Ask the Official: October 3, 2013

I asked the Ref about the 89-yard punt return and if there was a missed block in the back penalty. Here’s what he said:

On the punt return for a TD, I felt that (based on the views provided by FOX) DeOssie overran the play a bit and the Chiefs player was between he and the returner. As DeOssie tried to get back to the returner, he was blocked off by the Chiefs player who raised his hands but I did not feel that the action by the Chiefs player constituted a block in the back.

I always find that situation strange because as far back as when I was playing, we were always told to “Break down” about 5 yards in front of the potential returner so as to be under control when we reached the returner. Too many of todays “gunners’ seem to go past the returner while out of control and as a result typically miss the returner.

As for the block during Randle’s return, I felt that was a marginal call and was initially made by McAuley who was a long way from the play. I was always told that the requirements for a block in the back call in that situation was that the block had to be made directly to the middle of the back and I did not feel that this condition was met in this situation.

John G. writes…
During the Giants/Chiefs game did you agree with the Intentional Grounding call against Eli? It looked like a receiver was attempting to come back to the ball.

I am not sure why McAuley called intentional grounding on Manning on the play in question. The wing official can be seen pointing to an eligible Giants receiver who was about 5-7 yards further down field and (to my mind) “in the vicinity” of the pass.

The rule reads that if a passer within the tackle box is in imminent danger of being sacked, he must throw a pass that has a “realistic chance of completion” and the latter term is defined as being in the “direction and vicinity” of an originally eligible receiver. I felt that these conditions had been met but it is a judgment call and McAuley obviously felt that there was no receiver “in the vicinity.”

Although it is my opinion that McAuley and his crew are one of the stronger crews in the NFL, this was not one of their better games, but it was still significantly better than the game that Mike Carey’s crew had the week before.       


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