly, Riveron covered legal versus illegal celebrations specifically relating to use of the goal post for touchdown celebrations. Players may only use the football for celebrations and may not “slam dunk” on the goal post, but can shoot a free throw, a jump shot, or a lay-up. Touching or hanging on to the goal post is a penalty.

We covered the new celebration rule changes in a post this past offseason, but briefly other prohibited acts include:

  • Prolonged demonstrations by a player after a warning from an official (and will be extended to the group demonstrations)
  • Use of a foreign object (also subject to ejection)
  • Use of pylons or goalposts as a prop
  • Removal of a helmet for a celebration or demonstration
  • anything deemed violent or sexual in nature

Officials can still exercise discretion and warn players about celebrations that get too excessive. Prolonged celebrations are reined in by new play clock procedures.

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3 thoughts on “Week 7 officiating video: legal blocks, instant replay, 10 second run-offs, and illegal celebrations

  1. The penalty for illegally conserving time applies inside two minutes from this season and Al Riveron mentions in the video that “under two minutes, an Illegal Shift turns into a False Start”. This however seems to be inconsistent with the 2017 Official Playing Rules (just downloaded from the NFL Football Operations website:, which still state one minute?

    7-4-6 – Complete Stop – All offensive players are required to come to a complete stop and be in a set position simultaneously for at least one full second prior to the snap. Failure to do so is an Illegal Shift. (See 7-4-2-Item 6 for foul inside one minute of either half.)

    7-4-2-Item 6 – Offense Not Set – With the game clock running inside one minute of either half, if all 11 offensive players are not set simultaneously for one full second prior to the snap, it is a False Start.

  2. Good catch. He made an honest mistake IMO (or the rules changes missed this one). The one-minute to two-minute change was only for the 10-second runoff situations. Hope they clear up this next year.

  3. I never saw that before, but the printed rulebook is incorrect in Rule 7. The 10-second runoff rules are contained in Rule 4-7-1 through 4, which is surrounded by the rules on game timing. In Rule 7, it is intended to call-back to Rule 4, Section 7, and all such actions apply to “after the 2-minute warning” and not to “inside 1 minute.”

    In the case of the rule, the owners passed the base rule that changes 1:00→2:00, and it is up to Officiating and others in Football Operations to make the additional corrections that the rule change presents. Keep in mind there was a lot of flux in the Officiating Dept. during the offseason.

    So, in this case, if the line is not set, the illegal shift is converted to a false start if the clock is running at the time of the foul inside the 2:00 warning. Then, all applicable rules and procedures for a false start/10-second runoff apply.

    I’ll pass the correction along to the league office with some other corrections we noticed. They used to have a very talented person who checked all of these cross references, but he has retired.

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