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NFL morning after: Bad rules a big problem for the NFL

waltcoleman AP

After Monday night’s mess in Carolina, where the game ended with a pass interference penalty in the end zone being picked up without explanation by the referee, I didn’t want to spend Sunday thinking about rules and referees. But it was hard not to think on Sunday that the NFL has a real problem on its hands with rules that are written badly, and officials who enforce those rules inconsistently.

Everyone likes to bash the referees when they get something wrong, and I’m going to criticize the referees here today, but it’s important to remember that the referees can only enforce the rules that the NFL gives them. And I’m starting to think that a bigger problem is that the NFL’s rules simply aren’t written clearly enough to allow the officials to do their jobs properly.

Here’s a sampling of my thoughts on the rules on Sunday:

I still don’t know what roughing the passer is. In the Buccaneers-Lions game, Detroit defensive tackle Nick Fairley hit Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon in the leg and was called for roughing the passer. According to the referee, it was because Fairley hit Glennon too low. But the problem is, Fairley’s hit on Glennon was in about the same part of the leg as Chargers defensive lineman Corey Liuget’s hit on Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning a couple weeks ago. Liuget wasn’t flagged and wasn’t fined and the NFL confirmed that Liuget’s hit was legal. But if Liuget’s hit was legal, I’m not sure why Fairley’s was illegal. And that wasn’t even the only roughing the passer call in that game I couldn’t figure out: Later in the same game, Tampa Bay’s Mark Barron was flagged for an even harder to understand roughing call against Detroit’s Matthew Stafford. And don’t get me started on Rams defensive tackle Michael Brockers‘ flag for a clean hit on Josh McCown.

Protecting quarterbacks is a priority, or is it? Last week, when 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks was flagged for a hit to the neck of Saints quarterback Drew Brees, the NFL said it was the right call, supposedly because protecting quarterbacks is a priority. So why wasn’t Pittsburgh’s William Gay flagged on Sunday for his hit to the head of Jason Campbell? In both cases, a defensive player went high and hit a quarterback who was still holding the ball, forcing a fumble. When it was Brees getting clotheslined, it was a flag. When it was Campbell getting knocked out of the game with a concussion, it wasn’t a flag? Why? As far as I can tell, the answer is that the rules about protecting quarterbacks aren’t written clearly enough for the referees to call them consistently.

Referees are out of position even when they’re in position. Miami’s Cameron Wake lowered his helmet and drilled Carolina’s Cam Newton in the chin, and Newton ended up spitting out blood. It was a clear penalty on Wake, but the referee didn’t throw the flag. Why? Former NFL head of officiating Mike Pereira said the ref was positioned exactly where he’s supposed to be, but just didn’t see it. But if that’s the case, the NFL needs to have an official positioned in a place where he will see a hit like that, or make hits to the head of quarterbacks reviewable on instant replay.

Coaches should be allowed to challenge personal fouls. Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson was tripped and fell into Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco’s leg, triggering a flag for a personal foul. On replay, it was clear that Wilkerson only hit Flacco because he was tripped, but the referee can’t look at the replay to get the call right. Jets coach Rex Ryan should have been allowed to challenge, but under NFL rules, he couldn’t.

Coaches shouldn’t be allowed to delay games by throwing bogus challenge flags. As Detroit’s offense was lining up following a missed Tampa Bay field goal, Bucs coach Greg Schiano threw his red challenge flag. After a long delay in which Schiano and the referee conversed on the sideline, it was announced that Schiano had tried to challenge a call that wasn’t reviewable — namely, whether the Bucs’ kick had gone through the goalposts or over a goal post. Under NFL rules, it wasn’t a penalty for Schiano to throw that flag even when he couldn’t challenge. But it should be. Why should Schiano be allowed to delay the game and give his defense time to adjust to the way the Lions’ offense lined up? Later on Sunday afternoon, Giants coach Tom Coughlin did the same thing, throwing his red flag even though the play in question wasn’t reviewable. If a coach throws a challenge flag for something that can’t be challenged, he should be charged a timeout.

A huge missed call cost the Vikings, and the referee was powerless to review it. Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk blatantly grabbed and twisted Adrian Peterson’s facemask before forcing Peterson to fumble. It was an obvious penalty, and the officials should have seen it. But they missed it, and the referee couldn’t use replay to review it because for some odd reason facemasking isn’t subject to replay reviews. If we’re going to have instant replay at all, and if we’re going to have all turnovers automatically reviewed, why on earth can’t the referee look at the replay, see the blatant facemask, and get the call right?

No one knows what constitutes a catch. Late in the Cowboys’ win over the Giants, Dallas’s Dez Bryant grabbed a pass from Tony Romo, went to the ground and then lost possession. The officials ruled it incomplete, and I think the officials got it right. But the NFL’s convoluted rules about what constitutes a catch make it almost impossible for anyone to say with any confidence what will or will not be ruled a catch, and there were plenty of fans on Twitter saying they were sure Bryant had caught the pass. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett seemed to think it was a catch, too, as he called a timeout in the hopes that the extra time would trigger the replay assistant to tell the referee to review the play — which he didn’t do. The NFL simply has to do a better job of explaining what makes a catch and what makes an incompletion, so fans and coaches aren’t left confused at big moments in big games.

Forward progress isn’t clearly defined. The biggest play of the Giants-Cowboys game came when Giants receiver Victor Cruz caught a pass, was wrapped up by two Cowboys, then had the ball ripped out of his hands. The officials ruled it a fumble, and Dallas’s Jeff Heath picked it up and ran 50 yards for a touchdown. Giants coach Tom Coughlin said after the game that it was “unbelievable” that the officials didn’t rule Cruz’s forward progress had been stopped, but I can believe it because I see forward progress ruled inconsistently every week.

The NFL should eject players who enter the field during fights. When Rams defensive end Chris Long saw his brother, Bears guard Kyle Long, engaged in a skirmish on the field, Chris ran from the sideline onto the field to grab Kyle and pull him away. Chris may have simply been trying to break up the fight, but even if all they’re trying to do is break up a fight, players shouldn’t run onto the field and into a skirmish. One of the ugliest incidents in the history of American sports came in a 1977 NBA game, when Rudy Tomjanovich ran into a skirmish and Kermit Washington reacted by turning around and swinging, shattering bones in Tomjanovich’s face. The way to avoid such incidents is for all players to allow the officials to break up fights, not enter fights themselves. Other sports give automatic ejections to players who run from the sideline onto the field during a fight, and the NFL should, too.

I don’t like the overtime rule. Overtime in Green Bay felt unsatisfying all around. Here’s how I’d change the overtime rules: 1. Do away with the overtime kickoff. 2. Let the home team pick which yard line the first overtime possession will start on. 3. Let the road team pick whether to start on offense or defense, based on where the home team put the ball to start overtime. 4. Play pure sudden death, first team to score wins, and play until someone scores, with no ties.

NFL refs have a communication problem. The NFL admitted after last week’s Monday Night Football mess that referee Clete Blakeman dropped the ball when he failed to explain why a flag thrown on Carolina’s Luke Kuechly in the end zone was picked up, and the league office told refs last week that they need to use their microphones to explain to the fans why penalty flags get picked up. Amazingly, on Sunday against Miami, Kuechly committed another penalty on a pass into the end zone — and again, an official threw a flag, only to have the referee announce that there wouldn’t be a penalty, without explaining why. How does the NFL allow this to continue happening? The referees need to explain themselves. And the NFL needs to give the referees clearer rules to work with, so those explanations will make more sense.

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159 Responses to “NFL morning after: Bad rules a big problem for the NFL”
  1. stoutfiles says: Nov 25, 2013 6:51 AM

    “If a coach throws a challenge flag for something that can’t be challenged, he should be charged a timeout.”

    That’s how it used to be, but coaches have no idea what is challengeable and what isn’t.

  2. matt14gg says: Nov 25, 2013 7:00 AM

    All true, but to me the most disturbing thing going on right now is the ability of the referees to control the game through enforcement/non-enforcement of Pass Interference calls. Whether it’s true or not, it looks very suspicious as to when the refs will call the PI or not, and most often the team trying to come back gets the benefit of PI and the team that is ahead does not. Last night’s game was a great example. The Pats got called for a pair of PI’s late (one may have been called Holding), and then the same foul committed by the Broncos, when they were down by 7, does not get called. This selective enforcement of PI is a very effective way for the league (specifically the refs) to keep games close and it sure is working.

  3. 12strikes says: Nov 25, 2013 7:00 AM

    “Play pure sudden death, first team to score wins, and play until someone scores, with no ties.”

    I agree with the no ties, but “pure sudden death” is just not fair, when a team can loose a game with out ever getting a chance to score. It puts WAY to much importance on winning a coin toss.

    Play a full ‘period’ (i.e. quarter) but only make it 10 minutes, and continue doing that until a winner.

  4. randy001 says: Nov 25, 2013 7:05 AM

    Let’s make overtime 15 (or 12 or “x”) minutes and play it out.

  5. theworkhorsebackdotcom says: Nov 25, 2013 7:14 AM

    You should add in the defenceless receiver call as well. Seen too many times where the ball and the defender arrive simultaneously, and the defender will be called for the flag since he blew up the receiver as soon as the ball touched their hands.

    They really need to throw the defensive players a bone

  6. greggfletch1 says: Nov 25, 2013 7:20 AM

    The overtime rule should be as follows. Both teams get the ball. One scores higher they win. They tie or no one scores, its sudden death.

  7. greggfletch1 says: Nov 25, 2013 7:21 AM

    Both teams get the ball ONCE.

  8. jagsandliquor says: Nov 25, 2013 7:25 AM

    They aren’t written clearly because there are too many d@mn rules. Every new rule has some silly attachment, and they have nothing to do with intent so the refs are nervous about making the wrong call. I don’t think they have to ability to get the calls consistently right.

  9. drednot says: Nov 25, 2013 7:25 AM

    Right on, MDS!! Well written and great research!!!

  10. jagsandliquor says: Nov 25, 2013 7:26 AM

    And no we don’t need to make anything else reviewable the game is long enough already.

