Ask the Official: September 28, 2013

A question about penalty enforcement from Sunday’s Jets/Bills game.
With 12:16 remaining in the fourth quarter the Bills were in possession, 1st and 10 from their 29 yard line. Fred Jackson, the Buffalo running back, fumbled. The ball was recovered by Sheldon Richardson of the Jets just outside the 30.

During the play, Richardson was called for an illegal-use-of-hands penalty. After the play, Kyle Wilson of the Jets was flagged for a personal foul, unsportsmanlike conduct. There were no additional penalties announced by the Referee, Scott Green, and there are no other penalties indicated in the gamebook play-by-play.

The previous spot was the Bills’ 29. The dead ball spot was between the 30 and the 31. The ball was next put in play with the Bills still in possession, 1st and 10 on their own 34.

Were the penalties correctly enforced? Thanks.  — Andy B.

Having not seen the game, I am not aware of all of the details (i.e., where did Jackson fumble, where did Richardson commit his foul, was it announced as a dead ball foul by Green, etc.)  However, based on what you have reported, I do not see how the ball could have been placed at the 34 as the foul against Wilson should have taken it to the 44 as a minimum. It may have been a case of a poor announcement or a mistake by the officials. There have been a number of those this year.  I have been surprised how disorganized some of the crews have been, especially Mike Carey’s in the Giants – Panthers game as well as others including Scott Green’s crew. I am not sure of the reason but it may be early season for the officials as well (although that should not happen).  

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