Todd Geerlings’ excessive celebration penalty on Kansas State’s Adrian Hillburn

This has been a HOT topic today, with Todd Geerlings’ page receiving over 150 comments so far. Geerlings crew called an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty during last night’s Pinstripe Bowl when Kansas State’s Adrian Hilburn scored a late touchdown and saluted the crowd. The penalty forced the Wildcats to try a game-tying 2-point conversion from 17 yards out, and Syracuse wound up winning 36-34.

Here is a clip of the play:

Interestingly, here is a Syracuse touchdown from earlier in the game where the player uses two hands to form a diamond shape to the crowd. Is that less “excessive”?

I didn’t see the game live, so I can’t say for sure. However, it seems like his crew blew the call. Your thoughts?



  1. I think it’s clear that Todd hates both America and football.

  2. Todd, your crew needs to be man enough to say you screwed up and apologize.

  3. I'm not Todd... Really! says

    Well (I’m not Todd Geerlings), I think it was a pretty good call. I mean the guy saluted the crowd (I’m not Todd Geerlings), and that kind of reckless display deserves some pretty severe punishment (I’m not Todd Geerlings). I know the Syracuse players were also celebrating after they scored, but hey… this was a chance for me (uhhhhh… scratch that… I mean Todd) to really grab the spotlight and show everyone what a great referee I (errrr.. I mean Todd) is/am. Anyone who doesn’t agree that this was a great call by a great official isn’t Todd Geerlings.

    Thank you.

    • Are you stupid?!
      Come on man, your probably Geerling’s brother! A salute is not excessive compared to any other celebration that is used. The rule that states that you can’t bring attention to yourself is complete bull. Any celebration brings attention, and nothing else gets flagged.
      Have you watched football before?

  4. Hey Todd, how much money did you win???????

  5. Pathetic call, even before witnessing the blatant no calls in the NC / Tenn game. The simple fact that the call is being discussed (and roundly criticized) on every ports show is proof enough.

  6. I’m an SEC fan, and have no bone in this fight other than I like to watch good football. Ref’s have to let kids play and win on the field, not win or lose on a BS call….a call like this makes the game a joke and the ref’s look like fools. I heard the guy even said “wrong move buddy” before he threw the flag. Unbelievable. The whole celebration issue is way to subjective and a penalty should only be called when something is very blatant, disrespectful, and distracts from the spirit of the game and sportsmanship……which almost never happens, and I can’t even site an example I’ve watched in college sports this year.

  7. There are many things about this call that make my blood boil; however, most of them have been covered by other posts. The unwillingness of the crew to issue an apology rubs salt in the wound and I find it the most insulting part of what happened. In a year when you have an umpire apologize for a blown call keeping a pitcher from a no hitter, Geerling’s refusal to do anything but list procedure is the most disappointing. Mistakes happen…admit it, apologize, and learn from it. Until I see better character displayed from him, I sympathize for the athletes and fans that have the misfortune of him as their official.

  8. What a jackwagon!

  9. Mark Chapman says

    Bizarre, strange, incomprehensible. After the call was made the first thought I had was: money. Is it possible that the fix was in? No rational person could call a salute “excessive celebration” unless…….
    As long as we are picking nits,why did you not penalize the defense pursuing Hilburn after the touchdown?

  10. Cheryl Mellenthin says


  11. The Vegas betting line had KSU favored by 1. Todd cemented a win for everyone that bet on Syracuse to win. “things not always as the seem in NY Town”!

  12. Man up and admit you were wrong! There can be no reasonable explanation for the pic below:

  13. I’ve refereed and coached 14 years flag football and pop warner games and I can’t believe that you called a flag for that salute in the endzone by that college kid!!! Plain and simply you don’t have any commen sense for the game!!!!! No matter what it says on the rule book!!! Rules can be bent!!! You should be a shamed of yourself and if your not your just into refereing for the money!!! You could of easily picked up your flag and warned the kid!!!!! But you didn’t have any common sense to do that!!!!!!!What a loser!!!!

  14. Todd(and the idiots on your crew that threw the flags for excessive celebration). You guys are a couple of Grade A d-bags. By the way the correct signal for off-sides is both hands to the hips. Its not the uncontrolled spasm that you displayed after K-State’s failed onside kick. What the he** was that anyway?

  15. Hey Todd, this play happened 1 minute before the play you flagged Adrian Hilburn for, and it was right in front of your face. You are a joke to your profession, and you should RESIGN.

