NFL says penalty on Chargers for hitting Texans’ snapper was wrong

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The Texans’ come-from-behind victory over the Chargers on Monday night was aided by a bad call.

NFL V.P. of Officiating Dean Blandino admitted on NFL Network that Chargers defensive tackle Cam Thomas, who was called for an illegal hit on Texans long snapper Jon Weeks, should not have been penalized. The wrongly thrown flag took a Texans field goal off the board and set the Texans up for a touchdown on the next play, meaning it essentially gave the Texans an extra four points in a game they won 31-28.

“This was not a correct call,” Blandino said. “This is not the intent of the rule as it was written. The rule is to protect the snapper on a field goal or an extra point from a direct forcible blow to the head or neck area, or with the crown, forehead, hairline parts of the helmet to the body. It was not designed to prohibit any contact with the snapper, which is what happened on this play.”

Blandino said that when the umpire looked at the play in real time he thought Thomas had roughed Weeks, but when the league office looked at multiple replay angles, they thought the contact was incidental.

“It’s a judgment call by the umpire, he’s looking at that, and in his judgment, he felt that it was enough for a foul,” Blandino said. “And in our review today, we felt that it was not.”

That review came too late for the Chargers.

131 responses to “NFL says penalty on Chargers for hitting Texans’ snapper was wrong

  1. The NFL has now reported that the call was in fact correct because the long snapper said something mean about the tackler’s mother.

  2. Makes up for the pass they took away from Johnson (absolutely awful call; and after the replay no less), and bad call at the goal line at the end of the first half.

  3. Not “…aided by a bad call.” Made possible by a bad call.
    One week, one game stolen by incompetent officiating. I thought the strike was last year.

  4. Well that’s just fabulous. I’m sure the Chargers feel much happier about losing by 3 points when the league admitted to giving the Texans a 4 point boost.

  5. the nfl in trying to protect its players is ruining the game even as the play was called the announcers said the fould would have benn for lining up over the center which he wasn’t he was off to the side so now another game is affected by what in the past would have simply gone as a play on situation. san diego is not my team but to have the game affected this way is just sad

  6. NFL has officially painted themselves into the corner. Don’t throw a flag and the players eventually sue in retirement for playing a physical game, throw a flag and you have to apologize.

  7. What’s the point?
    by announcing Monday or Tuesday a call was blown that could have changed the outcome of a game does nothing but infuriate a fan base…

    How bout start over ruling a bad call from an office in NYC? Then maybe a bad interpretation or wrong call won’t make such a huge difference come playoff time.

  8. That’s why the NFL should get rid of these scabs and bring in the real refs!! the real refs wouldn’t have botched this call!
    They should….oh wait….never mind.

  9. What about the TUCK RULE, you never said you were sorry. Anybody but the Raiders gets an apology for your stupid new rules every year.

    Quit passing stupid rules, and you won’t need to apologize anymore. Get rid of the competition committee.

  10. How about that. Yet another screwed call by the refs which had an impact on a game. I guess the Chargers will get an “I’m sorry” letter for the blown call, eh.

  11. NFL throws the officials under the bus but say nothing about themselves when they make a mistake……like not suspending Suhsie for being a habitual dirty player. I hope I never have to hear Roger Goodell ever say again how concerned he is about player safety……what a hypocrite.

  12. It’s too vague of a rule. Even Jerry Markbreit couldn’t definitively make a judgement on the call. Unless the guy blows up the long snapper there shouldn’t be a penalty.

  13. Kind of shrugged my shoulders when it happened. I figured it was another new NFL rule where linemen aren’t allowed to contact each other without first counting one one thousand, two one thousand…..

    Glad its not the rule, but really thankful for the game changing points…

  14. Texans still could have won, take away those 4 points from the touchdown and they’re behind 28-24 on their final drive. Instead of running out the clock in the final 2 minutes they would have tried to get into the end zone. And with their momentum I wouldn’t doubt them if they did just that.