  11. the8man says: Nov 25, 2013 7:26 AM

    Friends and I were watching the Ravens game and we came to same conclusions. One, the rules are complex and have so many conditions, the human eye can sometimes barely process the components. Two, due to term “judgment call” the officials have singular and selective power on the potential outcome of a game.

    We are seeing it all implode weekly during regular season games. This mess is steamrolling toward the playoffs. What then?

  12. nflrefsfix says: Nov 25, 2013 7:32 AM

    They need a war room like the NHL has in Toronto. That would solve everything

  13. sidepull says: Nov 25, 2013 7:33 AM

    The penalties: The amount, the frequency of calls and the inconsistency of the calls has really begun to make the NFL hard to watch at times. I mean life is not fair and bad calls are going to happen as long as we have refs but it really is deplorable viewing.

  14. explosionsauce says: Nov 25, 2013 7:34 AM

    The hit on Campbell wasnt a flag because he’s not a star QB, plain and simple. It was more of a personal foul than the Ahmad Brooks hit could ever hope to be. NFL refs are impartial to the celebrity QBs who endorse Tide, NyQuil, and Wrangler jeans.

  15. nflrefsfix says: Nov 25, 2013 7:36 AM

    http://www.nj.com/devils/index.ssf/2010/11/nhls_war_room_a_dreamland_for.html

  16. rpiotr01 says: Nov 25, 2013 7:37 AM

    +1 on the defenseless receiver penalty. Morgan Burnett hit a Vikings receiver directly IN THE SHOULDER with HIS OWN SHOULDER. It was as clean as clean could be. Why is this a penalty at all?

  17. edukator4 says: Nov 25, 2013 7:37 AM

    I have never understood professional sports insistence on not playing a full timed quarter/period. these guys are professionals right? what are the leagues (nfl, nba, nhl) so worried about in terms of extra play?
    play out a fully timed quarter, and whoever is leading after that wins. if they tie, then so what.

  18. ctsegall says: Nov 25, 2013 7:39 AM

    I thought it was an unsportsmanlike penalty for challenging a unreviewable play – we’ve seen it on touchdowns.

    And, I think personal fouls, especially those involving roughing the passer calls, or the “defenseless player,” should be able to be challenged, or at a minimum, subject it to an automatic booth replay. For example, defensive end X (appears) to cleanly hit quarterback Y, but it flagged for roughing the passer. Drive is extended and QB Y leads a touchdown drive that wins the game. Later in the week, the league reviews the hit and determines it was clean. What good does that do now? The game is over and was lost, ostensibly because of the incorrect call. Review them instantly.

    And take the guessing out of it. If its a blow to the head, its a penalty. (see above for reviewing though). If it’s a penalty because it happened to Golden Boy Drew Brees, it should be penalty when it happens to Jason Campbell (or Jeff Tuel, or whoever happens to in the qb spot for any team).

  19. wryly1 says: Nov 25, 2013 7:39 AM

    NFL rules and officiating are going through a transitional stage as part of a league wide effort to reduce avoidable or unnecessary injuries. The NFLPA insisted on additional player safety measures in the CBA they negotiated. When changes are first implemented in any business, there is a period of adjustment till things settle in. That’s what we are witnessing. So yes, there’s some inconsistency for now.

  20. dccowboy says: Nov 25, 2013 7:40 AM

    a. Coaches should be penalized for not knowing the rules about what is or is not challengeable just like any other player is penalized for not knowing the rules. At the very least they should be charged a timeout when they attempt to challenge a play that is not reviewable, alternatively, they should be hit with a ‘delay of game’ penalty because that is exactly what they did, delay the game.

    Of course, that implies that the Refs would have to know what is or is not challengeable too. Or, maybe they should get a delay of game penalty ;)

    b. Cowboys fan but that was NOT a catch by Bryant. On the replay you can clearly see the ball slide out of his arms and down his torso as he was going to the ground, so he NEVER had control. Then when he hit the ground the ball slid across the ground as his body hit. It was clear to me (much as I would have wanted it to be a catch) that it was not a catch and it was not controversial.

  21. thestrategyexpert says: Nov 25, 2013 7:43 AM

    There are endless complaints.

    Early in the first set of games today they had a banner advertising how Perreira would be on later to talk about controversial calls of the day. That’s how bad it is, we now expect there to be many bad calls. I haven’t seen an NFL game in 5 years that didn’t have at least one mistake or something significant enough worth complaining about. It’s a mess every week in every game, and in many games the outcome of the game is decided by stuff that shouldn’t be determining who wins. And a lot of that stuff is incorrect application of the rules in addition to some that are just poorly designed rules.

    This is a total mess and every year it’s the same thing. The NFL has shown no capacity to figure out how to make the game run smoothly and without complaints or controversy. All you need is a logical set of rules and a system to adhere to those rules. They don’t have either!!!

  22. dccowboy says: Nov 25, 2013 7:45 AM

    As far as overtime goes, why not play 10 minutes or so and then, if there is a tie at that point, have the teams start lining up at the 10 yard line and HAVE to score a TD, no extra points or going for two. Just like college, each team gets the ball, first one to not score when the other team has, wins.

  23. richcranium2112 says: Nov 25, 2013 7:47 AM

    Simplify and clarify the NFL rule book.

    Have the college review system in place so it is not so invasive like the challenge flag. It will catch and correct the two, three or four questionable calls that happen with out of place officials and too fast of action.

    PI will still be difficult in some cases, it can eliminate or correct the obvious ones.

    Some judgement calls will still have to be allowed so fans and media have something to talk and argue about around the water cooler and on these posts.

  24. iowahbr says: Nov 25, 2013 7:51 AM

    the biggest problem is pass interference. there is all kinds of combat going after 5 yards and it seems like no one is sure which is legal and which is PI.

  25. ballboy48 says: Nov 25, 2013 7:52 AM

    No NFL game, or football game, should ever end in a tie! Never! It’s as if you play, 75 minutes, for nothing, and you’re wasting the health of players, and the money of the fans. Another observation I made yesterday was that, if Cleveland had Hoyer, or a competent QB, they’d be on top of the AFC North. Their QB’s had a pick
    Six, and interception, and a fumble yesterday. You’re not going to win like that. Josh Gordon is a beast. If they can figure the QB situation out, they’ll be in it next year.

  26. groleo45 says: Nov 25, 2013 7:58 AM

    IMO roughing the passer and helmet to helmet hitting needs to be reviewable. It happens way too fast and the penalties are way too critical not to get the call right.

  27. avanderlay says: Nov 25, 2013 8:01 AM

    Stafford flopped like a schoolgirl soccer player on that roughing the passer call. Sad what the NFL has become.

  28. myeaglescantwin says: Nov 25, 2013 8:06 AM

    The fact of the matter is that there is NO certainty in these calls anymore.
    The way the game came along, it was cut and dry, black and white.
    In today’s era, the calls are more so judgmental by the referees.
    Ref’s throw flags based on what they “feel” happened.

    The bottom line, , there is just way too much yellow on the fields anymore.
    NFL games are becoming unwatchable, even at the peak of the sport. Fans get to see the tide of a game change on either a bad call, or ticky tack call, that an official (who btw isn’t even fulltime) chooses to throw.
    Couple that with the endless TV timeouts, and we have 60 minute games stretched towards 4 hours.
    it’s out of control

  29. jdfrox says: Nov 25, 2013 8:07 AM

    The simple fact that the most important analyst these days is a former official highlights the issue. The league needs to get this under control because EVERYONE (players, coaches, fans) is angry about it and with such a razor thin margin in so many games, these calls (or non-calls) decide games. It is corrupting the game.

  30. tecmostar says: Nov 25, 2013 8:10 AM

    Sometimes I find these articles to be a bit sensationalist after games. But I couldn’t agree more. As a Bucs fan going through the season, there have been no shortage of perplexing calls, both for and against them. 15 yard penalties and PI calls have such a massive impact on the game, those calls should be subjected to a quick college style review upstairs. And why can the NFL not move away from the challenge “under the hood” system. It’s 2013. There has to be a faster way.

  31. dallas88kj says: Nov 25, 2013 8:11 AM

    Overall this is a really good article, and outlines a lot of the problems with the standard of officiating at the moment.

    A few points though:

    Forward progress – this is an easy one to fix. One the ball carrier stops trying to gain yards, his forward progress has been stopped. Victor Cruz was still churning his legs trying to get away from the tackle, so the fumble was legit. If he’d stopped and let himself be forced back then his forward progress had been stopped.

    Challenges – why not let everything be challengeable? Each team would still only have two challenges so would have to use them wisely, but at least it would cut back some of the controversy and misunderstanding. Keeping the limit to two challenges would not add any additional game time.

    Overtime – what about both teams having one possession each starting from their own 20 yard line. No kick-offs or punts. If the score is still tied, then they both get a second possession each. This continues until one team has scored more than the other with the same number of possessions (although the game is ended on a defensive score).

    Catches – the league definitely needs to clarify this once and for all. The league have complicated a rule that should be simple. If they catch the ball, the knee is down and contact is made by the defender, then they are down by contact. If the ball squirms loose when they hit the ground, so what? It’s a catch, and the play should end when the defender makes contact.

  32. cometkazie says: Nov 25, 2013 8:13 AM

    Let’s do this: Play 5min quarters but have the refs review every play to make sure everything is right.

    Then there wouldn’t be anything to b**ch about and everything would be fair.

    There wouldn’t be much football but it would be fair.

    If there wasn’t so much money riding on the games, we wouldn’t have this problem.

    On the plus side for the NFL, they could run a couple of commercials between each play when the refs were making sure they got everything right.
    ;)

  33. southpaw2k says: Nov 25, 2013 8:14 AM

    Dislike the overtime rule in the NFL all you like, but it’s a whole lot better than it used to be. And it sure is WAY better than college football’s OT rules.

  34. stevequinn says: Nov 25, 2013 8:15 AM

    A “roughing the passer” call on the Rams Michael Brockers should just how incompetent some referees are. The ht was a text book hit and Brockers had his head to the side of McCown. Pitiful. I believe the referee’s name was Bolger or something like that. He’s terrible and should be suspended.

