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Week 7 officiating video: Potential rules changes, more missed calls, and the catch process explained



Al Riveron released the week seven officiating video today. (video below)

In it he covered two potential rules changes that will be proposed to the competition again this upcoming offseason. The first deals with grabbing and tackling a player by the hair. Currently there is no rule against tackling a player by the hair sticking out of the their helmet. The second potential rule change concerns quarterbacks in the pocket and runners inside the tackle box and being tackled by a horse collar tackle. Neither tackling a quarterback inside the pocket or tackling a runner inside the tackle box with a horse collar is a foul. 

It is likely that the hair tackle remains legal as the NFL would be seen as carving out exceptions for certain players and limiting the tackle radius on a ball carrier. As for the quarterbacks and running backs in the pocket or tackle box tackled by a horse collar, the reasoning behind the legality of the tackle is neither the quarterback nor runner has built up enough speed to have the energy transfer to torque on the knees.

A running theme in the weekly officiating videos is that Riveron likes to point out when officials miss calls, perhaps as teachable moments to the league’s officiating crews of items to watch for in the coming weeks. There are several examples of in this week’s officiating video.

A missed call that would have qualified as a foul under the new “use of the helmet” rule occurred in the Seahawks/Raiders game in London. Raiders receiver Amari Cooper went low to catch a pass and was contacted by Seahawks safety Brad McDougald in the head as McDougald lowered his head to initiate contact. Additionally, though not simultaneously, the Seahawks defender could have also been flagged unnecessary roughness for a hit on a defenseless receiver who did not have time to protect himself.

Another foul that did not draw a flag in the Seahawks/Raiders game occurred when two Seahawks offensive linemen were caught on the all-22 film review to have illegally chop blocked a Raiders defender out in the open on a screen pass to Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny. A chop block occurs when one player goes low and one goes high on a defender and both make contact at the same time.

The crew in the Jets/Colts game also missed an unnecessary roughness penalty that occurred when Jets quarterback Sam Darnold slid in the open field and was contacted by a Colts defender forcibly to the head. It is not a foul to hit a quarterback who slides if contact is imminent so long as the defender does not make forcible contact to the head or neck area.

Lastly, Riveron covered the process of the catch. In catch process, the receiver must have control of the ball, two feet down or another body part, and must make a “football move” or have the time to make a “football move.” In the example shown, the receiver got possession of the ball, went to the ground, and maintained possession long enough to make a football move. The ball did touch the ground, but the receiver did not lose control of it. 


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