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False start penalties on Drew Brees raise eyebrows

Buffalo Bills v New Orleans Saints Getty Images

It’s rare to see a quarterback called for a false start. It’s exceedingly rare to see a quarterback called for a false start twice, on back to back plays. But that happened to Drew Brees on Sunday.

With the Saints facing a third-and-1, Brees called for the snap and was whistled for a false start. That came at the end of the first quarter, and at the start of the second quarter, with the Saints now facing a third-and-6, Brees was flagged for a false start again. In both cases he seemed to do nothing different than quarterbacks do all the time.

So why was he flagged? Former NFL head of officiating Mike Pereira showed the penalties called on Brees during a segment on FOX Sports 1 and said the answer is simple: Referee Terry McAulay got it wrong. Pereira said referees have been reminded that quarterbacks are to be flagged for a false start if they make motions designed to draw the defense offside, but as Pereira showed the clips of Brees’s actions, he said all Brees was doing was raising his hands to prepare for a shotgun snap.

“How can that be a false start?” Pereira said. “Come on. That’s not enough for a false start. And not only do they call him once, they call him twice.”

Brees had words with McAulay after the second false start penalty, and it’s easy to see why: If Brees committed a false start on those two plays, then quarterbacks commit false starts almost every time they receive a shotgun snap.

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77 Responses to “False start penalties on Drew Brees raise eyebrows”
  1. thestrategyexpert says: Oct 29, 2013 7:52 PM

    Ok and so again, why doesn’t the NFL have oversight to prevent referee mistakes if the referees don’t understand the rulebook.

    How about get good referees or train them to be good, or have a system in place if you can’t figure out how to do either of those things. Where is the VP of Officiating at, Blandino, and what the heck is he doing to make sure the officiating isn’t pathetic like it is every week of every season?

    The NFL is the worst sports organization in the world in terms of logic and consistency within the rules. It’s just atrocious and sad.

    Also they still let a lot of players go in motion and step forward and get away with it. So what’s the rule you can move forward and cheat just a tiny bit as long as it was pretty close? That’s not in the rulebook but they let it slide all the time. Well usually.

  2. saintsredwings says: Oct 29, 2013 7:53 PM

    Does anyone know the rules anymore ? Between the league and the officials there seems to be a few bad calls per game.

  3. allday420ap says: Oct 29, 2013 7:55 PM

    Lets hope the raising eyebrows didnt include Anthony Davis’

  4. thestrategyexpert says: Oct 29, 2013 7:58 PM

    I have never seen one single NFL game where there wasn’t at least one officiating problem.

    I mean seriously, WTF is Blandino’ job? What does he do all day? Surf the net and give speeches? Why does this guy draw a paycheck? I want to know!

  5. 4thqtrsaint says: Oct 29, 2013 7:58 PM

    As long as Ginger keeps tinkering with the rules every year based on 1 or 2 plays per season, stuff like this is bound to keep happening.

  6. hor2012 says: Oct 29, 2013 8:00 PM

    we won so no harm no foul. but, I think they should make sure everyone gets on the same page.

  7. grabgrabgrab says: Oct 29, 2013 8:00 PM

    Wow!!!

  8. lightcleric says: Oct 29, 2013 8:01 PM

    Was it Jeff Triplett ho kept calling this on aphilip Rivers’ head motins last year that weren’t that unusual?

    If this kind of stuff is going to get flagged then Peyton Manning should have 30 false starts a game…

  9. jimnaizeeum says: Oct 29, 2013 8:02 PM

    I trust Mike Pereira slightly more than I trust the weatherman.

  10. jaltreality says: Oct 29, 2013 8:04 PM

    Make refereeing a full-time gig, comparable to umpires in MLB, etc. Give them health benefits and time-off, maybe a small bump in their salaries. And then fire anyone who doesn’t know the rule book like the back of their hand.

  11. grabgrabgrab says: Oct 29, 2013 8:07 PM

    jaltreality says: Oct 29, 2013 8:04 PM

    Make refereeing a full-time gig, comparable to umpires in MLB, etc. Give them health benefits and time-off, maybe a small bump in their salaries…..
    ************

    But that would take away from Roger Goodell’s $30million/year salary!

