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NFL confirms ref got roughing rule wrong in Colts-Texans


The NFL has confirmed that the referee botched the call when the Texans got away with roughing the punter on Sunday against the Colts.

NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino said in a video distributed to the media that Houston’s Bryan Braman should have been flagged for roughing Colts punter Pat McAfee. No penalty was called because the officials wrongly believed that Braman touched the ball before he hit McAfee, which would have negated the roughing call.

Blandino explained that when the referee thinks the ball has been tipped, he is supposed to turn on the microphone and make an announcement saying that the ball was touched and that’s why there’s no roughing. That informs the coach of the kicking team that he has an opportunity to challenge, if the coach thinks the ref was wrong and the ball wasn’t really touched.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano said after the game that he was incorrectly told he couldn’t challenge the play. It’s not clear exactly what was said to Pagano, but in reality he could have challenged — and would have won the challenge. Although coaches can’t challenge whether or not a kicker was contacted by a player on the receiving team, coaches can challenge whether or not a kicked ball was touched. And in the case of plays where a roughing penalty depends on whether or not the kick was touched, that means the penalty can be challenged.

The rule is a bit confusing. It might make more sense for the NFL to simply change the rule so that all elements of roughing the kicker can be challenged. If a coach thinks the replay contains indisputable visual evidence that the call on the field was wrong, and he’s confident enough that he’s willing to spend a challenge and risk a timeout, that’s a challenge the NFL’s rules should allow the coach to make.

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37 Responses to “NFL confirms ref got roughing rule wrong in Colts-Texans”
  1. smacklayer says: Nov 8, 2013 7:13 PM

    Damn these replacement refs!!

  2. clssylssy says: Nov 8, 2013 7:16 PM

    When is the NFL going to start holding referees accountable? Not being able to at least challenge a call only leaves a situation to exist for unfairness or cheating (although honest mistakes are bound to occur). While penalties are not challengeable, it should be an option if a coach wants to use one of his challenges which would then be on the coach.

  3. vaphinfan says: Nov 8, 2013 7:20 PM

    If the NFL starts pointing out every mistake the refs make that changes the game you would have 2 or 3 articles on this every week. And at least one of those would be how the pats got a call n their favor.

  4. bennyb82 says: Nov 8, 2013 7:24 PM

    I am surprised nobody knew to challenge that. They probably had time to see the replay since there would be a timeout after the punt.

  5. hjb99992013 says: Nov 8, 2013 7:28 PM

    another dumb NFL rule that makes no sense

    Why are you not allowed to even to touch the punter?

    These guys faking getting run into, would embarrass soccer players

  6. eaglesnd18 says: Nov 8, 2013 7:36 PM

    They won anyways. Shouldn’t be that big of a deal.

  7. Smarterthanyou says: Nov 8, 2013 7:39 PM

    What about the blatant BS roughing call against Brandon Flowers and the Chiefs against Buffalo????? Since when is pulling up, avoiding and running by, but accidently brushing hips a freaking roughing the sissy?

  8. balfe13 says: Nov 8, 2013 7:42 PM

    What is complicated about that? Seriously, these guys get paid to know the rules. That is not a complicated rule.

  9. sarcasm says: Nov 8, 2013 7:50 PM

    If the coach knows the rule, then he needs to argue tooth and nail on the spot. Have someone in his ear quoting the rule to him, to give to the official.

  10. silvernblak says: Nov 8, 2013 7:51 PM

    The Refs and the calling this is year is even worse then I can remember! It is pathetic! They get paid 100’s of thousands a year to either miss a plain sight call or see one that never happened. The biggest one is throwing a flag and then picking it up saying”there is no foul on the play” Really? THEN WHY WAS THE FLAG THROWN???? I think its time to bring in the new trainees. How much worse can the veteran refs be! They have cost teams wins with there phantom calls!!!!!

  11. silvernblak says: Nov 8, 2013 7:55 PM

    They hold every player accountable if their socks are on wrong, but the refs get away with the most blatant never before seen calls. The only good ref is Torentino or whatever his name is? the Italian guy that talks real smooth and calls them as they are. He is good!

