Official Review - Bonner Springs Howell Fumble

by David Brox,

I was very happy to get a response from an area official today about the fumble call in the Bonner Springs game.  I will not share his name per his request but found our conversation today enlightening and a bit humbling.  Below is the break down in his words.

I agree completely with him that being an official is a thankless job.  They however can give us plenty to discuss.


Call, simple!!! Explanation, difficult.

I'm going to dissect this as SIMPLY as I can, so you can see everything that has to be processed by the officials here.

Pass play.  QB drops back.  The defender tips the ball into the air.  The offensive lineman, normally ineligible to catch this pass, has become legal because the ball was tipped by the defender (Rule 7-5-6-b. All offensive players become eligible when a defensive player touches a legal forward pass).  

I honestly question whether or not #76 completes the process of a catch.  He may not have ever completely possessed the ball, making this catch.  If he didn't catch it, it's just an incomplete pass, putting the ball at the previous spot and proceeding to the next down.

The umpire (the guy you put the first red arrow on) correctly signals tipped ball.

At 0:54 in your video, you say "Elbow and ball connect with the ground.  Watch the ball pop loose."  

Looking at this clip back a few frames, the ball is clearly out before the player hit the ground.  I have a photo attached during the :53 mark.

I don't think you see the ball come out until it pops up as the player hits the ground. 

The Umpire, that you give the "pass" for being blocked... He shouldn't even be looking in this area.

At 1:20 in the video, you say "first time this guy comes in frame but runs from the opposite side of the field to make the call."  Damn straight.  Because this is mostly his call.  He's standing on top of the goal line.  He's the only person on the officials crew that can determine whether or not this is a TD.  BUT, he needs information from the linesman whom he points to in the video.  "Do you have a "catch" or a "no catch" by number #76.

At 2:16 in this clip pause the video.  How many officials do you see signaling "tipped ball."  I see three.  There should be ONE - the umpire, whom does signal.  The linesman should be watching his receivers down field and should NOT have a "tipped ball" signal.  He should not have a signal but should know the ball got tipped and it up for grabs, and probably has the best look on whether or not the ball has been caught.  Even the referee (white hat) gets caught up in the action, signaling "tipped ball," so caught up that he leaves his responsibility of the quarterback and his safety.  

By my philosophy, #5 on white, whom tips the ball, is guilty of "roughing the passer."  He clearly tips the ball, so he knew the QB no longer has the ball, lands, and shoves the QB to the ground with a two handed, full extension of the elbows, push to the ground.  This should be flagged. 

This gets flagged, we have no discussion, but it wasn't so let's move on.

The referee (white hat) comes straight down the goal line, correctly.  At 2:27 in the film, we see him point to the linesman.  You say on the film "Lead official agrees that it is his call."  Both the referee and linesman need to have input and from here on, this play is officiated completely correctly, it would seem to me.

I imagine the referee (white hat) is hopefully asking the linesman, "Did #76 catch the ball?"  I imagine the linesman confirms.

The referee was on top of the goal line, making a safety or a TD in this endzone his "pond."  After he get's his confirmation that it was a catch,  he gives his TD signal.

I'm good with just about everything on this play, from an officiating stand point, other than we've got three officials watching the ball.

And...  The referee could (and in my opinion should) have a flag down for roughing the passer (because this two handed shove, while not vicious, is what we in college football refer to as a 'second action' that is completely unnecessary).  #5 could have ran into the QB and knocked him down and there could be a case made that #5's momentum caused him to run into the QB putting him on the ground, but the two handed, full extension of the elbows, shove, is a dead give away to an unnecessary action, therefore, "Personal Foul - Unnecessary Roughness - Roughing the Passer on #5 of the defense."

Therefore, if that penalty gets called...  We should have a 15 yard penalty against the defense, assess from the previous spot making it 1st and 10 at the 29 yard line for the home team.