  35. metalhead65 says: Nov 25, 2013 8:16 AM

    why does the NFL make it so hard to determine if it was a catch or not. it should be simple you either catch the ball cleanly when you land in the end zone and it’s a touchdown. that’s it no did he hang to it for 5 min. and drop after being pummeled by the defense. how can it be a td if a running back fumbles after crossing the goal ine but not a td after the guy catches the ball cleanly in the end zone?

  36. bricketh says: Nov 25, 2013 8:21 AM

    The personal foul penalty on interfering with the fair catch in the Cowboys-Giants game was odd to me… It counts as a penalty, but doesn’t gain any penalty yardage for the receiving team. My question is, what is the incentive for the kicking team to NOT interfere? Worst case, the receiving team gets the ball where they would have anyway, and the kicking team gets another little check in the penalty category, but nothing else. If that is all there is to it, why not go out and interfere with every fair catch in hopes that you get away with one on occasion and get the ball back for your team? What is the deterrent for not doing that?

  37. bennyb82 says: Nov 25, 2013 8:23 AM

    Challenging a play should be simple. If you throw a red flag and the play is not able to be challenged, you lose the challenge.

  38. coltzfan166 says: Nov 25, 2013 8:25 AM

    Dez Bryant caught that ball. He took 2 steps after he caught it. I can’t believe they ruled it incomplete.

  39. FinFan68 says: Nov 25, 2013 8:26 AM

    Rules are written like legal contracts and all the circumstantial exceptions are hard to keep track of. They are often written to deal with a specific condition that rarely happens but unintentionally impact stuff that routinely happens. The officials have very little accountability. Sure, it is a hard job but these guys are paid very well to get it right.

    Solutuon: rewrite the rulebook (10 – 20 pages total) in English rather than legalese. Some infractions will get missed but sanction all officials who incorrectly apply a rule. There will be judgment calls but those should be limited. As for replay, the concept is to get the calls right. Why eliminate circumstances. (except most penalties) by saying they are not reviewable? Make the guy in the booth the head guy on the crew with review authority. He can relay the correct call to the referee and eliminate the trot to and from the sidelines video booth.

    Stop molding the games around tv. They are covering the contests. What we have instead is that the contests are being produced for TV and the main producers are wearing striped shirts.

  40. brenenostler says: Nov 25, 2013 8:28 AM

    Get rid of the 10 second runoff for penalties under 2 minutes.

  41. nfl4days says: Nov 25, 2013 8:29 AM

    Are we just not gonna talk anot Denver running pick plays 90% of the time and NEVER being called? So because you don’t make obvious contact , it’s not OPI? That’s stupid.

  42. sepnasty says: Nov 25, 2013 8:30 AM

    My idea for new rules applies to stats. And I do not play fantasy football.

    If an INT immediately follows a confirmed Dropped Pass from a receiver it should count as a turnover on the receiver, not the QB.

  43. troy43mvp says: Nov 25, 2013 8:32 AM

    One of the best articles written on this site in a long time. Offensive pass interference is about as inconsistent as ever. In the ref’s defense maybe the NFL has made the pro game too difficult to call? The definitions of the penalties are vague at best.

  44. coltzfan166 says: Nov 25, 2013 8:34 AM

    12 men in the huddle should not be a penalty. If there’s 12 on the field during the play? Yes. But not if it accidentally happens in the huddle.

  45. wiley16350 says: Nov 25, 2013 8:36 AM

    You can blame the rules all you want but the problem is the human element and you can never change that. People have different perspectives and how we see things varies from person to person. You could take one play that you think is wrong and have several people look at it with some people thinking you’re absolutely right and some thinking you’re absolutely crazy. Just look at the Patriots vs Panthers argument from last week. It’s not like you had unanimous opinion that the refs were wrong. The reason there is no consistency is the fact that there are different officials doing each and every game who all have a different opinion of how a game should be called. It is as simple as that.

    Some of the difference comes because some referees will call everything to the letter of the law while others will give leeway because they feel the law is too restricting. Like roughing the passer, some referees will call any touch to the helmet because that is what the law says while others will let accidental touching go because they prefer to adhere to the spirit of the law (avoiding potentially injurious blows to the head) rather than a strict adherence to it. Just like with receptions, some crews will call a no catch if the ball comes out no matter what while others will call it a catch as long as he maintains possession until another act is committed. I don’t think the “what is a catch rule” is a problem, it is the refs who don’t want to make a judgment call and therefore rule anything that comes loose as a no catch that are the problem. I think the rule is pretty clear and that I could consistently get the call right (with the help of replay).

    As for overtime, I don’t see what the big deal is. There have been 12 weeks gone by and this was the first week we had a tie. Lately, there seems to be 1 – 2 ties a year at most. Over the history of the game it probably averages to 1 or less per year that there is a tie. Do we really need to change overtime for such a rarity? If you must, then maybe after a quarter of play like it currently is you could have the teams start at the 25 and force them to score a touchdown and go for a 2 point conversion and give them equal alternating chances. Game ends when there is a winner.

  46. bluebongzilla says: Nov 25, 2013 8:38 AM

    After possession is established, i.e. by catching the ball and making a “football move”, what happens on the ground doesn’t matter. Not even reviewing the play is beyond weird. Bad call.

    Also, Coughlin should have been charged a timeout or flagged for delay of game on that non-challenge. Typical sniveling from the Giants.

    Refs aren’t going to blow a play dead while a ball carrier is still fighting for yards and not being pushed backwards.

  47. weizdumm says: Nov 25, 2013 8:39 AM

    The fact that when the refs reviewed the Adrian Peterson fumble, like all turnovers are, and they couldn’t then assess a penalty for a missed face mask, which probably caused the fumble to begin with, is beyond idiotic.

    That’s like someone being pulled by the cops for speeding and seeing a dead body in the back seat, but letting them go because that’s not what they were pulled over for.

    Fix it NFL

  48. pixelito says: Nov 25, 2013 8:39 AM

    there were plenty of fans on Twitter saying they were sure Bryant had caught the pass

    LOL, like last year, when they said he was in bounds?

  49. weizdumm says: Nov 25, 2013 8:44 AM

    Overtime is a simple fix, make it a 10 minute quarter, play it just like another 4th quarter.

    The argument against that has always been player safety but with the new overtime rules, overtime routinely goes 10 plus minutes now.

    I’d also be open to a way to eliminate ties. The less you have in common with soccer, the better.

  50. whatjusthapped says: Nov 25, 2013 8:48 AM

    A minor point but AJ Hawk’s facemask did not cause Peterson to fumble the ball, he had let go of it and using that same hand, punched the ball out. Ya, the Vikings got screwed but they should be used to it by now.

  51. msmith954 says: Nov 25, 2013 8:53 AM

    Speaking of forward progress. In the Vikings – Packers game yesterday, a Packer catches the ball short of the first down, gets grabbed and stood up by two Vikings short of the 1st down, whistle blows, then the Packer falls forward several steps past the 1st down marker. 1st DOWN PACKERS! WTF?

  52. gorilladunk says: Nov 25, 2013 8:59 AM

    Upfront, I admit my loyalty to the Cowboys. Despite the fact that Bryant CAUGHT (and yes, anyone who knows anything about football knows it was a catch) the pass that took him down to the 5 yard line, what really had me in an uproar was the fact that the play WASN’T reviewed! What the hell is the review for if it’s not going to be used! That could have turned out to be a monumental play in the game. I guess the review official was taking a crap when it happened. PATHETIC!!

  53. 21stnprime says: Nov 25, 2013 9:02 AM

    overtime adjustment: How about if the teams trade field goals, they turn off the clocks and play til there’s a winner.

  54. getyourownname says: Nov 25, 2013 9:02 AM

    Most of the moaning is by people who have never been in a position of making spot judgments with so much riding on decisions.

    One reason the rules are so complex is because of video replay, where everythng the ref sees happening in real time is scrutinized in slow-motion micro-detail that no human eye can ever see. I’m not complaining about video replay overall, it’s useful for correcting clear errors or confusion, but it’s going to affect how rules are written.

    Human judges mean differences in interpretation. All sports have this issue, always have, always will.

  55. panthers34 says: Nov 25, 2013 9:04 AM

    The challenge that Dolphins one on Clay’s first down catch was pretty weird too. I thought the ball couldn’t move at all?

  56. taintedlombardis says: Nov 25, 2013 9:10 AM

    Captain Obvious.

  57. captbuff says: Nov 25, 2013 9:13 AM

    One of the worst things in every NFL game is that EVERY SINGLE wide receiver/tight end in the league looks around for the refs expecting a flag on every incomplete pass. They have that luxury now – I didn’t catch it, it should be a flag.

    It also makes the game so much less enjoyable for me as a fan. Every big incompletion for my team and I expect a flag too. But it shouldn’t be that way.

  58. lastdukestreetking says: Nov 25, 2013 9:14 AM

    The suggested o/t change could be the dumbest thing I’ve ever read.

  59. bluebongzilla says: Nov 25, 2013 9:15 AM

    “Cowboys fan but that was NOT a catch by Bryant. On the replay you can clearly see the ball slide out of his arms and down his torso as he was going to the ground, ”

    You need to watch it again, dccowboy. At no point did the ball come out of Bryant’s hands as he was going to the ground.

  60. Mr. Wright 212 says: Nov 25, 2013 9:18 AM

    Cruz’s forward progress was stopped.

    Another shaky “roughing the passer” call extended a drive where the Giants had recovered a fumble on the play in question. Dallas scores a touchdown.

    Rolle gets flagged for hitting a guy while he is still inbounds.

    Dez Bryant pushes off on 3rd down, but defensive pass interference is called, when it was blatantly obvious that Bryant had initiated any and all contact. Drive continues instead of Giants ball.

    And i watched every 1 pm game. And just like every week nowadays, it seems, officiating — whether intentionally dubious or not — seems to be swinging games. The way New England was allowed to make a mockery of the rulebook in order to come back last night in the 2nd half is Exhibit A for this. It is as if they don’t want a severe blowout on primetime TV and just allow blatant disregard for the rules all in the name of making the game closer.

    Picking up the defenseless receiver penalty on Kuechly, the facemask on Hawk (in which the non-call spurred the Packers comeback), Jason Campbell twice hit the same way Romo was on that sketchy roughing call, but neither called (turnovers on both, yawn), just make this league appear more and more rigged to generate desired outcomes, rather than the players determining the winner and loser.

