Penalties, Replays, and Officiating

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the NFL is becoming a game not determined by the 22 men playing the game of football, but the 7 officials on the field enforcing the rules.  This last offseason, it was determined by the league that physical cornerback play should be modified. Apparently, we can call this the Peyton Manning rule, as his Broncos were smothered by the big physical Seahawk corners. The contact area is still 5 yards, as before, but the difference is there is absolutely no contact allowed now. A hand check as a WR runs by draws a flag,  whereas before, a certain amount of contact was allowed.

The other new fun rule being strictly enforced now is illegal use of hands. Plays in the trenches, and DBs on the line frequently get in the grill of the guy in front of them to gain leverage. It was usually ignored, unless fairly blatant, like seeing the helmet pop off.

The biggest warning sign of the flag-fest we now see came during the 2014 preseason, when there were 97 illegal contact penalties, 165 defensive holding calls, and 212 illegal use of hands penalties. Now compare those numbers to 10, 39 and 28, respectively from last year’s preseason, and you’ll see why there is a huge outcry among coaches, players and fans about the flag-fest.

This issue is even more relevant now because some teams are seemingly targeted for these penalties, while other teams don’t get called. In the Seattle/Denver game, Wes Welker was blasted to kingdom come on the late interception. He was a ‘defenseless WR’ who got blasted with a hit where the DB left his feet to hit him high. No call. In the Chicago/Jets game, the Jet WR catches the ball, takes 2 steps, and gets blasted at the goal line on a shoulder-to-shoulder hit. The ref calls it hitting a defenseless WR. Huh?

The 49ers have had countless penalties called on them. None more terrible than the illegal use of hands vs Chicago on a 3rd and 9 from Chicago’s 21 yard line. The penalty was very minor. Very ticky-tack. But it altered the course of the game. Even worse, the Niners held Chicago to another 4th down on the same drive, only to get a 5 yard illegal contact penalty.

The problem is these minor infractions result in automatic 1st downs. The Bears got 7 1st down on penalties. And this doesn’t even address the wildly inconsistent personal foul rules that the 49ers have been dinged with. Anquan Boldin’s head-butt was stupid, but is that equal to blasting a QB with your helmet? Chris Culliver’s taunting call appeared to me to be Cully standing up too fast. Stupid ticky tacky calls, but this is the new NFL. Don’t play with emotion, or heart, or have fun, or celebrate a TD, or you will be penalized and possibly fined.

Which brings me to replay. The hit by Dan Skuta on Drew Stanton was a big hit that was vicious, and brutal. But, it was legal. Stanton hadn’t reached the ground. He was just starting to slide as Skuta came in for the hit. Due to the violent nature of it, he was flagged. On the very next play, Patrick Willis comes in amid a bunch of blockers and hits Stanton as he’s releasing  the ball. Willis has his head up and does not use the crown of his helmet. A clean hit on the QB. He’s flagged for a personal foul. 2 blown calls. 30 free yards for AZ. I know we will get an apology from the league saying “Ooops. They got it wrong.” So, I suppose we will restart the game from that point in time. Right. Just like the NO game last year that ended up costing the 49ers home field. Gee, did that blown call change anything?

These egregious blown calls should be reviewable. Why? Because they alter the games and seasons. Will it drag out the length of games? Probably a little, but who gives a shit! The LEAGUE mandates 3 minute commercial breaks on every change of possession, every punt, every kickoff, and every turnover so we can get our fill of beer and boner pill commercials. Or that stupid-ass Geico lizard. Besides, if the games went on 15 miunutes longer, who would care? Not the fans. Shouldn’t it be about making the right call instead of flagging every goddamned play?

About unca_chuck

Lifelong SF 49ers, SF Giants, and Golden State Warriors fan
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53 Responses to Penalties, Replays, and Officiating

  1. Spitblood says:

    Warning, Black Helicopter Alert:
    I honestly think the owners know exactly what they are doing. Horse collar? The Tom Brady rule? On the one hand it’s as if the owners see a tackle or some kind of “take down” that injures a player and they want to “legislate” it out of the game. But I don’t buy it. All of these owners are incredibly wealthy business men. With wealth usually comes a Republican or even Libertarian slant or perspective. Collectively, philosophically, these owners know you don’t legislate your way out of a problem. Libertarians don’t want more rules – unless there’s a way to make a ton more money off more rules. I think the heavy-handed refs have an agenda. With obscure, ambiguous rules, the refs can now do the bidding of the owners and Vegas. I wouldn’t bet money on an NFL game against the spread for nothing. It’s now completely rigged. And if you want to go against the NFL agenda, like Jim Harbaugh, get ready for a lot of bullshit calls going against you to force you to get in line.

