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NFL reminds teams not to simulate snap counts


The Cowboys and Titans complained last weekend about the simulation of snap counts by the defenses of the Redskins and Broncos, respectively.  Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Friday that the league has reminded all teams that such conduct is forbidden.

“That notice came out from the league this week, so I know that the league is looking at it,” Jones told KRLD-FM, via Tim MacMahon of  “We in general though are approaching it, we’ve just got to make it work.  We’ve got to get in here and have our count and have our snaps and not make it a point of concern for our quarterback and certainly not make it a point of concern for the game, because those are like turnovers and can be turnovers and do stop drives.”

The problem, as former NFL V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira pointed out during an appearance this week on PFT Live, is that the movement of the umpire from his former position behind the defensive line to a new position behind the offense leaves no official in position to hear what the defensive linemen may be saying to prompt offensive linemen to jump early — or to trick the center into snapping the ball in shotgun formation before the quarterback is ready for it.

The umpire returns to his traditional position in the final five minutes of each half.  For the other 50 minutes of each game, however, there’s currently no effective way of catching culprits along the defensive line.

As a result, offensive teams will have to figure out how to deal with it.

“There’s been noise on the line of scrimmage in the NFL since Pudge Heffelfinger was around,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Thursday, via MacMahon.  “So, that’s how it works.  We just have to understand what the issues are there and we have to focus on whose voices we’re listening to and just get locked in and snap the ball the way it needs to be snapped.”

For Cowboys center Phil Costa, who apparently was duped multiple times by former Cowboys and current Redskins defensive lineman Stephen Bowen on Monday night, that’s apparently far easier said than done.

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56 Responses to “NFL reminds teams not to simulate snap counts”
  1. icewalker946 says: Sep 30, 2011 11:13 PM

    The coaches in the NFL are always in search of the next loophole……looks like the DEF coach figured out that with the position of the umpire his men can get away with more.

    That is why good coaches in football are a great need.

  2. qdog112 says: Sep 30, 2011 11:23 PM

    What a crock. They want me to believe that the on-field officiating crew can’t hear the calls, but the players can? That’s incredulous. If they contend that it was continuous, why didn’t they tell the refs to get it stopped? BOGUS!

  3. jmsincla says: Sep 30, 2011 11:23 PM

    Pudge Heffelfinger may be the greatest name ever.

  4. mikeyveli says: Sep 30, 2011 11:28 PM

    And yet,…only the dumb fans would think that the only team trying to gain a competitive edge are the Pats. Open your f**king eyes you dumb sh*ts.

  5. bearsrulepackdrool says: Sep 30, 2011 11:30 PM

    You didn’t say pleeeeeeeaaaase!

  6. GG Eden says: Sep 30, 2011 11:31 PM

    Kudos points to Jason Garrett for dropping the name of William ‘Pudge’ Heffelfinger.

  7. vikingsinla says: Sep 30, 2011 11:36 PM

    Defenses get blamed for a lot these days, but I just don’t understand how a center can be induced to snap the ball by D-linemen. Even if they are able to mimic the cadence, they can’t know the count. And unless they practice ventriloquism, how hard is it to realize the QB is behind you not in front of you? If the crowd noise is such that the center can’t hear, go silent count.

  8. grandpoopah says: Sep 30, 2011 11:37 PM

    Now the league is going to ban defenses from verbally offending/provoking the offense? Goodell, you suck.

  9. bears0492 says: Sep 30, 2011 11:52 PM

    shouldn’t the center know the damn snap count? Offensive lineman like Costa shouldn’t be coddled…it’s a loud stadium, who cares if the defender says ‘hike’

  10. 14whodey18 says: Sep 30, 2011 11:53 PM

    Can’t really blame the defense for trying to gain an edge with the game clearly headed towards an offensive advantage.

  11. freedomispopular says: Sep 30, 2011 11:54 PM

    Here’s a thought: keep the umpire where he is, and just add another umpire to the field to put in the traditional umpire position. An extra set of eyes on the field can’t hurt too much and may help them catch most of the crap they’ve been somehow managing to miss.

  12. lampe21 says: Oct 1, 2011 12:05 AM

    If the were doing what they say why was it only the center n no other line jumped iam call BS on Dallas here

  13. som1com says: Oct 1, 2011 12:21 AM

    Stephen Bowen called Phil Costa a liar. So, it appears you are in agreement with Costa and are calling Bowen a liar.

    Shanahan says the center’s are mic’d up. A better article would have also investigated that angle instead of lazily ending with a “he said, she said” finish.

  14. cornellsteelers says: Oct 1, 2011 12:23 AM

    Unless you’re playing against a team other than the Cowboys or Patriots. Then its A-OK!

  15. keeponhating says: Oct 1, 2011 12:36 AM

    Oh so that’s why the cowboy’s center was so terrible

  16. dbellina says: Oct 1, 2011 12:50 AM

    Soon the NFL is going to remind players to not play football, because that is against the rules.

