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Referees Cracking Down On Protests

There’s no penalty yet, but refs are watching for players complaining about non-calls.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Sunday, August 1st, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Categories: 2010 Training Camp, Ryan Mink

Tom Brady will need to watch his asking for penalties.

The NFL Officiating Department is making a push to crack down on players complaining about non-calls or protesting for calls to be made.

There is not an official new penalty for the offense, but it was included as a point of emphasis in the video presentation that all NFL players and coaches are required to watch during training camp.

The video, which is also shown to the media, said such behavior, “has no business in the game.”

“If [a player] persists, it opens itself up to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty,” NFL veteran official Ron Winters said. “Right now, it’s just a warning.”

Players are still permitted to ask an official – in a calm manner – why a call was made or not made. It will be a judgment call on the part of the official if the player persists too much. Examples shown in the video included wide receivers running around the field waving their arms to ask for pass interference.

One of the instances that jumps to mind is Brady’s protest for an unnecessary roughness call on Terrell Suggs during last year’s regular season contest.

If you don’t recall, Suggs fell forward towards Brady’s knee after he had released a pass. Brady moved out of the way as Suggs grazed him, but Brady immediately pointed to Suggs, requesting that the official throw a flag.

The official nodded in agreement that it was a penalty and threw the flag – resulting in a 15-yard penalty that extended an eventual touchdown drive. That official was Winters, the same referee who made the rules changes presentation to Baltimore media on Sunday.

Other than the playoff overtime rule change, another interesting change is that the umpire will now stand behind the offensive line instead of behind the linebackers. This is meant to protect officials, but it will change the angle that they view plays, which could affect how many holding penalties are seen.

Here is the full list of 2010 rules changes:

  • If a replay review inside of one minute of either half results in the on-field ruling being reversed and the correct ruling would not have stopped the game clock, then the officials will run 10 seconds off the game clock before permitting the ball to be put in play on the ready-for-play signal.
  • The eligible jersey numbers for defensive linemen, linebackers and centers have expanded.
  • During a field-goal attempt, punt or a try-kick, a team B player, who is within one yard of the line of scrimmage at the snap, must have his entire body outside the snapper’s shoulder pads.
  • The ball will be dead if a runner’s helmet comes off.
  • If a loose ball in play strikes a video board, guide wire, sky cam, or any other object, the ball will be dead immediately, and the down will be replayed at the previous spot.
  • The penalty yardage for interference when a kicking team player attempts to catch a muffed kick has been eliminated.
  • Protection for defenseless players has been standardized and expanded.
  • After the half has expired, dead ball personal fouls by the offense or defense will be enforced on the succeeding kickoff.
  • In overtime of postseason games, a field goal by the team that possesses the ball first will not end the game.

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