  61. Mr. Wright 212 says: Nov 25, 2013 9:26 AM

    No catch by Bryant. The only tine he secured it, as it was moving the entire way, was when he made contact with the ground. That is no catch. It was also truly illegal contact on Carr mugging Randle past five yards. It was Eli’s initial read in the progression also. Dallas fans were complaining all game about calls, but outside of one that apparently occurred early on, while I was being put to sleep like most of the country with that overtime trash in Green Bay, there were no other calls against Dallas that favored the Giants. However we DID watch dubious officiating directly lead to 14 Dallas points.

  62. hehateme2 says: Nov 25, 2013 9:28 AM

    Rules wont change the fact that Geno Smith sucks! That is all.

  63. flmike says: Nov 25, 2013 9:29 AM

    Much like the GOP is for protecting Corporations and not the Public at large, the NFL’s rules for QBs works the same way, they are there to protect the Elite QBs not he everyday rank and file league QBs. Notice when the low hit rule was enacted…right after Tammy got her knee wrecked, KO a guy like Campbell, who really cares, KO Bresus and “Houston, we have a problem…”

  64. jgedgar70 says: Nov 25, 2013 9:30 AM

    Roughing the passer – The rules apply differently to “superstars.” The NFL is turning into the NBA, who actually flaunt and celebrate that “superstars” are governed by entirely different rules. Brees, Manning or Brady gets hit exactly like Campbell did, and all 7 officials would dislocate their shoulders throwing their flags so hard.

    OT – I am sick to death of all the grade-school-girl “It’s not fair” bawling. End of 4th quarter, flip a coin to see who gets the ball first. The first team to score wins, FG or not, first possession or not. “But it’s not fair for the other team not to get the ball.” You’ve already had 4 quarters to beat them. Years ago, a columnist for the Charlotte paper was writing one of those “random thoughts” columns. In one item he said, “I hear the NCAA is considering allowing a leading team the option of taking the ball out of bounds or free throws in the last 2 minutes when the other team is purposefully fouling them. Critics say it’s not fair, that it doesn’t allow the trailing team a chance to catch up. I say it should never have fallen behind.”Bingo. Life’s not fair. Get over it. First team to score in OT wins, period.

  65. Mr. Wright 212 says: Nov 25, 2013 9:34 AM

    And whoever was responsible for that botched programming, forcing 90% of the nation to sit through that overtime in Green Bay when the game in East Rutherford was the game of the week for those same 90% should have to answer for that. Regardless of OT (the rules are fine, by the way), they always talk about being contractually obligated to switch at 4:25 but don’t do so until 4:55?

  66. twayward says: Nov 25, 2013 9:34 AM

    I will never understand why the majority of Americans react to watching regular-season ties in much the same manner as vegans react to eating 16oz porterhouses.

    In playoff games, obviously you need a winner to advance. But in a regular season contest, EARNING a tie can be huge. Finish the season 10-5-1 and that tie can lift you to a division title instead of losing tiebreakers to a rival at 10-6.

    At the end of NFL regular seasons, when playoff scenarios are published, they almost always include the phrase “with a win or a tie.” Because a tie can result in a dramatically earned playoff berth.

  67. bendover09 says: Nov 25, 2013 9:35 AM

    Mr wright , we do not want to see the tears of agony from you … If it wasn’t for the officials yesterday your giants woyldve been blown out. They were saved on another turnover when supposedly the cowboys pushed Cruz down wheb he really just slipped .. did you forget about that play ? Or how about the deep throw down field when Thomas hit Dez in midair before the ball got there? O ya, you only see what you wanna see .. similiar to these refs now.

  68. danthman42 says: Nov 25, 2013 9:35 AM

    I don’t think there’s anyone alive who could predict with reasonable certainty whether or not a pass will be ruled complete when the receiver loses it going to the ground.

    Case in point…in the miami game yesterday, mike wallace’s second long catch (the one that didn’t result in a TD) was basically the same exact play as the dez bryant incompletion, and it was ruled a catch. I’m a miami fan so i’m glad it was, but I still have no idea whether they got the call right..he made a contested catch with the defender on him in the middle of the field, started going to the ground immediately, and lost it about half a second after hitting the ground. It was ruled a catch on the field, challenged, and upheld.

    I’m convinced the referees themselves don’t know the rules, because I can’t think of any other reason why two identical plays would be ruled differently on the same day when the referees knew exactly what happened in both cases.

  69. dwarftosser says: Nov 25, 2013 9:43 AM

    OT was fine the way it was. I don’t like the new “every body should get a turn” rule. It makes it way less exciting. NFL OT was the most exciting thing to watch in sports, and they have watered it down now.. It’s not as un-watchable as college OT, but it was so much better two years ago.

  70. southpaw2k says: Nov 25, 2013 9:45 AM

    sepnasty says:
    Nov 25, 2013 8:30 AM
    My idea for new rules applies to stats. And I do not play fantasy football.

    If an INT immediately follows a confirmed Dropped Pass from a receiver it should count as a turnover on the receiver, not the QB.

    ————————————————–

    Completely agree!!!!!!!!

    How has the league not made this change already? If a receiver has a ball hit him squarely in the chest, or the ball bounces off his fingertips and then lands in the hands of a defensive player, that should never count against the QB. Seems like such a no-brainer, and yet no one has discussed this rule change.

  71. mjames1229 says: Nov 25, 2013 9:47 AM

    To those of you wanting to further “adjust” the overtime rules, keep in mind that that is how we’ve arrived with so many appendages to current rules…

    “It’s a legal catch if possession and a football move, unless on a scoring play the receiver doesn’t complete the process of a catch on the way to the ground, if he first has two feet down in bounds without being forced out (and on and on).”

  72. dhsbennett says: Nov 25, 2013 9:49 AM

    Did anyone else see the phantom roughing on Cam Newtown on the final drive

    He took a dive and got a call…. NBA flop

  73. mjames1229 says: Nov 25, 2013 9:51 AM

    If the NFL hadn’t adjusted the PAT to allow for 2-point conversion attempts, the Packers would have kicked the extra point early in the fourth quarter. And if all things remained equal, they would have won on the late FG.

    If the NFL hadn’t adjusted the overtime rule to allow for a second possession of the first team scores only a FG, the Packers would have won in overtime.

    But these two rule changes, made purportedly to “increase excitement” in the game, both led to a tie. How exciting was that?

    (PS, yes I am a Packers fan. And yes I am thrilled with a tie after being down 16 points and having our FOURTH QB of the season managing a comeback.)

  74. bluebongzilla says: Nov 25, 2013 9:52 AM

    Mr. Wright, you’re not gonna be allowed to tackle a QB with a clothesline to the neck. It’s just not gonna happen. Your guys were trying to hurt people yesterday as evidenced by THREE OBVIOUS personal fouls.

  75. sammievee says: Nov 25, 2013 9:53 AM

    A really needed, and otherwise well written blog was tarnished by your need to vent unnecessarily about overtime rules, an issue which many feel is as good as it is going to get and a huge improvement over what was.

    You hit a really significant point, that about coaches who erroneously challenge for purely tactical reasons related to slowing down game and/or allowing themselves a free time out to consider important decisions. You referenced the example with the TB coach yesterday, did leave out that the Giants coach pulled the same crap to try and slowdown Cowboys’ final drive. TV coverage of that was sharp, good cut to the Dallas coach who was classic ‘WTF???’ mood. NFL competition committee should have dealt with this long ago, but competition committee is always reluctant to remove a coach’s ability to cheat.

  76. titansbro says: Nov 25, 2013 9:53 AM

    Agree with several other commenters. PI is the most concerning issue. It’s usually such a huge penalty & is never called consistently.

    I also hated that ending to Pats-Broncos. Not a fan of either team but something about a huge game being decided because the ball inadvertently touches a player engaged in a block is do unsatisfying. Not sure how to fix that but I hate calling that a fumble, always have. Maybe have a designated return guy & if any other player on the return team touches it first then it’s a penalty. I don’t know but that play sucked.

  77. whodeybacker says: Nov 25, 2013 10:01 AM

    What a bad year of officiating. Valid points made in the article and posts.

    What if the NFL adapted the rule the NCAA has in place? All personal foul calls for “targeting” get a flag and are reviewed to determine if they are intentional. If deemed intentional the player gets ejected. AND next year, upon said review, the refs will have the opportunity to pick up the flag IF it was deemed not to be a pf. Sounds pretty simple.

  78. mancave001 says: Nov 25, 2013 10:08 AM

    MDS, I couldn’t agree more. The officiating is terrible, and so much of it is because of Byzantine rules, which cause inconsistency. Roughing the passer is really out of hand, as is holding. Holding negates large gains and is 10 yards on top of the negated play. It should be 5 yards. The other one is “inducing a false start” on the defense. WTF?

    All I know is that I’m so sick of bad calls deciding the outcomes of games.

  79. wrm1230 says: Nov 25, 2013 10:14 AM

    The rules will remain convoluted and the officials will continue to apply them inconsistently. That is absolutely by design and mandated by the league.

    The league needs to “keep the audience” as long as possible and being able to flip flop rule application allows them to keep games close all the way to the end.

    There are only two things the league cannot control….turnovers and injuries….and turnovers are now “reviewed”. Or, in the case of the “interception” that New England recorded in the 3rd quarter last night, reviewed and overturned if an when it will affect the necessary audience swing.

    Roger Goodell and the rest of the league has adopted the David Stern/NBA approach. Games are manipulated to keep the viewing public interested for as long as possible. The only games that are played out without that element involve teams that have the smallest fan bases….hint, think Jacksonville.

    20 years from now, the NFL may indeed be a dinosaur, completely extinct. The “game” itself is already a sham on most Sundays. The product is way worse than it was just 20 years ago and the league has prostituted itself for the sake of maximizing revenue.

    The next thing you’ll tell me is that the league has the slightest concern about player safety….

