Confusion continues about refs signaling Patriots’ ineligible receivers


Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said on Thursday morning that the NFL has instructed its officials to use a new signal in the Super Bowl to inform defensive players which offensive players are eligible receivers and which offensive players are ineligible. That came as news to Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

“I haven’t heard anything about that, so we’ll see what happens,” Belichick told pool reporter Jarrett Bell at the Patriots’ Thursday practice. “I’ll check it out.”

NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino said there’s nothing new for Belichick to check out: Carroll misunderstood, and there is no new signal. It’s unclear where Carroll got that idea, as he said on Thursday morning that he was informed by the league that the officials were changing the way they officiate when the Patriots run trick plays.

“The new signal is the referee will point to the player that has the eligible number and he’ll signal that he is not eligible. That’s the new thing. They’ve never done that before,” Carroll said.

So where did Carroll get that idea? It’s unclear, but Super Bowl referee Bill Vinovich seemed to have the same idea. Vinovich and Blandino had an awkward moment in front of the press when Blandino told Vinovich that he shouldn’t tell the defense which ineligible receivers not to cover, something that came as news to Vinovich.

The Patriots’ trick plays surprised the defenses of the Ravens and Colts in their playoff games. Those plays also seem to have confused everyone else in the NFL. Even the officiating department.

129 responses to “Confusion continues about refs signaling Patriots’ ineligible receivers

  1. The Officials and NFL are looking like complete fools right now. I mean this is a professional football league supposedly. One grossing billions of dollars in revenue, and they can’t accurately measure the instruments with which the games are played, nor can they get their signals down

    If they end up changing the signals, it’s the right thing to do, but it’s gonna cuz an uproar with the Baltimore Ravens. No one cares about Indy cuz a lotta things are getting discounted cuz they got blown out. But that was a 4 point game against Baltimore. And the inability of the refs to get their crap straight resulted in 41 yards on 3 plays for the Pats at a point where they were losing by 14.

  2. Doesn’t the NFL have rules about which numbers certain positions can wear? And isn’t the point of that so sides of the both can easily identify the positions of those lining up against you and what they have the ability to do? Which is why I’ve always questioned this crap of having linemen and defensive players come in to an eligible slot. But hey everyone does it. The problem was during the ravens game is the refs were failing miserably at their jobs. Happens all the time and it screwed the Ravens on a couple big plays. The refs got it right during the colts game. So WHATS THE BIG DEAL NOW?? The super bowl is officially a circus.

  3. They pointed to Vereen and called his number out as “34 is inelligible”. Everyone heard it it went out over the PA a Gillette. They then lined up, the Ravens lined up and the game went on.

    So now to accomidate inferior coaches and efensise players the Ref will stand over the ball and let the defense readjust. Maybe they shoould ask every player if they are sure the know who is elligible. Maybe they shuld let the defense substitute again just in case. Or matybe let them just play with extra players so the can make sure they have everyone covered….This is so stupid….
    Play the game…

  4. No Pete, they have always signaled eligible and ineligible players, when their status is at odds with their jersey number.

    Nothing new, it happens all…. the….. time. Glad we were able to get you up to speed before kickoff.

    These things are just being blown up now, because everything the Pats do is under a microscope, and what’s bad for the Pats, is good for the ratings.

    All the noise about the Pats gaining an unfair advantage, and they have to play the most important game of the year under all this media hype….and even if they win this thing, no one will give them credit

    It’s a shame.

  5. Seattle is going to roll these choke artists. Haven’t won anything in over a decade.

    30-7. The “dynasty”, aka not winning anything in over ten years and cheating to win over ten years ago, ends on Sunday. Half empty stadium and no cheat fans to be seen for the next 50 years awaits us.

  6. I think waht Blandino was trying to say, the ref should not use phrase like “do not cover …” but use “… is not eligible”. This way the ref will not seem to be on one team’s side.

    As to Pete Carroll’s confusion, I would believe the league want to help Seahawk to get out the chaoes caused by the eligible/ineligible situation but don’t want state it openly. Pete Carroll’s Tweet is an unintentional leak of assurance Pet got from the league.

