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The Official On : NFL Game One Officials

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Walt Coleman, an NFL officiall in his 25th season, was the crew chief of the Ravens vs Broncos game last night. This begs a couple questions for me. Simple questions, really. Why all the missed calls Walt ? Do you remember the rules of a fumble Walt ? I guess maybe I shouldn’t be so harsh, first game of the year an all. I just have no patience with poor officiating. The rules don’t change during the game so make the darn calls consistently.

So let me start with this. I love the officials letting the DB‘s and Receivers play physical. I love the fact they looked for offensive pass interference as well as defensive. I love the fact they got the calls right when it was holding downfield or illegal contact. Most of the time it’s called Pass interference. That being said Walt, let’s look at the rule book on illegal formation. The rule reads as follows. ” The offense MUST have seven men on the line of scrimmage at all times”. So why is it , several times in the second half I only counted 6 players on the line when Baltimore would send a receiver in motion. This was not caught even once.

Now let us examine the fumble rules. Danny Trevathan celebrated too early, dropping the ball before he crossed the goal line. This constitutes a fumble by rule. Now the ball rolls into the end zone. Wesley Woodyard then comes in and puts his hands on the ball. Constituting possession of the ball beyond the goal line . This by rule is a touch down. However the officials did not call it this way. The ball was kicked out of the back of the end zone and called a touch back. This would be correct if Woodyard had not established possession of the ball. So the big question is: What is the definition of possession : “When a player controls the ball through out the act of clearly touching both feet or any other part of his body to the ground other than his hands”.

So now let’s look at all the rules combined . Did Wesley Woodyard establish possession ? Well by the letter of the rule, yes. This is because his hands were on the ball feet on the ground, that is possession. Plus, he was beyond the goal line, that rule states if you have possession of the ball beyond the other teams goal line it is a touchdown and six points is awarded. So, by all the rules Wesley Woodyard had a touch down .

The second half was atrocious at best for the officiating crew. Numerous missed holding calls on both sides. Two missed pass interference calls that could have kept the Ravens in the game, and consistent crack back blocks by the Ravens that were not being called. All-in-all, the crew did great in the opening half, but it seems the thin Denver air got to them also. The refs kept the game moving and there is something to say about that. Too many penalties can bog down a game. Not calling the little ticky-tac fouls is fine, but they missed too many game changers for my taste.


Final grade: C+

Remember to wait for the whistle, and always play by the rules.


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