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Marvin Lewis: Replacement ref didn’t know defenseless receiver rule

Marvin Lewis AP

After Bengals safety Taylor Mays was called for a personal foul for a hit on Packers tight end Tom Crabtree, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said the blame lies not with Mays, but with the replacement official who botched the call.

It was exactly shoulder-to-shoulder. Unfortunately, the guy that made the call’s explanation was not correct,” Lewis said.

Lewis was careful not to go too far in criticizing the replacement officials, but he said the official who threw the flag on Mays didn’t know the rules about hits on defenseless players.

“They are getting better,” Lewis said. “Hopefully, it will get closer and closer to what we need. His understanding was that the player was a defenseless receiver. He was, but you are allowed to hit a defenseless receiver shoulder-to-shoulder. There is no such thing as a defenseless player unless he is hit in the head with your head. It was a misinterpretation of the rule. I know they are working hard. The league is working hard to get this stuff corrected. They are working overtime on it actually. It’ll get better and better.”

Mays said he thought the hit was clean, and even Crabtree, who suffered a shoulder injury in the collision, agreed that it was the wrong call.

The entire NFL has to hope that Lewis is right that the replacement officials will get better — and soon, as they’re less than two weeks away from calling games that actually count.

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39 Responses to “Marvin Lewis: Replacement ref didn’t know defenseless receiver rule”
  1. sdisme says: Aug 24, 2012 8:01 AM

    Seems credible to me.

  2. steelerdynasty2010 says: Aug 24, 2012 8:02 AM

    “There is no such thing as a defenseless player unless he is hit in the head with your head”

    doesnt necessarily have to be “with your head” marvin. you cant hit them in the head/neck at all, with any part of your body while they are in a “defenseless” position.

  3. mn1bjb says: Aug 24, 2012 8:03 AM

    Considering Marvin Lewis is on the competition committee, he knows the rules in detail. It’s unfortunate that he has to school the official on his interpretation. I can live with a bad call, but the misinterpretation concerns me the most.

  4. f4phantom9277 says: Aug 24, 2012 8:07 AM

    Of course it’s all about player safety, Goodell says so………

  5. dollarbill247 says: Aug 24, 2012 8:12 AM

    Leave it to a typical steeler fan to truly beleive he knows more than an NFL head coach. Thanks “steelerdynasty2010″ you proved nothing but your lack of intelligence.

  6. chesslungo says: Aug 24, 2012 8:14 AM

    The real refs dont know that. Neither does the commish. 15 yd penalties are killer. 15 yds can determine a game

  7. txxxchief says: Aug 24, 2012 8:16 AM

    Dear Rodger,

    Thanks for only penalizing me three weeks’ salary for the indiscreet comment.

    Marv

  8. paperlions says: Aug 24, 2012 8:26 AM

    Yeah, well….I didn’t watch a single game last year that didn’t have a similarly botched call. At least once/game the regular NFL refs penalized a defensive player for blows to the head that never happened. Can anyone honestly say that they didn’t see the normal refs always making the same call that always felt like a “man that defender blew up the offensive player so bad that it just had to be a penalty” penalty, with at least 1 happening per game?

    All of these posts about how bad the replacement officials are feel exactly like the complaints about the normal refs ever week of regular season.

  9. catquick says: Aug 24, 2012 8:27 AM

    At seasons end, some team will miss the playoffs because the fake ref’s don’t know the rules

  10. west4420 says: Aug 24, 2012 8:30 AM

    I would like to see the regulars back in uniform as much as the next guy but let’s be honest…

    The regulars consistently made the wrong calls on big hits last year as well.

    Without a quick and definitive review of all personal fouls of this nature any referee will continue to make the wrong call. They hear a big hit and see a guy crumple to the ground and the crowd react and the flag is coming out (incorrectly).

    It is infuriating.

  11. fuglyflorio says: Aug 24, 2012 8:32 AM

    So now instead of the usual complaining about calls they can point out that the refs are replacements. Not really all that different, is it?

  12. wikipediasaidso says: Aug 24, 2012 8:34 AM

    Google is a wonderful thing.

    Rule 12, Section 2, Article 8 (g) of the NFL Official Playing Rules states that it is unnecessary roughness if the initial force of the contact by a defender’s helmet, forearm, or shoulder is to the head or neck area of a defenseless receiver who is catching or attempting to catch a pass. Rule 12, Section 2, Article 8 (h) of the NFL Official Playing Rules states that if a receiver has completed a catch and has not had time to protect himself, a defensive player is prohibited from launching (springing forward and upward) into him in a way that causes the defensive player’s helmet, facemask, shoulder, or forearm to forcibly strike the receiver’s head or neck area – even if the initial contact of the defender’s helmet, facemask, shoulder, or forearm is lower than the receiver’s neck.