  80. wickahdstrong says: Nov 25, 2013 10:19 AM

    I agree the PI is the most inconsistent penalty on the field too many offensive players pushing off or setting picks and getting away with it. For example two calls aid Broncos on tying touchdown including one the nullifies an interception. Yet in overtime Tompkins is ridden to the ground but somehow there is no flag. Let’s not even talk about that fiasco in the endzone last week if it wasn’t PI then it was holding and if it wasn’t holding then there is no reason for officials to even have flags!

  81. thefirstsmilergrogan says: Nov 25, 2013 10:19 AM

    the same lawyers that ginned the rules to make the game more like pinball with scoring every other play have also written rules only a lawyer would understand, and that no one can enforce at the speed of nfl athletes.

    the defensive players are the victims in most of this as the rules for their play are not only too complicated to understand, but impossible to accomplish athletically. the league is papering over its liability by putting the onus on the defensive players; and when they can’t physically comply, like in the hit on brees, fining them.

  82. dallas88kj says: Nov 25, 2013 10:22 AM

    Mr. Wright 212 says: Nov 25, 2013 9:18 AM

    Cruz’s forward progress was stopped.

    Another shaky “roughing the passer” call extended a drive where the Giants had recovered a fumble on the play in question. Dallas scores a touchdown.

    Rolle gets flagged for hitting a guy while he is still inbounds.

    Dez Bryant pushes off on 3rd down, but defensive pass interference is called, when it was blatantly obvious that Bryant had initiated any and all contact. Drive continues instead of Giants ball.

    _________________________________

    Mr. Wright, I can only guess that you’re a Giants, Eagles or Redskins fan because no one that’s impartial would post such utter nonsense.

    If Cruz had broken free of the tackle and raced down the sideline for a touchdown, would you be happy it was called back because his forward progress had been stopped? I think not. Cruz continued to try and fight for yards and got stripped of the ball. Simple.

    It’s the ‘clothes line’ aspect of the tackle from Kiwanuka that got the roughing the passer penalty. It’s in the rules and he should know better. I think QB’s are over-protected, but if it’s in the rules then the players have to abide by them or face the consequences.

    Still inbounds? I think you need to look again and watch where Murray’s feet and body are when Rolle initiates contact. One of the clearest penalties of the entire game.

    Blatantly obvious that Bryant initiated any and all contact? Only to you. Funny how you don’t mention Bryant getting mugged by McBride on a long pass earlier in the game and no flag being thrown.

    I may be a Cowboys fan, but I’ve had a lot of practice accepting when they played badly or done some dumb things in games. I think you need to do the same with the Giants in this one…

  83. dallas88kj says: Nov 25, 2013 10:26 AM

    mjames1229 says: Nov 25, 2013 9:51 AM

    If the NFL hadn’t adjusted the PAT to allow for 2-point conversion attempts, the Packers would have kicked the extra point early in the fourth quarter. And if all things remained equal, they would have won on the late FG.

    If the NFL hadn’t adjusted the overtime rule to allow for a second possession of the first team scores only a FG, the Packers would have won in overtime.

    But these two rule changes, made purportedly to “increase excitement” in the game, both led to a tie. How exciting was that?

    __________________________________

    Really? You’re blaming the NFL for giving the Packers a choice of whether to go for two points or not? HAHAHA!

    What about blaming the coach who decided to go for the two points?!!

    You sure you’re not a Giants fan, blaming someone else for not winning??

  84. mkbane says: Nov 25, 2013 10:30 AM

    I don’t like the overtime rule. Overtime in Green Bay felt unsatisfying all around. Here’s how I’d change the overtime rules: 1. Do away with the overtime kickoff. 2. Let the home team pick which yard line the first overtime possession will start on. 3. Let the road team pick whether to start on offense or defense, based on where the home team put the ball to start overtime. 4. Play pure sudden death, first team to score wins, and play until someone scores, with no ties.

    **********************************************

    If I’m understanding this right (an it’s entirely possible I’m not), this is a completely stupid idea. Wouldn’t the home team just always put the ball on the opposing team’s one yard line, thus forcing them to either try to drive 99 yard or give four chances on the one yard line to score?

  85. cursedvikings1998 says: Nov 25, 2013 10:31 AM

    Here’s my solution to the overtime fiasco:

    1. Play an entire quarter. Or play an abbreviated quarter, like they do in the NBA.

    2. Keep playing until someone wins. No ties. Keep playing.

  86. midtec2005 says: Nov 25, 2013 10:33 AM

    The NFL should just give up and adopt the college rules, problem solved.

  87. footballgenius101 says: Nov 25, 2013 10:40 AM

    If they intend to call roughing the QB so tight…

    QBs should have marked uniforms indicating legal target areas (i.e. all white from knees to chest).

    This will at least assist the refs to see and take some of the guess work out of it for all.

  88. ken49ers says: Nov 25, 2013 10:41 AM

    It’s not about what rule you break, it’s about what teams can get away with certain things either teams cannot.

  89. justintuckrule says: Nov 25, 2013 10:41 AM

    I’ll preface this by saying congrats to cowboys fans. Like my team, I talked trash all week and now I’m eating crow.

    That said…looks like I’m done with football. Goodell ruined this sport beyond repair. 22 penalties yesterday which destroyed a fun game. Inconsistent calls, phantom roughing the passer, Bryant catch or no catch, brown fumble negated by bad holding call, Cruz fumble let go after he was stopped dead for 5 seconds, on and on. The sport is no fun to watch anymore holding your breath for some nonsensical call after every play. The rules need to be stripped down. If you don’t want hitting, color the uniform where hits are allowed and penalize the rest. I’m at a loss for words. The product blows when it should be great.

  90. trytobnimble says: Nov 25, 2013 10:44 AM

    Good points except for the overtime rule. It’s now fair. The packers and Vikings played a boring game all afternoon, you don’t change rules based on the play of boring teams.

    Sorry to say, but what you proposed could only come from the convoluted mind of a lawyer.

  91. justintuckrule says: Nov 25, 2013 10:44 AM

    Re overtime. Like all previous rules that were fine before goodell ruined them, there’s nothing wrong with true sudden death. Don’t go to overtime if you’re afraid of a coin flip. Just another exciting aspect of the game that was ruined.

  92. ziplock10 says: Nov 25, 2013 10:50 AM

    And lets start calling 2 or 3 holding calls on each side to stop all the horse collaring and drag downs we see on almost every pass play.

    Orakpo and Kerrigan are horse collared every game!!!!

    AND THE ONLY REASON WHY RGIII IS STILL PLAYING THIS YEAR IS BECAUSE OF OUR O-LINE HOLDING EVERY PLAY!!

  93. lastdukestreetking says: Nov 25, 2013 10:51 AM

    The college o/t method is awful.

  94. glennsyank13 says: Nov 25, 2013 10:51 AM

    I will never understand why a 15 yard personal foul penalty can be offset by a 5 yard penalty. Why is one more severe than the other but yet become equal when put together?

  95. jolink653 says: Nov 25, 2013 10:53 AM

    The issue is that so many of these calls are judgment calls…I was sick about the non-call on Kuechly last week because I couldn’t understand how that wasn’t pass interference, but unfortunately the refs made a judgment call and they were wrong; this is gonna keep happening no matter how they rewrite the rules, and the league is always gonna err on the side of the QB now because they know that’s where the money is in terms of fans: no one wants to see McCown/Tolzien over the usual starters so the league is gonna do what they can so that doesn’t happen…I agree there should be someone watching the monitor and buzzing down when something needs to be looked at, and I really think some penalties should be reviewable; obviously you can’t review PI and holding because everyone sees it differently, but personal fouls should be challengeable (i.e. roughing the passer, hit to the head, and even hitting a defenseless receiver)…I’m surprised you didn’t mention that hit on McCown by Brockers: that was as clean a hit as you can make and he was still flagged even though he hit in the legal area and ducked his head

  96. bluebongzilla says: Nov 25, 2013 10:59 AM

    “QBs should have marked uniforms indicating legal target areas (i.e. all white from knees to chest).”

    Or you could just teach players that the knees to chest area is ok. I dunno, maybe that’s too complicated for Giants players.

  97. blackandbluedivision says: Nov 25, 2013 11:01 AM

    Do away with the overtime kickoff. 2. Let the home team pick which yard line the first overtime possession will start on. 3. Let the road team pick whether to start on offense or defense, based on where the home team put the ball to start overtime. 4. Play pure sudden death, first team to score wins, and play until someone scores, with no ties.

    ___________________________

    Yea, and Overtimes will forever go this way:

    Home: We want the ball placed on their 1-yard line
    Away: We want to go on Offense.

    Clearly the home team wouldn’t put it in their own territory to allow the away team to immediately score. Since the away team will automatically choose offense. In the same right if the home team put the ball on opponent’s 1-yard line, the away team would never go on defense and give them the game.

  98. upperdecker19 says: Nov 25, 2013 11:01 AM

    “4. Play pure sudden death, first team to score wins, and play until someone scores, with no ties.”

    ********************************

    i.e. “The Donovan McNabb Rule”

  99. deejayehn says: Nov 25, 2013 11:02 AM

    Carolina Panthers should have NEVER won last Monday Night. What a sham…

  100. gosfvr says: Nov 25, 2013 11:02 AM

    Game changing or change of possession penalties have to be reviewable by the booth – not even a coaches challenge.
    The integrity of the game is more important than the fear of a few extra minutes

  101. insanelomein2 says: Nov 25, 2013 11:08 AM

    The horrendous call on Brockers for roughing the passer was an absolute joke. It was ver reminiscent of the hit Jadeveon Clowney put on the RB last year. Sad difference is you cant even tackle the QB anymore with aggression otherwise your pocket becomes substantially better.

    And I am not a fan of either of those teams playing.

  102. insanelomein2 says: Nov 25, 2013 11:09 AM

    *substantially lighter*

  103. PowerMad says: Nov 25, 2013 11:11 AM

    Didn’t Florio advocate for the NFL to change the original sudden-death overtime rules a few years back? Why the sudden change of heart?

  104. trollaikman8 says: Nov 25, 2013 11:16 AM

    Dez caught that pass and was down by contact & the ground. The ball pops out after. That was the game-winning play. The officiating was horrible for both sides in that game.

