Seahawks also benefited from illegal bat rule in 2013

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Last night on ESPN, plenty of former players acted as if the illegal bat rule had just popped up in the rule book without warning. But as former NFL official Gerry Austin insisted, it’s been there for decades.

And it’s been invoked multiple times this decade alone. It was used once in an October 2013 game between the Patriots and Dolphins. It also was used more than a month later in a game between the 49ers and, yes, the Seahawks.

The folks at NinersNation.com wrote an item about it at the time. The NFL’s excellent Game Rewind feature provides quick access to the video and coaches’ film from the Week 14 contest.

It happened at 2:02 in the first quarter, with former 49ers receiver Kassim Osgood blocking a punt from John Ryan at the Seattle eight. The ball went forward, toward the sideline. Seahawks safety Chris Maragos immediately tracked it down, reaching the football at the Seattle 17 and, just before it bounced out of bounds, slapping the ball down the field. It was touched by the 49ers and then went out of bounds at the Seattle 34, for a 17-yard bat.

In that case, the officials threw the flag. The glitch came from the enforcement; San Francisco’s options were to penalize the Seahawks half the distance from the Seattle 17 and face fourth down again or decline the penalty and take the ball at the 34 — 17 yards away from where Maragos applied the illegal bat.

The 49ers, starting at the 34 instead of the 17 or, perhaps, the 17 plus half the distance after the penalty was enforced, scored only a field goal on the drive.

So the Seahawks picked up 17 yards of field position thanks to a loophole about which Maragos seemed to be fully aware. Even if Maragos didn’t know he was doing something smart, the incident made the Seahawks aware of the illegal bat rule. Which means linebacker K.J. Wright hadn’t been coached to not bat the ball out of the end zone when the offense fumbles the ball into the end zone.

Which ultimately means the Seahawks have benefited twice from the rule in two years — once due to clunky enforcement of it, and once because the official who was looking right at the play decided not to throw the flag.

37 responses to “Seahawks also benefited from illegal bat rule in 2013

  1. It would be refreshing to hear some honesty from the league office rather than the flat denials about judgement calls. In this case, the back judge, a part-time employee (like all NFL officials) didn’t know the rule. You have to wonder how many other rules this official doesn’t know and how many other games he might impact. The NFL offices are full of liars and cover up artists who are backed by the owners. Nothing to see here.

  2. Who cares? It’s happened in the past and it probably won’t happen again due to all the justified scrutiny. I’m not sure what digging up every instance of this going to accomplish aside from once again trying to bash the NFL. We get it. The media doesn’t like the NFL.

  3. So…. what you are saying is that the refs singlehandedly cost the Lions the game and gave it to the Seahawks… the very same team that was promoted as a potential three consecutive trip to the Superbowl team… And, this isn’t the first time they have benefited from a misapplication of this exact rule (though to be fair, they didn’t win the 2013 game) and the refs and many commentators want everyone to believe that this is really some obscure rule that has never been used to justify the blatant pro-Seahawk bias of the league in their quest to have them return to the big dance for the third consecutive time.

    Sounds about right and not fishy at all… Afterall, if the Seahawks lost that game it wouldn’t have hurt their chances of returning for a third time… It is all coincidence, nothing to see here, move along, buy your merchandise, support the NFL and your local Billionaire owner…

  4. “Last night on ESPN”

    Didn’t have to read further to know the intelligence level of who you were talking about, lol.

    “plenty of former players acted as if the illegal bat rule had just popped up in the rule book without warning”

    Oh, hey, look at that.

  5. Oh great, you just had to bring that up… there are already enough people that think the Hawks are cheaters. This just adds fuel to that stupid fire…

    On one hand, I love that so many people hate the Hawks… means we’ve had sustained success.

    On the other hand, the delusional arguments being made are becoming boring.

  6. Seahawks are not a very good team. And the NFL has a lot of integrity issues. Time for the owners to clean it up before they start looking like the NBA.

  7. When it comes to Seattle, over the last 6 years, the real 12th man is actually wearing black and white stripes. So I don’t think there is a person out there surprised by what happened last night.

