As it turns out, we won’t have to resort to the TiVo machine to find out whether the Titans received an extra down during a key field-position-altering drive in the second quarter of Saturday’s playoff game against Baltimore.  (But we still will, if for no reason other than to satisfy our curiosity.  And to avoid doing actual work.)
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello tells us that referee Terry McAulay did indeed correct his on-air statement that the first-down play would count, but that the clarification could be barely heard in the background of the CBS announcing crew and was not thereafter mentioned by Greg Gumbel or Dan Dierdorf.
(We’re still a bit confused as to why the unnecessary rougness penalty was enforced from the so-called “succeeding spot” if the down didn’t count, and we’ll research the rule book a bit more closely on that point when we have time and/or insomnia.  Our initial thought is that, if the down didn’t count, the half-the-distance penalty should have been enforced from the prior spot, which was the Tennessee 12.  The penalty was instead enforced from the 19.)
As to the non-safety safety call from a few players earlier, Aiello said only this:  “Baltimore did not challenge.”
And, possibly, all that that implies.


  1. new nfl referee crew motto: we screw over both teams pretty evenly. usually. in most cases. whenever we can.

  2. Just like the Cardinals D-line wasn’t OFFSIDES continuously during their game against the ATLANTA FALCONS two Saturday’s ago. UH-HUH.

  3. It can be a spot foul. There maybe a penalty that occurs 3 yards in front of the line of scrimmage, such as holding, it will be 1st and 17 if accepted not 1st and 20. Obviously, not all penalties are like this but some indeed are.

  4. Seems to me that if the penalty happened during the play it should have been enforced from the spot of the foul.

  5. A personal foul (before or after the play) results in an automatic first down. It’s not that the down didn’t count, it’s that it was first down twice in a row because of an automatic first down.

  6. You know, that comment “Baltimore did not challenge”, actually goes a long way to validating the replay system in place. And actually speaks volumes.

  7. The unnecessary roughness penalty bothered me a lot. You have Ed Reed over there literally trying to break Chris Johnson’s neck/back, and one of Tennessee’s linemen come over there to stop it and get a personal foul.
    The personal foul should’ve went the other way to #20, as well as a fine/suspension.
    Chris Johnson was down with someone laying on top of his legs, and Ed Reed comes over there and starts pulling his neck backwards, sort’ve like the camel clutch (wrestling reference?). It was a classless move by Reed, a guy I used to respect.

  8. WoMI says:
    January 12th, 2009 at 11:12 am
    Just as I said.
    As for the safety, the ball broke the plane. No safety.
    INCORRECT – The Ball needs to be entirely out of the End Zone. If any part of the ball is still in the End Zone it is a safety.

  9. WoMI says:
    January 12th, 2009 at 11:12 am
    Just as I said.
    As for the safety, the ball broke the plane. No safety.
    That’s why a spokesmen for the NFL says “The Ravens didn’t challenge.” As in, if they had, it would have been a safety.

  10. Unncessary Roughness by the offense is not a loss of down penalty. It is a distance penalty incurring 15 yard loss. If any infraction occurs by the offense during a running play that results in positive yardage beyong the line of scrimmage, the penalty is marked off from the dead ball succeeding spot (where the runner was down) and the down is actually repeated. It seems an odd combination but the team gets the yardage, the penalty is marked off, and they replay the down. I think.
    Section 8 Number of Down After Penalty
    Article 1 After a distance penalty (not combined with a loss-of-down penalty) for a foul by the offensive team prior to (between downs) or during a play from scrimmage which results in the ball being in its possession behind the necessary line, the number of the ensuing down is the same as that of the down before which or during which the
    foul occurred.

  11. If the penalty is enforced from the end of the play, and its a 15 yard penalty, why is it half the distance, and not 15 yards from the 19, putting it on the 4 yard line?

  12. Dingo – Penalty was not on the guy that went after Reed. It was a different player. Again, while Dierdorf and Gumble were talking about Reed and the guy that went after him, that was not the penalty that was called.
    Can Florio get us some confirmation on the safety rule? Seems to me that if the ball is not fully across the goal line, it is a safety. Think about it, if all you have to do is break the plane to get in to the endzone, if the ball is still on the plane and you are trying to get out, aren’t you still considered in?
    Florio, please clarify!

  13. The Titans did either get an extra down or get extra yardage, as the personal foul ON THE OFFENSE was enforced from the END of the run.
    If it was before the down counted, as Florio notes, it should be half the distance to the goal from where the played started/ spot of the foul, not from the end of the run.
    So either the Titans got extra yards or a free down. Take your pick.
    The point is, the better team won. Flacco outplayed Collins and made less mistakes, and scored more points.
    The delay of game call was iffy, but the extra yards or free down easily evens it all out, especially if the Titans had scored points off of that.
    Anyone who can’t see the better team won and the officiating DID NOT decide the game is either a Ravens hater, or a Titans fan.
    BTW, I would note that a friend of mine (a ravens fan) who attended the game said Tennessee fans were some of the most spirited, yet friendly and classy, fans he’s met. So kudos to you classy Titans fans out there.

  14. Madpunter88:
    What you’re missing is where the penalty is enforced from.
    The rule you noted (Section 8 Number of Down After Penalty) implies that you repeat the down given that it was a distance pentalty for a infraction occuring before or during a play.
    Which is correct. The issue here, then, is where you enforce the distance pentalty from, which shouldn’t be from the end of the run. Should be from the orriginal line of srimmage.
    Either the Titans got extra yardage, or a free down. But it is one or the other.

  15. clericblackdave-
    It is definitely not entirely clear (well, maybe it is to someone but not to me from reading the rulebook). But the gist of it is that penalties that occur during a RUN play (or a backwards pass) are assessed from the dead ball spot or the spot of the foul. The only time you revert to the previous line of scrimmage is when penalties occur during a PASS play (there are others but for this discussion the difference is run vs. pass).
    In this case, the penalty actually occured farther up field than the dead ball spot (called the “succeeding spot” in the rule book). So rather than marking off from the spot of the foul, the penalty is marked off from where the runner was tackled — and the down is repeated. Had it been a passing play, the penalty against the offense is marked off from the line of scrimmage and the down repeated. Had the penalty occured somewhere between the line of scrimmage and the dead ball spot, the penalty would be marked off from the spot of the foul.

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