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Bat by LaMichael James wouldn’t have resulted in a safety

Official AP

The drive that ended in a game-winning field goal for the 49ers sparked plenty of discussion about Davon House’s near-miss-but-he-was-offside kick block.  While not clear during the game broadcast, the officials definitely caught the foul.

They didn’t catch a foul that happened at the beginning of the drive, when the Packers kicked off to the 49ers.

San Francisco kick returner LaMichael James batted the kickoff out of the end zone.  Under Rule 12-4-1(b), an illegal bat occurs if “a player of either team bats or punches a loose ball (that has touched the ground) in any direction, if it is in either end zone.”

Some have suggested that the penalty, if called, would have resulted in a safety — which would have given the Packers two points and would have required the 49ers to punt or kick from their own 20.

While the interpretation of the rule book on the appropriate consequence is too complex for an Internet hack with whom you may be familiar to decipher, a league source tells PFT that the proper interpretation would have been to enforce the 10-yard penalty from the spot of the kickoff.

This means the Packers would have been able to choose between another kick from their own 40, or declining the penalty and having the 49ers start the drive from their 20.

Of course, this assumes that the officiating crew would have made the proper interpretation and enforcement.  The rule book, as we try to read it, is sufficiently unclear to possibly allow for a freeze-dried Ed Hochuli (not pictured), who looked like Hannibal Lecter and sounded like Darth Vader on Sunday, to have made a mistake in the heat of the zero-degree moment, awarding the Packers two points and requiring the 49ers to kickoff.

So maybe it’s good they missed it, if the proper enforcement would have resulted in the Packers most likely declining the penalty.

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22 Responses to “Bat by LaMichael James wouldn’t have resulted in a safety”
  1. weepingjebus says: Jan 6, 2014 9:36 AM

    Kind of amazing that each game now needs to be analyzed by attorneys to figure out what should have happened according to the rule book (which increasingly seems like it was written in Sanskrit by a blind epileptic). Roger Goodell makes $30 million a year by the way.

  2. coltsreign says: Jan 6, 2014 9:39 AM

    I always thought that taking a knee in the endzone should result in a saftey

  3. ctiggs says: Jan 6, 2014 9:42 AM

    Packers lost , move on.

  4. jwcarlson says: Jan 6, 2014 9:43 AM

    I’m unclear as to why a live ball punched out of the endzone isn’t a turn over. If a QB basically fumbles then punches the ball out of the back of the endzone what’s the call?

  5. redandgoldhitman52 says: Jan 6, 2014 9:50 AM

    1 more rule to add to the long laundry list of stupid rules

  6. lastdukestreetking says: Jan 6, 2014 9:50 AM

    @jwcarlson – it’s not a turnover because it’s not SF’s ball until one of their players has possession of the ball. That had not happened yet. Same reason why it’s not a safety.

  7. favreflavoredwaffles says: Jan 6, 2014 9:51 AM

    coltsreign says:
    Jan 6, 2014 9:39 AM
    I always thought that taking a knee in the endzone should result in a saftey
    ___________________________________

    jwcarlson says:
    Jan 6, 2014 9:43 AM
    I’m unclear as to why a live ball punched out of the endzone isn’t a turn over. If a QB basically fumbles then punches the ball out of the back of the endzone what’s the call?

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

    Ball has to be possessed OUTSIDE of the the endzone first.

    A live ball that is still in possession of the kicking team until it is recovered or returned by the kicking team. Live ball has no bearing on that, same reason a kick returner muff’s it off a bounce at the 5 and it rolls into the end zone and he then can kneel on it for a touchback….he never had possession of it.

  8. cheddarrob says: Jan 6, 2014 9:54 AM

    I am neither a Packers nor 49ers fan but I did notice this during the game. The player for the 49ers mishandled the ball at about the two yard line. The ball then rolled into the end zone where James knocked it out of bounds. If the ball was touched previous to going into the end zone, then does and gets knocked out of the end zone out of bounds how is that not some sort of penalty?

  9. spidery2bananaftw says: Jan 6, 2014 10:07 AM

    Nothing to see here move along.

