Mike Florio is joined by Mike Silver to discuss the fact that none of the head coaching vacancies were filled by minorities. Why was there no interest in Jim Caldwell? Is Hue Jackson worthy of at least a coordinator job?This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Is race a factor in hiring coaches?
Myles Jack might be taking a chance, but he’s not going to let his next chance be for free.
According to Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated, the injured UCLA hybrid linebacker/running back has withdrawn from school, and plans to enter the 2016 NFL Draft.
Jack suffered a season-ending knee injury in September, derailing a season which could have cemented his status as a first-round pick next year anyway.
But UCLA coach Jim Mora expressed concern over Jack’s decision.
“I think it’s very risky to do this. There’s a lot of speculation to . . . where he fits,” Mora said. “I’ve been in 25 draft rooms. I’ve never seen a guy taken off [two games of junior tape]. . . .
“Myles’ talent is without question. I hope he’s put enough out there where they can get a true evaluation.”
Mora’s concern is touching, assuming he’s not just worried about Jack making a financial decision which could only benefit Jack and not Mora.
The college football-industrial complex is full of territorial squatters, as evidenced by LSU’s tsk-tsking at the suggestion that Leonard Fournette should use his earning potential for Leonard Fournette and not LSU. So it’s not a surprise that Mora would join in, warning at the inherent danger of trying to capitalize on your own talents for yourself.
The 2015 NFL season claimed its first head coach on Monday when the Dolphins fired Joe Philbin a day after dropping to 1-3 with an uninspired performance against the Jets in London.
We’ll be talking about that decision on Tuesday’s edition of PFT Live. Jeff Darlington of NFL Media was in London for that game and will join Mike Florio to talk about the move, what interim coach Dan Campbell brings to the team and what the impact will be on quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Tony Dungy of Football Night in America will also be a guest on the show. He and Florio will discuss Philbin’s dismissal along with other big stories from around the league in Week Four.
Monday night brought another of those big stories when officials in Seattle botched what should have been a penalty for illegally batting the ball out of the end zone on Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright. Former NFL official Jim Daopoulos will break down what went wrong.
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle rounds out Tuesday’s guest list for a chat about the Texans’ decision to stick with quarterback Ryan Mallett.
As always, we also want to hear what PFT Planet thinks. Email questions at any time or get in touch on Twitter at @ProFootballTalk to let us know what’s on your mind.
It all gets started at noon ET and you can listen to all three hours live via the various NBC Sports Radio affiliates, through the links at PFT, or with the NBC Sports Radio app. You can also watch a simulcast of the first hour by clicking right here.
NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino says penalties like illegal batting of a loose ball in the end zone are inherently subjective. But in Blandino’s subjective opinion, the Seahawks should have been flagged and the Lions should have been given the ball back late in Monday night’s game.
“The rule itself, a bat is an intentional act, so there is subjectivity to it,” Blandino said on NFL Network. “The official has to see it and then he has to rule whether it was intentional. It could be a muff, it could just hit the player and bounce out of bounds, so he has to make all of those decisions in that split second that he has on the field and he felt it wasn’t an intentional, overt act, and that’s why he didn’t throw the flag, so it certainly is subjective.”
Blandino said the Competition Committee might consider making illegally batting a loose ball a reviewable penalty in the future, but the league generally prefers not to make subjective calls reviewable.
“Again, we try to stay away from subjective fouls, and this being one of them, similar to pass interference or offensive holding, so that’s why it hasn’t been reviewable, so I think it’s fair to say that the committee will look at this just like we look at other situations that occur throughout the year and decide if we need to add it to the list of reviewable plays,” Blandino said.
The bottom line, however, is that Blandino was able to use the TV replays to determine that the flag should have been thrown, and so the referee should have been able to use replay to review the play to put the ball back in the Lions’ hands. The NFL should change the rules to make such plays reviewable.
It appeared that the NFL had gotten through a calendar month without an arrest in September.
Not so fast, or in the case of Titans wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, just a little too fast.
According to Jason Wolf of the Tennesseean, the rookie wideout was arrested last Wednesday (Sept. 30), meaning the league didn’t get to celebrate a month without an arrest (such that they should anyway).
Green-Beckham was stopped for speeding in Van Buren, Mo., and officers cited him for doing 65 in a 55 mph zone. While he was stopped, they found another outstanding warrant for speeding in Osage Beach, Mo. He paid $92.48 to settle the ticket.