  16. How can the officials explain this call when the very next game on ESPN showing Tenn vs N0rth Carolina showed Tenn players doing exactly the same thing (one even did a double salute) and no calls on any of it. As many have already mentioned, Syracuse players were not called on the actions they made during the same game!

    Let the players decide the outcome of the game, not some subjective call by an official. This call blew an otherwise good exciting game. Fans were robbed of the games exciting finish. We will never know what would have happened.

  17. A Syracuse player celebrated to the point of injuring himself following a tackle, yet he did not receive a penalty – even though his antics forced a time out and the network had to cut to a commercial break. However, a respectful salute to fans was deemed over the top and excessive.

    Geerlings’ verbally taunting the K-State player at the time he threw the flag makes it personal. What’s up with that?

  18. Todd,

    Do America a favor and resign first thing Monday! Take the JUCO crew and Bill Corollo with you!

  19. rastuspcollins says

    Hey Todd, how much did your crew win on the game! didn’t a basketball ref go to jail over betting on games! Thank God you are in the Big 10. Can’t wait to see Polini get after you!

  20. Everyone has seemed to already cover the prevailing wisdom of Geerlings and Crew’s ridiculous call at the end of the game. You blew it, and there are many examples from that game that show what a freakin’ hypocrite you are. I’d like to hear an explanation of the youtube clip above when Syracuse stops Thomas in the backfield and the player is obviously smoothing himself out in front of your face. Where was the flag, Todd? Or Sales’ diamond sign after his touchdown. Where was the flag, Todd? You and your crew blew this game, but you aren’t even man enough to own up to it. I hope Snyder throws down on this. Go back to middle school officiating, you’re obviously incapable of anything higher.

  21. I think you should be fired right away, before you screw up again. You are a disgrace to football.

  22. Chili Williams says

    I do not salute you, sir, for making the “wrong choice buddy” and throwing a flag. Now who is drawing attention to themselves? You are a complete and utter Jackass.

  23. If Todd was a soccer ref in say Columbia and made a horrible call on this scale, he would would be buried six feet under right now.

  24. I wouldn’t call it an Incorrect Call, but I do think it’s a very marginal call, and that a warning should have been enough (unless the team had been warned earlier in the game, not to repeat this action).

    FYI (if anyone is interested), the rulebook says:

    Unsportsmanlike Conduct Fouls:

    Specifically prohibited acts and conduct include:
    (…) including but not limited to:
    (c) Inciting (..) spectators in any other way, such as (..) placing a hand by the ear to request recognition.
    (h) (..) or bowing at the waist after a good play.

    So the specific act isn’t mentioned, but similar acts are. Again, I think a warning would have been enough, but I’m not ready to jump on the bandwagon and lynch the officials

    • If a player jumps up in the endzone into the arms of another player while holding one finger to the sky after scoring a touchdown – the rule of drawing attention to oneself should/should not be applied consistently – that is the point of discussion. The official used poor judgement in representing the Big 10 – and would bet that is his last game as an official representing the Big 10 – or an future bowl games. College football is a business – a high level of performance is expected based on the $$ invested by sponsors….consequences are no different from any other job.

      • I doubt the TWO officials with flags on the play, will get “fired”, for what will most likely be rated as a marginal call (a call, that is technically correct by rule, but not by philosophy).

        Also, what if the player and/or team had been warned earlier in the game ? Maybe even more than once ?

        I still think that a warning would have been the best option – but that doesn’t change the fact, that, BY RULE, what he did was wrong – so in my mind, the player is to blame, not the officials…

        • If what the K-State player did was wrong “by the rule”, why wasn’t the rule applied consistently? There are numerous screen caps of Syracuse showing excessive celebration, yet the rule was not applied. Interesting, to say the least.

          • Not being consistent is a valid point indeed – but both teams might have been warned, that if it happened again, they would be flagged. Or maybe the player in question, had been warned earlier.

            Again, I still think a warning would have been better – but if the player had stayed within the rules, he wouldn’t have been flagged.

          • Actually Rule 9-2-1-a-1-d (there is not 9-2-1-d) is just one of many examples. You don’t have to do ALL the examples, to break the rules.

            I mentioned two of the other examples, that point to similar acts.

  25. todd, WRONG CALL BUDDY hope your sleeping good at night knowing 92% of the country knows that you made it personal on the field friday. Also letting your bosses go out there and face the press for you and try to cover your butt. Well NCAA at least major leaque baseball knows how to admit when they made a mistake like i have taught my 3yr old kid to do. SHAMEFULL!!!

