Blandino suggests rule could change after Steelers-Packers FG play


A key call that could have altered the outcome of Sunday’s Steelers-Packers game could result in another tweak to the official rules.

We’ve previously explained what happened after the blocked field goal by the Steelers in the third quarter of Sunday’s game.  The play turned on whether the Steelers secured possession of the ball before Pittsburgh defensive lineman Ziggy Hood batted the ball out of bounds.  The question of whether safety Ryan Clark secured possession of the ball before he tried to lateral it to teammate William Gay wasn’t reviewable.

On Tuesday, NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino provided the same explanation — and he said that the league has discussed making the question of whether Clark secured possession a reviewable play.

“The ruling on the field of whether Clark possessed it or not is not a reviewable aspect,” Blandino said on NFL Network’s Total Access.  “And that’s something that the Competition Committee has looked at in the past, and I’m sure they’ll continue to look at.”

Blandino conceded that, if the play currently were reviewable, the ruling on the field that Clark didn’t secure possession likely would have been overturned, giving Pittsburgh the ball subject to the Hood penalty.

“Had this been reviewable, I think we could have overturned this,” Blandino said.  “But again, not reviewable.  The officials are looking at that action at full speed, live.  Very difficult to tell at full speed.  I think if we had the ability to go to review, we would have been able to overturn it.”

Under current rules, the NFL has crafted a specific list of plays and actions that are reviewable.  On the list of nine plays that aren’t reviewable (per Rule 15-9-5(5)) is the “[r]ecovery of a loose ball that does not involve a boundary line or the end zone.”  It would be an easy fix to move that category from the non-reviewable bucket to the reviewable one.

There’s no reason not to do it.  If the goal is to get it right and if the available video evidence is indisputable, why not make the change?

Of course, that logic could be applied to anything and everything that happens on the field, especially as it relates to the challenges made available to every coach in every game.

36 responses to “Blandino suggests rule could change after Steelers-Packers FG play

  1. Awesome. The league really NEEDS more rules. I mean, it’s not like the officials have a snowball’s chance in hell of actually interpretting or enforcing the current rules correctly, but that should certainly imporve if we add even more, or at least keep changing the current ones, amiright?

  2. Not a problem with the rules. It was a miss-call by the officials.

    Although I tend to think that the dude never really had “possession” of the ball. The call was the call. Later, they ran the clock out on us to end the game.

  3. What I have never understood is…when a viewing audience of millions knows a call is wrong , the refs should know also.
    Why can’t they have an official watching what we watch, and when a play is obviously wrong, alert the field judge? It really should not take as long as it does at present. The vid review should be done upstairs.

  4. How about the fact the current rule is somehow….on a 4th down play, a kick is attempted, blocked, never legally possessed by the kicking team after the kick and therefore never advanced for a 1st after the kick…

    Yet somehow that team gets a brand new set of down plus penalty yardage? How in blue hell does that make sense?

    Dumb rule. And the official OBVIOUSLY missed clark running 3 steps with it then lateraling it which means he clearly had possession…but that shouldnt have mattered, the fact they keep the ball after a failed 4th down kick and no penalty before the kick is ludicrous

  5. How typical of the NFL leaders, always AFTE R the officials were not quite correct on a call by not looking at the whole sequence instead of one spot we now hear the league will look at this. The office under Gödel should spend the offseason reevaluating the officials and all the rules that have lead to so many games being about the bad calls than the game itself.

  6. It makes no sense that certain plays cannot be reviewed. I understand why they do not review 99 percent of penalties but what is the difference between reviewing whether a guy had posession of a ball thrown to him versus a ball picked up after a blocked fg. I think the league may have assumed that it would be too difficult to tell who recovered the ball on a block…but the whole ‘indisputable visual evidence’ thing should really cover that.

  7. This is just a guess from me but I suspect that the reason they don’t review it is because sometimes it can be so difficult to see who recovers a loose ball in a big pile. This time, it was clear that he got it but imagine 8-9 250+ pounds guys on top of each other and trying to figure out who got the loose ball.

  8. The NFL wants officials determining the outcome of games, plain and simple.

    Lots of money made on determing the outcome of games. Just ask Seahawks fans who watched them get “beat” by the Steelers in the Superbowl.

    Organized Crime influence on professional sports.

  9. They won’t officially change it until it happens to either Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. Once it happens to them, the rule will be changed right on the spot, with Goodell high fiving them as he edits the rulebook with his smartphone that has a wallpaper of Belichick on it.

  10. When Dean-o is done fixing that mess, he should also explain to his officials that a “10 Second Run Off Penalty” is a 10 second run off, not a 17 second run off.

  11. From the MNF debacle last year in Seattle … to the official standing three-feet away and vehemently ruling incomplete on Tramon Williams’ pick of Romo last week in Dallas, it is clear the officials are flat-out horrible and they need every piece of electronic equipment available to rectify their wrongs.

  12. This really shouldn’t be about creating new rules. It should be about educating the refs to enforce the ones that are already in place.

    If the refs were perfect, Tramon Williams would have had a defensive TD on the Bell fumbles, meaning the Packers would have never been in the position to kick a FG.

  13. Belichick is 100% correct a coaches should be able to use their challenges to review anything hey want. Maybe that will stop some of these horrible calls from going through

  14. They had stopped the Packers from scoring after 1st and goal inside the 5 yard line.

    The Steelers tried to get all sorts of cute after the blocked FG… instead of just falling on the ball. Instead more sideline hi-jinx for the Steelers as the guy illegally bats the ball out of bounds.

