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Football Zebras > 2019 > 2019 Preseason > Officiating video: more illegal blindside blocks and pass interference replay reviews

Officiating video: more illegal blindside blocks and pass interference replay reviews

In this week’s officiating video, senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron discussed five plays from the final week of the preseason to help illustrate two major rules changes for this season: illegal blindside blocks and pass interference being a reviewable aspect of a play.

Illegal blindside blocks

A frequent topic of discussion during the preseason, illegal blindside blocks were featured in this week’s video, with one example from a regular scrimmage play, and another on a kickoff.

In the first play, from the Broncos-Cardinals game, an Arizona offensive lineman delivered a forcible block parallel to his own end line to a Denver defender. This is a foul for an illegal blindside block. Some may argue that since both players were standing in a manner that they could see each other when the contact was made, but the rule is in place to protect players that aren’t able to brace for contact. There is potential for injury and an illegal blindside block doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a completely unseen block.

In the second play, a kickoff from Raiders-Seahawks featured a blindside block where a member of the receiving team initiated a forcible block on his opponent using his shoulder. Since he was running back toward his own end line, this is a foul for an illegal blindside block.

Neither of these blocks were flagged on the field. However, looking back at the two plays, as well as the confirmation from Riveron, both blocks were illegal.

Pass interference in replay

Another major talking point of the preseason, pass interference replay reviews also came up in this week’s officiating video, after the video from two weeks ago which highlighted every pass interference play that was reviewed.  

In the first play, from Colts-Bengals, an offensive pass interference foul was added in replay that negated a Cincinnati touchdown. In the play, a tight end was blocking more than one yard downfield to free up space for a receiver to catch the pass and score. Since the ruling on the field was a touchdown, the play was automatically reviewed by the replay official and Art McNally Gameday Central in New York. Since there was clear and obvious visual evidence that the tight end was illegally blocking downfield, which is a foul for offensive pass interference, the flag was added in replay and the touchdown was nullified.

In the last two plays, Riveron highlighted two plays that were subject to a coach’s challenge. One play was an example of where the flag was thrown, and the second play was not flagged. One of the plays, from the Bills-Lions game, shows that there was not enough restriction by the Buffalo receiver to put down a flag for offensive pass interference, but the other play, from Bears-Colts, has nearly the same contact which resulted in a foul, and the flag wasn’t picked up in replay. In some cases, it can be stands going both ways, whether the point of the review was offensive or defensive pass interference. This is becoming apparent that even if the level of contact may have been marginal, whether a flag was thrown or not, Riveron and the rest of Art McNally Gameday Central will err on the side of the judgment of the covering official on the play, unless of course, the contact is blatantly clear and obvious, and leads to a hindrance on the play.

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Cameron Filipe
Cam Filipe is a graduate student at Boston University and has been involved in football officiating for ten years. Cam is in his second season as a high school football official. This is his seventh season covering NFL officiating for Football Zebras.

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