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NFL admits Ray Rice spot took too long, but says the call was right

Baltimore Ravens running back Rice is taken down at the end of his first down run on a 4th down with 29 yards to go play by San Diego Chargers cornerback Jammer and cornerback Cason during the fourth quarter of their NFL football game i Reuters

Late in Sunday’s Ravens-Chargers game, the officials took about 10 minutes to review the pivotal fourth-and-29 catch and run by Ravens running back Ray Rice before ultimately determining that Rice had, in fact, picked up the first down. So did the officials get it right?

According to the league, yes. Although the NFL is acknowledging that 10 minutes is too long a delay.

In a video reviewing some of last week’s biggest calls, Dean Blandino, the director of officiating and instant replay for the NFL, says that what ultimately matters is that Rice did, in fact, get a first down, and that the officials correctly awarded the Ravens a first down.

“It took a little longer than we would have liked, but they correctly reset the chains where it should have been, and you can see when we stretch the chains out it still was a first down,” Blandino says while narrating several different replays of the play and the subsequent measurement. “We probably could have moved the ball back to the 34, but as you can see, where the chains were, it would have been a first down. So, again, it took a little longer than we would have liked, but it was, in the end, properly handled.”

Blandino is going easy on referee Gene Steratore when he says the review took a little longer than we would have liked. During the closing moments of a game, a 10-minute delay feels like eternity and saps all the energy out of the stadium. A replay review should never take that long.

But while none of the replay angles was completely conclusive, the officials did appear to get the spot right. It was a good spot on a great play by Rice.

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53 Responses to “NFL admits Ray Rice spot took too long, but says the call was right”
  1. razsan says: Dec 1, 2012 6:58 AM

    How do i post a still shot. I have one from video of the game that shows him 1/2 yard short…what a joke…
    Here’s an animated gif. Even the replays of the game showed him down BEFORE he stretched the ball out.

  2. bigbluebruiser says: Dec 1, 2012 7:01 AM

    That play will stand the test of time, which is something Norv Turner has just about ran out of ironically.

  3. joetoronto says: Dec 1, 2012 7:08 AM

    Both Charger fans disagree.

  4. stillers35 says: Dec 1, 2012 7:14 AM

    The NFL also defended the debacle in the Sea vs GB game. Anyone watching outside of Baltimore could see that spot was terrible. Wonder if they commented on Boldins illegal block on the same play

  5. rockthered1286 says: Dec 1, 2012 7:22 AM

    Funny how the 3 biggest plays in the game that everyone (mostly steelers fans) whined about turned out:
    1-“dirty” helmet hit by Pollard was flagged but upon NFL review called clean and legal. No fine.
    2- Boldin’s alleged block in the back. NFL reviewed it and called it clean and legal.
    3-Rice on 4&29 called a first down, booth review confirmed, NFL official review confirmed.

    But of course we’ll still have conspiracy theorists coming out of the woodworks claiming they have some mystery angle that proves both the refs and the NFL front office wrong.

  6. husky2score says: Dec 1, 2012 7:27 AM

    Here come the Steeler trolls that say us Raven fans comment on their articles too much!

  7. husky2score says: Dec 1, 2012 7:37 AM

    @razsan

    That’s wrong. You can clearly see that Rice’s body hits the ground after the stoppage, and barely gets the hall across the first down marker.

  8. 1uniquename says: Dec 1, 2012 7:41 AM

    That video in the first post is too far away and you can’t see if his knee even gets close to touching the ground. In the video his body doesn’t react as ones would if your knee hit the ground at that speed so i think it hovers above the turf, however of it zoomed in perhaps it would prove he really was down but that looks like a Pittsburgh video store cut.

  9. Nofoolnodrool says: Dec 1, 2012 7:50 AM

    Tee shirt boys better realize karma time is coming. Three lucky breaks…. Points to karma getting you in your usual choking season …the playoffs. Sleep easy knowing another near miss is coming….bank on it losers.

  10. tedmurph says: Dec 1, 2012 7:55 AM

    The officials did not get the spot right. The spot should have been at the 34 and one quarter yard line, right about where the first down marker was, not inside the 34. Impossible to tell if it should have been a 1rst down or not. Bottom line, Chargers can’t allow that play on 4th and 29, under any circumstances.