  105. justintuckrule says: Nov 25, 2013 11:24 AM

    @blubongzilla- the “hit” by kiwanuka was correctly called. My issue is that rules protecting qbs suck in general. They are so bad now we have qbs taking soccer style flops. If you’re a football fan first as I am and a team fan second, you’d agree with me that these rules have killed the game.

  106. steelerfanjo says: Nov 25, 2013 11:31 AM

    The man problem with the NFL is Roger Goodell. His perception is that people don’t want to see QB’s hit, when the NFL fan wants to se Brady Manning hit, and hit clean and hard. I’ll say what no one else will… I want Tom Brady to get hit so hard he quits football. I don’t want him seriously hurt, but I want him out of the game. He is the poster boy for these stupid rules and treat the QB like a baby. Also…the REAL reason QB’s get hurt is because they never get hit in the lame new practice plan the NFL has installed. So when a 350 nan lands on Brittle Brady, bones will break. Ask anybody outside of Boston and they hate Brady… why? He is a sissy on and off the field – he not a football player, he is a glamour model. Football is Dick Butkus, Jack Lambert & Brett Favre… not wimps like Brady & Manning. Why not have a sissy NFL and a real NFL… see which one the fans flock too and all will be said and done. Have players sign a waiver and get back to the NFL, Roger.

  107. steve3211 says: Nov 25, 2013 11:37 AM

    As noted the worst thing about the rules is by far the PI call. Inconsistent and FAR to much potential to negatively effect the outcome of the game in a big way. No other call can gain you so many yards for a judgement call. It sucks. Did you see the Charger Chiefs game yesterday. Three calls on one drive against the Chargers. In other words the refs basically scored the TD for them. Result, see sentence #2. So a couple of changes that would instantly make this game far more watchable.

    1. Why is the offense automatically granted spot of the foul? Who said the receiver was going to catch the ball ? They may just as easily drop it. It should be half the distance to the spot of the penalty, 40 yard pass PI = 20 yard pentalty. There fixed easy as that.

    2. The nfl should make it incumbent on the refs to give the defense the benefit of the doubt instead of the offense. It should be certain there is PI and if you don’t have that certainty keep the ffffing flag in your pocket. A way to make this much easier for the refs is to institute one more simple rule. Absolutely NO campaigning for a flag from the receiver. He gets up and walks away without looking at the refs no matter what. If he campaigns in any way any potential PI is instantly negated.

    These old guys officiating I believe are often intimidated by these receivers constantly in their face.

    Two simple rules that would be enormously beneficial to the state of the game I believe. Tell me what you think.

  108. justintuckrule says: Nov 25, 2013 11:44 AM

    Re Bryant catch: we’d had been better off if it was a catch. You would have scored a td on the next play or so and there would have been some time for us to score to go to OT.

    Re Cruz: I’m not complaining. We’ve been the beneficiary of that call more often than not. My beef is the inconsistency of the call. I shouldn’t have to wait for challenges and explanations after every play. The ref must have lost his voice that game. The sport is ruined.

  109. ma5terbla5t3r says: Nov 25, 2013 11:48 AM

    Goodell weighed in on this:

    “As I care about player safety, overtime should be sixty minutes long, six timeouts, 15 second playclock. Essentially a reset button, whoever scores more points wins. It will be high octane scoring extravaganza! Just imagine, 45-45 ties could be 106-90 blowouts! Every record in the league would be broken! And if this system doesn’t work, we’ll change the rules to accomodate Peyton Manning just like we did with the illegal contact penalty! Score Score Score!!! Scorescorescorescorescore!!!”

  110. gallopinggilmore says: Nov 25, 2013 11:59 AM

    With all of these new protection rules taking center stage, Pass Interference is still the most inconsistently called rule in the NFL. It makes you wonder if the ambiguity of NFL rules is by design, and if so, Why?

  111. myeaglescantwin says: Nov 25, 2013 11:59 AM

    You can move one way or the other on any of these issues.

    But, what it all boils down to, is that none of this controversy occurred until the past few years.

    When Rodger Goodell decided to change the game to his specifications, all hell broke lose.
    The refs don’t know what to call.
    The players don’t know how to play.
    The TV timeouts go longer
    The product on the field got weaker.

    This man has done nothing good for the NFL.

    if SPEARING was regulated properly in the NFL, none of this would be an issue now..

  112. ninerdynasty says: Nov 25, 2013 12:00 PM

    Lets be honest, refs are or were fans just like the rest of us at point in their life. I’m sure they all have biased views towards some teams they like or hate on other teams they dont like.. what im trying to say is that, if grew up liking a team and they are officiating team’s game.. they are more likely to look the other way on certain penalties or enforce dumb penalties on teams they never liked .. which is probably more likely since i believe wont let them officiate a game on where a team they “used” to like.

  113. steelerfanjo says: Nov 25, 2013 12:02 PM

    Two NFL… one with Goodells Rules and One with fans rules… Guess which one would get ratings, sponsors and attention. Not Rogers!!

  114. dontbugmeonsundays says: Nov 25, 2013 12:11 PM

    In my opinion some of these referees are too old. Their instincts aren’t as good as some of the younger ones. NFL should have an age limit. And o yea Ron Winter and Walt Coleman are the worst referees I have ever seen.

  115. dodohead418 says: Nov 25, 2013 12:14 PM

    No discipline for refs a bad move by the NFL.

  116. hairpie2 says: Nov 25, 2013 12:17 PM

    Actually steelerfanjo, Brady is one of the tougher qb’s in the league, he just doesnt go to the media to tell everyone about his injuries like Rothlisberger. He played in the SB with a broken foot, played in the last SB with a seperated shoulder, has played a season with cracked ribs, broken hand etc etc…. he gets hit hard, just doesnt whine about it, unlike other qb’s.

    The rules in place would not be there if the Steelers didnt knock Carson Palmer out of a playoff game by diving at his knee and tearing it up. You can thank Bill Polian for the rest of the rules that have destroyed this league.

  117. blu4l1fe says: Nov 25, 2013 12:22 PM

    I agree. Specifically, the Cruz “fumble,” HALF the time, that play is whistled to a stop the second the ball carrier is pushed backwards. And I guess, the other half, as where yesterday’s case falls in, it doesn’t get called, e.g, it’s a fumble and a return for a TD. But I can’t blame it on the refs, as someone posted above, they are in a situation where they have to make calls in the moment, and sometimes, unfortunately, they get it wrong. This, of course, stems from the league not really and clearly defining these instances to make it really easy for them.

    But aside from that one play, I don’t believe there was anything else that stood out regarding the game. The Cowboys played better than the Giants, plain and simple. The fact that the Giants were able to come back, albeit come up short, doesn’t bode well but I really didn’t have any expectations for the team, even prior to tha game. Like I said before they got some wins, if and, again, that is a BIG IF, they even put themselves in a situation where they are fighting for a playoff spot, that’s a bonus as this team really did not show they will contend at the beginning of the season.

  118. hairpie2 says: Nov 25, 2013 12:23 PM

    Oh, and if you check, since 2001 the Pats are near the bottom of the league in roughing the passer calls on Brady, and near the top on calls against them. So there goes that argument too.

  119. 1phd says: Nov 25, 2013 12:34 PM

    All I can say is it’s a sad state of affairs when a writer on PFT can fix the sad state of NFL rules better than the Rules Committee can.

  120. mogogo1 says: Nov 25, 2013 12:34 PM

    I hate the Cowboys, but the Bryant play was absolutely a catch under any normal definition. If the rules say that’s not a catch, then the rules need to be rewritten.

    And regarding coaches throwing challenge flags, isn’t that supposed to be a penalty if the game is held up by it? I thought the rule change only took the penalty away if the play was being reviewed already, meaning the flag being thrown wasn’t stopping play.

    The biggest issue, though, are all the overlapping rules trying to protect QBs. Absolutely nobody knows when those will be called. They’re in danger of turning into the NBA where the superstar will always get the roughing call while the lesser-known guy can get hacked to death without any whistle.

  121. imadipsnit says: Nov 25, 2013 12:50 PM

    2 rules that are really bothering me that hardly ever get called anymore

    1. Illegal pick plays, The run rampant in todays offense happy NFL . Are they legal now or are refs told to look the other way because it helps offenses

    2. Offensive pass interference, Not called as often as it should anymore but they sure dont mind calling it on the defense.

    I know everybody likes offense but its making the game a bad product IMHO

  122. ramitbaby says: Nov 25, 2013 12:56 PM

    1. The flag for Brocker’s legal hit nullified a TD by the Rams and gave a TD to the Bears. It was perfectly legal but in Goodell’s NFL, if the QB isn’t wrapped up and placed nicely on the ground as if putting a sleeping baby in its crib, it’s going to be flagged.

    2. Long did nothing wrong. The Rams were on defense at the time. Long has every right to take the field (he IS a defensive end) as the play had already been ruled dead. If an offensive player had run onto the field then, yeah, that’d be a problem.

  123. finleye says: Nov 25, 2013 12:56 PM

    This quagmire that is the nfl rule book is clearly the fault of the owners because they are the ones that vote them in each year….and exactly what qualifications do they have for making such decisions?

  124. hendawg21 says: Nov 25, 2013 12:58 PM

    We could debate the rules all day and night but the NFL wouldn’t listen to reason…

    The illegal contact/pass interference penalty is one that eats at my gut…when you sit and watch a receiver getting pulled on, pushed on and or grabbed down the sideline and no penalty is called or they rule the ball wasn’t catchable is downright stupid because if there is a no contact after 5yrds rule it’s a mute point whether he could catch it or not there isn’t suppose to be any contact…the league needs to really look hard at the rules there are many that contradict each other. Another rule I don’t get is a receiver must have two feet down in the end zone but a runner just needs to break the plane or get one foot in the endzone…

  125. westcoastchowd says: Nov 25, 2013 12:59 PM

    Very thoughtful article. However, your suggestions for fixing overtime, specifically points #2 and #3, wouldn’t work well as they would give an unfair advantage to the road team.

