Posted January 12, 2014

First half of Panthers-49ers game features some shaky officiating

Carolina Panthers, NFC South, NFC West, NFL Playoffs, San Francisco 49ers
Carl Cheffers and his crew have lived up to the league's standards.

Carl Cheffers and his crew have lived up to the league’s standards. (Tom Gannam/AP)

After the league’s officiating crews let the players play during the wild-card round, NFL VP of Officiating Dean Blandino said in a video presentation released to the media that he wanted his refs calling things in the playoffs as they did in the regular season. And based on the first half from Carl Cheffers’ crew, said refs are doing just that. As they so often did in the regular season, these particular officials are calling and not calling penalties randomly, unevenly, haphazardly and without paying attention to some of the most basic rules of the game.

First, there was the case of the uneven headbutts. Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn was given a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct call for this headbutt of 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree. Fair enough.

However, 49ers receiver Anquan Boldin was not flagged for this headbutt of Panthers safety Mike Mitchell, which occurred later in the first half.

(GIFs via The Big Lead.)

Then, there was the case of “Can you guys count to 12?” which Cheffers’ crew answered with a definitive “No.” At the end of the first half, Colin Kaepernick threw a one-yard touchdown pass to tight end Vernon Davis … which of course was originally called out of bounds and overturned on review, despite the fact that Davis put a huge divot in the end-zone turf when he dragged his second foot inbounds. Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh went ballistic after the no-touchdown call (though he may have been complaining about the clock), and got a 15-yard flag of his own.

(GIF via Bleacher Report)

Still, no harm, no foul, right? Well, not exactly. As the FOX Sports announcing team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman pointed out, San Francisco had 12 men in the huddle before that play, and though they tried to right that wrong pre-snap, rules indicate that only defensive huddles can substitute as such. It didn’t matter then, that tight end Vance McDonald (No. 89) tried to get off the field in time. As FOX Sports analyst and former NFL VP of Officiating Mike Pereira pointed out, that should have been a dead-ball foul with the 49ers backed up five yards.

(Photo via Bleacher Report)

(Photo via Bleacher Report)

Thus, it appears that Blandino got his wish — his officials are calling stuff just as they have before. More’s the pity.

43 comments
thx1138
thx1138

the last time I really watched an NFL game was back when Al Davis owned the Raiders, and it was a playoff game, maybe even a super bowl. And there was this egregious foul that didn't get called. The guy picked up the Raiders QB when tackling him, in order to inflict more damage, when he slammed him to the ground.  No call, and the guy was injured, and the Raiders lost. OK Davis is a jerk but after that I figured NFL was kind of on the level of WWF and I didn't watch much until, the Niners-Seahawks game and, not to have sour grapes, but after the officiating there, I will be taking another 10 year vacation from NFL 1. seattle rolled onto the kicker's planted leg. should be 15 yard penalty and niners keep possession. how hard is it to see that, or to know the rule? 2. seattle fumble on 1 yard line, niners guy injured. I guess they can tell him, in the hospital, with his injury "oh and the officials missed the call". I'm sticking to WWF, at least they're honest about the fact that its rigged!

RobertDwight
RobertDwight

I have said before, until the Refs are full time employees, we will see mediocre officiating by weekend part time Refs.  Too much is at stake in playoff games to be decided by a blown call.


olansuddeth
olansuddeth

12 men on the field was an obvious blown call, as was the touchdown called incomplete (what was the official looking at there?).  


The "uneven headbutt" complaints seem silly to me.  Munnerlyn's headbutt caused Crabtree's head to visibly snap back, and so, drew a flag.  Boldin absolutely did bump his head into Mitchell, but Mitchell's head didn't move.  No flag.  Why is anyone surprised?


The unnecessary roughness call that so many are upset about?  Good call.  The ball was obviously beyond anyone's reach after the tip - had already bounced incomplete, I believe.  The 49er receiver (think it was Davis) had stopped running, and the DB absolutely destroyed him.  The play was over, there was zero need for that.  


How about Newton getting the benefit of a roughing the passer call - when HE initiated the contact?  Explain to me how that's evidence of a conspiracy by the refs to favor San Francisco.


Not great officiating, mind you, but par for the course when compared to the rest of the season.  I'll be interested to see how bad it is in the upcoming two games.

Jim101
Jim101

Some questionable calls extended SF drives and gave them extra chances to come away with points. It's easy to say the Panthers played poorly, but SF benefited from dubious and inconsistent officiating.

allmanrg
allmanrg

And let's not forget the other Carolina only rule that resulted in SF's first points. If a pass is tipped in the air; then Pass Interference doesn't apply, unless you are the Carolina Panthers; then it's still PI. 