Of course, it’s not nearly the trouble Green-Beckham has been involved with in the past, which the Titans are thankful for. He’s caught a pair of touchdowns in his first three games, though they’ve come on just three total receptions as they ease him into things after he didn’t play at all last year.
Murray had a rough day against the Bears up to that point. He gained 49 yards on 16 carries, lost a fumble and couldn’t reel in a pass that wound up being intercepted, but coach Jack Del Rio said Monday that Murray wasn’t benched. Del Rio chalked it up to “different plays that we run with different players at different times of the game” and said the team’s confidence in Murray remained high.
“I remain confident,” Del Rio said. “We have some good young players. None of us our perfect. We all are capable of making mistakes. I think the sooner you own up to mistakes, the quicker you can put them behind you and move forward.”
Murray didn’t waste much time owning up to his errors on Sunday.
“Me having those two turnovers hurt us a lot,” Murray said, via the San Jose Mercury News. “We’ve just got to find a way to win the tight games. I’ll play better.”
Murray should get his chance to do that against Denver this week as the Raiders try for their first AFC West win of the season.
According to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports, the Bills are sufficiently thin at the position to bring in Trent Richardson for a tryout. But they’re apparently not sufficiently thin (yet) to bring in Ray Rice.
Rice is far more accomplished than Richardson, who was traded by the Browns two years ago, cut by the Colts earlier this year, and dumped by the Raiders before the start of the regular season. In August, Bills coach Rex Ryan addressed the possibility of a reunion with Rice.
“For us, we kind of have a loaded backfield, so there won’t even be a consideration there, because [of] the type of depth we have,” coach Rex Ryan told PFT Live. “And I think that’s probably what a lot of it is. I was with Ray in Baltimore [and] I really liked him when I was there. . . . We don’t have any interest and we never went into great detail about it because of the type of depth that we have at running back.”
Depth was the reason given then. The depth is now gone. So it’s now clear that the Bills are shying away from Rice for the same reason that all other teams in need of tailbacks have shied away from him.
Falcons wide receiver Roddy White currently ranks fifth on the team in receptions with six catches through the first four weeks of the season. White, who went without a catch in Weeks Two and Three, averaged more than 76 catches a year coming into this season, so it’s been an adjustment to see his role change in offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s scheme.
“For me, at the end of the day, I want to catch passes,” White said, via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. “I’m not out here just f—ing around just to sit around to just block f—ing people all day. It’s not what I want to do. I’ve contributed to offenses for this franchise for the last nine, 10 years. It always bothers me when I go out and don’t catch any balls in a game because it hasn’t happened in so long.”
White said he’s been open, but that quarterback Matt Ryan follows progressions that don’t lead him to White. He was quick to add that he’s not trying to make waves, calling good that Ryan doesn’t go off script and adding that he’ll “bear with it” in hopes that more balls come his way in the coming weeks.
Falcons wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie said White has to set his “pride aside” and realize his job is to be part of an offense built around Julio Jones because that’s going to help him get the Super Bowl ring that’s missing from his resume. White says that’s his mindset, even if he wouldn’t mind having the ball a bit more on the road to that goal.
We haven’t heard much about Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul since he visited with the team in early September for the first time since suffering severe injuries to his right hand in a July 4 fireworks accident.
The Giants didn’t feel Pierre-Paul was ready to play and reports pegged the time before they’d revisit a Pierre-Paul return at five or six weeks, although pictures of that right hand that surfaced a little bit later cast further doubt on his ability to make it back to the field this season. It’s not something the Giants are ruling out, however.
Bob Glauber of Newsday reports that the team is “cautiously optimistic” that Pierre-Paul can return for at least the final four games of the regular season and what the Giants hope will be a playoff run. Pierre-Paul has until November 17 to sign the franchise tender extended by the team if he is going to play at all this season.
The Giants will have played 10 games before that date on the calendar and wins the last two weeks have raised hopes that those final weeks of the season will find the team contending for a postseason spot that Pierre-Paul may be helping them earn if all goes well with his rehab.
If you’ve watched any football or read any coverage of football this season, you’ve seen plenty of ads for daily fantasy, including right here on PFT and in the sponsorship of PFT Live. FanDuel and DraftKings have quickly become a ubiquitous part of the football-watching experience.
And now there’s a controversy brewing about the access to inside information within the company, and some in Congress are calling for tighter regulations of the huge daily fantasy business.