  7. I am sick of everybody saying the Patriots cheated against the Ravens. For the love of mike they followed the letter of the law. The ineligible receiver reported to the official, who then reported it to the defense, who then had at least 7 to 10 seconds out of a 30 second clock understand this, or call a freaking time out. They would know how are you up snaps no trickery and the official even went so far as to tell them do not cover 34. What more do these fools want??? And I keep saying the stupid part is the Ravens fell for this three straight times. 3!!! The Ravens and if fans have no beef with the Patriots whatsoever on this trick play that has been used for the last 50 years in football. For the love of God can we get over this?

  8. Let the refs make any signals they want. This is going to be an ole’ school beatdown between the Varsity conference and the JV conference– just like last year. The only real difference is that the Broncos offense last year was better than the Pats this year. Seahawks up by 3 TD’ by the midpoint of the 3rd.

  9. What the Patriots do with ineligible receivers is borderline legal. They found a loophole in the rule that frankly needs to be closed asap by the league.

    With such short notice, there really isn’t a way to defend against formations such as things.

    As a fan of neither team, I feel bad for the Ravens who not only got burned by this loop hole, but lost to a team that cheats as well.

  10. I’d just rush 5 every time they called the weird formation and order them not to stop until Brady was plastered. That would stop it.

  11. So you have Spygate, Deflategate, Ineligiblegate, and who knows what else they didn’t get caught doing? I wonder how many games the Patriots would actually win if they just didn’t find the need to cheat?

  12. Welp, it’s a good thing the NFL has it’s own house locked down and ready to go before the biggest game of the season!

  13. Maybe the officials should have told Rashaan Melvin of the Ravens to cover Amendola on that trick play pass from Edelman too. Deception in the NFL is just unfair. Welcome to 2015 where everyone looks for excuses and bad guys.

  14. The NFL is clearly having trouble keeping up with the underhanded tactics of the Patriots.

    If there was ever a good time for a new league to startup, this is it.

  15. typical.. Belichick is usually at least 3 or 4 moves ahead of the rest of the league, including the officials

  16. Great, so the pointless attempt to take away the advantage resulting from an unusual but legal offensive formation will now result in MORE confusion for the defense? Brilliant!!

    I actually would not be surprised if this is Carroll playing mind games, and coming up with a couple of ineligible/eligible twists himself, while giving the Pats the idea that the D should get extra ref signals that it won’t get.

  17. i hate the patriots and hope seattle crushes them, but this is just part of why i respect them so much. they will do whatever it takes to win. stretch the rules, flat out break rules, tape other teams, tamper with the balls, you have to respect that. i think most teams would trade a 1st rd pick and a slap on the wrist fine for a super bowl. if the penalty for robbing banks was 3 nights in jail, you’d be a fool to not try it.

  18.  “If this body is not capable of action, I suggest new leadership is needed. I move for a Vote of No Confidence in Chancellor Valorum’s… wait I meant Goodell’s leadership.”

  19. Bet HUGE on Seattle. There is no way the NFL and refs let the Patriots win this game.

    This is going to be a Bret Hart size screwjob…

  20. Now the refs are changing the rules to stop the Patriots. This is delicious. Best coach in football, his players are the best coached and he knows the rules and is better organized than the head of officiating.

    Even MORE bulletin board material. The Patriots have an us against the world mentality and the ‘Hawks are going to get STOMPED.

  21. When the deflated ball story broke I truly believed that the league had finally outsmarted the Patriots and caught them with their pants down.

    But now? We know it wasn’t a sting operation as was originally reported (I am not even sure the league is capable of something that organized and thoroughly planned) and it’s becoming clearer every day that not only did the league simply react to the allegations at half time but they really had no idea how to handle the situation and still don’t.