  12. kepdogg23 says: Nov 8, 2013 7:58 PM

    bennyb82 says:
    Nov 8, 2013 7:24 PM
    I am surprised nobody knew to challenge that. They probably had time to see the replay since there would be a timeout after the punt.


    Well duh, the ref told Pagano it wasn’t a play you could challenge.

  13. lazrrocketarm says: Nov 8, 2013 8:00 PM

    Benny, did you even read the article?

    Maybe it did not change the outcome of the game, but refs should be able to do their jobs. We are not talking about seeing plays wrong, like thinking someone was out of bounds when they were not. We are talking about procedural errors.

  14. chefbob52355 says: Nov 8, 2013 8:08 PM

    Ok they got it wrong…Now what? Nothing!

  15. thestrategyexpert says: Nov 8, 2013 8:43 PM

    This is not the fault of the refs, they aren’t perfect. This is on Blandino and his continued and incessant failure as the VP of Officiating.

  16. lawyermalloy says: Nov 8, 2013 8:46 PM

    Theres just one problem with your explanation. Yes a coach would ordinarily be able to challenge whether a kicked ball was touched or not, however they CAN’T challenge that a flag was NEVER thrown. In this instance there was nothing challengeable, it was simply a blown call.

  17. iced107 says: Nov 8, 2013 8:53 PM

    Not a shocker – this has been one of the worst crews on a consistent basis.

    Rams @ Panthers game was one of their worst ones I’ve seen in recent memory…

    these guys are so bad i couldn’t help but feel for the texans and a few other games they officiated – it’s no fun when incompetent refs ruin the game.

  18. ianijm says: Nov 8, 2013 9:39 PM

    Personally I think it’s time the NFL extends replay to ALL penalties. There are many, MANY times in a game when a bad call is the difference maker. I find it inexplicable that coaches can’t challenge something that occurs at game speed so the refs can have a chance to slow it down and take a good look.

  19. ufanforreal says: Nov 8, 2013 10:21 PM

    these guys are so bad i couldn’t help but feel for the texans
    WHAT, duh, it was the Colts that were getting shafted.

  20. wrathofconor says: Nov 8, 2013 10:47 PM

    Penalties should be reviewable plays just like anything else. If a ref makes a bad call that can and should be reversed after viewing the replay then why not?

    Many times I find PI penalties (or lack thereof) pretty clear one way or the other upon review. Similarly, what if a ref makes a bad call on a procedure or ghost illegal formation call? If it’s crystal clear in a replay why is it off limits? I don’t get it.

  21. sportsguy3434 says: Nov 8, 2013 10:54 PM

    The coach should have thrown the challenge flag to challenge the statement that he couldn’t challenge the play. Maybe that should be a rule! You can yell “objection” and get an explanation at the risk of a lost time out.

  22. jetsjetsjetsnow says: Nov 8, 2013 11:12 PM

    Still waiting on the retraction of the roughing call that was clearly a legal hit from Bush on Breese….

    I’m throwing a flag on the refs for game outcome interference…

  23. brucetrimble says: Nov 8, 2013 11:51 PM

    The NFL officiating is digressing from year to year, which undermines the quality of the product on the field. College refs aren’t any better.

  24. arlingtonsynn says: Nov 9, 2013 1:15 AM

    As a Colts fan… bad calls happen. Even had they lost it wouldn’t have been because of that specific play.

  25. stoolerz says: Nov 9, 2013 2:08 AM

    The officiating was so bad I had to turn off the game.

  26. gerwinke1985 says: Nov 9, 2013 6:59 AM

    To the people who say it doesn’t matter because it didn’t determine the outcome of the game……it has determined the outcome of many games this year. Just because this one happened to come in a game where it didn’t doesn’t make it irrelevant. Seen it happen quite a few times this year where a coach has wanted to challenge a play only to be told that he cant. As far as the talk about a coach needing to know the rules, how does that help? If the coach knows the rule and the official doesn’t and he tosses the challenge flag he will be penalized because the ref doesn’t know the rules…

  27. zoxitic says: Nov 9, 2013 7:08 AM

    Something very fishy about the obvious errors in that game.