    It started in the NFC Championship game against the Seahawks. That game was handed to the Seahawks by the refs. The funny thing is that Youtube demonstration that clearly outlined all the bullshit calls against the 49ers in the NFC Championship game did absolutely nothing to slow the agenda against Harbaugh down. This last Cardinals game was a joke. The Patrick Willis hit was the worst call I’ve ever seen. And I think it’s intentional. In the case of the 49ers, I think the refs are out to send Jim Harbaugh a very loud and clear message. But in other cases, I think the NFL uses their refs as controls to make them even more money. Think about it – the refs can call a flag on anything now, for any reason. And in the really big situations the refs go into a secluded booth and talk to a man upstairs. How do we know that man upstairs isn’t a Vegas handicapper? I mean he probably isn’t, but what’s his agenda? The NFL is becoming a joke, and honestly, I never thought I’d say this, but I’m losing interest. And it’s not because the 49ers suck this year and are rebuilding. It’s because the game has no integrity. And no, I’m not like Del and Unca, looking for justice regarding player behavior. That’s a horse of a different color. I’m talking about the game itself being fair and balanced and the refs having integrity. When the refs don’t have integrity, the game doesn’t have integrity, and people, even hardcore fans such as myself, walk away. For me, college football might be the answer. And maybe Del’s right. Maybe Harbaugh will be forced, by the refs, to go back to college where the refs aren’t so heavy handed against him.

    • The Michigan boosters have their foot so far up Brady Hoke’s ass that his breath reeks of both shit and Shinola. Hoke is persona non grata. The Michigan job will be open next year. And if things here continue to unravel and we miss the playoffs? Just trying to put two and two together.

      • Spitblood says:

        I hear ya, but I don’t think Jed York will let Harbaugh out of his contract even if the team doesn’t win a game for the rest of the year. I’m sure Michigan will be looking for a new coach, but I don’t think Harbaugh will be available. The question I have is whether, after his contract is up in SF, Harbaugh has learned his lesson and starts acting like a pro on the sidelines or if he’s pushed out of the NFL by refs laughing at him.

      • unca_chuck says:

        If anyone is going to back up the truck for Harbaugh, it’s Jerry Jerkoff. The penalties will subside if Harbs is in Dallas.

      • Spitblood says:

        Harbaugh will never coach again for an NFL team without a good talent evaluator as its GM. I believe there’s a lot of tension between Harbaugh and Baalke because Baalke can’t draft and can’t rebuild. 2 million for Blaine Gabbert is evidence enough. Jimmy Ward, LaMicheal James, AJ Jenkins? Why would Harbaugh want to go to Dallas and relive the nightmare? Think Harbaugh wants a repeat performance in Dallas? No way. If he goes to another NFL team, he’ll go to one with a proven GM.

  2. NoFear49er says:

    I don’t think they want to get those calls right, review or no. It’s equivalent to intent to hit a QB or WR. It comes down to the league, or collective of owners, trying to protect their investments and throw, throw, throw. The fans like to cheer and won’t stay tuned in for long without some stimulation or excuse to down another shot. Hail Roger and his new age, well-behaved gladiators who can’t play in dirty unis except in the trenches and nobody’s looking at those guys anyway.

    He sure looks the part of slick salesman/dictator in the pressers. If he had a sense of humor he’d speak from the tower of an old gaelic castle in heavy robes and crown down to the masses below.

  3. unca_chuck says:

    When you look at how fast the NBA swept the Tim Donaghy scandal under the carpet, there’s certainly merit to the idea that some NFL refs are bought and paid for. These guys are still part-timers, and the pickings would seem to be easy to get a couple guys who are working the ‘important’ games to make a few game-altering calls. Any more that a few guys would be too hard to manage.

    The money gambled around football, legal and illegal, is astronomical. Shit, go back to the 2005 Seahawk/Steeler Super Bowl to see some really questionable officiating. That being said, there’s no way the owners are colluding with the Vegas crowd. There’s way too much chance for a slip-up. If that gets out, then the NFL becomes the WWF and you can kiss 80% of the money they currently make.

  4. unca_chuck says:

    Welcome back Josh Johnson . . .