    At this point if you believe the Patriots tampered with the footballs (I am still on the fence but I wouldn’t be surprised either way) can you really blame them? The league doesn’t keep the balls in a secure place after they check them for the game and even the process of checking the balls pregame appears to be a joke. Why wouldn’t a team alter the footballs to make them as user friendly as possible regardless of the rules? Especially if the league is displaying a pattern of behavior and incompetence which can only lead to the conclusion that up until half time of the 2015 AFC championship game they didn’t really care about the pressure of the balls.

    You can create all the rules you want but this is professional football and EVERY team is looking for a competitive edge. So if there is not a system of checks and balances to make sure the rules are being followed then the league is opening up itself for situations like the one that took place during the AFC championship game.

    The honor system will never work in a competitive professional sports league in which multimillion dollar careers are on the line.

  22. Bill Belichick has 5 other tricks up his sleeve that nobody has seen and he’s close to another Super Bowl victory.
    It’s time to kiss the rings and acknowledge his greatness.

  23. Ha – this league is a frickin mess –

    it reminds me of one of my first entry level jobs I had where all the bosses where about 3 years older than me.

    These are professionals right? Don’t most of these people have college degrees?

  24. Witch hunt with basically no evidence, refs tellin teams which players not to cover, nfl leaking select info the the media, and investigation being ran By an ex jets employee, the head of the league desperate to save his job

    All this says to me is that there is a full on attack by the league against one of thier best teams on the eve of the leagues biggest game.

    add onto the fire an entire fan base who uses spy gate to accuse the pats as cheaters despite not even knowing what infraction the pats broke Since the rules which haven’t been changed allows for videotaping of signals but only from certain locations. And to show a pattern here the same league came out and misinformed the fan base about the rule to paint the pats in abad light, and yes you can look this information up on the web

    It’s time for roger to ban New England from having a team for 5 years and just spipenly admit that it has been one of his goals since he took on a job running the league that he was never qualified to do

  25. On top of everything thing else that has gone wrong for the NFL this season they’re gonna go & implement new protocol in the biggest game of the season. How could this possibly go wrong?

  26. So it sounds like to me that the confusion is not about if they will use hand signals or not (they will) but that the referee will not tell the defense {with words} “do not cover XX”.

    Meaning the referee should not be telling the defense what to do. Duh. Seems obvious to me and a non=story.

  27. The amazing thing is that this isn’t confusing. Five guys covered on the ends are ineligible. One guy on each end, i.e. the ones covering the five in the middle, are eligible. I don’t see why a special signal is required. Every defender should be capable of figuring this out, especially when someone has already been announced as an eligible receiver.

  28. In addition to telling the other team who and who not to cover, I’m sure all the Pats haters would appreciate the refs actually covering any uncovered eligible receivers.



  29. Has there ever been a more complete comedy of errors than the last two weeks? Not only the NFL front office has demonstrated total incompetency but the media has assumed conspiracy theories, over-reached in so called stories and accused without any valid information. I hope the actual game will be worth it, even though, win or lose, the Patriots seem to be the big losers out of all this. And the drama will continue well into the offseason.

  30. Well who’s brilliant idea was it that the signal for “eligible” and “ineligible” receivers are the same and to rely on the ref announcing it on a PA system in front of 60,000+ loud fans?

    Carroll has a point. A point Harbaugh already voiced. The refs need to make a change on how they communicate clearly.

  31. I don’t care if they change how they indicate an eligible and ineligible receiver… NEXT YEAR.

    I think it would be quite unprecedented to change a long standing rule / procedure for the championship game to end the season.

  32. If the NFL is making new rules/signals for this it must mean that the Patriots “skirted” the rules in the first place. It’s obvious the Ravens should be playing in the Superbowl. they were the best team in the AFC playoffs who didn’t cheat.

  33. Although there was no direct quote in the other article, it seemed to imply Pete got it from the officials. With Vinovich’s response, maybe he made a command decision and now needs to backtrack. With the same signal meaning both eligible and ineligible it seems reasonable to change the hand signal for one of them but doing so for one game is odd.