  10. harrisonhits2 says: Jan 6, 2014 10:09 AM

    coltsreign says:
    Jan 6, 2014 9:39 AM
    I always thought that taking a knee in the endzone should result in a saftey
    ____________________

    Not on a kickoff. Taking a knee puts you at the 20.

    I did think that batting it out of the end zone like that should have been a delay of game penalty though. I’ve seen that called before for similar actions.

  11. rpkllc says: Jan 6, 2014 10:20 AM

    What about the review of the play in the Bengals game right before the half. They throw the ball and forward progress was stopped, and the clock is still running, so the Bengals run up and spike the ball. After they spike the ball, the refs go two plays back and review to see if the player caught the ball. How can they do that?

  12. The Great Ted Thompson the Genius says: Jan 6, 2014 11:12 AM

    You know it’s cold if Ed Hochuli isn’t in short sleeves.

  13. gochargersgo says: Jan 6, 2014 11:21 AM

    rpkllc says:
    Jan 6, 2014 10:20 AM
    “What about the review of the play in the Bengals game right before the half. They throw the ball and forward progress was stopped, and the clock is still running, so the Bengals run up and spike the ball. After they spike the ball, the refs go two plays back and review to see if the player caught the ball. How can they do that?”

    I figured they would just use the excuse “the call to review the play came in before they snapped the ball and spiked it”, just like they essentially allow the offense to take a timeout instead of a delay of game penalty in situations where the play clock clearly got to 0.

  14. omeimontis says: Jan 6, 2014 11:34 AM

    It is not a safety because if the receiver caught the ball and stepped out of the back of the end zone, it is still not a safety. I have seen game in which a returner caught the ball and then his momentum carried him out of the back of the end zone and the officials did not call a safety.

  15. atthemurph says: Jan 6, 2014 11:50 AM

    It should have been an illegal batting penalty. 10yds. Refs simply didn’t want to call any penalties which I am fine with.

  16. briank1ne says: Jan 6, 2014 12:52 PM

    maybe they should worry less about calling stupid penalties and worry more about real penalties like lining up offsides, hands to the face, and holding. Which was going on all day and mostly on the greenbay side of things. This game should have been 30-20 at least.

  17. dahmergeinteam says: Jan 6, 2014 1:05 PM

    Batted balls can be a touchy subject. It takes an expert to figure them out. I trust Aaron Rodgers to do this for us. He is the best.

  18. jayniner says: Jan 6, 2014 1:16 PM

    The fact that the refs let these guys play was astonishing, with only the most egregious calls being flagged.

    This is probably the only game in NFL history where the refs get credit for calling a great game.

  19. packmanjones says: Jan 7, 2014 8:35 AM

    You’re missing the important part of the play. The ball was touched by a 49ers player at the 2 yard line, then batted out of the back of the end zone. Refs screwed up and so did McCarthy by not challenging. Packers won that game.

  20. packmanjones says: Jan 7, 2014 8:38 AM

    I’m also confused why the one PI call was the least egregious that occurred all day. Just happened to give the niners a first down on their game winning drive. BS. The niners CBs can jump on Jordy Nelson’s back and grab his wrists before the ball is 5 yards from him?

  21. billb49 says: Jan 7, 2014 8:06 PM

    Jeez, and they call Niner fans “whiners.” Unbelievable. Packer fan, take your loss and go home. See you next season. Oh, and stop calling Niner fans “whiners” if you’re going to sit there and cry that the “Packers won that game.” Pathetic.

  22. marvin49 says: Jan 8, 2014 12:29 PM

    @packmanjones

    Are you serious with this garbage?

    1) It doesn’t matter if a 49er touched it. He never had posession of the ball. It’s live after 10 yards on a kickoff (ever heard of an onside kick?). This isn’t a punt.

    2) Even on an interception…if the ball is intercepted at the 2 but the momentum of the player carries him into the endzone, it’s a touchback, not a safety.

    3) You are seriously going to argue that one 5 yard penalty that was on 1st or second down? Seriously? Funny that you mention that and not the two PIs that WEREN’T called in the endzone for two different TDs or the 4th down mauling of Ray McDonald that would have resulted in ZERO points for the Packers instead of the 7 they ended up with on that drive.

    The Packers won? Wake the hell up. The Packers shouldn’t have even been close.

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