  5. unca_chuck says:

    If there’s ever a time for ol’ Jimmy Jizzstain to turn the keys over to someone else, it would be to lure Harbaugh to Dallas..

    • Spitblood says:

      Why do you say that? Jason Garrett just figured out that you have to run the ball with Murray, taking less pressure off Romo. The Cowboys are 2-1 and they are playing ball control football, if you believe that. Romo still sucks, but they’re trying. And they have the offensive line to do it with. Look at the stats for the last two games. There also isn’t much competition in their division besides the Eagles so a wild card is possible. The Cowboys’ arrow is pointing up.

      Harbaugh, on the other hand, needs a GM. He’ll go to a team with a proven GM who wants to give Harbaugh more say. That’s not Jerry Jones. Jerry needs a puppet.

      Harbaugh will either go back to college because the refs run him out, or he’ll go to a team with a proven GM who’s still enthusiastic.

  6. unca_chuck says:

    Because there’s plenty of time for Dallas to implode behind their non-existent defense.

  7. unca_chuck says:

    Lose a few more 51-48 games and see where it takes them.

  8. NJ49er says:

    Don’t overlook the connection between Dolphins owner Steven Ross either.
    He too is a Grand Old Michigan Alum.

    I’ve contended for quite some time that Jed will make every effort to retain Jim.
    The bigger question is whether Jim wants to stay.

    If Carroll cleans his clock this year I see no reason for Jim to stay anyway.
    As much as I’d like to see them battle each other for many years to come, the track record to date suggests that Pete’s Staff is more adept at making Jim look one dimensional.

    Whether it’s Roman or Jim, someone can’t make adjustments when the games are on the line.

    • unca_chuck says:

      Fangio’s in the same boat. 16 points given up in the 1st half, 59 in the second half given up.

      I’d bet Michigan for Harbs. He really can become Bo Schembechler Jr.

      • NJ49er says:

        Chuck this game against Philly is going to be the turning point of Harbaugh/Roman/Fangio’s future.
        We’re looking dysfunctional and rudderless right now through 3 games.

        It’s beginning to look like those rumors of Harbaugh losing the locker room could actually have some validity if he can’t get them back on the rails for Chip Kelly’s Eagles.

  9. NJ49er says:

    Chuck I didn’t record the AZ game to confirm the hit but, I’m pretty sure a sack Kaep took was a crown of the helmet to the family jewels as well.

    That’s been my contention with Officiating all along.
    Too speculative and arbitrary.

    Yellow laundry is The Great Equalizer.
    These striped clowns influence ball games all the time.

  10. unca_chuck says:

    Yeah, they go 1-3 and the division is lost. Barring some sort of unexpected miracle.

  11. NJ49er says:

    I see another of Jerruh’s Kids took a flyer.
    CB Mo Claiborne went AWOL after being demoted.

    Another high flying 1st RD bust for Big Duh.
    Chief Cook and Bottle Washer Jerruh the GM at least realized what a dud this kid is. Finally.

  12. Spitblood says:

    Chuck says, “Fangio’s in the same boat. 16 points given up in the 1st half, 59 in the second half given up.”

    Can’t you guys see it’s not the coaches. These guys don’t go from good to bad overnight.

    • NJ49er says:

      But another angle is, whether the opposition is able to figure them out too Spit.

      Yeh, we’re shorthanded on Defense right now but, the Offense hasn’t adjusted either.

      Something isn’t getting adjusted and it isn’t solely due to player execution.
      We do lack the killer instinct, as several players have already suggested.

      There comes a point in any Coaching Staffs’ timeline when you just run out of creative options and, succumb to better tacticians on the other side.

      Trestman and Ariens both found ways to neutralize us the past 2 weeks.

      Some Coaches play Chess, others struggle to get past the Checkers phase.

    • NJ49er says:

      Too hard to comprehend the results?
      We either can’t adjust or, the players just give up in the 2nd half?
      Dallas gifted us Tony Promo in game 1.
      We went into a coma in the 2nd half of all 3 games to this point.
      Coincidence or lack of adjustments?

      Maybe Roman pulls plays out of his a$$ in the 2nd half and can’t score anymore or, the opposition flat shuts down everything we throw at them.

      I know.
      Baalke sucks, therefore, his players are only capable of 30 minutes worth of production.

      Got it.

      Coaches are immune to any criticism in your view.
      Something fails miserably in the 2nd half of these games yet, we look inept on both sides of the ball after halftime.