    Those officials were awful all the way around more than just on that play and for both teams.

  15. magicmtndan says:
    Dec 25, 2013 12:08 PM

    So how does a team block a FG attempt on 4th down and not get the ball back no matter what happens?

    A penalty that results in an automatic first down, like batting a ball out of bounds.

  16. Stiller43 says:
    Dec 25, 2013 11:20 AM
    How about the fact the current rule is somehow….on a 4th down play, a kick is attempted, blocked, never legally possessed by the kicking team after the kick and therefore never advanced for a 1st after the kick…

    Yet somehow that team gets a brand new set of down plus penalty yardage? How in blue hell does that make sense?

    Dumb rule. And the official OBVIOUSLY missed clark running 3 steps with it then lateraling it which means he clearly had possession…but that shouldnt have mattered, the fact they keep the ball after a failed 4th down kick and no penalty before the kick is ludicrous

    It’s actually simple. The ruling was Pitts never had possession. Pitts was also flagged for a penalty. So unless Pitts had been to ruled to have possessed the ball the penalty is enforced from the spot of the snap against Pitts. Illegal batting a loose ball is an automatic first down.

    The entire play turned on the fact that Pitts was never ruled to have possessed the ball. If the Pitts player had been trying to catch a thrown ball he would not have been ruled a catch, so I don’t see how it’s in possession as he grabbed it as he was going to the ground and tried to toss it to another player who didn’t catch it then batted it forward (penalty). He didn’t possess it to the ground, he didn’t make a “football move”. He simply grabbed it and tossed it like a hot potato.

    (I do not know the rule for possession of a loose ball or why it would be different than the rule for a caught pass. )

  17. How about the ref’s be held more accountable in the first place? That play should’ve never come down to that call in the first place! A Steeler defender had possession of that ball before he lateraled it off which forced the Steeler player to bat the ball out of bounds! It’s called, a grass-r00ts approach to getting things done right. Officiate the game correctly!!!!!!

  18. The entire point of booth review is to get the right call on the field during games.

    Amazingly, after several years of instituting booth review, they still aren’t getting the right calls on the field during games.

    Epic fail.

  19. I really hate the limitations on reviews. If a coach throws a red flag, he should be able to ask that ANYTHING be reviewed. Stupid rules need to change. That’s the whole point of a review of a play to make sure all was as it should be. There should be no restrictions on what they are asking to be reviewed.

  20. The simplest thing is to allow coaches to challenge anything including penalties or lack thereof. why the heck is illegal batting such a grievous penalty particularly after a team has lost possession after a missed kick.

  21. Many commenters here “want the refs to be held more accountable.” I have agreed with the thought, but it does not work.

    Refs don’t play in the game, so the only way to hold them accountable is by firing them (fines are silly – do you get a fined at your work for an error?).

    Who should replace them? Let’s assume that NFL refs are at the peak of their profession. this means we end up replacing them with less capable people. Not sure that is the answer either.

    the rules need simplification. pure and simple.

  22. that rule is absolutely ridiculous. the nfl is going to penalize a team for blocking a FG? in my opinion once that ball is blocked, no matter what happens the kicking team should not get the ball back unless they pick the ball up and get a first down. if you want to asses a penalty for batting the ball forward, fine. as soon as that ball is batted it is a dead ball, possession should change on downs and the penalty should be assessed against the blocking team on the offensive side. i had no horse in that race (although i hate the packers) but i was as angry as if the vikes had just lost the super bowl with that terrible rule

  23. also, was not conclusive at all that the steeler player (can’t remember who) was intentionally batting the ball. with that oblong ball bouncing around and giant guys running after it, it looked as much to me like he was trying to scoop it up but only got one hand on it batting it forward. i think you have to give the player the benefit of the doubt in that situation…look at the intent of the rule.
    there were so many things that were terrible about that call.

  24. Lets talk about how the Steelers have changed the rules for the league- Rooney rule, Coin toss rule (make the call before the coin is tossed) and now the FG replay rule. Regardless on how you look at the Steelers, they are changing the game for the better.

  25. Stupid play by Clark, 4 blind officials and the stupid “non-reviewable rule” yielded a ridiculous outcome for this play.

    The great, simple game has become over-complicated.

    Obvious fix: make every play reviewable!

  26. Being able to grasp the ball with two hands, on the run, and then successfully lateraling the ball to a specific player, who was also on the run, looks like possession to me. That’s the call the ref’s missed. The other guy definitely tried to intentionally bat the forward. He probably didn’t know the rules. Watch his nearby teammate react with his hands to his head. He knew the guy screwed up.

    The refs missed the possession call and got the batting/advancement call correct, and rules being rules, gave it back to GB.

    Get over it… still won the game.

  27. I get a kick out of some of you claiming Clark never had possession. Go find the video then get back to me. Too laughable for a serious discussion with you.

    But for those that are open minded he had 2-3 steps at the least, knee down , and then the pitch.

    While his knew was down I didn’t think that he was touched by a GB player but I have seen a still shot that shows he was touched.

  28. Did I miss something, or is the only reason we are having this discussion is the officials botched the initial fumble and recovery by Tramon who walked in for the touchdown.

    Seems like it all evened out?

  29. It was the exact and correct call.

    Because some idiot doesn’t listen to his coaches and drop on a loose ball is only the fault of the player in question.

    The NFL officiating is very good.

    There is no need to constantly change the rules of some silly whining.

    The Steelers still won the game.

    I hope the whiners, who always blame the officials for a bad call when there team is no good, would just shut the hell up and stop attempting to wreck America’s finest professional sport.

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