  12. drunkwino says: Oct 29, 2013 8:10 PM

    Miss us yet?
    -replacement refs

  13. detectivejimmymcnulty says: Oct 29, 2013 8:11 PM

    Make refereeing a full-time gig, comparable to umpires in MLB, etc. Give them health benefits and time-off, maybe a small bump in their salaries. And then fire anyone who doesn’t know the rule book like the back of their hand.

    Annnnnnd there is peoples answer. The NFL generates $9 BILLION a year, but won’t pay officials as full time employees. These guys are lawyers and such during the week, they have day jobs.

  14. saints12013 says: Oct 29, 2013 8:11 PM

    I was at the N.E. vs N.O. game a couple of weeks ago and the refs pretty much screwed the Saints out of a win. But its not really talked about cause they were playing the almighty Patriots. Brees clearly signaled for a timeout and it wasn’t granted by the refs and the whole play was a disaster resulting in an interception. The NFL refs are getting just as bad as NBA refs.

  15. stuartscottslazyeyeball says: Oct 29, 2013 8:11 PM

    I could handle Britney Brees’ hot yoga pants any day.

  16. firerogergoodellnow says: Oct 29, 2013 8:14 PM

    He needs an explanation!

  17. jimbo75025 says: Oct 29, 2013 8:14 PM

    jaltreality says:
    Oct 29, 2013 8:04 PM
    Make refereeing a full-time gig, comparable to umpires in MLB, etc. Give them health benefits and time-off, maybe a small bump in their salaries. And then fire anyone who doesn’t know the rule book like the back of their hand.
    —————-
    You do not remember that little strike last year? The refs DO NOT want to be full time or have accountability.

    Personally, while people bashed the replacement refs, they were not night and day compared with what we saw when the normal refs came back. The replacements actually let the players play a bit more anyway.

  18. saints12013 says: Oct 29, 2013 8:14 PM

    What upsets me is you’ll see something in a game and it will get called one way, but in another game you’ll see the same exact thing, and it will get called another way. They penalize and fine players for illegal hits that sometimes aren’t even illegal hits (See Malcolm Jenkins hit on Kenbrell Thompkins), but they don’t penalize and fine the Refs for pretty much ruining a game.

  19. cursedvikings1998 says: Oct 29, 2013 8:16 PM

    McAuley is the worst ref ever. He absolutely plays favorites out there. There is a special place in hell reserved for NFL referees who play favorites.

  20. hawkforlife says: Oct 29, 2013 8:16 PM

    Make refereeing a full-time gig, comparable to umpires in MLB, etc.

    Please, not like MLB. You can’t get rid of those old, nearsighted, pompous jerks. The only way they leave is on a slab.

  21. dankpuffalot says: Oct 29, 2013 8:20 PM

    Queue Saints fans complaining still about a game they gave away a couple weeks ago. Do Saints fans go through all the game film to make sure they didn’t get a call to benefit them? I’m sure they go straight to message boards and admit the refs screwed the other team if they find any bad calls.

  22. joelvis72 says: Oct 29, 2013 8:24 PM

    I groan whenever I see that Terry McAulay is going to call a game.

  23. FinFan68 says: Oct 29, 2013 8:25 PM

    I remember one season in the 90s where they called Marino for the same thing several times. I remember him jawwing at the refs more than once. His shoulders were twitching too much when he yelled hut. It wasn’t back to back plays but he got called in multiple games and at least 3 times in a single game. My guess is that opposing coaches complained to officials and they were overly sensityto what they were looking for.

  24. maxl49 says: Oct 29, 2013 8:27 PM

    Usually the punishment for being a bad ref is a trip to the Super bowl. See Boger, Jerome …

  25. melikefootball says: Oct 29, 2013 8:27 PM

    Odd though that Payton Manning many times makes a move toward the line yet never gets a flag. How stupid I forgot the refs help Manning off the ground so why would they flag him.

  26. shayeezy says: Oct 29, 2013 8:33 PM

    phyllis rivers shakes his hands nearly every time he does a hard count in the shotgun – an action clearly done specifically to draw the defense offsides – and he never gets called for it. except for one game a couple of years ago when he got called for it three times.. but he was back to doing it a few games later.