  17. nannymcsack says: Oct 1, 2011 12:53 AM

    sooo people are stealing signals? across the league? fine everyone half a mil and a first round pick. oh wait i guess that only happens when you win 3 out of 4 super bowls and your team is destroying everyone

  18. favreforever says: Oct 1, 2011 1:01 AM

    Heffelfinger, who currently punts for the Jaguars, backed up Garrett’s assertions.

  19. deeboisgonnaeatyourkids says: Oct 1, 2011 1:05 AM

    How many years until Goodell limits the number of pass rushers and the game becomes Pro Bowl like?

  20. howley1 says: Oct 1, 2011 1:05 AM

    If you go back and look at some of those bad snaps, other Cowboys offensive linemen were firing off at the same time Costa was. Somebody had to have been barking out the count because it obviously wasn’t Romo.

  21. tommytd says: Oct 1, 2011 1:30 AM

    This must have been something Belicheat invented! LOL

  22. steelerfan77 says: Oct 1, 2011 1:31 AM

    Excuses, excuses. Give me a break!

  23. yeahyeahyeahbono14 says: Oct 1, 2011 2:00 AM

    Eff the Cowboys and the horse they rode in on, literally and/or figuratively.

  24. yeahyeahyeahbono14 says: Oct 1, 2011 2:05 AM

    Phil Costa botched four snaps and simply wants a scapegoat… he just plain sucks. The only non-Romo snap count that he heard came from the voices in his head.

    Centers are vicariously mic’d up (due to their proximity to the QB)… don’t you think we would’ve heard the audio by now if there was any truth to Costa’s ridiculous claims?

  25. duncanthecat says: Oct 1, 2011 3:00 AM

    Darn it…Albert Haynesworth who has one tackle so far could have added this skill to his repertoire; and quite possibly EARNED the paycheck he has collected for years.

  26. kd75 says: Oct 1, 2011 3:07 AM

    Yea, and if you’re standing on 2nd base don’t look at the catcher’s signs to the pitcher either…

  27. TheWizard says: Oct 1, 2011 4:58 AM

    Yes, just boys being boys.

    Unless the Patriots are doing it, then it’s a ten million dollar fine and the loss of that year’s draft and cries of outrage that every Patriot win since the dawn of time is now tainted.

  28. bucks12965 says: Oct 1, 2011 6:17 AM

    So because Costa said it happened, that make it factual? No possibility he just sucks and is lying, huh?

  29. blackqbwhiterb says: Oct 1, 2011 6:41 AM

    During the game, Romo the “brave courageous leader” never complained to the officials, nor did Costa. His highness only yelled at the center. Seems to me a fabricated excuse to save face after the fact.

  30. hoosierdude says: Oct 1, 2011 6:55 AM

    At the risk of being ID’d a dinosaur, whatever became of sportsmanship?

  31. axespray says: Oct 1, 2011 7:04 AM

    Don’t punish the defenses for having a step up on the offenses.

    tell the offenses to adjust and keep up.

  32. chief4ever says: Oct 1, 2011 7:26 AM

    Why should it be wrong for the defense to simulate snap counts? The qb’s do it with a hard count all the time.

  33. jpb12 says: Oct 1, 2011 7:40 AM

    Because Costa has a learning disability and other teams shouldn’t pick on him.

  34. hail74 says: Oct 1, 2011 7:59 AM

    As shannahan pointed out, centers are mic’d now a days so would seem pretty easy to prove if happened. More likely costa who also had bad snaps against jets got tired of explaining himself so took cowardly way out.

  35. manofaiki says: Oct 1, 2011 8:11 AM

    Didn’t Shanahan say center’s are miked now? Or is it only for certain games? Couldn’t they replay the audio and hear what the center was hearing?

  36. billygoat says: Oct 1, 2011 8:30 AM

    They have microphones that can pick up what the lineman are saying. Use the mics and tell the players if the are caught it will be a five game suspension. The problem will stop.

  37. hank10 says: Oct 1, 2011 8:30 AM

    The league brings these issues on themselves. Maybe if they would not have 2 sets of rules taking place (booth replays only in final 2 mins of the half, umpires relocating in final 5) during a game, they’d have more control.

  38. cowboy88 says: Oct 1, 2011 8:36 AM

    Isn’t it funny how both teams accused are connected to Shanarat?

  39. oranjellojones says: Oct 1, 2011 8:43 AM

    …”who was apparently duped”? How about some actual proof of ANY sort before you jump on that bandwagon? One guy who played maybe the worst game any pro center has played the last decade or more is whining a major league copout whine after he was humiliated on National TV.