  13. vincentbojackson says: Aug 24, 2012 8:34 AM

    It was a bad call. However, Marvin failed to mention the equally bad no-call earlier when Jordy Nelson was mugged at the two yard line on a 55 yard bomb from Aaron Rodgers. He was hit and knocked to the ground before the ball even got near him. Instead of first and goal at the 2, it was third down at their own 45.

  14. dontgooffwondering says: Aug 24, 2012 8:36 AM

    This is exactly what the preseason is for; time for rookies to learn from their mistakes.

  15. skins21 says: Aug 24, 2012 8:43 AM

    Good. It’s a stupid rule anyways.

  16. playin2x says: Aug 24, 2012 8:43 AM

    When so many people employed by the NFL have to repeat that they think the refs are fine and improving it tells you the obvious that they are in fact the opposite of what they say.. Stop being cheap sign the real refs and lets get this season started on sept 5th without any issues .. Or you can believe the owners .. Just ask Jerry Jones

  17. ben1332 says: Aug 24, 2012 8:55 AM

    The real refs blow some calls too so it doesn’t matter. There will be blown calls no matter what.

    The real players drop balls, throw bad passes, miss tackles and blocks from time to time. Maybe they should just use replacement players since it doesn’t matter who’s playing, one team will win and the other will lose.

    The only important people are the owners.

    That’s the consensus opinion it seems.

  18. kidpresentable says: Aug 24, 2012 9:01 AM

    In the ref’s defense, at full speed it looked bad. The replay showed it was a clean hit.

  19. realitypolice says: Aug 24, 2012 9:15 AM

    He’s right that shoulder to shoulder is not a penalty, but he’s wrong about the rule in general. It does NOT have to be helmet to helmet. Any contact with the reciever’s head when they are in a defenseless position is illegal.

    I don’t care if he is on the competition committee. Maybe he misspoke. But he is wrong about the rule.

  20. christophershearin says: Aug 24, 2012 9:26 AM

    I am so sick of hearing people complain about the replacement officials, Do people forget how horrible the regular officals are? I dont know how many times the regular officials blow calls, Remember 2010 when megatron caught that TD against the bears to give the lions the win, He caught the ball, palmed it and then laid it on the ground, and the officals called it an incomplete pass, Or how about bottlegate in cleveland? That was caused by the officals allowing a replay after the next play was run. You will never convince me that the regular officals are perfect, and with all the critiques of the replacements, why dont we keep our eagle eyes on the regualar officals when they come back and report on every single missed call for a year?

  21. shaggytoodle says: Aug 24, 2012 9:26 AM

    Crabtree got hung out to dry on what was really tough hit over the middle, he got blasted, but I believe it was just a good hard football play.

    I don’t know who all saw that game, but did it seem like refs where just letting them play, they didnt throw much for flags. During the whole game and this is one they shouldn’t have. Almost as if they were trying to not be noticed.

  22. cowboycjn says: Aug 24, 2012 9:28 AM

    There have been 4 to 5 botched calls in many of the pre-season games. Problem is these wanna-be refs are changing the outcome of a game winner because of their lack of knowledge of what they are calling.
    Then to say they learn in the pre-season is one thing – how many of these botched up calls that throws a game will occur in the real games that count???

  23. uwsptke says: Aug 24, 2012 9:48 AM

    Just to play Devil’s Advocate, Marvin and the rest of us have had the benefit of replay. Watching that hit in real time, how many of you thought it was a clean hit when you saw Mays’ forearm come up and Crabtree’s head snap back?

    After viewing it from a few angles, it was clear that it was shoulder to shoulder and thus a bad call. But if those types of penalties can’t be reviewed, it’s a little unrealistic that refs (replacement or otherwise) would have gotten that call correct. Lets not pretend that the regular refs would have gotten the call correct based on how it looked in real time.

  24. cmich2006 says: Aug 24, 2012 9:54 AM

    I have sen plenty of ‘defenseless receiver’ calls where it was was shoulder to shoulder…so if the replacement refs don’t know that, then the regular ones don’t as well. Based on the calls I have seen defenseless is defenseless regardless if you hit them in the head or lay them out in the chest.

  25. arrogantathlete says: Aug 24, 2012 10:09 AM

    The NFL will becoming down on Coach Lewis this morning. Don’t be surprise he doesn’t show up in the morning.

  26. stull60060 says: Aug 24, 2012 10:33 AM

    I’m tired of hearing that the replacement refs don’t know the rules and are making bad calls. I’ve been watching football for 44 years and these refs are no worse than the so called professional refs. Not only that but the NFL rules about contact are a joke. You can’t hit him high, you can’t hit him low. You have to hit him juuuuuuuuuuust right or you get a flag. Football as it was intended to be played is disappearing and one day soon it will be regulated and litigated out of existence.