  27. aljack88 says: Oct 29, 2013 8:34 PM

    jaltreality says:
    Oct 29, 2013 8:04 PM
    Make refereeing a full-time gig, comparable to umpires in MLB, etc. Give them health benefits and time-off, maybe a small bump in their salaries. And then fire anyone who doesn’t know the rule book like the back of their hand.

    ——————————————————

    You been watching the World Series? Why is Dana DeMuth still umpiring after that near blown call in the first inning of the first game?

  28. realestwhiteboy says: Oct 29, 2013 8:37 PM

    For all the power the commish, the owners, the coaches, and everyone else has, the ONE set of individuals that can sway a game at the flip of their wrist is refs. Yet, we don’t have professional refs.

    Why?

    Why doesn’t the commish or owners have to go get a job in the off season that pays them more than their job inside the NFL? There is no reason for this. Hire a group of guys who ONLY responsibility is to know the rules.

    We are going to change the rules every damn year and you have to keep up with it … but only in your spare time. Stupid as I dunno what.

  29. EJ says: Oct 29, 2013 8:38 PM

    It wasn’t his hands, It was a combination of his hands and head. Brees put his hands up, jerked his head, put his hands down and up and jerked his head again. He was clearly trying to get Mario Williams to jump and throw off his timing, because Williams was causing a ton of QB pressure and was constantly flushing Brees out of the pocket.

  30. shutupbrees says: Oct 29, 2013 8:38 PM

    When u quickly put your hands up for a snap that never comes …. Thats a false start.

    End if story

  31. going4thawin says: Oct 29, 2013 8:50 PM

    At least it wasn’t lopsided like the N.O vs Pats game.
    1. Drew call for a T.O denied.
    2. The offside that was suppose to be on Pats before the half but instead penalty on the Saints.
    3. Pats Illegal push when Saints tried for FG.
    4. The holding on Galette of the Game winning TD for Pats.
    All huge game changer. Thats one 2 many in my books.

  32. xbot5000 says: Oct 29, 2013 8:52 PM

    I don’t know, I watched the game and remember think on the play that he should get flagged, and then the flag came…
    He was intentionally making actions that simulated the snap of the ball. Isn’t that what a false start is?

    I agree with shutupbrees

  33. shayeezy says: Oct 29, 2013 8:53 PM

    false start doesn’t only refer to players accidentally starting a play early. miming the act of snapping the ball prior to actually snapping the ball is by definition a false start. the hard count is one thing, but acting it out in any way (head, hands, etc) should be flagged.

  34. mn1288 says: Oct 29, 2013 8:54 PM

    lightcleric says: Oct 29, 2013 8:01 PM

    Was it Jeff Triplett ho kept calling this on aphilip Rivers’ head motins last year that weren’t that unusual?

    If this kind of stuff is going to get flagged then Peyton Manning should have 30 false starts a game…

    —————————-

    His officiating crew is AWFUL.

  35. bdluckyshot says: Oct 29, 2013 8:54 PM

    Good thing the NFL caved and got rid of the scab refs. Those guys were, well, pretty much the same as the union refs.

  36. ilovefoolsball says: Oct 29, 2013 8:55 PM

    EJ says:
    Oct 29, 2013 8:38 PM
    It wasn’t his hands, It was a combination of his hands and head. Brees put his hands up, jerked his head, put his hands down and up and jerked his head again. He was clearly trying to get Mario Williams to jump and throw off his timing, because Williams was causing a ton of QB pressure and was constantly flushing Brees out of the pocket.
    _____
    Yeah good pressure, how did that “ton of pressure” work out for the Bills? Nuff said.

    McAulay seemed to be playing favorites. He was very exuberant when calling penalties on the Saints and when he HAD to call a penalty on the Bills he looked like his parents told him to go apologize to the neighbor’s kid.

    Not to mention the flag that was thrown for pass interference which was for some reason inexplicably picked up. We never received an EXPLANATION for that one but it didn’t matter.

    The Saints buried the Bills.

