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Wilfork draws iffy flag for "going low"

When Vince Wilfork drew a third-quarter flag for tackling Bills quarterback Trent Edwards as he threw, the Patriots massive nose tackle went to the tried and true, “What’d I do?!  What’d I do?!” gesture.

According to referee Scott Green, Wilfork got the 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty for “going low” on Edwards.  But based on a conversation we had this summer with NFL officiating guru Mike Pereira, what Wilfork did was not a penalty.

Pereira said in August that the rule about hitting quarterbacks low — originally instituted after Carson Palmer got his knee mangled by Kimo Von Oelhoffen in the 2005 playoffs and reemphasized after Tom Brady got his knee mangled last season by Bernard Pollard — had been clarified to teams and officials.  And the “going low” component related mainly to players already on the ground.  In that case, a defender on the ground could swipe at the quarterback’s legs or try to wrap him up but he could not drive into the quarterback’s knees with his shoulder.

Moreover, Wilfork hit Edwards below the waist but above the knees.  As Pereira pointed out to Dan Patrick in March 2009, the quarterback “strike zone” runs from the area below the neck to above the knees.

Wilfork, who’s been on the receiving end of a few fines in his career, appeared to do none of the above, wrapping Edwards up above the knees as he backpedaled and taking him down.

So while Green may have felt that Wilfork was a split-second late getting to Edwards, throwing a flag for “going low” in that instance does not mesh with the rules as currently written.

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57 Responses to “Wilfork draws iffy flag for "going low"”
  1. SaintsBucsPanthersSUKK says: Sep 14, 2009 9:49 PM

    That’s karma, baby!

  2. swervinmervin says: Sep 14, 2009 9:50 PM

    Do you realize how many calls NE has gotten in its favor starting with the “Snow Job” aka “Tuck Rule” game??? I have no remorse for those cheaters.

  3. Joe in Toronto, Canada says: Sep 14, 2009 9:51 PM

    It’s a bitch when you’re team is on the decline.
    Eh, Florio?

  4. Bill.Polian says: Sep 14, 2009 9:52 PM

    Put skirts on the QBs and play two hand touch.
    Goodell is turning the NFL into a pussy league.

  5. Route36West says: Sep 14, 2009 9:57 PM

    But what about diving late at the QB’s legs . I only seen the replay once but it looked like to me that Wilfork didnt just tackle Edwards late it looked like he dove at his legs and drove him to the ground. I only seen it once but thats what it looked like to me I could be wrong.

  6. aj says: Sep 14, 2009 10:00 PM

    There was an equally ridiculous roughing the passer call on Adailius Thomas on a clean sack of Trent Edwards later in the game.

  7. Abe Froeman says: Sep 14, 2009 10:01 PM

    I love how according to people who post Florio has like eight favorite teams whom he favors.

  8. stiller43 says: Sep 14, 2009 10:01 PM

    Joe in Toronto, Canada
    It’s a bitch when you’re team is on the decline.
    Eh, Florio?
    ———————————————
    First of all, “you’re” means “you are.”
    Second of all, his team is the 6 time Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

  9. Junior says: Sep 14, 2009 10:02 PM

    Waaaa! Seriously, is this the way this site is going to be from now on? Whine about questionable calls against the Patriots.
    Here’s a news flash… Bad calls happen to every team, not just the Patriots. Live with it an move on. And the call against Thomas was legit. The whistle blew then he slammed Edwards down. Just in case you were gonna bitch about that one too.

  10. Larry says: Sep 14, 2009 10:02 PM

    Ok, I hate the media lust affair with the Pats as does most every American, but Wilfork got the royal treatment (screwing) from the refs on this one…wow….just wow…

  11. TheSleepingGiant says: Sep 14, 2009 10:03 PM

    once again, the bills snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
    that’s why he’s tom brady….
    mckelvin better start looking for a job tomorrow.

