49ers-Bucs included a blown replay review of pass interference

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Tuesday’s #PFTPM opens with a discussion of something that was widely missed during the cluster of Week One games.

The 49ers-Buccaneers games included during the final minute a non-call of defensive pass interference that was subject to replay review, on a fourth and six play from the San Francisco 47. And the visual evidence contained clear and obvious evidence of 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman significantly hindering Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans as he tried to catch the ball near the goal line.

There was enough evidence of pass interference to trigger an automatic review, but not enough to result in senior V.P. of officiating Al Riveron calling defensive pass interference.

It’s unclear why Riveron didn’t see it as interference. Riveron has been citing the throw in Super Bowl LIII to Rams receiver Brandin Cooks that included an arm grab by Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore as an example of what would be/should be called pass interference via replay review. In that case, Cooks still got his left arm through the grab, which made it unclear (in my view) as to whether Cooks was significantly hindered. In the Sherman-Evans interaction, it’s far more clear that Sherman pulled Evans’ arms down, preventing him from catching the ball.

During the replay review, FOX rules analyst Dean Blandino (the previous senior V.P. of officiating) was asked whether he saw interference.

“I did,” Blandino said. “Sherman’s not playing the ball. He has the arm across the arms of the receiver, restricting his ability to make a play on the ball. So, again, there’s a lot of contact both ways, but it’s that last bit where Richard has his arm across Evans’ arms that to me that does appear to be pass interference.”

We’ve asked the league to comment. It’s possible that Riveron was applying the murky know-it-when-you-see-it Hail Mary protocol, which triggers a higher standard for interference, even if that higher standard is articulated, well, nowhere.

But Evans and Sherman weren’t in a cluster of bodies. It was one on one, man to man, and Sherman interfered with Evans. It will be difficult if not impossible to reconcile that play with situations where Riveron drops a flag view replay review, especially if he still believes the Cooks play from Super Bowl LIII was defensive pass interference.

Since the Bucs trailed by 14, it wasn’t an outcome-determinative non-call. But Tampa would have had the ball inside the five, with (in theory) enough time to score, recover an onside kick, and score again. And if it had been a seven-point game at the time of the non-call, we’d have been hearing a lot more about it.

33 responses to “49ers-Bucs included a blown replay review of pass interference

  1. We keep talking about the same thing over and over again. Yes, it was an obvious blatant pass interference penalty, and no, the NFL does not want to allow the games to be officiated accurately. Why? That would be the better topic of conversation, rather than keep pretending like the NFL is trying but they’re just too incompetent to get the calls right. There are millions of gambling dollars changing hands every Sunday. Maybe that’s just an area nobody wishes to go into, so we keep beating the dead horse. Do you all really think this billion dollar industry is being run by incompetent people? If so, that’s exactly what they want you to think.

  2. The NFL better start NOT having these officiating problem when legalized sports betting starts rolling in states that allow it. How about three guys look at instant replay and majority rules and if they do not send a ruling to the field within 30 seconds, the ruling on the field stands and won’t worry about delays, just get the damn calls right.

  3. That’s just Richard being Richard. Saw that for years on the Seahawks. For Richard, that’s not a foul.

  4. It wasn’t called because Evans also had a very clear push off beforehand and could be seen tugging at Sherman just as much. I expected a flag though.

  5. The way I saw it, Sherman already had his arm up and Evans raised his arms into Sherman’s as he was going for the ball. Is that pass interference? Maybe, but it wasn’t as egregious as Sherman swatting Evans’ arms down.

  6. Gotta say, these comments about “obvious” pass interference drive me nuts. Did Sherman interfere? Probably. Did anyone who has watched the play notice that Evans has both hands on Richards chest and is in the process of pushing off when the interference occurred?

    Is it only reviewable if its the DEFENDER committing the interference?

    There are only two correct things they could have done. Let the ruling stand or call offsetting penalties. I’m fine with letting it stand.

  7. How about the NFL hires full time refs.. and shortens the rulebook by about 50 pages. then we might actually have a clear understanding of the rules and make it actually enforceable.

  8. “The NFL better start NOT having these officiating problem when legalized sports betting starts rolling in states that allow it.”

    Sports betting is already going in quite a number of states, including RI where I live, so that ship has long sailed if that’s your concern.

  9. I’m a Niners fan and thought it was pass interference. It’s pretty simple; if the defender is making contact with the receiver…the defender needs to have his head turned towards the ball. Sherman’s head was turned away from the ball while his arms and hands made contact with the receiver.

  10. Years ago there were only a handful of blown calls by the refs which was okay because they are human.
    Today there’s blown calls every game … why?
    Because the refs are getting lazy or are they told to let the play continue and let the replay officials make a decision?

  11. I can’t ever remember watching a weekend of football with more penalties. Specifically holding calls. And so many phantom penalties calling back TDs. Not good.

  12. If pass interference was called correctly, the Seahawks would have won exactly zero Super Bowls.

  13. The officials are probably tired of watching Richard Sherman. For all the hype about him, he constantly interferes with receivers. He knows it and knows that won’t call him for it on every play.

  14. Couldn’t they have called offensive pass interference also? Mike Evan’s was shoving Sherman. Sounds like a good no call.

  15. They aren’t going to review and call a PI on a player where there is back and forth contact. They want to use it to overturn egregious non calls or bad calls. The minute you start overturning plays like this, the game becomes a stop and start exercise in frustration dominated by the officials. It’s already like that some weeks so no way they should open up another route to make it worse.

  16. That was blatant PI. Could not believe they didn’t call it. If it were any defender other than Richard Sherman, I’m sure they would have.

  17. I get it, you hate the niners. But if you watched the replay, there was contact from both player. Evans was pushing off as much as Sherman was grabbing.

  18. raideralex99 says:
    September 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm
    Years ago there were only a handful of blown calls by the refs which was okay because they are human.
    Today there’s blown calls every game … why?
    Because the refs are getting lazy or are they told to let the play continue and let the replay officials make a decision?

    NO the refs haven’t changed at all — it’s all about more camera’s and HD video replays and much better stadium lighting (for night games) vs old 480 standard grainy video and now everyone has 80″ LCD 4k TVs’ vs 19″… Refs have always made mistakes, you just see them now much better.

  19. You’re wrong when you say it wouldn’t have changed the outcome. Those of us that bet the UNDER in this game would likely have lost if that call would have been made. Needless to say, a fair number of watchers were elated with the non-call.

  20. The standard for changing a call or non-call seems to be clear and convincing evidence. The evidence in this case is equivocal, and far from clear and convincing. That means if interference was called, then it probably would not have been overturned. Since the officials decided both in real time and after looking at the replays that there was no interference, the Bucs had 2 bites at the cherry so they have no grounds for complaint.

  21. This was OPI before it was DPI. There was definitely contact from both which is why it stood as a no call. You said it yourself…why is this an article if you even admitted seeing a push off from Evan’s? Go drink some more Haterade.

  22. Personally, I liked the non-call, and I don’t have a horse in this race. As others pointed out, there was obvious hand fighting by both Evans and Sherman.

    When you start looking at every play under a microscope, you’ll be able to find at least one, more likely numerous, faggable penalties. If you think there isn’t some kind of offensive/defensive holding, or late hit on a player not around the ball, you clearly know literally nothing about football.

    Just let them play the dam game!

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