So; let's see, bad PI call on a 3rd down play= 3 pts + Headbutt call on 3rd down after the SF WR slaps the Panther's defensive guy all over the place previous to it and he reacts= 3 pts + we only call headbutts against the Panther's not SF guys and oh yea, we can't count to 12 = 7 points. This doesn't even count the fact that if you went through every play; you will find SF being offsides at least 3 different times that were not called.


Don't get me wrong; I fully realize the Panthers could have played a much better 2nd half to overcome this; but when you start off the game getting bad calls left and right against you, you begin losing confidence and especially when the result is points every time where otherwise there may have not been any....of course that's going to affect the players. I know teams and players try to get into the head of teams and other players to mess them up, but the referees?


And as far as the back judge that chose to ignore the Panther D pointing and screaming Count! He should be fired immediately for ignoring. I'm disgusted with the NFL and the officiating that went on during this game. For God sakes; at least put someone in the box reviewing every call; so if it is wrong as seen by everybody and their brother; except for the Ref, somebody can stop them and say Hey DumbA; you're making a terrible call.

At this point, I would be checking each one of the Referees bank accounts to ensure there were no deposits made in the last week from the Nevada Gaming commission to ensure the spread was covered adequately. Signed, Simply disgusted.

macman64
macman64

There was no penalty for 12 men in the huddle because the play clock hadn't started after the previous penalty. Pereira corrected himself this morning. So at least in that instance, the refs got it right. 

JayWasHere
JayWasHere

You're missing that the first head butt was an obvious makeup call to a few plays before when Crabtree practically had his head ripped off - after the whistle.

Schmaggs
Schmaggs

PS At least the Panthers weren't as screwed over by the refs as the Steelers!


Schmaggs
Schmaggs

And what about the damned 49ers coach on the field in the middle of a play!?!? WTH???? It's obvious they want the the big, well-known franchises in the playoffs and Super Bowl. It's all about television revenues....

Westphal4Life
Westphal4Life

The officiating all year has been terrible. My Patriots could have been 14-2 and hosting the AFC Championship if not for the terrible officiating. And on Saturday night when they ruled the botched punt play a Safety instead of what it was, a touchback... It's getting so I expect to be screwed by the refs now.

Richard--Ramirez
Richard--Ramirez

And this wasn't even the worst officiated game. NFL is killing their own product.

par404
par404

Horrible officiating.

TLink612
TLink612

there was a difference between the crabtree headbutt incident and boldin's. crabtree wasn't even involved on the player when the defender headbutt crabtree. it was a run play and crabtree was at least 5 yards from the defender, who apparently felt the need to attack crabtree. boldin was the one tackled on the play and immediately got up.. although he initiated the confrontation, and the headbutt, the defender did not back down and was evidently jawing with bolding..


while i agree that the first flag should not have been thrown, i think it is a bit of an exaggeration to compare the two incidents 

PrincSaNeretve
PrincSaNeretve

that is why i would never ever pay to go to the game and watch this garbage

Ron5
Ron5

Backing them up to their OWN 6 yard line????


Seems you turkeys can't get it right either! Suggest you keep quiet until you do.

THOMAS64
THOMAS64

The refs have been an embarassment to the NFL all season. Someting should be done by the league, but I doubt they will do anything. If this keeps up, the NFL is at risk of losing their fan base.

RobertDwight
RobertDwight

@olansuddeth The 12 man in huddle was reviewed and it was determined that the ball was not put in play therefore no penalty.  Even Mike P. reversed his comments made during the game.

macman64
macman64

@olansuddeth Again, there was no 12 man in huddle called because the play clock hadn't started to wind following the PI call in the end zone. By the time the clock started to run, the extra man was out of the huddle. This was talked about by Pereira on Monday, when he admitted to be wrong in his on air comments during the telecast.

Tenacious_G
Tenacious_G

@Jim101Every team benefits from dubious and inconsistent officiating.  Unless you thing the helmet to helmet on Newton was a good call.

RobertDwight
RobertDwight

@allmanrg It was not a PI penalty on Panthers, it was a personal foul for cheap blindside hit on Davis after play was over. Read the latest update from NFL  about the 12 man in huddle, no penalty was the correct call.  Outside of the "head but" form Boldin, I don't see what all the complaining is about.  The helmet to helmet call was pure BS.   Panthers lost not because of bad calls, they got BEAT. 

olansuddeth
olansuddeth

@allmanrgWasn't a PI call.  Was unnecessary roughness after the play was over.  

12 man call was missed... but Panthers got the benefit of a bogus roughing the passer penalty - Newton hit the linebacker with his head thanks to his spin.  Skuta was engaged with an O-lineman at the time.  No way he lead with his head against the QB.

You're right about the missed offsides - but they did that all game, with both defenses.

