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Last word on Bengals-Ravens spot

We heard from several league insiders today regarding the blown spot in the Bengals-Ravens game.  (Here’s the background.)

And they had a few questions, the answers to which we thought might help us fill space be of interest to you, the audience.

First, some wondered how the play — a five-yard gain that was wiped out after replay review determined that receiver Mark Clayton did not fumble the ball — was recorded in the official play-by-play account.  Here’s the explanation from the official Game Book:  “J.Flacco pass short right to M.Clayton to BLT 20 for -1 yards (C.Ndukwe).  Cincinnati challenged the fumble ruling, and the play was Upheld. (Timeout #2.)”

So, contrary to the belief that replay review determined that the pass had been incomplete, it wasn’t.  The pass was complete, and the five-yard gain became a one-yard loss once the ball was spotted.

Second, we were asked who screwed the thing up — the referee (who conducts the replay reviews), the replay booth, or someone else.

“It’s the responsibility of the entire crew to correctly maintain the downs, distance, spot, etc.,” NFL spokesman Michael Signora told us via e-mail.  “That said, the umpire is the official in charge of physically placing the ball in the proper spot.  He gets the spot by looking at the head linesman on one side of the field or the line judge on the other, both of whom are tracking the spot as part of their responsibilities.”

So, basically, the head linesman and/or the field judge should have kept their eyes on the spot of the ball through the replay review, and they should have told the umpire to spot the ball at the spot where Clayton was tackled.

Instead, the ball wasn’t even placed at the prior spot.  It was parked on the 20.

Thus, it makes no sense.  And while some might argue that the Ravens should have caught the error immediately, others may contend that the Ravens are entitled to presume that the officiating crew will be able to conduct properly such a basic function.

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20 Responses to “Last word on Bengals-Ravens spot”
  1. HarrisonHits says: Oct 14, 2009 8:12 PM

    “others may contend that the Ravens are entitled to presume that the officiating crew will be able to conduct properly such a basic function.”
    LOL ROFL trust the bunch of hacks the league has as officials to be competent ??? ROFL I needed a good laugh Mike, thanks.

  2. Football says: Oct 14, 2009 8:22 PM

    The Ravens were just happy to still have the ball after the play and the spot was obviously the last thing on their minds. That was clearly a fumble recovered by the Bengals. The refs screwed up the spit, but the bigger screw up was giving the ball to the Ravens.

  3. Poo Flinging Monkey says: Oct 14, 2009 8:22 PM

    Funny… the announcers on tv AND radio both caught the error. It makes you wonder if even the Bengals knew what was going on?

  4. 12+81=7 says: Oct 14, 2009 8:29 PM

    How something like that gets screwed up is beyond me. What did the Ravens end up doing in that drive anyway?

  5. Phil says: Oct 14, 2009 8:43 PM

    I have not followed this one closely, but …. are the Ravens whining again? They managed to make their whining about ref calls after the Patriots loss the major NFL story of the week — last week. Contrast this culture with the attitude of most really good teams — which is: “It was a tough loss, but that’s football. Now on to next week.” Based on the Ravens’ atttitude/culture, I don’t think they will get far this year — and not surprising that they lost to the Bengals — They spent much of their preparations week whining. That’s too bad for a team with such talent.

  6. Topher says: Oct 14, 2009 8:44 PM

    Of course the Ravens should count on the crew.
    However… did not one of the 11 offensive players (especially Joe Flacco! and secondly Mark Clayton) not realize?
    There are probably 10 guys on the sidelines that were paying attention.
    And most importantly… did the boo birds in the stands not say anything?
    Its hard to rue the officials when a whole group of people that ought to have been paying attention, weren’t.
    By the way… does Mark Clayton and Joe Flacco get those 6 stat yards back? My fantasy football playoff ranking may be hanging in the balance :)

  7. Thomas Paquette says: Oct 14, 2009 8:50 PM

    It ended up working out alright for the Ravens becuase Antwan Odom jumped offsides the next play thus making the spot of the ball at the correct position. Nevertheless, my Cincinnati Bengals are kicking butt, but I still don’t have complete faith in this team. WHO DEY!

  8. Twiz says: Oct 14, 2009 9:06 PM

    This is what happens when you ASSume someone else is paying attn and doing things for you!

  9. 12+81=7 says: Oct 14, 2009 9:12 PM

    @Phil
    The Ravens have a right to complain on this one. I mean, how came something like this get messed up? If the spot of the ball is way off then they should complain. Against the Pats, well that was a little questionable. The Patriots have had “The Tom Brady” rule hurt them some this season, and they didn’t complain.
    @Thomas
    Doesn’t matter if the guy jumped offside or not, because that penalty basically does nothing. The other team commits a penalty and then the ball gets to the right spot? Shouldn’t work that way.

