I’ve been holding this one for a day or two, but I’ve decided that it’s time to throw it out there. It’s raw meat for Tebowmaniacs and Anti-Broncites alike — the notion that the final play of Sunday’s stirring overtime win over the Steelers could have been called back due to a penalty.
Via various media outlets, including an item from the Bay Area News Group that ended up on the Denver Post website, it appears that the Broncos had only six players on the line of scrimmage at the snap of the ball.
Per NFL.com (via the Denver Post), the league says the formation was legal. “There is nothing to this,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told NFL.com. “This is a legal formation. This should not have been flagged.”
By rule, seven players must be on the line of scrimmage at the start of every play. On the play in question, the quarterback, a running back, and two wide receivers are clearly behind the line. There’s a tight end at the top of the screen — Dante Rosario — who isn’t flush with the rest of the linemen.
The video of the play shows that receiver Eddie Royal came in motion before the snap, with the play starting just as Royal made it near the tight end on the right side of the field.
Even if a violation occurred, the Broncos realized no advantage, but for the reality that Demaryius Thomas (if he was supposed to be on the line of scrimmage) was in better position to avoid a jam from cornerback Ike Taylor, because Thomas could avoid starting the play with Taylor in his face.
Regardless, it looked close. More importantly, it wasn’t called. Most importantly, the league says it wasn’t even a violation.