    What I did find surprising was Steve Young and Ray Lewis looking like complete idiots after the game. Their confusion because “punters and QBs routinely hit the ball out of the end zone” was classic. Young and Lewis were referencing, for example, a punter has the snap go over his head and into the end zone and he runs back and kicks the ball out of the back of the end zone. That play is designed to concede the safety (2 points) rather than attempt to recover the ball. Because anything other than the safety isn’t worth the risk. The risk being a) you cant recover and your opponent does in the endzone for a TD, b) you recover, and since it was 4th down, your opponent gains possession and with the great field position scores a TD. The scenario that Young and Lewis were thinking of was completely different. But what more would you expect from ESPN?

  8. Every team has benefited and been hurt by bad/missed/judgment calls. Get over it and quit crying about it. There were a couple illegal hits that if they’d been called woukd have kept several drives going for the Seahawks but they were judgment calls (or more accurately judgment noncalls).
    Personally I think both teams plucked last night.
    Move on and play better.

  9. Ok folks as a Hawk fan we have been screwed by the refs too ya know. See Super Bowl 40. See Vinny Testaverdy helmet touchdown that cost a game and a playoff spot and lost dennis Erickson his job. It’s not the hawks fault its the NFL and you all know every one of the 32 teams has been screwed by the refs. what I find funny is how the NFL comes out and says, yep we blew it again but dont fix it.. The Lions got the shaft no doubt just like GB did in 2012. We have to live with SB40 which still sucks. These games are so close and yet I didnt know this rule and it seems most of us didn’t. Even the refs don’t know. I will say this however KJ tapping the ball made no REAL impact on the play as it was shooting out the inzone anyway. If that call would have been made we all here in Seattle would be complaining about that point including me.

  10. The official’s reasoning of “not overt” meant Wright didn’t bat it away from a Lion about to take possession of the ball. That because he could’ve just grabbed it, no Lion around, then it wasn’t necessary to apply the LETTER of the Law.

  11. “Who cares?”
    You will care (a lot) when it happens to your team

    “It’s happened in the past and it probably won’t happen again due to all the justified scrutiny.”
    Say that again out loud. It’s happened in the past (with scrutiny), but this time will fix it. Riiiiight.

    “I’m not sure what digging up every instance of this going to accomplish aside from once again trying to bash the NFL.”
    Umm, maybe it gets the league to face the fact that they have problem that will prove Mark Cuban a prophet if they don’t fix it.

    “We get it. The media doesn’t like the NFL.”
    Or maybe they (and NFL fans) don’t like how these mistakes seem to benefit a certain few teams most of the time. But if you are a fan of one of those select teams, I guess you might not want to see the problem.

  12. Put an * by their SB win. They are serial cheaters. Their owner lines the pockets of the refs. A little of the same for the seachickens that the Pats have to hear from their fans.

  13. The rule is a joke. Every single one of you knew it was a touchback when he batted it out. It was going out anyway. The Lions didn’t deserve to win the game.

    As to the Seahawks being terrible, I heard all the same stuff after a Monday night game against the Rams in 2013. They won the Super Bowl 43-8.

  14. Well it’s the officials mistake if the players didn’t committ holding, PI or egregious offenses the officials wouldn’t be needed. It’s unethical sure but definitely not unprecedented. Even in Super Bowl 46 the Giants put 12 men on to purposely burn clock even just giving up 5 yards. It’s a smart move within the rule books. If the NFL wanted to close these loop holes, under 2 minutes in the half they would penalize the team the yardage (increase it from 5 to 10) and put the clock back to when the play started, if the clock expired add 10 seconds. Basically make it hurt. I’m a Pats fan so flame away.

  15. Here comes the best part(s). First, the ref(s) in question who screwed up won’t be held accountable. Then, as the playoffs approach, the NFL will say that “crews are rated all season and only the best work the playoffs”. Then we will see this crew officiate a playoff game. Finally, the NFL will still expect fans to believe that annual nonsense they spew and Rog Goodell, Dean Blandino and the other idiots keep their jobs.

  16. Seahawks – Carroll even KJ all say it was a bat and that it was illegal and that they are fortunate to have it go the way it did. Fans also.

    No one saying it wasn’t illegal in Seattle.

  17. Since when was a missed call by the refs the same as a team cheating? Calls are missed all the time. The real issue is terrible officiating not teams cheating, except for the Patriots, they cheat.

  18. iamapatsfan says:
    Oct 6, 2015 8:20 AM
    “Last night on ESPN”

    Didn’t have to read further to know the intelligence level of who you were talking about, lol.

    “plenty of former players acted as if the illegal bat rule had just popped up in the rule book without warning”

    Oh, hey, look at that.

