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Officiating video: pick-2, fumble out of bounds, roughing the passer, and illegal blindside blocks

Senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron is back with his media tape featuring four plays from Week 11 that require further explanation or a deeper analysis.

Defense scores two points on a try

On a two-point conversion attempt in Indianapolis, a Colts defender intercepts a pass and returns it for a touchdown. By rule, which came into effect starting in the 2015 season, defensive players can return a fumble or interception back for a touchdown on a try, and it will count as two points for the defense. The adoption of this rule in 2015 has been used in college football dating back to 1988.

Fumble out of bounds

On a kickoff in the Patriots-Eagles game, a Philadelphia special teams returner fumbled the football forward, and while the ball was loose, it was incidentally kicked, and muffed out of bounds by the New England kicker. Since the ball was kicked accidentally, there is no foul for illegal kicking of the football. Since the ball went out of bounds, possession is awarded to the team who was last in possession, which in this case is Philadelphia. Also, by rule, since the fumble went forward and out of bounds, the ball is brought back at the spot of the fumble for the next snap, and not the spot where the ball went out of bounds.

Roughing the passer

In the Texans-Ravens game, the Houston quarterback was forcibly contacted in the head by the swinging arm of a Baltimore defensive lineman. While the defender was swinging his arm down, he tipped the football, and during his follow through, he hit the head of the quarterback in a forcible manner, which is a foul for roughing the passer. By rule, the touching of the football by this defender has no bearing on the foul he committed for roughing the passer. A play like this is not treated the same way as a punt, where if a punt is tipped by a defender prior to the defender making contact with the kicker, there is no foul for roughing or running into the kicker. When a pass play is concerned, there is still a foul even if the defender made contact with the pass in flight.

Illegal blindside block

In the last play of the video, on a punt in Detroit, Riveron highlighted two blocks that occurred near simultaneously by the receiving team: one which was legal, and the other, an illegal blindside block. One receiving team player turned and used his back to screen a defender away from the punt returner, while another player forcibly used his shoulder to contact a defender while running back toward his own end line. The latter of the two blocks is a foul for an illegal blindside block, which prohibits a player from forcibly blocking an opponent with his head, shoulder, or forearm, while running back toward his own end line.

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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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