  15. I remember way back when they had replacement refs and they cost the packers a win (much to my pleasure) and everybody wanted the real refs back because they were so much better, accurate, Yada Yada Yada….

    Looks like athletes aren’t the only ones who stop trying once they get paid

  16. Wow… one week in and I am already sick of the NFL yacking about this call wrong and that call wrong. Liked it better last year when the league thought all calls were perfect even replacement refs.

  17. I really don’t understand what the issue is with the officials. The outcomes of at least 3 games this week were potentially materially altered by the officials failure to adequately study the rules. It is really unacceptable. They can frame it a “judgment call” all they want, but clearly the official thought any contact with the snapper was an infraction, which is not the rule.

    It’s time to revamp the training protocol, the officials in week one were grossly unprepared.

  18. Ok, so we have all the regular refs this and yet these refs have more missed calls then the replacement refs. So, what happens to the refs that blows these calls? Are they fined? suspended? How is the NFL going to improve this part of the game? This is not like the court system where interpretation of the rule is required. The NFL has clearly spelled out the rules and the refs need to follow what the rules are. The league is essentially saying the refs don’t know what their doing and we don’t care. We’ll just come out after the fact and point fingers. Fix the issue and hire full time refs and if the Res union doesn’t want to be full time employees then get rid of them and hire refs that are not part of the union and want full time work.

  19. Man, all the mistakes made by NFL officials on opening weekend is just more evidence that the league has to stop using these replacement refs and get the REAL professionals back in there! Wait…

  20. Just dumb, how many long snappers have been injured? How many blows does a full time center get playing the whole game? A long snapper plays at the most 5-10 plays a game. This is just stupid, who thought of this? Was it the mother of one of the long snappers?

    I’m sorry, but the game is dying a slow death due to the idiots who are running it. I hate the Chargers, but I feel their pain on this one.

    (STOP THE CHANGE) NFL fans speak!!!!!

  21. Who cares about Chargers fans if they are upset? Had the NFL refs not blown hat call, the Texans would have won by 4 by scoring a late TD, and those of us with the Texans -3.5 would have cashed. The bettors are the real victims here.

  22. Last night was a totally neutral viewing experience for me so I have no bias.

    Fantastic, I’m sure San Diego is happy now. What good does it do to admit that it was wrong a day after the fact? Who knows how the game would’ve turned out if the correct call was made, but hindsight is useless.

    I want the NFL to be able to bench refs, they should have to pay for the mistakes they make like the players do. There’s hardly any consequences for these chuckleheads. The ref that flagged Joe Staley for nothing should be punished. All Staley did was hold Matthews. We all know there should’ve only been one flag on that play.

    I know Green Bay got screwed last year by the replacement refs, and those refs were thrown under the bus and it was the last we saw of them. I want the same consequences for the full timers.

    Accountability, that’s all I want.

  23. This Is a complete joke. The chargers were still in command, they had just stopped the texans and forced a field goal. The call took away all momentum, the texans scored, and the rout was on. This isn’t an excuse, the chargers ended up blowing their 28-7 lead, but this definitely acted as a huge factor in the loss.

  24. How much longer will these subjective interpretations of these rules go on?

    Isn’t there on-going teaching & examples in the rule distinctions in these officials training? Or is everyone just left to figure it out for themselves?

  25. Don’t call what you don’t see, its that simple. If it didn’t occur (and it didn’t), you couldn’t possibly have seen it, so why in the world are you calling it? Happens in baseball too, drives me nuts

  26. Yeah, no ish i was like what penalty when it happened. That was botched, it seems like the replacement refs are all out in full force.

  27. As a Chargers fan, this one hurt. I’m not saying the Chargers deserved to win the game, because everyone acknowledges that they had an EPIC meltdown in the second half. But they didn’t deserve to lose by a bad officiating call, either, which is essentially what happened here. Take away the blown call, and the Chargers won by one point.

  28. This is why the NFL is having PR problems…

    Stirring the pot after a game like that does nothing but give the Chargers something more to gripe about.
    It won’t change the outcome and it makes their “top notched” trained referees look like they can’t make a call without getting an approval from the league’s head office!
    Take your competition committee and step off! This game is being ruined every day by these idiots!