  34. Wow.

    This is exactly what the Ravens were talking about…not that what the Pats were doing was wrong. But that it wasn’t being communicated in the proper manner. And everybody told the Ravens to stop crying…

    Well guess what? Its almost 4 weeks later and the Refs still don’t have a clue on what to do..and u can bet the Pats* will go Into the fast pace no huddle that adds even more trickeration to these plays.

    If the competition committee or the refs change anything about those plays , this week or in the off-season then it proves the Ravens were at a disadvantage during their game.

  35. Once again The Greatest Coach In The History of The NFL playing Chess when all others are playing, coaching and officiating Checkers.

  36. I think it’s simple. Because players on the field can’t always hear the intercom in the stadium, the refs will point to the player they are announcing as ineligible. That way the defense is not disadvantaged due to the simple fact that they can’t hear the sound system on the field. The Pats took advantage of that at home. Volumegate perhaps?

  37. reed20fence says:
    Jan 30, 2015 7:14 AM
    The Officials and NFL are looking like complete fools right now. I mean this is a professional football league supposedly. One grossing billions of dollars in revenue, and they can’t accurately measure the instruments with which the games are played, nor can they get their signals down

    If they end up changing the signals, it’s the right thing to do, but it’s gonna cuz an uproar with the Baltimore Ravens. No one cares about Indy cuz a lotta things are getting discounted cuz they got blown out. But that was a 4 point game against Baltimore. And the inability of the refs to get their crap straight resulted in 41 yards on 3 plays for the Pats at a point where they were losing by 14.


    I disagree. It was the inability of Baltimore to simply NOT cover the ineligible man.

  38. I suspect you’re going to see a proposal in the offseason to change the rules so that there’s no more weird formations like what the Patriots have been running lately – not because it’s some anti-Patriots thing, but to keep the officials from having to track who’s eligible and who’s not. It’ll be something along the lines of, “you’ve got an eligible number, you’re eligible; you’ve got an ineligible number, you’re ineligible unless you report in. If your guy with an eligible number decides to become ineligible, you can’t take a player with an ineligible number and then make him eligible.”

    I leave it to others to decide whether that’s a good idea or not.

  39. Ok – I’m getting the feeling the ref’s will be trying to hand this game to Seattle. If the Pat’s win this Sunday, it will be hard fought and deserved because the ref’s have already tipped their hand in this.

  40. Go back and watch one of the Ravens plays. Quick huddle, Vereen runs to the line, as he is running, raises his hand to the ref, and wipes the front of his jersey (apparently signaling ineligible), ball is snapped maybe 2 seconds later. Bang bang play, no way Ravens have time to adjust. I think the official gets on the Mike and declares the eligible, but I do not think they did the same for the ineligible.

    There is a reason the NFL has eligible and ineligible numbers, there is a reason why guys have to be ‘covered up’.

    This was the ultimate is deception. Please do not compare it to a halfback pass or flea flicker, not a very good analogy.

  41. Vinovich was the ref during the Ravens-Patriots division game where he clearly favored the Ravens. Mystery fire alarms, a fake scandal to cost the Patriots days of SB prep time, and now this guy planning to help the Seahawks defense react to Patriots play calling. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the guys on his crew in the SB were the ones that were supposed to check the game balls for the AFC championship.

  42. The Rams beat Seattle with the help of a trick play where the Ram’s punt blockers went left to confuse the Seahawks while the punt returner went right and on to a touchdown. Pete-the-cheat complained about maybe a fair catch signal but was overruled by the officials. I have yet to hear any complaints about a unfair trick play as this, like having an eligible player report as ineligible, as this play was within the rules.
    I was at the Colts – Pats game where we (the Colts) had a lineman report as eligible and catch a TD pass. Again no complaints.
    Trick plays are part of the game and when the team you are rooting for runs one successfully, fun to watch and chat about.

  43. It’s as simple as slowing the play down to give the D time to react, as the rule book states.

    I watched the Ravens game where Shane Vereen (WR) reported “ineligible” and 2 seconds later they snapped the ball. What I would do at that point is to treat Vereen as a Guard and run him over until he became part of the ground. Then, see how many times they run that when their receivers are injured.