  37. ambitoos says: Oct 29, 2013 9:07 PM

    Maybe they should start fining referees for their mistakes.

  38. akasaintsbaby says: Oct 29, 2013 9:07 PM

    Yes, former NFL head of officiating Mike Pereira is wrong and all you guys agreeing with the false start calls are right. lol.

  39. mrlaloosh says: Oct 29, 2013 9:09 PM

    Peyton Manning has been doing much worse his whole career. I guess he buys the pizza for the refs.

  40. shoeflypie says: Oct 29, 2013 9:18 PM

    Isn’t the use of the words “lawyer” and “day jobs” an oxymoron?

  41. raaz227httr says: Oct 29, 2013 9:18 PM

    Te NFL should implement the NHL war room model.

  42. saint970 says: Oct 29, 2013 9:22 PM

    going4thawin says:
    Oct 29, 2013 8:50 PM
    At least it wasn’t lopsided like the N.O vs Pats game.
    1. Drew call for a T.O denied.
    2. The offside that was suppose to be on Pats before the half but instead penalty on the Saints.
    3. Pats Illegal push when Saints tried for FG.
    4. The holding on Galette of the Game winning TD for Pats.
    All huge game changer. Thats one 2 many in my books.

    all this and you forgot
    5. Steven ridley 3rd down run a full yard shy of 1st down and given to them
    6. Patriot pass hit the ground ruled a catch and not reversed.
    7. defenseless receiver called. on Jenkins and a few plays later the exact same think happens to Sproles and not called.

  43. r81ders says: Oct 29, 2013 9:31 PM

    its because the Saints did the NFL dirty and now every call is going to be on this team, the Raiders use to have that issue since Al D moved on and the whole new regime is in place i see we get no more bad calls and even calls that get over turned.

  44. brintfatre says: Oct 29, 2013 9:31 PM

    Peyton Manning has more yards than any QB in history from waving his arms around and trying to draw the defense off sides. But, when he does it the talking heads call it “brilliant” and go on for hours about how he’s the best thing ever…

  45. mrlaloosh says: Oct 29, 2013 9:35 PM

    Shutup, shutupbrees. Loser.

  46. zeeman911 says: Oct 29, 2013 9:52 PM

    League just wanted to get his attention….

  47. bearclaw69 says: Oct 29, 2013 9:53 PM

    Oh yeah, these “professional” refs are Sooo much better than the replacements were. BS. These union twerps are just sucking more money to do exactly the same thing…just like every other union deadbeat.

  48. aaronwolfeman says: Oct 29, 2013 10:05 PM

    The one from the pats game that got me…
    Flag – holding..there is no holding because the player ran through the hold.
    So the Saints superior strength and conditioning prevents them from being held.

    Then from this past week. McCauley picking up the flag from the blatant holding/pass interference on Meachem.

    Mind boggling.

  49. cobrala2 says: Oct 29, 2013 10:12 PM

    “In both cases he seemed to do nothing different than quarterbacks do all the time.” Bull. And you all know it. First False Start he acted like he was on crack.

  50. FinFan68 says: Oct 29, 2013 10:37 PM

    jaltreality says:
    Oct 29, 2013 8:04 PM
    Make refereeing a full-time gig, comparable to umpires in MLB, etc. Give them health benefits and time-off, maybe a small bump in their salaries. And then fire anyone who doesn’t know the rule book like the back of their hand.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Fire a union guy? Surely you jest. Their job status will have no effect on their performance. The only thing that would fix some stupid calls is the fear of losing their job to someone else. The union (any union really) will not let that happen.

  51. cags777 says: Oct 29, 2013 10:43 PM

    These penalties are odd and ridiculous. However, the Saints have benefited from bad calls and non-calls for the last few seasons, so no sympathy from me.

  52. mediasloppy says: Oct 29, 2013 10:52 PM

    RULES:

    McKay said that a quarterback is not allowed to simulate a play or have any sudden movement at the line of scrimmage, and that it’s at the replacement ref’s discretion to decide when those movements warrant a penalty. He also said that certain quarterbacks, including the New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees and the Falcons’ Matt Ryan, would likely be affected by this point of emphasis because of their style of play.