  12. Route36West says: Sep 14, 2009 10:06 PM

    McCLevin should be cut and Dick Jauron should be fired on the spot. First McCelvin should know he has no blockers so if the ball goes in the endzone down it. If for some retarted reason u decide to take it out got down so they have no chance of stripping the ball. Then this is where Jauron comes in he should tell McCelvin all these things b/c obviously he’s to dumb to figure it out on his own. If Jauron did tell him these things and he didnt listen then he should be fired b/c he doesnt have control of his team. The Bills make me sick this is why they lost all those AFCCG and Superbowls in a row. And even if they so how come back with 50 seconds left the dont deserve it.

  13. stiller43 says: Sep 14, 2009 10:08 PM

    3rd of all, the Pats looked anything but impressive tonight, win or lose.

  14. penguininbondage says: Sep 14, 2009 10:12 PM

    If he wasn’t such a fat load he wouldn’t have had to lunge at his lower body.

  15. stiller43 says: Sep 14, 2009 10:14 PM

    The Bills are pathetic and blew that game.

  16. Outsyder says: Sep 14, 2009 10:16 PM

    It was a good call… if you’re a white QB. Not so much if you’re black QB, ala Donovan McNabb.

  17. jliskiew says: Sep 14, 2009 10:17 PM

    my flag football team was pretty sweet in college – i hear LA is looking to start a new NFL franchise, i could get my guys back together…

  18. jusMike says: Sep 14, 2009 10:19 PM

    Welp. That’s how the cookie crumbles. That’s what the Patriots get. Thank you Brady and most of all thank you Mr. Goodell for turning the NFL into powder-puff football. Seems every-time Brady gets injured or gets screwed on a call, they change the rules in order to protect him or some aspect of his game. Mine as well call it the “BFL”.
    As everyone else has stated..Karma sux doesn’t it. And best believe Karma’s coming for their cheating actions too. Can’t wait!!!

  19. kayC says: Sep 14, 2009 10:20 PM

    Buffalo almost pulls off the upset of the week (at least) and all Curran can do is whine about a New England player getting penalized. *rolls eyes* Go back to regular old nbcsports.com? Please?

  20. Sporkdevil says: Sep 14, 2009 10:22 PM

    How did NO ONE ELSE SEE Wilfork do another eye poke in the first quarter??? Bottom of the screen after the play he had another 3 stooges moment.

  21. CapsLockKey says: Sep 14, 2009 10:23 PM

    I’d call it “iffy” if the whistles hadn’t been blowing for a good 5 seconds before he decided to pile drive Edwards into the ground. Situation as it was, it was well deserving of a flag.

  22. spyboots says: Sep 14, 2009 10:23 PM

    Hey, it’s the Brady rule!

  23. rcaron336 says: Sep 14, 2009 10:25 PM

    That was a lame call. He was a lot closer to mid section; not below the knees at all. A few bad calls in this game but there always are.

  24. Alpheratz says: Sep 14, 2009 10:26 PM

    Do you realize how many calls NE has gotten in its favor starting with the “Snow Job” aka “Tuck Rule” game???
    Sucked for the Raiders, but it was the correct call.
    They’ll tell you that to this day.
    Except the sour grapes losers, of course.
    Anyway, we’ll take the miracle win in return for those two questionable roughing calls.

  25. oa316ts says: Sep 14, 2009 10:29 PM

    Being a Bills fan, I have every reason to say it was a good call… but it was a TERRIBLE call and the refs really need to do a better job. There were several questionable calls in that game as personal fouls and the officials are going to need to bring out some level of consistency in their calls or there will be lots of problems and questions this season.