  11. pottymouth777 says: Dec 1, 2012 7:59 AM

    A delay of 10 minutes takes the energy out of the game?

    What about “TV timeouts” and squeezing as many 30 second commercials in as possible? How does that effect the fan experience?

  12. joe6606 says: Dec 1, 2012 8:08 AM

    The spot was egregiously wrong. There are multiple hd views that clealy show he was short.

    The bolden block was a classic Hines ward block. Clearly illegal.

    That nfl guy is just covering for 2 horrible calls.

    And btw I have no horse in this race.

  13. baloneyjohn says: Dec 1, 2012 8:12 AM

    NUTS to that call. Hey Roger the dodger.
    When will you take over this facet of the game, jerk

  14. flabtreesports says: Dec 1, 2012 8:12 AM

    The problem with this gif that’s been going around is that those watching he game live knew that the yellow line was a half yard past the actual first down marker. Sometimes it’s a little off, and this was one of those cases.

  15. sbaltimore says: Dec 1, 2012 8:18 AM

    First down or not, the Steelers lost to the Browns, and sealed their fate. What a sad sack season for the Steelers. It really chokes me up. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I hope the refs DID give the first down to Ray. It would make the satisfaction that much sweeter. Yeah, in fact, that’s what happened. The refs hosed the Chargers AND the Steelers in one fell swoop. Yeah, I like the sound of that. Oh well. Ain’t it a shame.

  16. domeunit says: Dec 1, 2012 8:25 AM

    Ray Rice made an incredible play, and Boldin had a monster(legal) block. Steeler/Charger fans can cry foul all day, but if it was your team you’d talk about how it was legit. Norv is done and the Steelers are about to give up the sweep 2 years in a row. Get over it, go Ravens

  17. gotitan says: Dec 1, 2012 8:47 AM

    I find it funny how all Raven fans like celebrate the Steelers loss in articles about the Ravens going to the playoffs. You act like because the Steelers won’t make the playoffs you are Super Bowl bound when in fact you are not even the best team in the AFC. Watch out what you wish for.

  18. peytonwantsaflag says: Dec 1, 2012 8:48 AM

    10 minutes is entirely too long for sure, but he should’ve got a first down just on principal. To gripe about this call, after allowing Rice to worm his way 29 yards on a 4th down when the game is won, is pathetic.

  19. grogansheroes says: Dec 1, 2012 8:49 AM

    rockthered1286 says:
    Dec 1, 2012 7:22 AM
    Funny how the 3 biggest plays in the game that everyone (mostly steelers fans) whined about turned out:
    1-”dirty” helmet hit by Pollard was flagged but upon NFL review called clean and legal. No fine.
    2- Boldin’s alleged block in the back. NFL reviewed it and called it clean and legal.
    3-Rice on 4&29 called a first down, booth review confirmed, NFL official review confirmed.

    But of course we’ll still have conspiracy theorists coming out of the woodworks claiming they have some mystery angle that proves both the refs and the NFL front office wrong.
    —————————————————
    And of course the NFL always gets the call right? Like in the Seattle – GB game. Ravens fans are crowing about how great their team is, when the NFL has handed them two games this year, the SD game and the NE game.

  20. evrybdyhas1 says: Dec 1, 2012 8:49 AM

    Steelers fans might want to question why they have no viable backup at QB and why the Ravens have Dennis Dixon and quit squealing about the spot.

  21. theravens1 says: Dec 1, 2012 8:55 AM

    Finally, a controversial call they got RIGHT! ;-)

  22. rayray5227 says: Dec 1, 2012 9:00 AM

    The yellow marker is never the official first down marker. I think Rice was just on the first down line, not where the spot was tho.

  23. ddaveyy says: Dec 1, 2012 9:07 AM

    Maybe the Chargers should have stopped him long before Rice got anywhere near the required 29 yards, instead of complaining about the spot.