    The league took a lax approach to the rule in recent years as a way to let teams communicate in so-called “hostile environments.” But the NFL notified the NFLPA in March that it would be cracking down on those who exploit the rule, and it was communicated again to the players through written statements and footage during training camp:
    —————–

    Gesturing a long snap by sudden movements of the hand is a false start…

  53. racerx1225 says: Oct 29, 2013 11:02 PM

    r81ders says:
    Oct 29, 2013 9:31 PM
    its because the Saints did the NFL dirty and now every call is going to be on this team, the Raiders use to have that issue since Al D moved on and the whole new regime is in place i see we get no more bad calls and even calls that get over turned.
    =======================

    Opening day VS Indy:

    Wrong Hitting a denfenseless WR while DHB is in possession of the ball and still attempting to gain yards. Extended their drive on 3rd down.

    Later same drive, DHB clearly holds Hayden as Luck scampers into endzone for winning TD.
    =============

    VS Denver, Wesley Woodyard hits Pryor in the head with his helmet, gives him a concussion, knocks him out of game and following week, which cost us a win VS Washington. No flag no fine.

    ==============================

    Following week before bye Pryor is hauled down by collar, no horse collar called.
    ====================

    someone should remind the league Al Davis is dead.

  54. racerx1225 says: Oct 29, 2013 11:03 PM

    League is a joke, Mike Pereira is also a joke.

  55. racerx1225 says: Oct 29, 2013 11:03 PM

    Pereira is a useless joke.

  56. hess97 says: Oct 29, 2013 11:05 PM

    I’m surprised it wasn’t Jerome Boger making those calls and pocketing cash from an unknown source in Vegas.

  57. r8rnuck says: Oct 29, 2013 11:17 PM

    did Pereira call the league office to point this out as well?? loser

  58. winorlose6burgh says: Oct 29, 2013 11:21 PM

    Lmao false start

  59. terrorhawk2 says: Oct 29, 2013 11:36 PM

    joe flacco raises his eyebrow. singular people.

  60. scaredhitless says: Oct 30, 2013 12:05 AM

    Forget the false starts how about calling holding on a team that rhymes with Idiots.

  61. gergie1957 says: Oct 30, 2013 12:50 AM

    Quarterbacks have been getting away with murder for years, the offense has to be set for a full second before the ball is snapped. QBs are moving their hands, feet, shoulders etc. while the ball is being snapped.

  62. noladee says: Oct 30, 2013 1:22 AM

    I was at the game. Those were not false starts. I have seen Drew do that with his hands at different times in games, he doesn’t get called for it. Ref made a mistake! Refs did make mess up calls at Pats game. NFL just needs to improve the refs knowledge of penalties. Also, who paid the ref in the Pats game not to call a hold against the Pat with the blatant hold on Jr.G.?? When a QB calls for a T.O., he should get the T.O. Drew didn’t. Some of the refs need to improve.

  63. damnskins703 says: Oct 30, 2013 1:22 AM

    Goodell has made so many changes that the Refs can’t keep up with them… Hey Goodell u suck

  64. NJ49er says: Oct 30, 2013 4:01 AM

    How exactly is Mike Pereira earning a paycheck these days?

    He’s got an axe to grind first of all.

    Second, HDTV might be the worst thing to happen to Officiating in general.
    Can’t hide from the cameras anymore.

    Some of these Crews are absolutely annoying too.
    Give the HC on each sideline the ability to challenge an Official to a review, without threat of a TO loss.

    Maybe a TV review used as 2nd opinion from an upstairs Official?

    Lose your challenge, you’re done.
    Win, keep it for another attempt.

    Win enough of these on specific Officials, they get degraded or removed.

    Only way to improve the Officiating is to have them prove their worth.

    We’re getting to the point with technology that we may soon need only a ‘Booth Official’ with all the camera angles in front of him to figure it our anyway.

  65. TheWizard says: Oct 30, 2013 6:04 AM

    Time to do away with that stupid leg kick and all the other nonsense the quarterbacks are doing now.

    The kick was supposed to set the receiver in motion, it’s almost never used that way any more.