  10. shaunypoo says: Oct 14, 2009 9:28 PM

    Hey Phil, I don’t think it is the Ravens whining, I think it is Florio making much ado about nothing. The Ravens should, if they haven’t already, file a grievance with the league just on principle. Honestly, other than a few players bitching and moaning, and a few fans using it as an excuse, I would say that the whole thing is dead. As long as this officiating crew doesn’t get to the playoffs, cause they do not deserve it.

  11. DocBG says: Oct 14, 2009 9:37 PM

    Bust up the union, pay based on performace.
    The NFL DOES review their work VERY closely after every game. Have a point system that determines your next weeks paycheck. If you get 1 point for every right call/spot/non-call then they should lose a good chunk (say 15-50) of points based on how bad the call/spot/non-call is. For a bad spot, maybe 15 points if it doesnt effect 1st down, for the non-calls like the tripping penalties that are never called but always fined, they should be docked 25, for a botched touchdown call, they should be docked the max.
    Sad part is that most crews would probably be well under 0, but if they finish the year that way, they need to be fired. If they score over the league average, there should be a large cash incentive (maybe a double game check, which i think are around 7-8K)
    Money motivates people, bust the union and let the best work their way to top.

  12. shawnc16 says: Oct 14, 2009 9:47 PM

    Phil says:
    October 14, 2009 8:43 PM
    I have not followed this one closely, but …. are the Ravens whining again? They managed to make their whining about ref calls after the Patriots loss the major NFL story of the week — last week. Contrast this culture with the attitude of most really good teams — which is: “It was a tough loss, but that’s football. Now on to next week.” Based on the Ravens’ atttitude/culture, I don’t think they will get far this year — and not surprising that they lost to the Bengals — They spent much of their preparations week whining. That’s too bad for a team with such talent.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Naw Phil, I haven’t heard a peep from the Ravens about this issue.

  13. footballfandan says: Oct 14, 2009 10:03 PM

    The first official rules it a fumble… then they erroneously change it to call him down… then the refs fail to correct it back to their original call… a fumble… and finally, they mis-spot the ball.
    A couple of observations:
    1) an average 2 yr old would have done a better job of officiating that play, with less confusion.
    2) the horrendous officiating of that play was in net in tremendous benefit to the Ravens… the 5 yards were insignificant in comparison to the twice blown officiating that affected proper determination of possession. Ravens complaining about this officiating snafu is a joke.

  14. hitdog042 says: Oct 14, 2009 10:35 PM

    Hey 12+81 – are u serious? It was a fumble anyway. They missed that.. the replays clearly show it was coming out before his knee hit.
    Ravens didn’t get screwed, the Bengals did. It was a comedy of errors that had nothing to do with the outcome of the game thankfully.
    I don’t hear Marvin Lewis complaining the fumble wasn’t called.
    Get over it.

  15. bel-bo says: Oct 14, 2009 11:04 PM

    Another week, another pathetic performance from the zebras during a Ravens game. Not a conspiracy, just incompetence.

  16. Chains says: Oct 15, 2009 7:27 AM

    1. It was a fumble anyway.
    2. The bad spot didn’t lose the game for the Ravens but the lack of composure by the defense sure played a hell of a role. Some bad calls by the refs, some bone headed mistakes by the D.
    3. If you added up all of the bad spots for either team of any game, they would go well beyond 5 yards total. Think about it.
    4. Baltimore needs to work on playing at a level of intensity that puts them beyond the mercy of a couple bad calls.
    5. This has to be one of the most over analyzed plays ever. It was a fumble.

  17. smashmouth football says: Oct 15, 2009 8:20 AM

    Uh, no, it wasn’t a fumble. Clayton’s elbow clearly hit the ground before he lost possession.

  18. twindaddy says: Oct 15, 2009 8:45 AM

    Mike, why do you continue to bring up an insignificant 5 yard spot difference when the real question should be why that wasn’t ruled a fumble. The ball was clearly out of Clayton’s possession when his knee hit the ground.
    If you’re going to bitch about something, bitch about that. Quit being a dillhole.

  19. Contraband says: Oct 15, 2009 9:32 AM

    Yes, it was a fumble and everyone outside of Ravens fans can acknowledge that simple fact. Is it close ?? Sure it is, but the refs got it wrong. Wrong to such a degree the refs didn’t call the play dead and one ref ran down the field with Ndukwe or whatever his name is and signalled TD.
    Hell, while watching the replays of the games on NFL Network, they play clips of the players being mic’d up during the game. When that play happened, they had the clip of both Flacco and Heap in the huddle and after watching it on the jumbotron both said, THAT’S A FUMBLE…
    Either way, it didn’t change the outcome of that game and we are forced to listen to how the refs screwed the Ravens again. Odd when it happens in the Ravens favor it’s just solid play on their part.

  20. AugustusMcCrae says: Oct 16, 2009 8:50 AM

    Phil-master Philly Phil:
    After the Bengals loss, most talk I heard focused on the Ravens’ turd of a game, not the officials. Most players and coaches credited the Bengals for a fine game and for being a dangerous team. They also faulted themselves for a lousy performance, not the referees.
    Like you said, clearly you did not follow this one closely.

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