Snow angel rule becomes the latest example of NFL ignoring its own rules

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On the surface, it was refreshing to hear the league’s senior V.P. of officiating explain that certain types of celebrations on the surface of the playing field will be permitted, based on the discretion of the officials. At a deeper level, it’s troubling.

It’s troubling because the NFL’s rules as written prohibit any celebration on the ground, with the exception of going to the ground in prayer. Snow angels clearly aren’t permitted.

Unless they are.

In harmonizing the decision of the referee in one game to throw a flag for a snow angel and the referee in another game to refrain from doing so, Blandino necessarily admitted that the league has a method for enforcing its rules that ignores the language of the rules. Which is a problem, for reasons well beyond snow angels.

At a time when the NFL is periodically accused of making it up as they go, the notion that officials have the discretion to permit certain type of celebrations that violate the rules reinforces the idea that the rules only matter when the NFL want them to matter.

Which means that the language of the rules needs to be changed immediately — or that the discretion needs to be eliminated.

This isn’t about snow angels. It’s about any and all actions that, based on the rules, constitutes violations but that, based on the enforcement, aren’t categorized as violations.

That said, it’s encouraging that the league is allowing players to behave more like human beings and less like robots. That needs to happen not by the seat of the pants, but by the process of changing the rules.

41 responses to “Snow angel rule becomes the latest example of NFL ignoring its own rules

  1. the rules only matter when the NFL wants them to matter. Green Bay seems to break the rules when the NFL does not want them to matter for 20+ years

  2. I referee in another sport and we have only a couple of instances where you have “discretion” it’s called the “art of officiating” but the NFL takes this to a whole ‘nother level. So much gray area is what I hate about this league. This is what makes people think the games can be rigged.

  3. The league uses the refs to influence the outcome of games. This has been clear for years. The teams that are Roger’s little darlings get extra help.

    That’s why they don’t want to introduce things like goal line and sideline technologies that could tell instantly if someone scored or went out of bounds or not.

    Roger Goodell’s National Integrity League. Where corruption runs deep and double standards abound

  4. “That needs to happen not by the seat of the pants, but by the process of changing the rules.”

    It would be better if that process involved not making so many stupid rules in the first place. If the ‘process’ keeps allowing haphazardly enforced, foolish or ambiguous rules maybe it’s the ‘process’ that is the problem and requires scrutiny more so than the rules it pumps out.

  5. My understanding is that the snow angel rule is perfectly clear. If a player is already on the ground as a result of the play, they are free to make a quick snow angel before getting up and going to the sideline or huddle. However, if a player is on their feet at the end of the play, they are prohibited from then dropping to the ground in order to make a snow angel, as that is a delay of game or unnecessary celebration.

    If only determining what constitutes a catch was that clear…

  6. There already too few snow games due to warm weather venues and domed stadiums in some cold weather ones. Snow angels go hand in hand with a snow game, and have since my childhood watching football.

  7. thekiy says:
    Dec 9, 2016 11:32 AM
    Unwritten rule #1: The Packers and Patriots always get a little help.
    ———-
    Yeah Deflategate most certainly proved your point.

  8. It all depends on the amount of snow. If the snow is deep enough and no grass shows, the player never touched the ground. However if even a single blade of grass shows, flag gets thrown. Simple logic

  9. I believe the rule states that a player is not allowed to go to the ground in celebration after a touchdown. If the player is already on the ground when he scores the touchdown, as Randall Cobb was, then the rule does not apply.

  10. “The packers and patriots always get a little help” ?
    Suspending TB12 because Mother Nature causes pressure in footballs to drop really helped! Helped the rest of the AFC , that is!

    Fire Goodell!

  11. They’re going to need a celebration database.

    Hand football to fan = good
    Throw football to fans = bad
    Point finger towards Heaven = good
    Point finger towards opponent = bad
    Snow angel = good
    Humping goal-post = bad
    etc…

  12. The NFL still insists psi isn’t affected by the temperature.

    The NFL still insists repeated concussions cause no lasting damage.

    The NFL doesn’t know what a catch is.

    The NFL allows Denver, Indy, Baltimore, and the Jets to cheat at will without fear of any real penalty.

    Fire Goodell!