  13. unca_chuck says:

    It’s not overnight, you mental midget. It ‘s the same game!

    They play well in the 1st half because it’s the coaches . . .
    And they suck in the 2nd half because of the GM?

    Got it. How stupid is that?

  14. Spitblood says:

    Fact: For the last three years the 49ers, with this same coaching staff, have made the NFC Championship game.

    Now this year, according to Unca, the coaches suck even though we’re starting about 9 new players on offense and defense.

    Your theory smacks of a guy who’s anticipating the company line and looking to position himself on the same side as Jed York if things go sideways. I’ll give you credit, though. At least this time you’re taking a side in an argument and not riding the fence.

    Let’s leave it alone. I think it’s the player turnover, you think it’s the coaches. We can agree to disagree.

  15. unca_chuck says:

    Explain how we blow leads. All your blather misses this very salient point. 9 new players?!? Oh. My. God. No team ever has had that much turnover. Right. Well, just about every team at any given monent. Yes, the defense has been hit by injuries, suspensions, and other various idiotic shit. The offense is trying a new system, and it is working somewhat. But it still doesn’t explain the hot and cold running offense and defense. Teams are adjusting to what we game-plan. The Niners are NOT adjusting to the opponents.

    You act like the Niners are the only team that has cap issues and player turnover. Every team goes through this. Not every team has systemic failures in the 2nd half of games.

    Please explain that.

    I’ll agree to disagree if you understand your lack of geneaous.

    • Nipper says:

      Life’s a bitch.

    • Spitblood says:

      Fangio and Roman made adjustments deep through the playoffs and lost to the eventual Super Bowl winner three times with either bad or inexperienced quarterback play. Trust me, they know how to make adjustments with the best of ’em. What’s changed on this team? Answer that and you’ll figure out your question, “Why do we blow leads?”

  16. Irish Kevin says:

    This is an interesting article. evidently Fangio and Tomsula(?) don’t think Carradine and Dial are ready to play in a real game

  17. unca_chuck says:

    What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?

    Ready or not, they’d better do something different vs Philly. Like get Lynch in there, as well as Dial/Carradine. If anything, not rotating guys in and out gasses this defense and renders it ineffective late. The 49ers should be able to score on Philly, but we haven’t shown much in stopping anyone. At least late in the games.

  18. unca_chuck says:

    Despite your constant yapping, Spitty, you are as wrong as no rain

  19. NJ49er says:

    Spit there’s plenty of validity with your point about roster changes.
    We’re dealing with communication issues in the Secondary because of it, especially when our DLine can’t take the pressure off of them.

    To blame Baalke for the personnel changes is your mantra. Fine.
    Change in this game is continual for all sorts of reasons, including injury and suspension impact.

    If you bothered to read some of the info in the links I posted last night, you’d realize that there are people beside me that think Baalke knows what he’s doing.

    Few GMs can say they came from Scouting backgrounds.
    Guys he’s Drafted take time to develop, as do most Draftees.

    Our schemes dictate what sort of personnel he shops for.
    Coaching has to take those skills to another level.
    It doesn’t happen overnight.
    That’s why you keep a mix of Vets involved to chaperone the youngsters.

    We now have 4 NFL caliber WRs on the roster, plus Vernon and 2 TE understudies who are getting their reps.
    Until we start spreading the ball around, our tendencies are very predictable.
    A good reason why we might be getting shut down in the 2nd half the past 2 games perhaps?

    Baalke isn’t responsible for that phase of the results.
    Either we can’t develop a passing game or, Kaep isn’t seeing all of his options, which also falls on the Coaching.

  20. unca_chuck says:

    Or, God forbid, Kappy has plateaued.

    I don’t think so, but many try and some don’t completely make the jump. He has shown the ability to look safeties off at times, but others are pure telegraph.

    Spitty, that doesn’t answer the question of why we are blowing leads. No matter how you couch it. They made adjustments because they fell behind so many times. They HAD to.

    These games, they didn’t have to. It was once the games resumed in the 2nd half that they got away. If the blackout didn’t happen, the Niners would have lost by 24. They got a 2nd halftime to adjust.

    • NJ49er says:

      Hard to understand Chuck.
      I’ve used the Chess to Checkers analogy many times simply because we don’t seem to understand or exploit matchups where we should.

      Who knows at this point?
      Frustrating is an understatement.

      I’m just starting to wonder if the guys are getting tired of the same old sh!t or, a lack of diversity.
      Why the heck can’t we get a passing game to click?
      We’re in year 4 of Harbaugh and Co.