    John Harbaugh wasn’t complaining about the formation – he was complaining that they had no time to react..per the rules. That’s not him being a crybaby like brother Jim. Pretty simple stuff if you just stand over the ball as a ref until everything is clear.

  44. dcpatfan says:
    Jan 30, 2015 8:51 AM
    Once again The Greatest Coach In The History of The NFL playing Chess when all others are playing, coaching and officiating Checkers.
    If the coach is playing chess and the officials are playing checkers that would not be the same game, hence cheating.

    Good one

  45. this whole NFL season had been a PR nightmare these guys have screwed up everything starting with Ray Rice to this stupid deflate gate BS.

    Mark Cuban is looking like a soothsayer at this point Godell needs to be fired. It seems that money is the only thing that motivates him and the owners. I think this game has a chance to be one of the all time greats as far as match ups go, but it would be funny if somehow it was one sided and a lot of people tuned out (that didn’t have a team in the game) it seems that only lower than expected rating would get these fools attention.

    They really look bad these past 2 weeks “showcasing” their biggest game with all the BS going on.

  46. The people charged with running the NFL would bankrupt any other business in any other industry. The fans’ love of football is the only thing saving the league from itself and its incredibly inept management.

  47. Dean Blandino: Now remember Bill, the eligible receiver cannot wear a number that is ineligible, except when he lines up with outside the tackle and makes a football move, then comes to a complete stop for precisely 2.5 seconds, then he must waive his hands in the air to let the other team know that he is eligible. Got it?

    Bill Vinovich: Huh, what, who?

  48. Why is there a rule allowing an eligible receiver to be ineligible and vice versa? What’s the purpose? Belichick would pull his pants down on the sideline to distract an opponent if he thought it would help win a football game.

  49. The trick plays didn’t beat the Ravens the Ravens beat themselves by blowing TWO 14 point leads…..pretty sad Raven fans are still crying like little babies a month later. The “best team in the playoffs” is the funniest line of the month considering you blew two big leads….hahahahaha.

  50. So should Harbaugh still have wasted a Timeout trying to get the refs to explain something in 2 mins.. That they still haven’t been able to explain 3 WEEKS LATER?!?!?

    The NFL is a joke

  51. “Trick” plays by the Pats were tried several times by other teams earlier in the season but no one complained because they didn’t work. Pats know how to execute and they get villified for following the rules of the NFL. Every play designed throughout the history of footbal has been to try and confuse the Defense so not sure what all the hullaboo is about. Ravens and Colts were told who was ineligible before the play so if they covered them shame on them.

  52. Okay, now I am astounded. I thought that it made sense for the refs to indicate eligible/ineligible players to the defense Sort of a “no secrets” type of approach. At the minimum such a practice would indicate that the refs actually can accurately referee the game because they know who is eligible and not eligible.

    Now, I understand that there will be secrets and secrets that the refs may have time to understand and secrets the refs may not have time to understand which leads me to believe part of the game here is to trick the refs. In any case, apparently the secrets are between the Offense and the refs and sometimes just between Tom Brady’s deflated brain, the OC and Belicheat.

  53. being an ex player doesn’t make uninformed opinions any more valid than the uninformed opinions from our little band of gossipers.

    It’s a little shameful to call people liars before having any proof of that but at least we’re not making fools of ourselves under our real names

  54. Uh oh, sounds like another cheating scandal, this time with seahawks. I’m sure the media will just flame them for conspiring with the NFL to work together at the super bowl. Sounds like cheating to me. Man, those seahawks are cheaters. Carroll has no integrity…..jump to conclusions much…

  55. You better watch out. TB12 might deflated ten balls to one very specific size and then make those other two balls totally random sizes so that he has the advantage of creating a challenge for himself. Since the balls are chosen by the refs, brady will have to deal with those wild card balls with random PSI that obvious help his game #hateuscuztheyanus

  56. The NFL has become so over-regulated that it’s confusing itself. What’s a catch? What’s pass interference? What’s an illegal hit to the head? Who’s an eligible receiver? How high can socks be? How much celebrating is excessive? How much air should be in a ball? When is it roughing the passer? I’m sure there are 1000 more questions that no one can agree on.