  24. holeinone09 says: Dec 1, 2012 9:08 AM

    What will Ravens fans say if an injury-riddled Steelers team beats the all-powerful Ravens tomorrow? How can a team using a washed up 38 year old third team QB, a makeshift OL, missing it best outside LB, benching its starting RB due to fumbling, beat such a self-proclaimed juggernaut like the Ravens? There is no way the Steelers can win this game, according to most people.

    Just watch.

  25. realitypolice says: Dec 1, 2012 9:11 AM

    The Chargers have no one to blame but themselves. Even if he was a quarter of a yard short, giving up that much yardage on a one yard dump off pass on a play that was pretty much make or break for your season is inexcusable. Period.

  26. nockinon7sdoor says: Dec 1, 2012 9:13 AM

    What difference does it make if the NFL decides the spot was correct or incorrect? If they decided it was wrong, were they going to change the outcome of the game, give the Chargers a win and the Ravens a loss? Certainly not. I don’t see why the NFL even comments on these things. Game over, move on.

    And to Ravens fans who say the Bolden block was legal, I agree. So you guys either have a fine receiver who is good at blocking downfield to help his team, or a fine receiver who is a cheap shot artist who hits players when they aren’t looking. Kind of like Hines Ward. Sorry, can’t have it both ways…

  27. nockinon7sdoor says: Dec 1, 2012 9:24 AM

    evrybdyhas1 says:

    Steelers fans might want to question why they have no viable backup at QB and why the Ravens have Dennis Dixon and quit squealing about the spot.

    ____________________________________
    Right, because Dixon is such a quality QB that every team in the NFL (including the Ravens) passed on him as a backup QB. He is on the Ravens practice squad (cut and resigned once already) and has not been on an active roster since early in 2011. He has 1 TD and 2 INTs in his ‘career’.

    I admire Flacco for his durability and do not wish him any harm. But take him out of the Ravens offense for the rest of this season and the Ravens are lucky to win another game.

  28. dmretrogames says: Dec 1, 2012 9:41 AM

    Don’t let the league get that video – they’ll burn it in the same fireplace they burned the Spygate tapes.

    That was a horribly bad call and the league is losing major credibility by saying it was correct. The league office is starting to look like a banana republic.

  29. dmretrogames says: Dec 1, 2012 9:44 AM

    “Maybe the Chargers should have stopped him long before Rice got anywhere near the required 29 yards, instead of complaining about the spot.”

    The guy who was going to was blatantly clipped.

  30. TheWizard says: Dec 1, 2012 9:48 AM

    Bad spot. Chargers deserve it for for not making the tackle 25 yards further back.

  31. ravenmuscle says: Dec 1, 2012 9:51 AM

    The only reason so many trolls post on a Raven story is because the Ravens ARE the NFL.

    Fans would give their life savings to watch a Raven game.

    As Al Davis often said…Just Win Baby…and Vince Lombardi said..”Winning isn’t everything ITS THE ONLY THING.”

    NINE & TWO baby….NINE & TWO

    RAVEN NATION….AMERICA’S TEAM.

  32. mclovinib says: Dec 1, 2012 9:51 AM

    2 words for all the replay officials crying they saw where the ball should of been……1st down

  33. psteelfan1 says: Dec 1, 2012 9:55 AM

    It’s funny how when the Steelers beat the Ravens they always whine about officiating. However when the Ravens benefit from the refs it was the right call. It seemed to me that the spot was too generous how does it take ten minutes. Is there no time limits for replay? I thought there was.

  34. iamthefootballjerk says: Dec 1, 2012 9:59 AM

    Dear Non-Ravens fans, how does that sour grapes based whine taste?

  35. mikepereira69 says: Dec 1, 2012 10:09 AM

    I was working for FOX that day and I completely agree with the call. The rule explicitly states the following:

    When the runner’s knee is down and he’s touched by the opposing player, the ref shall add an additional 1.5 yards to the spot where the knee was down.

    So as you can see in this case the runner’s knee goes down a little before the 35 yard line and spot ends up at the 34 1/2. The refs got it right.

  36. schmitty2 says: Dec 1, 2012 10:11 AM

    Blandino is going easy on referee Gene Steratore when he says the review took a little longer than we would have liked. During the closing moments of a game, a 10-minute delay feels like eternity and saps all the energy out of the stadium. A replay review should never take that long.