      When our run game is squelched, we’re hard pressed to battle our way out if Kaeps’ wheels are contained it seems.

      Kaep is accurate. He should make a living on quick hitters IMO.
      Slants are blitz busters. Always have been.
      Watch Foles on Sunday.
      3 steps drops, ball out.
      We’re lacking or, I’m just wishing too hard, for more WCO ingredients.

  21. unca_chuck says:

    Right. Once AZ spied on Kappy, the read-options stopped working, and the passing game went to shit as well. Although penalties killed drives as well. What I don’t understand is the complete lack of running. Even with the leads we’ve had.

    This game won’t keep us out of the playoffs if we lose, but it’ll make it a real tough road to get there. Not to mention the locker room tension that may or may not exist.

    • NJ49er says:

      Gotta break out in this one.
      Philly can be had IMO.
      Rookie Center. 1st start.
      An average Defense vs a pissed off 9er Team.

      9ers. Going away.

      • NJ49er says:

        It sure wouldn’t hurt for Kaep to throw a guy open once in awhile either.
        He’s all about sticking a throw I think.
        Frozen ropes are fine on many routes but, laying a ball out in front comes with the territory too.
        He’s tried a few, usually deep seam stuff.
        I still think his touch passes are lacking.

        Year 3 for him. Hoping the light brightens.

      • NJ49er says:

        Several of his throws to Stevie last week were on crossers.
        Again, good to see.

  22. NJ49er says:

    Another guy I’m hoping to see progress from is SS LJ McCray.
    I have a feeling he’s the understudy to Bethea.

    One thing I liked about him coming into the Draft this year was his KR ability.
    Something we haven’t tried with him yet.
    Be nice if Baalke hits on this kid.
    He came very cheap and has some upside.

    • NJ49er says:


      1. LJ McCray, Catawba

      The Catawba product didn’t get all the hype because of Danny O’Brien showing up and his missed tackles on tape didn’t help him but he did very well at his pro day and showed at 6’0, 210 pounds with 4.5 speed that he has the tools to be a quality special teamer and play either safety spot. McCray has been first-team All-SAC each of the last two years as a return man and did earn first-team honors at safety with 78 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss. If he improves as a tackler and shows the athleticism from his workouts on tape then he could be a real steal in the 7th round or as an undrafted free agent.

  23. NJ49er says:

    Speaking of adjustments.
    I read that AZ had 9 guys on Defense, and still managed to block our FG.

    Had we caught that and run a play, we had a distinct advantage, short of having the ST guys out there.
    Can’t recall the down and distance but, we got pretty backed up at that point with our boneheaded penalty parade.

  24. NJ49er says:

    Interesting perspective from Gutierrez at ESPN from the AZ game –

    Not even blitzes were working against the Cardinals, as the Niners brought it on 14 of 40 pass plays, including plays wiped out by penalty; the Niners also rushed six players three times and twice they brought seven, per PFF.

    The Niners, who did not blitz a defensive back at all in Weeks 1 and 2, sent Jimmie Ward seven times and Perrish Cox four times.

    Blitzing that much against the Eagles might be playing into their hands.

  25. NJ49er says:

    Anyone happen to notice that last weeks’ game between KC and Miami was a late start?
    Miami at home, Eastern Time Zone, starts at 4PM?

    Talk about bias.
    When 9ers play here in the East it’s always a 1PM ET start.
    Gave a lay up to KC last week and, they came from the Mid West.

    They should make the East Coast road teams visiting us play at 1PM ET.

  26. NJ49er says:

    Spit here’s a NT to watch for the next NFL Draft –

    Let me know what you think of Danny Shelton from Washington, 6’2″ 332.
    I never see much of the West Coast College games out here so, you tell me….

    Read that he’s a 2-gapper with 7 sacks already.
    Need to know if he’s productive against the run.

    Scout on young Jedi.

  27. unca_chuck says:

    It didn’t look to me like we blitzed that much, but I guess AZ picked it up very well. I saw the 7 man blitz that was called back by some dumb-ass shit.

  28. Nipper says:

    I could be wrong of course, but this season may just be a waste of time. The magic is gone. It started with the lousy turf and went downhill from there. The team plays dumb with foolish penalties. Even the vets are falling off. The Niners are a DUI or a head butt away from a real crummy season.

  29. unca_chuck says:

    Your dauber is down, Nippy?

    New thread is up.

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