Both companies have acknowledged that a DraftKings employee won $350,000 at FanDuel. That raised big questions about whether people with access to detailed information about how daily fantasy players are making picks are using that information to win: If you’re competing with people who have access to more information than you, how are you supposed to beat them? It’s a question that gets to the fundamental fairness of daily fantasy.
Even though DraftKings says the employee who won big at FanDuel won on his own skill and didn’t have any access to any inside information until after all FanDuel lineups were locked, FanDuel and DraftKings have responded to the questions by temporarily banning their employees from playing daily fantasy. Both companies released a statement insisting that the integrity of their games is paramount.
“While there has been recent attention on industry employees playing on FanDuel and DraftKings, nothing is more important to DraftKings and FanDuel than the integrity of the games we offer to our customers,” the statement says. “Both companies have strong policies in place to ensure that employees do not misuse any information at their disposal and strictly limit access to company data to only those employees who require it to do their jobs. Employees with access to this data are rigorously monitored by internal fraud control teams, and we have no evidence that anyone has misused it. However, we continue to review our internal controls to ensure they are as strong as they can be. We also plan to work with the entire fantasy sports industry on this specific issue so that fans everywhere can continue to enjoy and trust the games they love.”
That might not be enough to placate critics of daily fantasy. Members of Congress have called for hearings on daily fantasy and are asking for an explanation of how daily fantasy differs from gambling. Even if the games are scrupulously fair, some believe they should be banned under existing gambling laws. If Congress believes the games are rigged to benefit FanDuel and DraftKings employees at the expense of ordinary players, you can bet that the federal government will come down hard on the daily fantasy industry.
Last night, in the aftermath a Monday night officiating blunder in Seattle that can’t be blamed on replacement officials, I suggested the formation of a committee that would scour the rule book, line by line, in an effort to identify all situations in which replay review should be available.
That approach would be far better than sitting back and waiting for the next situation that cries out for replay review, only to find out that replay review isn’t available.
There’s an even better approach. The NFL should adopt the suggestion from Patriots coach Bill Belichick that everything should be reviewable.
Specifically, coaches should be able to throw the red challenge flag in any situation. If indisputable visual evidence exists to rectify a mistake made on the field, why not give coaches a way to fix it?
One of the concerns raised by the NFL relates to the possibility that coaches will throw the red flag in desperation after a key play, hopeful that some obscure failure to, for example, throw a flag for holding away from the action will be caught via replay. But that possibility can be addressed by limiting challenges to portions of the play directly relevant to the outcome.
Like, for example, an illegal bat that the official who was looking right at the play failed to recognize.
His self-promotion has reportedly paid off. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the team is bringing Barth back into the organization after releasing Brindza on Monday.
Barth kicked for Tampa from 2009-2012, missed the 2013 season with an Achilles injury and was released before the start of the 2014 season. Barth made 15-of-16 field goals for the Broncos in five games later in the year, but lost a competition to Brandon McManus this summer. He landed back in Tampa for a little bit, but the Bucs opted to go with Brindza when they cut their roster down to 53 players.
The Seahawks played without running back Marshawn Lynch on Monday night because of a hamstring injury that the team hopes will not linger into Week Five.
Lynch was ruled out of the game on Sunday after initially being listed as questionable to play against the Lions, but Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said that Lynch still went through a pregame workout on Monday night. Carroll said that workout went well and left the team hopeful they’ll have Lynch back for their game against the 4-0 Bengals.
“He wasn’t quite right,” Carroll said, via the team’s website. “His best day was today. He ran pretty well in pregame, but they did not think he could sustain through the game and come out healthy again the next week. So we’re hoping that by using patience here, that he’ll be ready to go this next week.”
If Lynch can’t play, the Seahawks may need to make a roster move before facing Cincinnati. Fred Jackson sprained his ankle during Monday’s 13-10 win, leaving Thomas Rawls as the only healthy running back on the active roster. Seattle has Rod Smith on the practice squad if they do need to bolster the group this week.
Bills rookie running back Karlos Williams suffered a concussion in last Sunday’s loss to the Giants, Bills general manager Doug Whaley told a Buffalo radio station Tuesday morning.
Williams is in the NFL’s concussion protocol, and his status for next Sunday’s game vs. the Titans in uncertain.
“[Williams] told our trainers several hours after the game that he wasn’t feeling well and our medical staff took a look at him,” Whaley told WGR 550. “They put him through further evaluations late yesterday afternoon and it was determined that he’ll have a concussion. So we’ll see how he proceeds throughout the week.”
