Just before Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri lined up for a game-tying extra point on Sunday in Buffalo, the Colts sent some sideline personnel onto the field to attempt to remove snow from the area where the kick would be lined up, and help Vinatieri get better footing. That’s a violation of league rules.
The on-field officials promptly sent the Colts’ personnel off the field, and the NFL told PFT that the officials handled the matter properly.
“Under no circumstances will a Referee permit clearing by the grounds crew, or other team personnel, of a spot for a PAT or field goal attempt. Only players are permitted to clear such spots by hand or foot,” the NFL Game Operations Manual states.
According to the NFL, that’s a Game Operations Policy, not a rule, and so the officials couldn’t have enforced a yardage penalty against the Colts.
The most infamous example of a snow-clearing violation came in New England in 1982, when the Patriots kicked a game-winning field goal to win 3-0 in what is now known as the Snowplow Game.