  66. nflr92 says: Oct 30, 2013 6:23 AM

    I was a replacement official and had Brees. It was communicated to us that he (along with the Mannings) would sometimes cross the line in an attempt to draw the defense offside. I reached for my flag more than once but decided against it each time.

    As I watched this game Sunday, I thought to myself how nice it must be to be Terry and the cache that comes with his flag as opposed to one I would’ve thrown. I’d have been skewered nationally as an example of ineptitude – Terry gets a brief mention on a website.

    I also thought it was an upset that Terry made it on camera for mre than 50% of his penalty announcements as he usually goes so fast, TV doesn’t even know to get him on camera. WAY to fast in and out of foul enforcements – it’s a point of emphasis for him and his crew.

  67. torturedraiderfan says: Oct 30, 2013 6:36 AM

    Jason Tarver had to pay a fine and apologize for giving the ref the finger after a bad call. Why don’t the refs have to pay a fie and apologize for making a bad call. Why aren’t they held to the same level of accountability as players and coaches?

  68. vikingdoode says: Oct 30, 2013 6:41 AM

    part time refs ….part time calls….

  69. ickabod665 says: Oct 30, 2013 7:12 AM

    If his movements on those two plays aren’t false starts according to the rule, they should be. A QB shouldn’t be allowed to mimic the start of a play any more than a WR or RB or a center should be allowed to.

    And just because he’s done that several times before without it being called doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have been. Notice that nobody is claiming he does that EVERY time. There’s certainly a reason that he picks and chooses when he decides to do it.

    And while he did speak to the referee, i didn’t see him putting up much of a fight about it.

  70. geefan1 says: Oct 30, 2013 7:13 AM

    They need to give the replay official in the booth the authority to overrule calls that are obviously wrong.

  71. eagleswin says: Oct 30, 2013 7:22 AM

    This is the same Mike Perriera who defended much more egregious officiating errors as being correct when he was head of officiating.

    Now you know how silly you looked telling us not to believe our eyes all those years.

  72. raiderufan says: Oct 30, 2013 7:22 AM

    I saw the first call and on the first fake he dropped his weight slightly, leaned back a little and I thought “you can’t do that” and then he tried it again just before snapping the ball and they called it. I was ok with that one.

    The second call was just terrible. Felt like the refs called a penalty just for the hell of it because that literally happens all the time and is never called. Tom Brady lifts his leg, slams it down and puts his hands up about ten times before snapping the ball in shotgun.

    I don’t think bad ref’s are some epidemic in the NFL. I think really bad calls need more consequences but they make about a thousand calls a day that are spot on.

  73. ejmat2 says: Oct 30, 2013 7:31 AM

    All I am going to say in a sarcastic manner is it’s a good thing the NFL caved in to get the so-called “real” referees back. sarcasm off

    The replacements did just as well. The so-called fail-mary play was the reason for the NFL to react so abruptly yet if you break down the replay, the call was correct. Golden Tate had possession and two feet on the ground before Jennings had any part of his body on the ground. Just because Jennings had control of the ball first does not make it a completion. Yet the “real” NFL referees can’t even get clear cut false starts ruled correctly.

  74. dougy1970 says: Oct 30, 2013 7:51 AM

    Aaron Rodgers opens his hands and moves his arms to fake like the ball has been snapped to him about 10 times a game and it is never called. (It should be). He does it when calls “3-18″. He is clearly doing what Brees is doing — adding a mime act to his hard count in order to draw the defense offsides. Absolutely should be called.

  75. sb44champs says: Oct 30, 2013 8:54 AM

    That’s referee McAulay trying hard to get in the good graces of Lord Roger GODell… He knows any borderline penalty called against the Saints would probably be grounds for a raise in salary..

  76. 63deuceman says: Oct 30, 2013 9:58 AM

    “I mean seriously, WTF is Blandino’ job? What does he do all day? Surf the net and give speeches? Why does this guy draw a paycheck? I want to know!”
    ____________

    I’ll tell you what he does. He’s very busy scrutizing EVERY SINGLE PLAY involving Suh. That takes time.

  77. bobsnygiants says: Oct 30, 2013 6:25 PM

    man had money on the game

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