Whaley said the team will have running backs in for a workout this week, something that may have happened even if Williams was healthy given the uncertain status of usual starter LeSean McCoy, who’s out indefinitely with a hamstring injury. McCoy missed last week’s game and has said he won’t play again until he feels like he’s 100 percent.
The Bills promoted Cierre Wood from the practice squad last week, and Wood and Boobie Dixon are in line for more carries with Williams questionable. Whaley said the team bringing back Bryce Brown was “a possibility.”
Williams, a fifth-round pick, is averaging 5.4 yards per carry and has scored a touchdown in every game, three rushing and one by reception last week.
1. Patriots (3-0; last week No. 1): The bye week, the one weekend of the year when the Patriots definitely won’t win.
2. Packers (4-0; No. 2): When they envisioned finally beating the 49ers, they likely assumed the 49ers would be a little bit better than they currently are.
3. Broncos (4-0; No. 3): Peyton Manning should be very glad he’ll never have to face the Denver defense.
4. Bengals (4-0; No. 5): They’re separating from the rest of the division; the next goal is to separate from the rest of the conference.
6. Cardinals (3-1; No. 4): We’ll know a lot more about this team after back-to-back games at Detroit and Pittsburgh.
7. Panthers (4-0; No. 10): The schedule gets a lot tougher, soon.
8. Seahawks (2-2; No. 9): Jimmy Graham doesn’t block in the running game. And the offensive line doesn’t block in the passing game.
9. Jets (3-1; No. 14): The Jets hadn’t killed a coach this convincingly since Rich Kotite.
10. Rams (2-2; No. 17): Sunday’s win over the Cardinals inevitably will be bookended by a loss to someone like the Browns.
11. Cowboys (2-2; No. 8): Brandon Weeden deserves the least blame for the last two losses, and he’ll likely get the most of it.
13. Giants (2-2; No. 25): Unfortunately, “we should be 4-0” doesn’t count as a tiebreaker.
14. Bills (2-2; No. 7): From a coach who accused a referee from being an “over-officious jerk” to a coach who is giving the referees carpal tunnel syndrome from reaching for their flags.
15. Ravens (1-3; No. 15): They’re not dead yet. If they don’t get some help at receiver, they will be.
16. Vikings (2-2; No. 13): After the bye, 2-2 could quickly become 7-2.
17. Chiefs (1-3; No. 12): They’re still haunted by that fumble.
18. Raiders (2-2; No. 18): The fact that they didn’t think it was a trap game made it a perfect trap game.
19. Chargers (2-2; No. 19): The team that once traded the right to make Mike Vick the first pick in the draft welcomes him to town for the first time as a starter.
20. Colts (2-2; No. 20): Barely beating the Titans and Jaguars doesn’t bode well for hanging another banner this year. Unless the banner will say “We beat the Titans and Jaguars.”
21. Browns (1-3; No. 21): Dwayne Bowe said “it starts Sunday.” Maybe on one of these Sundays it will.
22. Washington (2-2; No. 29): Every win delays by roughly a month the possible decision to risk putting RG3 and his $16.1 million injury guarantee on the field.
23. Dolphins (1-3; No. 16): And now comes the artificial improvement as players hope to help the interim head coach keep the job, so they can then go back to underachieving.
24. Titans (1-2; No. 24): With the Colts poised to lose some games and the Texans unsettled at quarterback, the Titans could make things interesting after Marcus Mariota gets his NFL sea legs.
26. Jaguars (1-3; No. 26): Maybe they should have kept Josh Scobee, after all.
27. Eagles (1-3; No. 22): Unfortunately, “we’re a few missed field goals away from being 3-1” doesn’t count as a tiebreaker.
28. Buccaneers (1-3; No. 30): Baseball may be looking pretty good to Jameis right about now.
29. Saints (1-3; No. 31): With the Panthers and Falcons each 4-0, it’s going to be a tough climb to the top of the division.
30. Bears (1-3; No. 32): Suddenly, Jay Cutler doesn’t seem like such a horrible option.
31. 49ers (1-3; No. 27): “Losing with class” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.
32. Lions (0-4; No. 28): For a change, the Lions have someone but themselves to blame for a tough loss.
Eagles coach Chip Kelly says his team is better than its 1-3 record looks, as Philadelphia is two field goals away from 3-1. That’s not entirely true, as we don’t know how those two games would have played out if the Eagles had made the two field goals in question, but Kelly at least has a point that his team has been competitive in all but one game.