  126. deweyaxewound says: Nov 25, 2013 1:02 PM

    Imagine playing a game where:

    –You didn’t actually know what the rules were (and they were nowhere to be found)

    –You didn’t know who was enforcing them

    –When they were enforced, you never really knew why — there was no rhyme or reason, and certainly NEVER an explanation

    –You could clearly see that some people (including you) were constantly affected by the rules, while others were never called for anything

    –The amount, frequency and inconsistency of the penalties during the game became unbearable

    Question: would you want to continue playing in this game for very long? Would you enjoy it?

    Sadly, there is a game out there that is JUST like this – it’s called:

    “Commenting on PFT articles”

  127. chiadam says: Nov 25, 2013 1:05 PM

    The hit on Campbell wasn’t a flag for two reasons. First, it didn’t involve one of the league’s pet quarterbacks, so they don’t care. Second, it was a Steeler doing the hitting. They’re allowed to do whatever they want.
    As far as the McCown hit, that was the worst mockery of a call I’ve ever seen. I think Boger, who is terrible, made up a rule.

  128. ceschatz says: Nov 25, 2013 1:06 PM

    Mr. Wright 212 says:
    Nov 25, 2013 9:18 AM
    Cruz’s forward progress was stopped.

    Another shaky “roughing the passer” call extended a drive where the Giants had recovered a fumble on the play in question. Dallas scores a touchdown.

    Rolle gets flagged for hitting a guy while he is still inbounds.

    Dez Bryant pushes off on 3rd down, but defensive pass interference is called, when it was blatantly obvious that Bryant had initiated any and all contact. Drive continues instead of Giants ball.
    _________________________________

    Typical Giants fan blaming the refs for their teams lousy performance.

    Cruz kept fighting for more yards, so why should he get “forward progress”? Would you be saying the same thing if kept fighting and broke lose for a TD? You forgot to mention the horrible soft PI call on the cowboys to save the giants from another lost fumble. Everybody at home knows that was not PI and that the cowboys should have had the ball back instead of the giants getting 3 points out of it. Dez, was rapped on every play and you want to cry about OPI? Ha!. The Giants cannot beat a starting QB and are officially in rebuilding mode. It’s a wonderful site to see their fans whining and crying.

  129. granadafan says: Nov 25, 2013 1:11 PM

    KISS. Keep it Simple Stupid. The NFL rule book is becoming as complicated as the federal tax code.

  130. coutre says: Nov 25, 2013 1:12 PM

    The same guy at the NFL that is responsible for writing the rules is also responsible for draft day trades. Miami and Oakland did not have their trade in to the league office in time their pick should not have counted. Philadelphia should have been allowed to pick Dion Jordan, but instead got Johnson.

  131. ceschatz says: Nov 25, 2013 1:15 PM

    The only ones crying about the calls are the ones losing. Listen, I’m not saying there are not bad calls, but it has to be accepted because that would be the human element of the game. The refs are not computers, they are human and they are gonna miss some stuff or miscall some stuff. As much as I want to blame Goodell for these soft rule changes, we really can’t. How many law suits does the NFL have against them from former players stating that the league is responsible for the long term effects of the head injuries sustained during their time playing the contact spot? How is the NFL supposed to respond. Pay the guys and keep playing the game the same way so the next batch can come through and do the same? It’s the players that have gotten soft. not the NFL.

  132. granadafan says: Nov 25, 2013 1:16 PM

    “ramitbaby says: Nov 25, 2013 12:56 PM
    2. Long did nothing wrong. The Rams were on defense at the time. Long has every right to take the field (he IS a defensive end) as the play had already been ruled dead. If an offensive player had run onto the field then, yeah, that’d be a problem”
    ===========================================

    This comment is the epitomy of being a homer fan, ie., your obvious bias for your team prevents you from making even simplest of objective comments. If you think the older Long was merely running on the field just because he’s a defensive player, then you need your eyes checked. He ran TO the fight and got involved. He didn’t merely run to the middle of the field and wait for his teammates. Personally, I don’t have a problem with him trying to calm his brother down, but don’t pretend he didn’t do anything wrong because he DID leave the bench to get into a fight.

  133. calicowboysfan86 says: Nov 25, 2013 1:27 PM

    The NFL Rule Book is almost as interpretive as the Bible.

  134. Mr. Wright 212 says: Nov 25, 2013 1:39 PM

    ceschatz says: Nov 25, 2013 1:15 PM

    The only ones crying about the calls are the ones losing. Listen, I’m not saying there are not bad calls, but it has to be accepted because that would be the human element of the game. The refs are not computers, they are human and they are gonna miss some stuff or miscall some stuff. As much as I want to blame Goodell for these soft rule changes, we really can’t. How many law suits does the NFL have against them from former players stating that the league is responsible for the long term effects of the head injuries sustained during their time playing the contact spot? How is the NFL supposed to respond. Pay the guys and keep playing the game the same way so the next batch can come through and do the same? It’s the players that have gotten soft. not the NFL.
    ————–

    His forward progress was stopped. Two guys had stonewalled him and the third came in and took the ball. Any other time that play is whistled dead before that happens.

    And nice try, except the fact that everyone’s been screwed by these late-game flags with dubious pass interference. Even the Patriots, who benefit from officiating more than anyone, have been screwed. It ain’t just the fans of teams who lost yesterday. Much like a fan of a team that won yesterday shouldn’t be talking, unless you are the Cardinals or Rams.

  135. patriotinvasion says: Nov 25, 2013 1:44 PM

    Huh? Your OT idea is the worst idea ever. Not even sure I know what you’re talking about letting a team pick a yard line to start and make it sudden death. What? Ok, how bout the 1.

    I love OT the way it is now. Same as it’s always been accept the cheap field goal on the first drive doesn’t end the game. Perfect. Problem solved.

  136. mavajo says: Nov 25, 2013 2:01 PM

    My suggestion for OT:

    OT is a standard quarter, but only 10 minutes. If the game remains tied after the 10 minutes, the teams begin alternating offensive possessions from the opponent’s 10 yard line. First to have a lead after alternating possessions wins.

    EXAMPLE 1:

    Team A and B are tied after the 10 minute OT quarter, 27-27.

    Team A gets the ball on Team B’s 10 yard line. They score a Touchdown, making it 34-27. Now Team B gets possession.

    Team B gets the ball on Team A’s 10 yard line. They fail to score and lose possession on downs.

    Game over. Team A wins, 34-27.

    EXAMPLE 2:

    Team A and B are tied after the 10 minute OT quarter, 27-27.

    Team A gets the ball on Team B’s 10 yard line. They fail to score a Touchdown on the first 3 downs, so they kick a Field Goal on 4th down, making it 30-27. Now Team B gets possession.

    Team B gets the ball on Team A’s 10 yard line. They score a Touchdown, making it 30-34.

    Game over. Team B wins.

    EXAMPLE 3:

    Team A and B are tied after the 10 minute OT quarter, 27-27.

    Team A gets the ball on Team B’s 10 yard line. They score a Touchdown, making it 34-27. Now Team B gets possession.

    Team B gets the ball on Team A’s 10 yard line. Team B also scores a Touchdown, making it 34-34.

    The game remains tied. Thus, each team gets another possession from the opponents 10 yard line. Rinse, repeat, until someone has a lead after a pair of possessions.

    ———————————

    The main reason the NFL limits it to one overtime period is because it’s apparently too taxing and exhausting to have multiple OT periods. This would fix that. There wouldn’t be room to get a first down, so each possession would only result in 4 plays – barring penalties, of course.

  137. tjstyles says: Nov 25, 2013 2:35 PM

    I agree with everything here except the Overtime Rules. I am not a fan of any overtime rule that promotes a team kicking a field goal on 1st or 2nd down during the first possession of overtime. I like the way the NFL has it right now. It was nice to see GB actually have to play the first possession like a normal possession of football.

    I have no problem with games ending in ties when the alternative is watching a team drive to the 30-yard line and kick a field goal to win it. How anti-climactic is that? Whether it is decided by a coin flip or who had to travel is irrelevant; I prefer the team actually having to earn the win.

  138. jonsilver1947 says: Nov 25, 2013 2:44 PM

    Several posters have misinterpreted MDS’s overtime rules suggested changes…he is proposing an “I cut, you choose” series of two choices instead of a coin flip…the first choice he proposes would best be described as “how many yards do you want the offense to have to go to reach the end zone?” and the second choice (for the team that did not answer choice 1), is “do you want to play offense first or defense first under choice 1…” therefore, for example, assume two teams both with equally strong offenses and defenses…team A would choose the yard line which equalizes the odds for offense and defense (the 20? more? less?), and team B would chooose whether to attack an 80 yard field or defend an 80 yard field…if the teams did not have equally strong offenses and defenses, that would then produce a different yard line to equalize the odds…lots of room for 2nd guessing…coaches would hate it…

  139. sugarray1 says: Nov 25, 2013 2:53 PM

    Very good article MDS. Timely and appropriate. You could write another whole article about the rules about PI. DB’s are constantly pulling, tugging and grabbing hands and arms before the ball gets there. That is PI – CALL IT!

    The Niners lost their game because of a bad call. The Thursday night game had a tackle that was far more blatant than Brooks offense. No call at all. You can’t have the refs dictating the outcome of the games. Newton was drilled in the mouth and I’m sure nocked woosy. Keuchle’s hit at the end of the game was clearly on a defenseless player. It is getting so I don’t want to watch the NFL anymore. Screamaing fans shouldn’t be allowed to alter the game. Are we trying o se who has the best football team, or who has the loudest fans to alter the game. The NFL has got some issues like ever before.

  140. blu4l1fe says: Nov 25, 2013 3:09 PM

    ceschatz says:
    Nov 25, 2013 1:06 PM
    Mr. Wright 212 says:
    Nov 25, 2013 9:18 AM
    Cruz’s forward progress was stopped.

    Another shaky “roughing the passer” call extended a drive where the Giants had recovered a fumble on the play in question. Dallas scores a touchdown.

    Rolle gets flagged for hitting a guy while he is still inbounds.

    Dez Bryant pushes off on 3rd down, but defensive pass interference is called, when it was blatantly obvious that Bryant had initiated any and all contact. Drive continues instead of Giants ball.
    _________________________________

    Typical Giants fan blaming the refs for their teams lousy performance.

    Cruz kept fighting for more yards, so why should he get “forward progress”? Would you be saying the same thing if kept fighting and broke….