  29. I didn’t realize the NFL was still using replacement refs, who didn’t know the rules which may have affected the 1/8 of the games in week one. San Fran- Green Bay and Houston- San Diego game. Hope they settle the strike soon

  30. I said that on another Charger forum here about the come back and thought why isn’t this being talked about. Even though its a new rule I had never seen it called in pre-season or any game. In the replay the Cam Thomas grazes him as he tries to go for his block. That happens on nearly every extra point or FG. Considering Chargers had momentum by stopping them in red zone only to have it stripped away on bogus call is BS. The next series was the Cushing pick 6. NFL better looking into if any of these if they are Tim Donaghy style problems that caught the NBA. Just had that same blatant feel to me

  31. Between this call and the fiasco with the 49ers and Packers, can anyone say these guys are doing a better job than the replacement refs were doing at this point last year?

  32. felt bad for the Chargers watching that unfold. Seemed like a bad call and a worse way to start the year.

    Still, pick 6 was the poison pill

  33. WOW!!! Come on refs. That’s TWICE now it has cost the chargers a game. That call killed the momentum the chargers had going. Thanks a bunch NFL. Hey how about you make judgement calls like that reviewable especially when a call like that can change a game.

  34. It was a horrible call at a crucial point in the game. If the refs wanna make “example calls”, they should do it in a game with a lot of fights or late hits. Dont ruin a game over a little tap like that.

  35. As I said in the previous thread… this was the play that cost themthe game. It turned the tide of the game otherwise the game would have never have been tied.

    Chargers were huge underdogs and played their butts off yesterday. Would have beat a Superbowl contender had they not been “Hocchulied.”

    I would not want to be an Eagle this coming weekend.

  36. Seriously? You look at it from ” multiple angles ” and decide it was a bad call?

    The ref has 5 seconds and these guys get slow mo with a cup of coffee to decide.


  37. “This is not the intent of the rule as it was written.”

    Then perhaps you should written the rules more clearly?

    You think the league with its army of lawyers would have learned some where in college or law school studies intent of the law vs. the letter of the law.

    Here’s the rule.

    “Article 3:
    During a punt, a field-goal attempt, or a Try Kick, a Team B player, who is within one yard of the line of
    scrimmage at the snap, must have his entire body outside the snapper’s shoulder pads. ”

    Cam Thomas ENTIRE body wasn’t outside the shoulder pads. He reaches over the snappers back first then hop around him.

    I agree its not much contact, incidental at best but don’t blame the ref. Its a judgement call type penalty. If they are going to “correct” calls of this nature, then they better address pass interference and holding penalties too.

  38. I’m so sick of the NFL covering their ass. Please lust stop and let the guys just play the game. Now that they are back-stabbing refs every week what can we believe from them?

    I bailed on baseball in ’94 and am getting on the same path for the NFL. This crap is getting old.

    Just play NFL, just play.

  39. Gee, and what penalty will be given to the ref who made a horrible call which everyone at the time recognized as a horrible call, and cost the Chargers the game? Why nothing of course.

  40. As the league softens, we’ll see this more and more, seriously affecting the outcome of games. “Throw a flag first, figure it out later.” Games are hard to sit through like that.

  41. If this would have been the replacement refs from last year, that call would have been on the 24 hour sports news and talk cycle and they would be crucifying the fill in officials. There were a lot of bad calls this past week, people just look at them different .

  42. This penalty sucked the life out of them. Still the Chargers fault for doing nothing the remainder of the game, but this penalty set things in motion.

  43. Chargers got screwed on that call, which is why there should be fewer rules with simpler interpretations. You know, like the NFL used to be before Roger Goodell started wrecking the game.

  44. This Blandino is much more forthcoming that Mike Pereira ever was. After the first weekend of the NFL, he has admitted that Staley should never have been flagged in the GB game, and now this? Is this some new strategy by the NFL to go after the officials again?