However, if Kelly is going to make the argument that a close loss is really a game that could have been a win if you change one play, he needs to acknowledge that the Eagles’ only win, 24-17 over the Jets, was also a one-score game. And if you look at how the Eagles have played in one-score games in comparison to the rest of the NFL, it turns out that the Eagles really don’t look any better.
Here’s a ranking of all 32 NFL teams in order of what their record be if we removed all the one-score games:
Packers 3-0 (1-0 in one-score games)
Cardinals 3-0 (0-1 in one-score games)
Jets 3-0 (0-1 in one-score games)
Falcons 2-0 (2-0 in one-score games)
Bengals 2-0 (2-0 in one-score games)
Panthers 2-0 (2-0 in one-score games)
Giants 2-0 (0-2 in one-score games)
Broncos 1-0 (3-0 in one-score games)
Patriots 1-0 (2-0 in one-score games)
Steelers 1-0 (1-2 in one-score games)
Bills 2-1 (0-1 in one-score games)
Vikings 2-1 (0-1 in one-score games)
Seahawks 1-1 (1-1 in one-score games)
Cowboys 1-1 (1-1 in one-score games)
Washington 1-1 (1-1 in one-score games)
Titans 1-1 (0-1 in one-score games)
Browns 1-1 (0-2 in one-score games)
Texans 1-1 (0-2 in one-score games)
Ravens 0-0 (1-3 in one-score games)
Buccaneers 1-2 (1-0 in one-score games)
49ers 1-3 (no one-score games)
Rams 0-1 (2-1 in one-score games)
Raiders 0-1 (2-1 in one-score games)
Chargers 0-1 (2-1 in one-score games)
Saints 0-1 (1-2 in one-score games)
Eagles 0-1 (1-2 in one-score games)
Colts 0-2 (2-0 in one-score games)
Bears 0-2 (1-1 in one-score games)
Jaguars 0-2 (1-1 in one-score games)
Chiefs 0-2 (1-1 in one-score games)
Dolphins 0-2 (1-1 in one-score games)
Lions 0-2 (0-2 in one-score games)
This exercise probably doesn’t mean much of anything, but Kelly seems to want his team to get credit for close losses. The reality is, every team’s record looks better if you remove the close losses. But when you also remove the close wins, the Eagles remain near the bottom of the league.
New Dolphins interim head coach Dan Campbell offered no mandate for his staff upon his introduction yesterday, saying he had to process all the new responsibilities on his plate.
But he’s apparently not going to wait long to make whatever decision he makes.
According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network, a decision on the future of defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle is expected today.
Campbell has been given the green light to make whatever changes necessary by Dolphins executive Mike Tannenbaum, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Coyle punted.
The underperforming of a defense which was invested heavily in is one of the reasons Joe Philbin’s out of a job today, and it was widely wondered if Coyle would have been offered up if Philbin had stayed.
New Dolphins interim coach Dan Campbell has a big job in front of him, trying to salvage something of a season off to a dysfunctional 1-3 start.
But those who have seen his work up close think he has a chance to succeed.
Saints coach Sean Payton coached Campbell in Dallas, and briefly in New Orleans as his playing career was winding down. Payton said he thinks Campbell has a chance to do a good job.
“He’s a fantastic guy, a great worker, a great teammate,” Payton said, via Evan Woodberry of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “He’s someone that is tough, strong. I can’t say enough good things.”
Of course, he’s also faced with a significant challenge, trying to instill some degree of spirit into a team that felt the need to make a change a quarter of the way through the season.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett has also been in that situation (and has background with Campbell), having inherited a 1-7 team in midseason of 2010, and helping them bounce back to finish the second half of the season 5-3.
Garrett and Campbell played together with the Giants, before Garrett moved onto Dallas in 2003 as a Bill Parcells signing.
“Sometimes these things happen,” Garrett said, via Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com. “It’s a challenge when they happen during the season but Dan Campbell was a teammate of mine and he’s just a hell of a guy and I think he’s a really good football guy. I think somehow someway he’s going to help that football team get righted and he’s going to do that because he’s a really willful guy. He’s got a great personality and he’s a tough guy and I just wish him nothing but the best. . . .
“Always a very smart guy. Knew the game really well, knew things beyond his position and really cared about it, cared about detail, always wanted to know more and loved to play, has a great passion for playing, a great passion for teams and a great passion for the game of football.”
That passion was evident from his introductory press conference. Now he’ll get a chance to prove himself on the fly, and he can only hope to do it as well as Garrett did.
