Joe Tufaro is our resident referee in training. Today he is answering an array of questions about games from Week 10. If you have a question about a call you see in a game or any past games, please comment below or Tweet Miranda, @missmiranda. Enjoy!
There seemed to be some confusion, even with some of the players, in the San Fran and STL game regarding overtime rules. Explain overtime and why the game ended in a tie rather than going into a second OT or a sudden death situation.
The fact that players don’t know the rules of the game they play for a living is really amazing to me.
It begins at the high school level, unfortunately. We asked a coach once of he had a rule book in his office, or if he used it to teach his kids. He said he thought he had one once, but wasn’t sure.
Great answer coach!
The NFL instituted the rule a few years back, and then modified it this year. If the first score of overtime is not a TD, then the other team will have a chance to possess the ball.
During the pre-overtime meeting the referee states that this is a sudden death playoff, with the above exception, that will last up to 15 minutes. I guess he could say if no one scores by then the game would be declared a tie. I guess when you tell your kids to look both ways before crossing the street, you could add if a car is coming don’t walk in front of it.
Also due to safety concerns (and television concerns) the NFL decided one extra quarter was enough, and having a defined ending adds a little drama at the end.
I personally don’t like the overtime rules and prefer the college and high school version, but that would drive the betting public wild around the NFL.
By the way: In the San Fran St. Louis game, a penalty was called on the Rams after an 80 yard pass play. The announcers again made a big deal about the flag being “late.”
Here is that scenario.
In the NFL you are allowed to report as eligible to the referee even though you are wearing an illegible number. Some refs choose to announce it to the crowd, others make a signal to their crew that the player has indeed reported. This is the signal you see sometimes that looks like the ref is wiping the front of his jersey with two hands.
In this case the line judge saw the “ineligible” numbered player on the end of the line, but didn’t see a signal from the referee. He let the play go properly, and then went and asked if the player had reported. He wanted to make sure the call was correct, and in essence was trying to make the play legal for the Rams. But the player had not reported, and the slot receiver was out of position, and therefore it was the proper call.
* Can neutral zone infraction flags be challenged?
Neutral zone infractions are what we call pre-snap penalties, and they cannot be challenged.
This is another simple rule that the announcers and players, and maybe some coaches, have no idea how it works. If a defensive player enters the neutral zone, and an offensive player reacts, then the foul is on the defense.
If he doesn’t react, and the ball is snapped while he is still in the zone, then it will also be a penalty on the defense, but the play will continue.
* What happened with the line of scrimmage, illegal hit penalty from the Bears/Texans game?
In the Bears Texans game Jay Cutler took a vicious hit as he released the ball, and I was glad to see two flags thrown immediately after the hit.
Unfortunately, Jay was across the line of scrimmage when he released the pass. In the NFL, your entire body must be across the line for it to be a foul, in high school we just need one foot. That makes it a much easier call. They reviewed the play and they were correct.
Remember, technology of a red line on a television screen doesn’t always show you a great angle. It is often in the wrong spot. If the call was just for the illegal pass, it is a spot foul, 10 yards, and a loss of down.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @tufdan.