  45. Took a bunch of slowed down replays to determine that. You can’t come out and say it was wrong, but It’s a judgement call. If its a judgement call then it was right according to that umpire’s judgement.

  46. well isn’t that just fabulous? if you watched the game, this was a HUGE turning point in the score and momentum. you can never say for sure, but i believe this one call cost the Chargers the win.

  47. Good for the refs! Finally I benefited from a bad call since that was the deciding game in my pick-em league and netted me $40.

  48. So both the Texans’ and the 49ers’ victories hinged on improper actions by the officials. They have a ton of guys out there. How is it that they don’t know the rules? Maybe they should be full time employees. They could spend the extra time learning the rules. After all, they get pensions for a part time job. Most people don’t geta pension for their full time job.

  49. I do not think I would release this information to the public if I was running the NFL. Saying, “oops, our bad” with no ability to change anything about the outcome of the bad call is only rubbing salt in the wound of the team on the wrong end of this. It is a part of the game that refs blow calls and truth be told it seems to happen to the Chargers more than most. Telling them about it, when the world already knows it was a bad call does not do any good in my opinion and only makes the league look bad.

  50. This is the theme of week one in the NFL. Botched calls by officials all weekend. Referees, please let the players play and stop trying to get face-time on tv!

  51. Blatantly wrong.

    But in the 49ers game, the bad call was actually Staley getting flagged for ‘retaliation’ against Matthews… which would have made the extra down irrelevant. So Packers fans can stop whining about that like they always do.

  52. Even though there were some bad calls at least the league admits it and I am sure re-educates the refs for future games regarding it. Doesn’t help the teams now, but really no guarantee what would happen had the right call been made, we only see the results with the wrong call.

  53. It was a judgment call made during live action, much like, say, pass interference. The defensive player in question didn’t really make a play on the ball; he just jumped on top of the long snapper. In retrospect, a bad call? Probably. But the Texans were going up and down the field at will at this point. Hard to say it cost the Chargers the game. It made things easier for the Texans, sure, but the Chargers still let Houston score a bunch.

    Consider also: in this game, two plays were reversed after replay in favor of the Chargers. I think both replays lacked authoritative evidence to reverse.

    That’s how it goes.

  54. What part of “It’s a judgement call,” means “They really screwed up and let the wrong team win.”

    And while we’re at it, the Texans let the clock wind down before winning with a field goal. Let’s not claim that the “extra 4 points” were otherwise unobtainable.

    Finally, I’d like to introduce you to a quasi-baseball term we sometimes like to throw around: the Human Element. You can’t fight the Human Element; you can only work yourself a little bit harder to make up what may have been taken away from you somewhat unfairly.

    In other words, Deal With It.

  55. I thought the league (according to the refs cba) were going to discipline refs for making bad calls? Whoever through a flag on this and the refs who blew the call on Calvin Johnson’s TD should be suspended if the league is serious.

  56. koufaxmitzvah

    You hit the nail right on the head, my friend. Those people who pretend the game would have played out exactly the same had the call gone the other way are blind. The rest of the game depends on everything that happens before it.

    Texans would have been down 28-17, but they completely shut SD down from then on, and it was still the 3rd qtr, with PLENTY of time left. SD got 10 yards and NO first downs after their early 3rd qtr score. Does anyone really think the Texans would have casually walked down the field, wound down the clock and kicked a FG when they were down by 4? No – they would have been balls to the wall to try to score TDs.

    I say this as someone who had the Texans -4 and lost my $. One damn point.

  57. I like the rule to protect the long snapper, but this was NOT a penalty. Thomas went around the LS, barely touching him. Bad call.

  58. Time for mandatory replay on all penalties resulting in “offsetting” penalties, all penalties of over 10 yards (including personal fouls and PI), and all calls within the last two minutes of the half.

    This would happen up top in the booth and shouldn’t really affect the game flow. About 90% of the time the scoring and turnover reviews are pretty seemless. Really getting old seeing the calls blown time after time.