  26. stanjam says: Sep 14, 2009 10:34 PM

    Tuck rule: called correctly
    Snow plow game: Nothing in the rules against it that I know of.
    This call: Just bad.
    Add to this that Edwards threw the ball to avoid a safety, the pass never made it to the line of scrimmage, with no receiver in range. He SHOULD have been called for intentional grounding. Wilfork was cheated out of a safety.
    If you say the refs call things for the Pats, you obviously don’t watch the games. They continually get bogus calls against them. This was a major instance of that. Someone in the ref squad should have owned up and called that mistake for what it was. I am expecting them to issue a statement about this. That call could have changed the game, and almost did. It was as bogus as bogus gets.
    I agree though that the rules have gotten silly regarding protecting the QB. We might as well put flags in their pockets at this point. When you put your hopes in a franchise QB as the Pats (and many successful teams have) you have to realize that he COULD get hurt. All this crap about protecting the QB has gotten to the point where it diminishes the game.

  27. Richm2256 says: Sep 14, 2009 10:34 PM

    All you people who keep posting about cheating really need to get over it. That was two fraking years ago, the league has watched them under a microscope, and hasn’t found a single thing to charge them with in two damn years.
    Your acts are really wearing thinner than a Salvation Army overcoat and older than your grandmother’s Channell No. 5 Find something fresher than that to whine about; there’s a reason the Patriots are kicking your favorite team’s ass…… THEY’RE GOOD!
    You “Cheatriots” losers are really bringing this site down. Get a new take, already.

  28. this class sucks says: Sep 14, 2009 10:36 PM

    It is certainly week one for the refs, but I do like the fact that the Brady rule was enforced on the Patriots. Both of these teams looked awful. Brady is not going to have any success this season if he cant learn to step up when he is being rushed. He is going to play Baltimore, Tennessee, the Jets twice, and the Dolphins twice (Although they need to get their pass rush together). The Bills had every single chance to win the game and couldn’t their season is probably over.

  29. hayward giablommi says: Sep 14, 2009 10:36 PM

    That was a garbage call, as was the call on Thomas later in the game.

  30. Matt H. says: Sep 14, 2009 10:38 PM

    And for all you haters: in the end we win again.
    I’m looking at you Fike Mlorio, SaintsBucsPanthersSUKK, swervinmervin, and Joe in Toronto.

  31. skinny pigeon says: Sep 14, 2009 10:42 PM

    That was a suck-ass call that Brady wouldn’t even call on Gisele.

  32. mnmaverick says: Sep 14, 2009 10:42 PM

    I’m allright with it, as long as they don’t touch Favre. He has a handicapped Parking tag around his neck. He’s an Untouchable, until after the Super Bowl. ; )

  33. hayward giablommi says: Sep 14, 2009 10:48 PM

    “It’s a bitch when you’re team is on the decline.
    Eh, Florio?”
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    It’s a little early to be counting Pittsburgh out, Joe.

  34. tsweeney1 says: Sep 14, 2009 10:49 PM

    Could someone please explain the rampant hate for the Patriots on this site? I really don’t understand why everyone hates my beloved team. Oh and I guess the karma thing is with us huh? I guess you guys posted before the end of the game.

  35. The Real Shuxion says: Sep 14, 2009 10:51 PM

    I wish I could be so petty to play the Karma card.
    If Karma were real Obama would not be president.
    Bin Laden would be dead.
    Al Sharpton would have been decked in the grill by now.
    MSNBC ratings would suck (Well that one is actually happening)

  36. superius says: Sep 14, 2009 10:54 PM

    Karma is squeaking out the one point win.

  37. blackglass says: Sep 14, 2009 10:59 PM

    Where are all the hating pussies who said Tom Brady would never play again/was going to suck for the rest of his career/was DOA because every team had a “blueprint” for beating him? Great calls, jackasses!
    The rust has officially been shaken off. Tom Brady is back and your teams are going to get smacked around like Tila Tequila at Merriman’s house…allegedly.

  38. prodgodq says: Sep 14, 2009 10:59 PM

    That punk needs a few “iffy” calls that don’t go his way. He’s got plenty of cheesy, illegal hits under his belt, so having a call go against him is fine with me.