  13. It’s been said already here, but it is very clear. You can’t “go to the ground” to celebrate. The Packer player (Cobb I think) slipped and fell during the catch (and maintained control through the process) and while he was there made a quick snow angel spontaneously. Not premeditated.

    If the SF game, both the guy who thought he scored AND another player went to the ground. I’m pretty sure actually it was the SECOND angel-maker that got flagged.

    Blandino probably didn’t know the facts and made things worse by his weird explanation, when there was in fact a very clear one.

    (BTW, I’m a Bear fan. I get annoyed at the seeming favoritism to Rodgers over other QBs. But fair is fair. This was not inconsistent.)

  14. When you go to the ground in prayer, can you do a snow angel because that’s your way of praying to them? Or is Tebowing the only sanctioned prayer pose?

    How about players who do somersaults when scoring a TD, should that be a “going to the ground celebration” penalty?

  15. I think we can all agree on which teams would be flagged for snow angels and which wouldn’t…and one would only need to look no further than the officiating crews for each game.

  16. Which means that the language of the rules needs to be changed immediately — or that the discretion needs to be eliminated.

    I initially thought Cobb wasn’t flagged because he was already on the ground (celebration wasn’t “going to” the ground).

    However, per the NFL rulebook.

    Section 3 Unsportsmanlike Conduct. Article 1, Taunting (d):

    Individual players involved in prolonged or excessive celebrations. Players are prohibited from
    engaging in any celebrations while on the ground.
    A celebration shall be deemed excessive or
    prolonged if a player continues to celebrate after a warning from an official.

    So, while the NFL may offer some discretion (that was apparently unknown), the actual letter of the law says that should have been a penalty.

  17. I’m so sick of this crap. It’s an emotional GAME, let them celebrate!!!! I mean damn, who doesn’t love a good touchdown dance?? Read back that part about it being a GAME!!! Ugh…that is all.

  18. .
    @staffordisbetter

    ” SHOCKED that Pats fans are making yet another post out to be all about themselves and their team. ”

    ——
    Reading is fundamental. The second comment in the thread attacks the Patriots for no apparent reason. Others were simply defending their team and the truth.

    BTW…. If you are that upset with the Patriots, why not return your GM, Bob Quinn, to his original organization? Then, you can peacefully spend the next 50 years being the NFC North’s bar rag.
    .

  19. I’m all for celebrations, but if they relaxed the rules, the players would still take it too far. This upsets the old school conservative viewers who complain on sports blogs that “why can’t the player just hand the ball off like Barry Sanders?!!!!!!!!”

    Where do you draw the line? Outlaw all celebrations, which is the case now? If you allow all celebrations, you’ll have players try to outdo each other and become distractions such as running to the center of the opponents field, hiding cell phones in goal posts, taking sharpies out of socks to autograph balls, throatslashes, “machine gunning” teammates, breakdancers, choreographed team dances, slamming balls over goal posts and knocking it out of alignment etc. Will you all be happy with that?

  20. Unwritten rule #1: The Packers and Patriots always get a little help.
    ==============================================
    The Pats get Help? The NFL not only ignored the laws of the land but the laws of science.

  21. thereyougo2 says:
    Dec 9, 2016 11:46 AM
    No high fives, fist bumps or laughing.

    _______________

    Hey, leave my work out of this!

  22. 6ball says:
    Dec 9, 2016 1:11 PM
    .
    @staffordisbetter

    ” SHOCKED that Pats fans are making yet another post out to be all about themselves and their team. ”

    ——
    Reading is fundamental. The second comment in the thread attacks the Patriots for no apparent reason. Others were simply defending their team and the truth.

    BTW…. If you are that upset with the Patriots, why not return your GM, Bob Quinn, to his original organization? Then, you can peacefully spend the next 50 years being the NFC North’s bar rag.

    I guess your perception of “the truth” and mine are different. I just get really sick of the comments section in every post about league rules being ruined by crybabies. I’m sorry you have such a problem with that. Have a great day!

  23. Rules don’t exist to make game fair, safe, etc., Rules exist to maintain APPEARANCE of integrity while allowing plenty of leeway for League Office to fix outcomes, satisfy Vegas lines, and ensure that the money keeps rolling in from ALL directions, both legal and illegal.

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