Florida State taunting penalty takes away 2-point conversion (GIF)

Florida State tauntingFor a time during the BCS National Championship Game, it looked like the referees were going to have a major impact on the contest.

Florida State was flagged for a taunting penalty after scoring a touchdown to make it 21-19 Auburn in the fourth quarter. The penalty pushed FSU back 15 yards on the extra point, so they decided to kick instead of trying for two. After making the extra point, FSU trailed 21-20. Luckily they went up by three thanks to a kickoff return for a touchdown by Levonte Whitfield following an Auburn field goal, otherwise the referee’s questionable call would have been considered more of a glaring controversy.

GIF via @SBNation

Referees miss pass interference by Lardarius Webb on Kris Durham

Kris Durham Lardarius Webb

The referees in the Detroit Lions-Baltimore Ravens game on Monday night missed a pass interference call that may have cost the Lions a touchdown.

Late in the third quarter, the Lions had the ball at the Baltimore 23 for a 3rd-and-9 situation. Matthew Stafford threw a go route to Kris Durham, who was covered one-on-one by Lardardius Webb. Webb grabbed a hold of Durham’s arm, making it nearly impossible for him to make the catch. The pass fell incomplete, and the Lions settled for a field goal to make it 12-10 Ravens.

Here’s a look at the play:

Stafford couldn’t believe there wasn’t a flag on the play and complained to the refs. Even Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden pointed out what a terrible missed call it was. Then there was this from FOX NFL rules guru Mike Pereira:

Had pass interference rightfully been called, the Lions would have had the ball 1st-and-goal at the Baltimore 1-yard line and a very good chance to take the lead.

Image via @Guyism; GIF via GIFD Sports

Patriots-Panthers game ends with referees picking up penalty flag (GIF)

The Carolina Panthers-New England Patriots game ended in controversy on Monday night after the referees decided to pick up a penalty flag thrown on the final play of the game and walk off without explaining why they weren’t calling a penalty.

The Patriots were down 24-20 and had a 2nd-and-3 from the Carolina 18 with three seconds left. Tom Brady was pressured, stepped up in the pocket, and threw to the end zone for Rob Gronkowski. The ball was underthrown based on where Gronk was, but what didn’t help was that Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly was holding Gronk, preventing the tight end from making a play on the ball.

Rob Gronkowski Luke Kuechly

Robert Lester intercepted the pass.

Though the back judge threw a flag on the play, he picked it up after conferring with the other referees. Head referee Clete Blakeman said there was no foul on the play and that the game was over. He left most people wondering why they had picked up the flag.

My analysis is that Gronk probably would not have made the catch, but he could have at least made a play on the ball if he weren’t interfered with. Therefore it was a bad call to pick up the flag and rescind the penalty. And my goodness, at least explain to us why you’re picking up the flag!

Here’s another look at the play:

GIFs via BuzzFeedSports, Twitter/_MarcusD_

Jets appeared to do same thing as Patriots by pushing player into field goal formation (GIF)


The New England Patriots lost to the New York Jets on Sunday thanks in part to a call that was made for the first time in NFL history. Jets kicker Nick Folk missed a 56-yard field goal attempt wide left in overtime that would have given Tom Brady and company great field position, but Patriots rookie Chris Jones was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for pushing one of his teammates into a Jets offensive lineman.

[Video: Did the Patriots get hosed on this call against the Jets?]

The officials got the call right based on the new rule. It was just surprising that they decided to call it at such a crucial point in the game and essentially hand New York a victory. As you can see from the GIF above that Barstool Sports passed along, it appears the Jets did the same thing on a Stephen Gostkowski field goal earlier in the game.


Again, the call cannot be disputed. NFL officials were recently shown examples of the play and told that they need to start calling it. The issue is they should have been looking for it the entire game, not just in overtime. The animation above seems to show that they were not.

Patriots lose on ridiculous unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Chris Jones

The New England Patriots lost to the New York Jets 30-27 in overtime on Sunday after referees called an obscure and ridiculous unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Pats rookie Chris Jones.

The call came on a 54-yard field goal Nick Folk missed wide to the left to keep the game tied at 27. Jones was flagged for stacking up behind his teammate and pushing one of his defensive lineman into a Jets lineman. As of a new rule created this year designed to protect players, that is an illegal play.

The 15-yard penalty allowed the Jets to retain possession and move closer for a field goal. They won the game on a 42-yard kick from Folk.

According to NFL rules guru Mike Pereira, that is the first time the penalty has been called this season.

Referees apparently had been shown examples of this rules violation and were told to start calling it. The Pats were the first victim.

“It’s my mistake. It’s all my fault,” Jones said after the loss.

Chris Jones penalty

Also see: Did Jets do same thing earlier in game?

Referees missed horse collar tackle on Johnny Manziel at end of game

Referees missed an obvious horse collar tackle by Auburn to bring down Johnny Manziel in the final minute of the Tigers’ 45-41 upset win over Texas A&M on Saturday. The teams combined to score 31 points in the fourth quarter, with Auburn’s 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive standing up as the final score.

Manziel, who returned from a shoulder injury suffered earlier in the quarter, got the ball back at the 35 with 1:19 left. The Aggies got down to the Auburn 18 and were pushed back to the 26 after a sack. On third and 18, Manziel scrambled to his left for five yards and was brought down by a horse collar tackle from Kris Frost. Unfortunately, the referees did not call a penalty, which is supposed to be 15 yards and an automatic first down. A&M should have had a first down inside the 10 instead of 4th and 13 at the 21 and the game ending on a sack.

Here’s the exact language on the horse collar tackle rule from the NCAA rule book:

All players are prohibited from grabbing the inside back collar of the shoulder pads or jersey, or the inside collar of the side of the shoulder pads or jersey, and immediately pulling the ball carrier down. This does not apply to a ball carrier, including a potential passer, who is inside the tackle box (Rule 2-34). Note that the tackle box disintegrates when the ball leaves it.

Yup, that missed call made a huge difference in the outcome of the game. This is pretty indisputable:

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Referee Terry McAulay still thinks Andy Reid coaches Philadelphia?

Andy ReidReferee Terry McAulay might be a little confused about which team Andy Reid coaches.

Reid successfully challenged the spot of a first down during his Kansas City Chiefs’ 31-7 win over the New York Giants on Sunday. The challenge reversed a first down and gave the Giants a 4th and 1. The Giants elected to punt, and they gave up an 89-yard return for a touchdown to Dexter McCluster. Obviously Reid’s challenge was a game-changer.

But the funny part about the challenge is that when McAulay explained that the first down ruling was being overturned, he said “Philadelphia will not be charged with a timeout.”

Reid is in his first season with KC after 14 in Philly, so it’s understandable why McAulay had the slip-up. It’s not like he’s the first ref to make such a mistake.

Thanks to LBS tipster David for the heads up