  39. Hoagz says: Sep 14, 2009 11:01 PM

    Most blatant intentional grounding I’ve seen in awhile!
    The football gods righted all those questionable calls in the end…

  40. prodgodq says: Sep 14, 2009 11:04 PM

    “The rust has officially been shaken off. Tom Brady is back and your teams are going to get smacked around like Tila Tequila at Merriman’s house…allegedly.”
    The line of the night! Excellent topical reference.

  41. JoeSixPack says: Sep 14, 2009 11:04 PM

    I thought that ESPN reporter might resort to taking a shot at Tom’s knee to get him to stand still for an interview.
    That was a very clear cold shoulder to ESPN – and I loved watching it!
    I’ll bet the NFL gripes about that but watching Brady snub ESPN was infinately more entertaining to me than seeing that reporter ask him stupid questions.

  42. hayward giablommi says: Sep 14, 2009 11:06 PM

    “How did NO ONE ELSE SEE Wilfork do another eye poke in the first quarter??? ”
    ^^^^^^^^^^
    Because you imagined it?

  43. hayward giablommi says: Sep 14, 2009 11:18 PM

    “Could someone please explain the rampant hate for the Patriots on this site?”
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    a.) Their team lost to the Patriots in 2001 and 2004 AFC Championship games
    b.) Jealousy
    c.) Bitterness
    d.) Emptyness
    e.) Desperation
    f.) All of the above

  44. stiller43 says: Sep 14, 2009 11:18 PM

    aj,
    You’re right, that was a clean sack by Adalius Thomas.
    Except for the fact it was 3 seconds after the ref blew the whistle when Thomas threw Edwards to the ground. Stupid play by Thomas.

  45. Junior says: Sep 14, 2009 11:19 PM

    Alpharatz and Stanjam you would be correct if it truly was a tuck. Watch the replay, Brady with both hands on ball at time of impact by Woodson equals fumble.
    Regardless, bad call happen every week. Deal with it and move on unless you want every play reviewed and 8 hour games.

  46. PFTiswhatitis says: Sep 14, 2009 11:21 PM

    The TWO sacks called as penalties in the Pats/Bills game are outrageous. Wilfork was anything but low and it was obviously intentional grounding (at least in the old days).
    The Adalius Thomas call should have been whistled dead way before he needed to get the QB to the ground.
    In any I hate to see the NFL screw up the game with ticky tack calls whenever the QB is hit/sacked.

  47. trixstal says: Sep 14, 2009 11:25 PM

    Even when the Patriots suck, they’re still good!
    So, when you click ‘Remember me’ in the log on window, it’s um, supposed to remember me, right? What is the deal with signing on to this site?

  48. FloriosHairHat says: Sep 14, 2009 11:42 PM

    He wasn’t flagged for going low, he was flagged for being a low-life.

  49. Clark says: Sep 15, 2009 12:10 AM

    It was a rule aimed a Jarred Allen nitwits.

  50. Clark says: Sep 15, 2009 12:14 AM

    blackglass says:
    September 14, 2009 10:59 PM
    Where are all the hating pussies who said Tom Brady would never play again/was going to suck for the rest of his career/was DOA because every team had a “blueprint” for beating him? Great calls, jackasses!
    The rust has officially been shaken off. Tom Brady is back and your teams are going to get smacked around like Tila Tequila at Merriman’s house…allegedly.
    Rated 5 of 5! Well said my Patriot freind. Well said indeed.

  51. rcaron336 says: Sep 15, 2009 12:20 AM

    It was definitely a bad call, and there were probably too many calls tonight. Too bad for the Pats on that call but no complaints at the end of the day. They sucked all night and they stole the victory at the end when the Bills took their eyes off the ball for one second.
    BB made a good call on the kick (vs on-sides) and got a lot of luck to help. Too bad for the Bills; they were playing out of their shoes tonight anyway. The Pats are obviously able to turn it on when they need to, as seen by the two quick scores.
    The Pats are happy to grab a W after playing so lousy, and they will get better before the next game. Maybe the Pats offense will actually start to play a little earlier in the next game.
    The bigger concern for the Bills is TO. Too many more losses and he’ll likely start to crumble.