    He was mic’ed up during the game and whattaya know, not a single thing showed up there and that would have picked up any “signals” called out loud enough to affect anyone on the Offense. If these snap counts were being called out and the Redskins were cheating then why was Costa the only guy biting, why not a single false start or even a whiff of one from the other linemen? If this was happening why is Costa the ONLY one who evidently picked up on it? No other linemen, no TE’s no RB’s, no WR’s not even the QB….why exactly is that? Does Costa have bionic hearing no one else on the field does?

    Last but certainly not least, 4 out of the 6 bad snaps came on shotgun formation plays where THERE IS NO SNAP COUNT. No one to blame there but Costa. If the Redskins were calling out snaps then
    a. the rest of the team would have heard them on silent counts and
    b. he shouldn’t have had any problems on shotgun snaps anyway since he’s waiting for the QB to signal visually that he’s ready for the ball.

    Please PFT…for the love of all humanity stop giving this guy’s bunk voice without the derisive breakdown it deserves.

  40. fearthewopr says: Oct 1, 2011 8:54 AM

    Lions got called for this week 1 against the Bucs. I had never heard the ruling before, but this clears it up.

  41. fissels says: Oct 1, 2011 8:56 AM

    The Skins will do anything to win, including cheat

  42. kernelreefer says: Oct 1, 2011 8:57 AM

    I was under the impression that half the players on the field were miles up at any one time. Surely, because the miles are part of NFL Films that if the NFL wanted to, they could mike up linemen and then listen to them.

  43. evomike06 says: Oct 1, 2011 9:04 AM

    I’m not for players and coaches cheating, but really now, as a center you can’t tell if the snap call is coming from a line man in front of you or your QB behind you?, and I’m sure they know the difference in players voice. If not you must be pretty stupid. But if the NFL wants to change things around I can’t blame coaches and teams to scheme and find loop holes to use as an advantage. Footballs a game of scheme and match ups.

  44. skinzfan21 says: Oct 1, 2011 9:27 AM

    Bad thing about it is, all week they made a big deal over a rookie center making up the entire story!! Where is the follow up that acknowledges the guy was lying?? Next time maybe the NFL should send reminders out for guys not to make up stories if he muffs the snap counts on his own but lies instead of owning up to his F’ ups! Only the cowgirls would get a win and whine

  45. c0ldestwinter says: Oct 1, 2011 9:28 AM

    Centers and QBs often get mic’d up by NFL films for no reason at all. Why wouldn’t they volunteer to do it every week as long as only the league could review the tape?

  46. forthelove says: Oct 1, 2011 9:32 AM

    Thumbs up if you think Pudge Heffelfinger is the most awesome name ever.

    Had to google this guy and he actually did exist and is apparently the first football player to get paid for playing ($500 for a game in 1892).

  47. redskinspike says: Oct 1, 2011 9:58 AM

    Has it even been confirmed that the Redskins d-line was simulating the snap count? Costa was miked for the game so they should be able to listen and see if the snap count was simulated. Have there been any reports about this yet? I haven’t heard of anything. If they really were simulating the snap count, wouldn’t we have heard about it in the news already?

  48. howley1 says: Oct 1, 2011 11:18 AM

    He was mic’ed up during the game and whattaya know, not a single thing showed up there


    Where did you hear this audio?

  49. howley1 says: Oct 1, 2011 11:23 AM

    Not the first time the Redskins have been busted for this type of thing. Why are you surprised?

  50. howley1 says: Oct 1, 2011 11:28 AM

    What a crock. They want me to believe that the on-field officiating crew can’t hear the calls, but the players can? That’s incredulous.


    Why, considering the fact that the refs are a good 10 yards or so behind the line of scrimmage, now?

  51. ham1 says: Oct 1, 2011 11:31 AM

    Well lets see if Costa costs the girls another butterfinger snap…….maybe the skins will fax the snap count to the rams…….then the girls can whine about that. I mean the girls won the game and they still whine. If that dont beat all.

  52. therealsmiley says: Oct 1, 2011 12:44 PM

    And no blaming the defense for simulating the cadence when your center effs up either!! You either snap the ball on the right count or you don’t. Hail!!

  53. TheWizard says: Oct 1, 2011 12:55 PM

    At the risk of being ID’d a dinosaur, whatever became of sportsmanship?

    The multi-million dollar paychecks at stake would be my guess.

  54. ceschatz says: Oct 1, 2011 12:58 PM

    you people will find anything to bitch about the cowboys. they won the Damn game, why would they be making up excuses? get over it, yes they are netter then your team.

  55. toiletking says: Oct 1, 2011 3:31 PM

    What kind of center can’t recognize his own qb’s voice, especially when he is right behind him? Astonishing.

  56. poopoodoodoohead says: Oct 1, 2011 4:21 PM

    Well, my comment from last night has miraculously disappeared!

    The Centers are mic’ed up to provide audio since the judge is no longer close enough to the action.

    If there was something to this it, the NFL would have the smoking gun since Costa had a mic on him the whole game.

    Just another example of Jerruh calls and Goodell jumps!

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