How is this a conspiracy?  Refs missed calls on both sides, just as they have all year long.  I haven't seen evidence that the officiating improved after the replacement refs got sent home.

BobbySabnani
BobbySabnani

@allmanrg The flag on the tipped ball was based on the fact that the ball had hit the ground and the play was obviously over. CAR wanted to try to show they belonged, and try to bully a bully. Obviously it did not work.  Don't forget that Cam Newton got a very favorable roughing the passer call when he turned around into a hit, that they called helmet to helmet. Carolina got beat, plain and simple. 

macman64
macman64

@allmanrg Wow. You sound a little bitter. I guess Carolina should've won this game. Actually, Carolina lost because it couldn't  put the ball in the end zone from  the one yard line - twice. The refs actually helped them out on their fourth quarter drive by calling terrible roughing penalty, but Cam couldn't take advantage of it and the better team didn't let a bad call determine the outcome of the drive.

matt37
matt37

@SchmaggsFirst of all, his name is Harbaugh.  Second of all, he was flagged for that.  Did you watch the game?

Tenacious_G
Tenacious_G

@Westphal4LifeA touchback? That's a new one.  And what a miracle that the Patriots didn't have any important calls go their way this season.  Nope, not one.

allmanrg
allmanrg

@TLink612Evidently you didn't watch the game as if you had and watched the play preceding the headbutt; you would have seen Crabtree basically body-slamming the Carolina defender before hand...which is what led to the Panther defender getting in his face. 

You're right; not nearly the same as Boldin doing the head-butt; as in that case, he head-butted the Panther for simply tackling him. And PS;' I love the line...that the defender was somehow in the wrong for not backing down...Remember we are in Carolina; we believe in standing our ground; not ...run Forest, RUN when trouble arises; like Cali folks... Either way, I agree with you...totally different situations.

SportsForFun
SportsForFun

@Ron5 So, all the points of this are invalid and this article should be deleted because of that mistake?  There are some valid points despite that misinformation and most anybody can figure out what it's supposed to be. 

LeeLanier
LeeLanier

The review system should apply for the truth irregardless to whether if it was enough to over rule the call on the field.

johnvas49
johnvas49

@olansuddeth @allmanrg Yep, that penalty against Vernon Davis was for a late hit (cheap shot) not pass interference.  The ball had already bounced off the ground when the hit happened.  I guess the Panthers figured he's had a few concussions, maybe they'd get lucky again and knock him out of the game like they did in the regular season.

harleyponygirl
harleyponygirl

@macman64 @allmanrg   guess you can't read or comprehend English... "Simply disgusted"  look it up in the dictionary; it will help you discern the difference vs 'bitter'   Actually, I can see you did not read and/or comprehend much of allmanrg's post.  The first game in sf vs Panthers , with unbiased officiating, indicated the best team, Panthers

dfin13
dfin13

@matt37 @Schmaggs  He was flagged for his reaction after the play, when it was initially ruled out of bounds and he did his tantrum schtick. The photo shows him out on the field *during* the play, right as Davis is making the catch -- that should have been a penalty and the down should have been replayed since it wasn't a dead ball foul.

johnvas49
johnvas49

@Tenacious_G @Westphal4Life Indianapolis would have had to have possession of the ball before it went out of the end-zone to be a touchback.  Only the Patriots punter ever had possession of the ball during that play, so it was the correct call.

Serena
Serena

@SportsForFun @Ron5 An article about mistakes being made should be free of mistakes should it not? otherwise it comes off as a case of the pot calling the kettle black

Thad
Thad

@LeeLanier COULD YOU SEE THE FILM OF THE RECEIVER IN THE END ZONE AND OUTOF BOUNDS AND COMING BACK ON THE FIELD AND MAKING THE CATCH FOR A TD . RULES SAY YOU CAN'T GO OUT OF BOUNDS AND COME BACK IN ON THE SAME PLAY  TD SHOULD NOIT HAVE BEEN CALLED FOR SF . THESE REFS REMIND ME OF THE REFS WHO FILLED IN FOR THE REAL REFS A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO  IT IS CALLED REPLACEMENT REFS WHO ARE TAUGHT TO SEE NOTHING AND HEAR NOTHING 

paceavelli75
paceavelli75

@Serena @SportsForFun @Ron5 it should not be free of mistakes.. refs get paid to know the game.. reporters get paid to write articles.. if you've never made a typo before you can critique... btw your post missed a comma after the second usage of the word "mistakes," you did not capitalize "otherwise," which begins a sentence, and the words "being made" effectively use two different tenses, deeming your entire post invalid. Also, you did not put a common expression in quotations as it should have been, and forgot to end your final sentence with a period! DUH!