    And maybe it’s time for “we’re going to let them play” to be a valid excuse to reverse a game-changing PI in the endzone?

    Something has got to change.

  59. Please – I understand the angst Chargers fans, but let’s not go crazy. It’s not like the call against Green Bay last year that was the difference between a win and a loss – there was plenty of time left in this game for anything to happen.

    And quit with the whole “momentum” angle – even if the Chargers had forced that field goal they were still reeling at that point and if any team had “momentum” it was the Texans. It was the end of the third quarter, the Texans had just held the Chargers to 3 and out and were in the middle of a long drive after scoring on the previous drive. The Texans were methodically moving downfield up to that point and there was still another whole quarter to play.

  60. The call itself was bad enough, but the officiating “expert” they brought in during the broadcast was laughably bad, essentially saying “If they called it, I support it.”

  61. Scary part is that wasn’t event he worst bit of officiating from that game: The Andre Johnson review was. Johnson went to hurdle a tackler and was obviously tripped up, he falls to the ground and is down but gets up and runs in for a TD. But rather than note he was obviously tripped and down already, the officials got fixated on whether he was touched a second time. They went through the entire review process obviously without ever watching the entire play because their ruling was he was downed by one of the other tacklers touching his foot when he was on the ground. If that totally irrelevant act hadn’t occurred, they’d have given him a touchdown.

  62. I love the irrational response that you receive from fans when things like this happen.

    The fact is that reversing that call would alter the course of that game and there is no way of determining the outcome.

    As a Texan fan, I am not trying to suggest that we would have still won. As a matter of fact, it would probably have increased the Chargers chances of winning.

    However, every team gets screwed by the refs eventually and every team benefits from a blown call eventually. At the end of the day, it all kind of works itself out.

  63. Question for Chargers fans:
    Did the Chargers also not have the ability to stop the ensuing TD? I 100% agree the call, in retrospect, was a bad call. What’s crazy is the Texans still had a pick six and the game winning field goal AFTER this. This call was a bad call but did not determine the game. I have a problem with the NFL even admitting this was a bad call. It’s suspect. Unless the NFL is going to hold the bad calls for the refs accountable- this literally does nothing but create a subjective debate to a games’ outcome. No one knows if the Chargers would have gained more than the 10 yards they accumulated after their last score and no one knows if the Texans would have scored a TD on their final drive because of the alternate universe we are all now living in. There were bad calls made on both sides but the bottom line is the Chargers second half performance sucked and the Texans turned it up.
    Anyone saying it was the game changer are the same ones talking so much sh&t about Phyllis Rivers being a joke of a QB when it matters. The ONLY legit argument is the Chargers STILL had the ability to win this game. The Texans did. If this happened on the final drive where 3 would not have won it and 7 did- I get it.
    The rest is excuses. I still don’t get what the NFL is doing in admitting ref mistakes after the fact. Unless they impose infractions/penalties with said refs; just leads to these meaningless debates of alternative outcomes and takes away the reality that the responsibility lies solely with the players. Period.

  64. One final point to inject reality into this discussion….
    As a long time Houston sports fan please look up
    “Houston Oilers at Pittsburgh Steelers Mike Renfro non TD catch 1979 AFC Championship”!

    That is a call that changed a VERY meaningful game in favor of a very highly touted team verses an underdog. This was game one and again…DID NOT change the outcome. The best and simultaneously weak argument is “it changed momentum”. Really? LOL. Momentum had already shifted and the undisputable fact is momentum is a term used when trying to absolve players of owning momentum. Ever heard of execution? Ever heard of putting a game away by your own merits?
    The truth is, Charger Fans, they look good. They are young in many areas but their run defense is solid. They came out VERY motivated and the Texans came out thinking they would be handed the game. I think if Rivers can handle himself in crunch time, you guys have a better team than most expect. Just make no mistake, this game was one because the Texans took it and the Chargers crumbled under the pressure. We know a thing or two about blowing leads (HISTORIC LEADS IN THE PLAYOFFS) and blowing a gift wrapped number 1 seed.

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