  52. damnitall says: Sep 15, 2009 5:43 AM

    @# Route36West says: September 14, 2009 9:57 PM
    But what about diving late at the QB’s legs . I only seen the replay once but it looked like to me that Wilfork didnt just tackle Edwards late it looked like he dove at his legs and drove him to the ground. I only seen it once but thats what it looked like to me I could be wrong.
    Yup, you got it right, you’re wrong.
    That was the worst call of week one by the officials. If Wilfork wasn’t so goddamned huge the call never would have been made.

  53. Patsfansince73 says: Sep 15, 2009 7:26 AM

    Last night I witnessed the feminization of football. What where those bogus calls against Wilfork and Thomas all about?
    Is this what the game is going to be in the future? If so, then at least make the game interesting for me again. I suggest
    that the players only be college women dressed in tube tops and skirts because it’s obvious the league wants to turn it
    into a girlie game instead of it being football.

  54. packerssuck says: Sep 15, 2009 10:59 AM

    Florio, can’t you just revoke the posting privileges of the idiots that only come here to whine about the Patriot favortism and claim that the world is in love with them? It’s the Carson Palmer rule you morons. And even people that hate the Patriots know it was a bad call. It happens. For those claiming Karma you may want to figure out what the word means before you use it because you saw it in an article once. If you think the flag was because of Brady’s injury you may want to look up the word irony.
    That said, QBs are now the biggest pussies ever. Need proof?
    http://www.qbforce.com

  55. mrmagoo says: Sep 15, 2009 12:25 PM

    hayward giablommi says:
    September 14, 2009 11:18 PM
    “Could someone please explain the rampant hate for the Patriots on this site?”
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    a.) Their team lost to the Patriots in 2001 and 2004 AFC Championship games
    b.) Jealousy
    c.) Bitterness
    d.) Emptyness
    e.) Desperation
    f.) All of the above
    _______________________-
    How are things in the land of delusion? In the 5 years since your team won a Super Bowl you should be proud the Steelers have represented the AFC well by winning 2 of them.
    The jealousy, bitterness, emptiness, desperation of being 6-1 in Super Bowls vs 3-3 is tough to survive but I somehow get through it. I live with the heavy weight of having TWICE as many SuperBowl wins.

  56. Ken1313 says: Sep 15, 2009 1:28 PM

    The jealousy, bitterness, emptiness, desperation of being 6-1 in Super Bowls vs 3-3 is tough to survive but I somehow get through it. I live with the heavy weight of having TWICE as many SuperBowl wins.
    …….and yet you STILL whine about losing the two AFC Championship games to the Patriots. I especially loved the one where the Steelers and thousands of their fans had to cancel and sell their Super Bowl hotel reservations to us…….after boasting how easy it was gonna be to beat the Patriots. Oops
    Oh and yep…you have outwon the Patriots by 3 Super Bowls……..and yep..the Steelers were founded in 1933 and the Patriots in 1960…. (that’s 27 extra years for you math wizards). How about the Steelers don’t play for the next 27 years and we can revisit this discussion then and see who has more at that point? Dolt

  57. FloriosHairHat says: Sep 15, 2009 5:38 PM

    “…# Ken1313 says: September 15, 2009 1:28 PM
    Oh and yep…you have outwon the Patriots by 3 Super Bowls……..and yep..the Steelers were founded in 1933 and the Patriots in 1960…. (that’s 27 extra years for you math wizards). How about the Steelers don’t play for the next 27 years and we can revisit this discussion then and see who has more at that point? Dolt…”
    uhm… the Steelers didn’t win any of their 6 SB’s between the years of 1933 & 1960. DoltKing.

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