  57. Oh, and it wasn’t successful against the Colts. pats used it twice, resulting in a sack and an incompletion.

    Obviously Colts defensive players understand what makes a player eligible better than Ravens players. T Suggs, by his own admission, covered Vereen even after the ref said, “Do not cover 34.”

  58. I can see it now.

    Gronk breaks the huddle. Tells ref, “I’m eligible”, lines up at TE. Ref announces “87 is eligible”. Seattle D freezes: “Say what?” TD pass to Gronk. Gronk deflates the ball with a thunderous spike.

    It’s sad really. Seattle bringing a knife to a gunfight.

  59. Are the refs going to “help” the Patriots with anything? I doubt it. Is the media going to blow this up into a big scandal? I doubt that too,because it’s not the Patriots. If Belichick asked the refs for help like this,it would be called cheating,of course.

  60. From Dallas vs. Detroit


    Green Bay vs. Dallas


    New England vs. Everyone

    I have never seen a post season so riddled with rules-related controversies. It’s like a Media Feeding Frenzy.

    And I have definitely never seen a situation where the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl there has been literally NO talk about the game and ALL talk about rules.

    The most anti-climactic end to an NFL season that I can ever remember. Honestly, no matter who wins, it’s going to seem anticlimactic.

    I normally root against the Patriots but for this game I will be rooting for them. The unending witch hunt is really tiresome.

  61. I will bet $2 million that Seahawks win the game with an ineligible/eligible super secret. trick-the-defense, trick-the-refs play. Then I will be laughing my arse off at Tommy and Coach.

  62. I wonder if there was this kind of fury when people started doing play action fakes, or a QB sneak. I mean, sneak is right in the name. Get over yourselves, people. Unless you’re lining up in the power-I and running straight ahead or you’re taking a knee to end the game, every offensive play is designed to confuse the defense as to what’s going to happen. Every single one.

  63. this is why two weeks is way too long between the AFC and NFC conference championship games and the Super Bowl


  64. Pete is 10 percent of the coach BB is. He’s basically a glorified cheerleader and trying to get the refs to help him because he doesn’t understand anything but the simplest of plays proves it.

    Boohoo the patriots are smarter than you and you’re trying to get the refs to slow the game down for your inferior mind.

  65. On goal-line plays, it seems to me that I’ve heard many officials announce “Number 62 is eligible.”

    Why don’t they just do this for every “unusual eligibility” play?

    “Number 34 is not an eligible receiver.”

  66. I would suggest that that act of a player declaring himself ineligible should also constitute an offensive personnel change and therefore the referees should allow the defense the time to make a personnel change if they desire.

  67. I don’t even think the Pats will try using the Ineligible/Eligible receiver gimic in this game. It’s done it’s job. The Seahawks have had to spend time addressing it and be on the lookout for it thoughout the game. If the Pats do use it they better make sure they are extra careful to do everything by the book. After being put on the spot it’s only natural that the officials would love to kill a big play by throwing a flag on one of these based on a technicality.

  68. It doesn’t matter, it will be a repeat of the Patriots’ last two Super Bowl appearances. Seattle’s front 4 is just as good as the Giants’ front four in those two games and that will be the difference, plus Seattle has the secondary and linebackers to back up that front four rushing the QB. Too bad for the Patriots that they aren’t good enough to man up and beat the Hawks in the trenches or they would have a good shot at winning their fourth title.

  69. Let’s make it fair. Brady will inform the referee of the person who he intends to throw the ball to.

    Fair enough for you Patriot haters?#Patriotswitchhunt

  70. The rules are very clear and need to be enforced.

    If a player with an ineligible number reports as eligible, or a player with an eligible number reports as ineligible, they must alert the ref and the ref, in turn, must alert the defense.

    These are the current rules.