    Energy? At Qualcomm stadium? Ummm..no

  37. 6ringsandarapist says: Dec 1, 2012 10:21 AM

    they need to get rid of the replacement ref’s……wait , never mind

  38. timpiker says: Dec 1, 2012 10:41 AM

    NO, the spot was not right – it was 1/2 to 1 yard too far.

  39. ravens4fr says: Dec 1, 2012 10:42 AM

    Great Call by Steratore!!

  40. sbaltimore says: Dec 1, 2012 10:54 AM

    Didn’t Dixon lead the Steelers to a 3-1 record when Ben was suspended for 4 games?

  41. dtr3e says: Dec 1, 2012 11:13 AM

    People complaining about the spot of the ball need to stop. The Chargers D had 25+ yards to stop Rice before the spot of the ball was an issue, but they didn’t. End of story, stop whining about the refs. Maybe the Chargers need to learn to play D and stop the big play. There were 8 missed tackles on that play! 8! Wrap up for gosh sakes!

  42. doughboy73 says: Dec 1, 2012 11:21 AM

    As an official, the hit was clean. Head in front, contact to the side, hit propelled player towards his back. Good hard block!!

  43. andylucksneck says: Dec 1, 2012 11:22 AM

    The ravens have been the most fortunate team of this season, and their luck will run out in the first round of the playoffs.

  44. ceosmind4432012 says: Dec 1, 2012 11:27 AM

    Wet

  45. nockinon7sdoor says: Dec 1, 2012 11:34 AM

    sbaltimore asks:

    Didn’t Dixon lead the Steelers to a 3-1 record when Ben was suspended for 4 games?

    ________________________________

    No, Dixon ‘led’ the Steelers to a 2-0 record (he was 22 of 32, 2 INTs, 2 fumbles), then blew out his knee early in the 3rd game that year. The knee injury is likely why he is no longer a viable QB in the NFL.

  46. sbaltimore says: Dec 1, 2012 12:04 PM

    So who QB’d the Steelers in the final two games of Ben’s suspension?

  47. sbaltimore says: Dec 1, 2012 12:11 PM

    N/M. It was Batch.

  48. billfbrennan says: Dec 1, 2012 12:33 PM

    the same nfl that said goldent tate had a touchdown earlier this season against the packers.

    this headline should read…. and the nfl is wrong again.

  49. lolo376 says: Dec 1, 2012 12:36 PM

    Not a fan of either team, but I don’t think he got the first! Proof was in the still shot!!!

  50. basshawg says: Dec 1, 2012 1:05 PM

    It was an incorrect spot. Period. The replay clearly shows Rice’s knee down while the ball is still closer to the 35. Look at the position of the Chargers players foot for a reference as to where the ball really was when Rice’s knee was down. As a Texans fan, I’m disappointed they messed up the spot, but WOW!! What a Herculean effort from Rice!!

  51. baltimoresnativeson says: Dec 1, 2012 1:05 PM

    You give up that many yards on freakin 4th down you deserve to lose. Regardless of the spot, refs, or whatever else. Chargers choked. Again. That’s really all too it.

  52. ampatsisahypocrite says: Dec 1, 2012 3:16 PM

    As poster “razsan” and his gif shows, not only is Rice’s knee down BEFORE he hits even the 35, but the ball hit the ground short before the yellow line.
    How they could blow this call after looking at it for so long is beyond me.

    Then there’s the illegal block Boldin got away with.

    C’mon, you don’t squeeze 29 yards out of a 1-yard dump-off without something funny going on.

    In this case there were 2 something funnies.

  53. reed20fence says: Dec 2, 2012 8:51 AM

    Forget the calls, I just wanna talk about this whole ”getting lucky” mentality. The Texans, the supposed ”best team in the league,” have barely squeezed out their last two wins in OT. No one is on their Jock about ”getting lucky.”

    The bottom line is that when it counts, you put yourself in a position for fortune to favor you. Fortune doesn’t favor those who lazily get blown out. It favors the hardworking audacious.

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