    __________________________________

    This is something new to me!!! You NEVER, EVER, EVER, and especially being a Cowboys fan, NEVER had to complain about a loss and point to a call or a non-call by the ref?

    WOW!!! YOU must be the only, THE ONLY, fan out there, that is non-biased, takes the game outcome as is and NEVER complains.

    Sorry, this is really amazing, I’ll be sure to reply to your comments in the future seeing that it’s the only sensible one in this site or anywhere else.

    Talk about an ego as big as Dallas. Hilarious.

  141. bigtexas27 says: Nov 25, 2013 5:05 PM

    I totally agree that the NFL rule book is very confusing. I also agree with the fact that nobody know how to call Roughing the passer, or pass interference for that matter.

    But where I have to disagree is with your take on the OT rule. It’s pretty straightforward currently. TD wins, FG gives the team a chance to answer.
    Your idea would only further confuse officals who could not properly get a coin toss correct to begin with.
    Wonder how Phil Luckett would handle that.

  142. fearthehoody says: Nov 25, 2013 5:55 PM

    No mention of the bogus “Hitting the QB in the chest” roughing the passer explanation in the Rams vs Bears game? Cost the Rams D a sack and fumble recovery TD!

  143. fearthehoody says: Nov 25, 2013 6:08 PM

    Said this 3 years ago, ” NFL is becoming the NBA.” And when it finally does, Hello NHL!

  144. jkaflagg says: Nov 25, 2013 6:27 PM

    All over the league defensive coaches are teaching their players to wrap their arms around TEs in the end zone, and if the refs have the gall to throw a flag they are to pick them up, politely hand them back and say “Kuechely rule – free pass, please !”

    In a league where games are routinely won and lost on far more questionable calls, this stuff has to stop – a penalty is a penalty, and the refs should not be able to pick up flags based on their perception of what might or might not have happened. When Kuechely wraps his arms around a receiver, it affects the play….and I can’t blame him for continuing to play that way if the refs are going to allow it.

  145. FinFan68 says: Nov 25, 2013 7:04 PM

    I agree with jkaflagg. The only time the officials should pick up a flag is if there was something they could not see that negates the penalty, like a tipped pass would negate PI. That implies that the officials only throw a flag when they actually see something. Too many times these guys are making assumptions on calls rather than calling what they actually see. In the Miami/Carolina game there should have been a flag on Wake early but the official couldn’t see it. I can understand that even if it happened to Tannehill (it has). The one on Kuechley was seen and called. Then it was overruled. There is no way any of the other officials had a better look than the guy 5-10 feet away who threw the flag. That should have been 1st and goal with time running out in the half. Instead, it was a FG with time on the clock and a Carolina drive for a FG. The game went from a possible 20-3 score to 16-6 and a momentum shift.

  146. douglasgreenbriar says: Nov 25, 2013 7:05 PM

    Your suggestion for overtime rules are horrible.

  147. Mr. Wright 212 says: Nov 25, 2013 7:12 PM

    FinFan68 says: Nov 25, 2013 7:04 PM

    I agree with jkaflagg. The only time the officials should pick up a flag is if there was something they could not see that negates the penalty, like a tipped pass would negate PI. That implies that the officials only throw a flag when they actually see something. Too many times these guys are making assumptions on calls rather than calling what they actually see. In the Miami/Carolina game there should have been a flag on Wake early but the official couldn’t see it. I can understand that even if it happened to Tannehill (it has). The one on Kuechley was seen and called. Then it was overruled. There is no way any of the other officials had a better look than the guy 5-10 feet away who threw the flag. That should have been 1st and goal with time running out in the half. Instead, it was a FG with time on the clock and a Carolina drive for a FG. The game went from a possible 20-3 score to 16-6 and a momentum shift.
    ————–

    I am with you. I even maintain a game thread on my Facebook page and said during that sequence, “Watch this come back and affect the outcome of this game.”

    At the very least, Carolina’s final score would have been just to tie the game. At most, the scenario you mentioned would have been the case. Whole different game. Don’t let the amateur Panther fans get to you by claiming you’re “whining.” That play absolutely swung the game.

  148. FinFan68 says: Nov 25, 2013 7:55 PM

    Mr. Wright 212 says:
    Nov 25, 2013 7:12 PM

    At the very least, Carolina’s final score would have been just to tie the game. At most, the scenario you mentioned would have been the case. Whole different game. Don’t let the amateur Panther fans get to you by claiming you’re “whining.” That play absolutely swung the game.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I agree that it would have been a different game but nobody knows what would have happened if the call was right. Miami could have scored a TD on the next play leaving them with the same amount of time. Tannehill could have thrown a pick-6 making it a 13-10 score at the half. We just don’t know because different decisions would have been made due to the different score. My beef is more with the momentum swing than anything else. That play made an impact on the game but Miami should have played better than they did in the 2nd half. Props to Carolina for doing what they needed to do to get the win. I am just disgusted with the ridiculous officiating league-wide over the last several years.

  149. m2karateman says: Nov 26, 2013 8:44 AM

    I completely agree with everything in this article. The NFL Rules Committee needs to do a head check. They need to start somehow penalizing referees for NOT doing their jobs, or for doing their jobs very poorly. The hits on quarterbacks that are called roughing the passer are highly inconsistent. I understand protecting the players, but c’mon now. These quarterbacks ARE football players, and they should expect some contact. After all, it is the offensive line that is supposed to protect them, not the referees. And the going to the ground rule for catches is the single most incorrectly used rule by the referees. When it was originally written, it was about players DIVING for a ball, not jumping up and catching it and returning to their feet, then falling down. Any player who jumps upward and catches the ball, then hits the ground with both feet while still in firm possession of the ball should be considered to have made a clean catch. If after that the person goes to the ground and the ball comes out, it’s either a fumble (in the field of play) or meaningless (out of bounds or in the end zone). Falling down AFTER having possession with both feet on the ground is NOT A PROCESS ASSOCIATED WITH A CATCH. If that were the case EVERYONE would do that after a catch. Freakin’ idiots.

  150. axespray says: Nov 26, 2013 3:11 PM

    “A huge missed call cost the Vikings, and the referee was powerless to review it. Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk blatantly grabbed and twisted Adrian Peterson’s facemask before forcing Peterson to fumble.”
    ————————————–
    So we’re gonna ignore The viking DB running over Boykin on a deep route late in the game, or Morgan’s clean hit given a bogus Penalty?

  151. jollyjoker2 says: Nov 26, 2013 9:40 PM

    didn’t have these problems with the replacement refs…let the howling begin!

  152. Foghorn The IKonoclast says: Nov 29, 2013 12:22 AM

    Mr Smith, excellent work. I have been hard of Mr Florio and other writers for intellectual laziness but in this case you have redeemed yourself.

    You make some very valid points, and these points are at the heart of something that is hurting the league and perhaps crippling it.

    You are right that also that the refs can only try and enforce these rules. Who is at the heart of this nonsense? That to me remains a critical questions, so maybe we can fix these stupid rules. Tonight’s game between the Steelers and Ravens is a perfect example.

    The idea behind the helmet rule is genuine, however the defensive player made a helmut to helmut hit which knocked off the helmut and nullified a touch. A score that should have been counted especially since the player was hurt.

    I often question the sense in some of the rules and the only answers seem to be, they are the rules. Well, that answer is not good enough and we the fans, players and everyone else, deserve better.

    On a side note, the announcers were spot on about the rule and that the play was dead when the helmet came off. Lately some of the dialogue is sensible, some that the rules are not.

  153. boonevol says: Nov 29, 2013 8:25 AM

    Ah the boogereaters are crawling out of Mom’s basement again…..
    “Waaaaaaah, Goodell is killing the game!”
    “Waaaaaahhh, the refs suck!”
    “I’m done with pro football, I ain’t watching anymore.”

    You’re not going anywhere. They own you and they know it.

  154. worknman24hours says: Nov 30, 2013 6:18 PM

    The NFL needs to actually sit down with ALL the referees at a week long conference with videos and have them all work out how the new rules will be enforced.

    Just changing the rules and sitting on their hands and leaving everything to work itself out is pure laziness.

  155. mrbigdog2u says: Dec 2, 2013 3:33 PM

    I like the current overtime rules. It adds a bit of strategy into the mix – i.e. it’s not always a no-brainer whether or not to take the ball if you win the coin toss. So far, most of the teams that have won the coin toss in OT have chosen to take the ball first – the only exception I’m aware of was Belichick picking the wind in order to make it easier for Pats/harder for Broncos to kick a field goal.

    I think that, the more teams become familiar with the new OT rules, more of them will elect to defer – particularly if their defense is playing well and believe they can hold the opposing team to a FG or punt. They know that they get a chance with the ball and, when they do, they know how many points they need to score.

  156. truthhammer says: Dec 2, 2013 7:09 PM

    They are making the rules vague on purpose so it’s easier to rig games. Possibly it was just Vegas paying off the refs originally, but if they are changing the rules the NFL must be involved now.

    Just go back to the Seahawks-Steelers Superbowl where Hasselback was called for “Block below the waist” while TACKLING the ball carrier after the interception … because the Steelers hadn’t covered the spread yet.

  157. Foghorn The IKonoclast says: Dec 2, 2013 7:33 PM

    You got that right about the vague rules. Hahaha.

  158. Mr. Wright 212 says: Dec 2, 2013 7:52 PM

    truthhammer: FULLY AGREE.

  159. bjennings2013 says: Dec 8, 2013 4:38 PM

    Its my opinion that flags should not be thrown unless an official is absolutely certain about the call. A flag should never be thrown on a questionable call. The officiating is ruining the integrity of the game. It is so obvious, its becoming very close to the WWF. The games seem predetermined before the coin flip. The Refs cannot determine the outcome of a lopsided game or a rout. However, the NFL also knows football is a game of momentum. A close game may be affected by stopping momentum and even reversing it. It appears that this can be evened out throughout the year by using home-field when determining the beneficiary. This will keep the games close and the stands filled with fans, thus selling more NFL merchandise. Close games, tight divisions with several teams still in the hunt makes for lots of profits. I believe it would be a great story for 60 minutes!

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