    The Pats were allowed to snap the ball before the refs alerted the defense.

    Like the refs slowing Philly’s offense, the refs must either not set the ball for play or if snapped, blow the play dead.

    Learn the rule book.

  71. “Those plays also seem to have confused everyone else in the NFL. Even the officiating department.”

    And that’s what Belichick counts on.

    It’s telling how Pats fans think that exploiting loopholes is how the game is supposed to be played.

  72. Pats fans only care about winning!! We also LOVE watching all of you cry and complain about the Pats.

    Sorry, NOT sorry!

  73. This is NOT hard to figure out, I know little league teams that run this and quite a few high schools:
    The only people that can go out for a pass are the last players on each side of the line and anyone off the line (in the backfield)
    Numbers mean nothing really

  74. And what about Matthew Stafford, last year, rushing to the 1-yard line, motioning for a spike… but jumping over the center for the winning TD. The defense was just not there. Just like the Ravens defense. And Harbaugh!

    You can’t change the rules before the Superbowl because Pete is afraid that his defense is that dumb!

    Come on guys, “number 34 is ineligible” is more than enough. You don’t have to point your finger at him, he already has number “34” written all over his jersey!

  75. The refs failed to measure for PSI as they are supposed to, and have failed at knowing who is elligible and who is not. SEEMS LIKE THE NFL IS IN PANIC MODE. Time for a Referee study class. Go Pats!

  76. When you run a 5wr set it’s impossible to know what WR or RB is eligible especially when you put the inside guys in motion or run a bunch wr set it’s a big guessing game

  77. The NFL should just get rid of the ineligible player rule. If a team wants to place 10 receivers on the line, let them do it. Let the defense cover or more like power rush the QB, snap a few receivers in half on the way to sack the QB. It’s an antiquated rule. Teams will still need to protect the QB and block for the RB. Are they going to block a 300 lb DL with a 200 lb receiver or a 300 lb OL? More gimmicks and trick plays, the more entertaining the game.

  78. I will bet $2 million that Seahawks win the game with an ineligible/eligible super secret. trick-the-defense, trick-the-refs play. Then I will be laughing my arse off at Tommy and Coach.
    I would take that bet except I’m sure you don’t have it. Bet that the Seahawks will run the ball a lot since they don’t throw the ball.

  79. Look, I’m a Hawks fan, and even I think the formations that the Patriots use are legal, and well within the rules of the game. I see it done at the high school level, and even pee-wee football every season.

    As a coach, I never was smart enough to come up with some of the creative formations that BB has, but I liked to occasionally go unbalanced on a quick count if we needed a yard or two.

    Trick plays and formations, by their very nature, are deceptive and meant to confuse the Defense. That is why you need to coach LB’s and DB’s to know the rules of who is covered in a formation, and who isn’t. The defense could just as easily assign a player to look at the ref that players check in with every play. It’s a pain, but you have to be willing to take those extra steps…

  80. This whole thing would go away if the refs would notify the defensive “representative” or captain instead of announcing it over the loudspeaker for the crowd/media while the defense is getting the signals called. The fans and media don’t need that information, but the defense should have access to it in a reasonable manner.

    To me it ties in with the substitution rule. When the offense changes personnel (and reporting an ineligible as eligible and vice versa is changing personnel), the defense needs to be given fair opportunity to react. Problem solved.

  81. rpreisch says: Jan 30, 2015 11:26 AM

    This is NOT hard to figure out, I know little league teams that run this and quite a few high schools:
    The only people that can go out for a pass are the last players on each side of the line and anyone off the line (in the backfield)
    Numbers mean nothing really

    Then the refs need to start calling illegal formation on every offensive lineman that takes that half yard or yard step off the line to gain an advantage in pass blocking. The way it is now is confusing, as in some cases the OL is set back as far as the slot receiver. Defense can’t tell who is on the line and who isn’t.