We pause from the ongoing coverage of whatever it is they’re going to call last night’s game-altering officiating blunder for a reminder to anyone who pays attention to football: Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett is one of the most fascinating characters in all of sports.
Two weeks ago, Michael’s brother, Martellus, scoffed at the notion that they’re crazy by explaining that he and Michael are normal and that everyone else is crazy. Michael shared some of that normalcy on Monday night after Seattle’s win over the Lions.
“I don’t like Matt Stafford that much,” Bennett said, via Curtis Crabtree of KJR and PFT. And then Michael gave the reason for his feeling.
“[H]e’s from Dallas and Dallas, they killed the President,” Bennett said. “It’s where JFK, one of the greatest Presidents, died at so I just have a little hatred towards him.”
Someone then asked whether Bennett indeed holds the November 1963 assassination of JFK, which happened nearly 25 years before Stafford was born, against him.
“I hold that against him,” Bennett said.
Bennett then talked about an injury he suffered during the game, but he found a way to bring it all back to Stafford.
“My leg hurt but I got up like a G. I feel good,” Bennett said. “But yeah, they killed JFK man, so that’s why I got a little hatred for him.”
Martellus Bennett actually began his career with the Dallas Cowboys. Fortunately for Martellus, neither he nor Michael expressed those views during the time Martellus lived and worked in Dallas. Although given their willingness to say whatever they want to say, it’s a surprise they didn’t.
Meanwhile, Michael will get the chance to expand on his feelings next month, when the Seahawks play the Cowboys. In Dallas.
When the Dolphins introduced Dan Campbell as their interim head coach, he said a lot about changing the culture of the team and challenging players more than they were challenged under Joe Philbin’s tutelage.
It made for entertaining and predictable viewing as teams almost always replace a coach with someone who has opposite personality traits. You don’t need to look any further than the team that beat the Dolphins on Sunday for an example of that.
After six years of Rex Ryan’s bombast, the Jets opted for the less voluble Todd Bowles after searching for a coach this offseason. Bowles illustrated the difference between him and Ryan on Monday when discussing a 3-1 Jets start that would have likely seen Ryan making big predictions for the coming weeks while at the podium during press conferences.
“We understand we’ve only played one quarter of the season and all we did is get off to a good start,” Bowles said, via the New York Post. “We haven’t accomplished anything. We know we have a lot of work to do. Our mindset is such.”
The Jets have a bye this week and then return for games against the Redskins and Patriots. We imagine the run-up to that Patriots game will be a lot quieter than it was during the Ryan years, but that seems to be just what the Jets wanted.
Last night on ESPN, plenty of former players acted as if the illegal bat rule had just popped up in the rule book without warning. But as former NFL official Gerry Austin insisted, it’s been there for decades.
And it’s been invoked multiple times this decade alone. It was used once in an October 2013 game between the Patriots and Dolphins. It also was used more than a month later in a game between the 49ers and, yes, the Seahawks.
The folks at NinersNation.com wrote an item about it at the time. The NFL’s excellent Game Rewind feature provides quick access to the video and coaches’ film from the Week 14 contest.
It happened at 2:02 in the first quarter, with former 49ers receiver Kassim Osgood blocking a punt from John Ryan at the Seattle eight. The ball went forward, toward the sideline. Seahawks safety Chris Maragos immediately tracked it down, reaching the football at the Seattle 17 and, just before it bounced out of bounds, slapping the ball down the field. It was touched by the 49ers and then went out of bounds at the Seattle 34, for a 17-yard bat.
In that case, the officials threw the flag. The glitch came from the enforcement; San Francisco’s options were to penalize the Seahawks half the distance from the Seattle 17 and face fourth down again or decline the penalty and take the ball at the 34 — 17 yards away from where Maragos applied the illegal bat.
The 49ers, starting at the 34 instead of the 17 or, perhaps, the 17 plus half the distance after the penalty was enforced, scored only a field goal on the drive.
So the Seahawks picked up 17 yards of field position thanks to a loophole about which Maragos seemed to be fully aware. Even if Maragos didn’t know he was doing something smart, the incident made the Seahawks aware of the illegal bat rule. Which means linebacker K.J. Wright hadn’t been coached to not bat the ball out of the end zone when the offense fumbles the ball into the end zone.
Which ultimately means the Seahawks have benefited twice from the rule in two years — once due to clunky enforcement of it, and once because the official who was looking right at the play decided not to throw the flag.