The blown late-hit enforcement in the Packers-Niners game

Many of you are already talking about this play that occurred in the Packers-Niners game a little while ago.


The staff at FootballZebras have a nice recap of what happened. In part:

Packers linebacker Clay Matthews was flagged for a late hit on Kaepernick well after Kaepernick had stepped out of bounds. The two teams engaged in a small scuffle afterward, when the 49ers were hit with unnecessary roughness foul.

Because the Matthews foul was two steps after the ball was dead, the fouls were on the dead-ball side of the ledger, and the proper call is to offset the two fouls and the down counts. That would have given the 49ers a fourth down and a likely field goal situation.

Instead, Bill Leavy and the crew offset and replayed the down. The 49ers took another shot for the end zone, and they scored.

While I don’t agree that it necessarily “cost Green Bay the game”, as some are saying, it certainly didn’t help.  The Niners still might have gone on to win, but you never know.  Clay Matthews also had that soccer-esque fake dive to try and draw a penalty late the game, which fortunately the refs didn’t believe.  My opinion of him certainly dropped today.

That said, this is a bad way for the refs to start the season.  A blown call or bad judgement is one thing, but this is simply a misinterpretation of the rules that was clearly wrong and had a dramatic impact on the game.  Not good…

Check out the FootballZebras post for a bit more info about it.



  1. I think the misapplication of the penalty is being overblown. There were other fairly egregious misses on that play:

    – No flag on Matthews for punching Staley in the helmet. Twice.
    – Flagging Staley for “retaliation”, when all he did was get in Matthews’ face.
    – Matthews not being ejected for either the punches to Staley or for launching himself at an out-of-bounds quarterback.

    The officials certainly mucked things up momentarily, but all this talk about how it “dramatically impacted the outcome of the game” is reaching. If anything, it dramatically impacted THAT drive – the Niners should have had 1st down after Matthews’ dirty play. The Niners otherwise completely outplayed Green Bay, but were constantly hampered by the officials’ lack of calling obvious holds or facemask penalties against GB.

  2. Please do something to upgrade the officiating of college football games, so far the officiating has been very questionable. A good example is the OU at Oregon game 5 or 6 years ago where the officials very plainly cheated. And, just the other day, the Az. Wis game.