  27. bkostela says: Aug 24, 2012 11:09 AM

    the bigger concern here may be that marvin lewis doesn’t know the defenseless receiver rule…

  28. dirtysouthironmen says: Aug 24, 2012 11:15 AM

    Who cares? This is pre-season, just like the players and team, the refs are working through issues and bad calls and will be well prepared by opening day. This is part of the training process and those who do poorly will be cut or let go to go back and ref High School games. ;-)

  29. wiley16350 says: Aug 24, 2012 11:17 AM

    If the regular officials come back, I want you to write an article for every stupid call they make. Then we can compare. It is absolutely rediculous the way the media is portraying the replacement officals as bufoons and acting as if the regular refs never make stupid, bad and mind boggling calls. Last season in Buffalo I remember Stevie Johnson making a catch on 4th down. The other team challenged it and despite there being absolutely no evidence that the ball hit the ground they overturned it and called it incomplete. It was mind boggling how incompetant the call was. It happens all the time, with regular officials or with replacement officials. We go throughout every season complaining about stupid calls officals make, the biggest reason people think there is a major difference is because the media is making it a big deal. Last season, the media didn’t even talk about that play in Buffalo but you could bet if it happened this season it will be on every network just because it is replacement officials.

  30. johnnybgood19 says: Aug 24, 2012 11:26 AM

    I am starting to believe that some coaches are deflecting team failures on the replacement refs. Harbaugh for example is clearly trying to intiminate the RR’s by his facial expressions during games, when it’s his players who can’t keep from jumping off sides in the red zone. As far as I can see the RR’s are about the same as regular officials, only when the RR’s make a mistake the talking heads are all over it cause they need to talk….

  31. ricknau says: Aug 24, 2012 11:35 AM

    All these subjective rules implemented by Goodel are ruining the game. We are going to soon see postseason play and scripted results as bad as they are in the NBA. Pre-determined winners by calls that can go either way…….by by credibility.

  32. starderup says: Aug 24, 2012 11:37 AM

    In all the games I have watched so far, the replacements seem lost. Bad calls or disputed calls will always happen (like Ed Hochuli’s fumble call that lost the game for Denver a couple years ago) but at least the regular refs know the rules and procedures.

  33. 2ruefan says: Aug 24, 2012 11:47 AM

    Hate to break it to you guys here who just want to seem to start a fight, but “SteelerDynasty” guy was correct.
    (emphasis below in italics)

    Rule is:

    (b) Prohibited contact against a player who is in a defenseless posture is:
    (1) Forcibly hitting the defenseless player’s head or neck area with the helmet, facemask, forearm, or shoulder, regardless of whether the defensive player also uses his arms to tackle the defenseless player by encircling or grasping him; and
    (2) Lowering the head and making forcible contact with the top/crown or forehead/”hairline” parts of the helmet against any part of the defenseless player’s body.”

  34. 2ruefan says: Aug 24, 2012 11:48 AM

    I think the point Marvin was trying to make was that the defender hit the receiver SHOULDER to SHOULDER, and did not deliver the blow to the “head or neck” area.. in which case it does not violate the rule…

  35. wikipediasaidso says: Aug 24, 2012 12:16 PM

    2truefan: Then maybe Marvin should’ve stopped there and not muddied the issue by talking about only head-to-head hits breaking the rule.

    Because he’s wrong about that, and it muddies the issue of whether the refs didn’t know that the hit on a defenseless receiver had to involve a blow to the head/neck, or just saw it that way in real time (and those “questionable” calls have been going on since they instituted the rule).

  36. steelerdynasty2010 says: Aug 24, 2012 2:41 PM

    @dollarbill247:
    if you’re going to insult my intelligence, you should at least have the courtesy to be right. read the rule book

  37. macdoctor56 says: Aug 24, 2012 3:12 PM

    Prohibited contact against a player who is in a defenseless posture is:

    (1) Forcibly hitting the defenseless player’s head or neck area with the helmet, facemask, forearm, or shoulder, regardless of whether the defensive player also uses his arms to tackle the defenseless player by encircling or grasping him; and

    (2) Lowering the head and making forcible contact with the top/crown or forehead/”hairline” parts of the helmet against any part of the defenseless player’s body.

    Note: The provisions of (2) do not prohibit incidental contact by the mask or helmet in the course of a conventional tackle on an opponent.

  38. mineallmine001 says: Aug 24, 2012 3:54 PM

    That looked like a clean hit to me

  39. mwindle1973 says: Aug 28, 2012 2:05 AM

    vincentbojackson says: Aug 24, 2012 8:34 AM

    It was a bad call. However, Marvin failed to mention the equally bad no-call earlier when Jordy Nelson was mugged at the two yard line on a 55 yard bomb from Aaron Rodgers. He was hit and knocked to the ground before the ball even got near him. Instead of first and goal at the 2, it was third down at their own 45.
    __________

    Actually he acknowledged that Leon Hall got away with a pass interference in that situation. I’m not sure if it was the same press conference or a different one

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