    __________________________

    Former Patriot Rosevelt Colvin tweeted last night that they actually practiced this batted ball drill in their situational practices.

    Amazing how many players/coaches/REFs don’t know the rules.

  19. General Lee A. Ware says:
    Oct 6, 2015 8:29 AM
    When it comes to Seattle, over the last 6 years, the real 12th man is actually wearing black and white stripes. So I don’t think there is a person out there surprised by what happened last night.

    Truer words have never been spoken. One of the NFL’s wealthiest owners keeps benefiting from glitches in officiating. I thought that stuff only happened in Banana Republics.

  20. My frustration with this argument about a non-called penalty is nobody talks about the intent of the batting rule. The rule is there to keep players from unfairly affecting a fumble recovery in the end zone in the scramble for possession. Everyone would recognize that foul if a receiver who fumbles a ball bats it with their hand just before an opponent falls on it. That is the situation envisioned by the rule.

    But there was no scramble for the ball. It was bouncing out the back of the end zone, the closest Lion was 5 yards away, and the ball’s momentum likely would’ve taken it across without Wright’s tap. Or Wright could have grabbed it unmolested. I believe the ref recognized all of this and, in NBA parlance, swallowed his whistle using the cover of ‘in my judgment it didn’t appear intentional.’

    The real issue is Wright wouldn’t have been able to tap the ball if Johnson had protected it in the first place.

  21. No fault of the Seahawks, but the league has to get their head around the whole review process. Imo, either review everything, or go back to the old days and leave it in the hands of the refs and live with human error.

  22. Sounds like a pattern of circumventing the rules. Roger better get Ted Wells ready. The integrity of the league and shield are at stake.

    Disregard Kraft and Jerrys stake in Draft Kings and our bad call at the end of the game which isn’t reviewable because it’s a subjective call which all calls are really but we don’t want to talk about that because it’s only what we want to make issues out of because we can and the NFL not religion is the opiate of the masses and no one can stop us because we are the NFL unless of course Mark Cuban was right but goddam it we are going out with an apple in our mouth!

  23. General Lee A. Ware says:
    Oct 6, 2015 8:29 AM
    When it comes to Seattle, over the last 6 years, the real 12th man is actually wearing black and white stripes. So I don’t think there is a person out there surprised by what happened last night.

    What I did find surprising was Steve Young and Ray Lewis looking like complete idiots after the game. Their confusion because “punters and QBs routinely hit the ball out of the end zone” was classic. Young and Lewis were referencing, for example, a punter has the snap go over his head and into the end zone and he runs back and kicks the ball out of the back of the end zone. That play is designed to concede the safety (2 points) rather than attempt to recover the ball. Because anything other than the safety isn’t worth the risk. The risk being a) you cant recover and your opponent does in the endzone for a TD, b) you recover, and since it was 4th down, your opponent gains possession and with the great field position scores a TD. The scenario that Young and Lewis were thinking of was completely different. But what more would you expect from ESPN?
    ———————–

    I hate you for making me stick up for these d bags but they’re actually right about this. It is 100% illegal for a player to kick a ball backwards but I’ve seen punters kick a ball out of the end zone for a safety at least 20 times. It is illegal but it is never called because as you say, they’re conceding the safety so why call it? But yes it’s illegal.

    Generally speaking you ARE allowed to bat a ball backwards, as long as it’s not in the end zone when you do it. So if a punter or qb is, say, at the 6 yard line when they bat the errant snap out the back of the end zone, that is legal. But once the ball is in the end zone, they can’t bat it out anymore, and you’re never allowed to kick it out, even if it is out of the end zone.

    So batting backwards is ok, as long as the ball is not in either end zone. Kicking is never ok. Batting forward is never ok. Wright’s play was illegal because he batted the ball backward while it was in an end zone.

  24. No fan base ever whined about referees like Seattle’s after Super Bowl XL. Now they’re going around quoting the words of a wise coach who claims if you blame the referees for you loss, that makes you a loser. Funny how that works.

  25. Watch the 2013 nfc championship game they got at least 5 calls for them…..i remember wilson running out of bounds and the clock still running when they had the lead. Only shortly later kaepernick scrambles gets out of bounds but clock myseriously still runs? Not to mention bowman play…whitner leading with helmet (shoulder) or wilson getting away with obvious intentional grounding all though still inside tackle box and no reciever in site….its a mute point now but even seahawks fans know although they wont admit.

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