  28. dexterismyhero says: Nov 9, 2013 7:24 AM

    Pagano should have known he could challenge it. That is on him. After everything that has happened with the ref’s and such, never believe what they say.

  29. vikescry1 says: Nov 9, 2013 8:17 AM

    what the nfl actually admitted a bad call?? #failmary #texansnlions last year on thankgiving day… and many more.

  30. steves11 says: Nov 9, 2013 8:20 AM

    Bring back the replacement refs!

  31. usdcoyotesfan says: Nov 9, 2013 8:20 AM

    Now if only we could get the NFL to admit refs’ mistakes against the Packers.

  32. turtlehut says: Nov 9, 2013 8:52 AM

    Bring back the scabs. At least the non-union guys seemed somewhat willing to try to improve, study the rule book, etc. because they wanted a job and were not protected by their union when they messed up.

  33. gatorstormfins says: Nov 9, 2013 10:41 AM

    They refs have been atrocious this year. They had to have been the absolute worse during the Dolphins/patriots game a couple of weeks ago. There were 2 PI calls that were not. One of them, our DB stepped in front of gronk to get an INT and was only touched because gronks arm came up to try and catch the ball. Our guy stepped in front of him and was called! The worst one was the supposed batting of the ball on the sack/fumble of Brady.

    he did not bat the ball, he was trying to pull it to him! You can see in the replays that his elbow was bent trying to pull it towards himself when the ball squirted out. Only Brady could draw a penalty on a sack fumble! That play was not reviewable and should have been. It is not surprising that the patriots were the beneficiary of these calls. The three calls I mentioned, all extended drives and they scored.

  34. bigdon76 says: Nov 9, 2013 11:21 AM

    Wow what great prime time games this year. Monday and Thursday nights have been great. (Sarcasm). Been a football fan for over 25 years and I can not think of any other time in my life were any show is as good as an nfl game. Guess times are changing

  35. kando53 says: Nov 9, 2013 11:43 AM

    The whole thing is a joke simply from the standpoint of any penalty even existing for hitting a punter before they make contact with the ball. The rule needs to be rewritten if that play was actually a penalty. If you can tackle of hit a punter before they can kick the ball no penalty should exist, period. Absolute stupidity!

  36. iced107 says: Nov 9, 2013 2:53 PM

    ufanforreal says:
    Nov 8, 2013 10:21 PM
    these guys are so bad i couldn’t help but feel for the texans
    WHAT, duh, it was the Colts that were getting shafted.


    There was more than one call, including the Andre johnson catch. Yea I know the replays were hard to tell with and you can “guess” it wasn’t a catch, but that’s the point – if it’s inconclusive, if it’s not clear as day, you don’t over turn it, which they did.

    But it’s a moot point – these guys are consistently terrible no matter what game. I believe the head ref actually didn’t ref for 5 years in the nfl, can’t remember what the reason.

    For me, one of the most laughable moments at this crew was there inability to make correct calls. Remember the Seahawk-Ram game on monday night where golden tate got called for taunting? I remember seeing a highlight of Steve Smith getting a Touchdown, pointing at a player and calling him out, then dancing..yet no flag… then mikkell celebrating after hitting Bradford on the way out of bounds (which according to the rule book, is a penalty, if the qb is obviously going out of bounds)… they called it for RG3 the week prior… after the hit, mikkell celebrated the hit as bradford tore his acl, clutching his knee in pain. dahl was livid and was flagged.

    Lol watch that panther- ram game, that game was so badly officiated, refs couldn’t even control the game lol.. Seriously, that game will make you shake your head… And The Colts and Texans game was just bad by this crew

  37. blazertop says: Nov 9, 2013 2:59 PM

    If that would have happened against the texans, your server would crash from all the whining comments. That’s what happens when you pull for a pathetic franchise like Houston.

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