  82. So let me get this circus they call the nfl officials who can’t get things straight are the same ones you are taking their word that they checked the ‘deflated’ balls with a actual meter. But they didn’t log the pressure? Instead you’d rather sully the image of a future HOF coach and QB over these part timers who are most likely lying to protect their gig. Because they know if they didn’t do there job they would be fired.

  83. Haters won’t be happy until the Pats only run I-Formation and 2-Wide only. Even then, when the Pats beat your team, hates will be calling it simplicitygate or transparentformationgate.

  84. An Illegal 20-Yard Swing for the Patriots against the Ravens?

    This may be a 30-for-30 film in the making. Bill Vinovich’s Sports Illustrated interview seems to suggest he doesn’t understand — and didn’t properly enforce — the rules governing the reporting of eligibility in the Patriots-Ravens game. It’s important because it may have given the Patriots a 20-yard advantage on a scoring drive.

    “Basically it was just a brilliant play on Bill Belichick’s part and it caught them off guard,” Vinovich told SI. “That’s why you have to be able to think quickly. Not only did I say he’s not eligible, I said, ‘Do not cover 34 [Vereen].’ But the DBs were obviously confused. What’s going through my mind is, Can he do this legally? Was Vereen in the previous play? All these different things start going through my mind. Then I realize that going from eligible to ineligible, you don’t have to be out one play before. The other way, coming back ineligible to eligible, you have to be out of play. Now he can’t go back to eligible without going out for a play, which he did. Some of the stuff they throw at you, you just go, whoa. That’s the great part of officiating—it’s always changing. Someone’s gonna think of something different to do. But the play was legal, totally legal.”

    There has been a lot of discussion of what Vinovich, Blandino, Harbaugh and Dungy think about this. But what they think is irrelevant because the rule articulated in the 2012 NFL Points of Emphasis addresses the exact scenario that unfolded in the Ravens-Patriots game.

    Three simple facts and one extrapolation:

    1. FACT: It was widely reported that Shane Vereen on at least one play reported his ineligibility just before the snap.

    2. FACT: The rule requires the ineligibility report be made “BEFORE ENTERING THE HUDDLE” and says failure to report is “A 5-YARD PENALTY FOR ILLEGAL SUBSTITUTION.”

    3. FACT: The rule requires the referee and umpire to report the ineligibility to the defense concurrent with the beginning of the huddle.

    4. EXTRAPOLATION: If the refs had thrown the flag for illegal substitution, Harbaugh would not have gotten the 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct. That’s the 20-yard swing.

    Here is the exact wording of the 2012 Points of Emphasis regarding deceptive substitutions:

    “The committee also reviewed the procedures for an offensive player who comes into the game wearing a number that does not qualify him for the position he takes. These players must report to the referee, before entering the huddle. The referee and umpire will then report the same to the defensive team.

    This rule prevails whether a player is already in the game or is an entering substitute and whether it is a play from scrimmage, an attempted field goal, or a try after a touchdown. If a player fails to report his change in eligibility, it will result in a 5-yard penalty for illegal substitution.”

    Vinovich said 7 seconds is enough time to adjust. Where did he get that?

    It seems like the pre-huddle report requirement – both of the eligibility change by the player to the refs and by the refs to the defense — would suggest 15 seconds or 20 seconds.

    Vinovich is focused on the people coming in and out of the game, which appears to be irrelevant, and on telling the DBs not to cover Vereen — as if that improvisation was adequate. But he doesn’t say anything about the pre-huddle notification requirement (both on the player to the ref and on the refs to the defense). This suggests he has no knowledge of the rule.

    Vinovich also said he doesn’t know how else he would have handled it. If he knew the rule, he would have thrown a 5-yard flag on the Patriots when Vereen reported his eligibility status AFTER THE HUDDLE. Or he would have known that the defense is supposed to get huddle-equivalent time to adjust.

    He says the play caught the Ravens off guard. And it did. But it also caught him off guard. And it may have cost the Ravens the game.

    Please Patriot fans. If you comment, please be logical and respond to the points raised by the facts and the rules. I am not mentioning spygate, inflategate, injuryreservegate or any other gate.

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