  26. In all seriousness The NCAA should open an investigation into Todd Geerling’s motivation in making such a horrendous call. It does not make sense that anyone would make that call in that situation without outside influence. i.e..something of value.

  27. Todd's Brother says

    As your brother, you are a disgrace not only to college football but to also the NCAA. I really hope you resign or the Big 10 decides they no longer need your bush-league services. I pity you as this will be with you for the rest of your sorry life.

  28. molly shaver says

    Have you and your crew been fired yet for your screw-up at the Pinstripe Bowl?

  29. Is the NCAA going to address this issue?

  30. Scott in KC says

    It’s 8:45am on Sunday, the 2nd and your decision was still wrong.

  31. Way to to, Geerlings. You did it! You won the Pinstripe Bowl! Who says being a referee won’t get you all the attention you deserve?

  32. Jake Johnson says

    Way to go Geerlings! Go live in an insurgent community in the Middle East so you can share your hatred of America with like minds. When you grow up and learn to love the country you live in….Don’t come back!

  33. Geerlings, enjoy life unemployed. Forget resigning, I think you’re going to be FIRED.

  34. the voice of reason says

    You still made the wrong call…How much did you get paid from it? come on be honest…

  35. hey todd –

    i the numbnuts that run the big ten keep you around, they should form a 3rd division, call it the “lame losers” and put you in charge.

  36. It is even more clear that at least one of the officials (Geerlings did not make the call, but did NOT overrule it for being bullcrap, either) had some money or some interest in the outcome of the game. I would like to check where the Head Linesman and Back Judge are from. Or even more likely, I would like to have followed them to the bookie to video tape them picking up their money. That was the most blatant fixing call I have ever seen. It cannot be described any other way.

  37. it is just irratating to me how K-State always has problems with refs and yes you gotta adjust to the officials but i would guarantee no warning was issued….no one realizes how patriotic Kansas State is with Fort Riley right down the road all KSU sports teams wear patches honoring the fallen the salute happens all the time in Manhattan….what it is was one more chance for the Big 10 to screw over the Big 12 and Kansas State one more time i hope this crew burns in hell like they deserve….one last thing EMAW we will get em next year

  38. Mr. Hilburn I believe that you owe KSU an apology. Per your quote: “These kinds of excessive celebrations have been a priority in the rulebook for the last several years,” Big Ten referee Todd Geerlings told reporters after the game. “There’s a whole page in the rulebook pertaining to sportsmanship.”
    If you were consistent and in line with your comments at all you would have called the celebration penalties earlier in the game on the numerous celebrations after plays and touchdowns. There was even one right in front of you on the same drivewhere the defensive player ran 10 yards after a tackle for a one yard loss and wiped his jersey down while doing so.
    If you were watching (?) the Syracuse players go to the stands and were holding up there hands in a O to the crowd and now penalty is called why would a son of a military officer think he would get flagged for a salute let alone get called when there were obvious no calls earlier in the game. In that play the player did not draw attention to himself your crew did. You cant reverse it but you can give the kid some dignity in at least apologizing for not calling the dozen acts that were not called prior that were worse than his act.
    If I did not know better you and your crew had an agenda and it was followed to a T. Any time a referee makes a call that allows the game to be decided needs to question why he is refereeing the sport.

    This is going down as the worst call by a college football ref ever!

  39. You can say all you want and analyze this thing to death, but Todd Geerlings is a freaking IDIOT and should find a new like of work, either voluntarily or otherwise.

  40. That officiating crew is a joke. Man up and admit u suck balls. The worst call ever. Todd seems like a real dumbass. U have to be consistent in your calls. Also, thanks for fixing the game, jerk.

  41. I am going to take a quote from the great Marv Levy in describing Todd Geerlings – “u overofficious jerk”. Never have words better applied to this guy. Then to come out with the explanation to back up the call, total horse shit!

  42. Let me take another famous quote (lyric) from the great Kenny Rogers. This perrtains to Geerlings. “You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away, know when to run.”. Todd, u should of held the flag. Now u better run. But I assume u were gambling, d-bag.

  43. Is it wrong that I’m still furious over this?

  44. Thankfully, the rules committee just clarified this rule for the idiots not intelligent enough to understand it before.

  45. I am posting late into all of this but when people whine about enforcing the rules do you all know how the rules and made for NCAA?
    The coaches get involved with the administrators to look at the rules and how the game is played and the officials just adjudicate the game, yet people are upset at officials because they are easy targets instead of writing to the coaches themselves about why they let a ruling be in there to be enforced the way it has to be enforced.