NFL Network has unfortunately discontinued the “Official Review” segment that used to be one of its most enlightening segments of the week, with the league’s head of officiating (previously Mike Pereira and now Carl Johnson) going over some controversial or unusual calls from the previous week’s games. Fortunately, the league has replaced “Official Review” with a weekly video, narrated by Johnson, that will detail the key calls from the previous week.
This week, Johnson’s video points to six rules issues that arose this week:
– If the defense has 12 players in the formation and the snap is imminent, the officials are to blow it dead right then and throw a flag on the defense, rather than letting the offense run the play and then choose to either take the penalty or take the result of the game. The Ravens were correctly flagged for 12 in the formation on defense on Monday night against the Ravens.
– After the two-minute warning of either half, a team with an injured player will be charged a timeout. This was incorrectly applied and gave an extra timeout to the Seahawks in their loss to the Cardinals.
– If a backward pass is incorrectly ruled an incomplete forward pass on the field, but there is a clear recovery, a replay review can give the ball to the recovering team. In the past, such plays were not reviewable. This was incorrectly ruled on the field — but correctly reversed on replay — in the Seahawks-Cardinals game.
– When a player on the punting team is the first to touch a punt on the last play of a half, the receiving team gets the ball and can run one play. This rule was incorrectly enforced on the last play of the Chargers-Raiders game on Monday night.
– In the last two minutes of the fourth quarter, only the fumbling player on the offense can advance a fumble. This came up late in the Jets’ win over the Bills, when Shonn Greene fumbled into the end zone, where the ball was recovered by D’Brickashaw Ferguson.
– Goaltending is against the rules in football, not just basketball: A player who jumps up and touches a ball as it is about to go through the goal posts in an attempt to block a field goal is flagged for goaltending, a 15-yard penalty. This came up when 49ers kicker David Akers hit the crossbar with his record-tying 63-yard field goal, and Packers receiver Randall Cobb jumped up and just missed knocking the ball away.
Instructional videos like this are a good reminder about some of the more complex issues in the NFL rulebook. Here’s hoping the NFL keeps them coming — and doesn’t have to use them to detail a game-altering mistake by the replacement refs.