NFL announces 2013 rule changes

The NFL has announced the rule changes for 2013 with three big modifications:

1 – The “tuck rule” is gone!

2 – The crazy “red flag rule” that hosed the Lions and Falcons last year has been changed.  It will still be a penalty for “unnecessary challenge” (or however they word it), but officials will still review the play.

3 – Likely the most difficult new rule is that a “runner in the open field cannot  lower his head and initiate contact with a defender with the crown (top) of his helmet“.  This has been legal since day one, and now suddenly isn’t, which could take some adjustments by ball carriers.

Mark over at Football Zebras has a great review of the changes that is certainly worth reading.


Bill Vinovich returns to the field in Week 6!

Exciting news today for officiating fans, as Bill Vinovich will once again don a white hat for this weekend’s game between the Lions and Eagles.

Vinovich last worked in the 2006 season, and retired before 2007 due to his health.  At that time, John Parry took his place.

This information was learned by Football Zebras, an allied site whose founder Ben regularly contributes assignments here at Football-Refs.

While Football-Refs puts all of its focus on assignments (and will continue to do so), Football Zebras focuses heavily on news and discussion.  If you’re interested in officiating news, discussion about specific calls or opinion articles, Football Zebras comes highly recommended!

NFL, NFLRA agree on new contract: The lockout is over!

A deal has been struck, and the nightmare is over.  We can expect to see legitimate NFL officials for the entirety of Week 4, including the Thursday night game between the Ravens and Browns.

Of course, this means we’ll need to start over on the Week 4 assignments to the best of our ability.  That’s work that I, for one, don’t mind doing!

A big “thank you” to everyone who voiced their opinion to people with the ability to do something about it, such as on Twitter.  I have no doubt that contributed to a deal being done.

Touchdown, interception or pass interference: Packers vs. Seahawks

If anything should get the NFL and the officials talking again, a play like this will do it.  At the end of the game, the refs couldn’t figure out what to call, leading to this amazing picture with one calling for a touchdown and the other calling for a touchback (interception).

Here’s a video of the play. Touchdown for Golden Tate or interception by M.D. Jennings?

2012-13 season begins tonight

Hi all –

As the Cowboys visit the Giants tonight to begin the 2012-13 season, I find myself highly conflicted.

The replacement officials concern me greatly.  I have expressed these concerns to varying degrees, mostly in more private forums such as email.

I won’t get into those concerns here.  Ultimately, it comes down to this: I’ve been trying to decide how active to be in determining crew assignments and putting them up, whilst the replacements are in use.

My original decision was to not be involved at all, but after spending much time thinking it over, I will put up what I know – albeit likely later in the week than I normally would.

I’m hoping that this lockout is resolved, both sooner-than-later and fairly.  Either way, I hope everyone enjoys the new football season!  I certainly will.


How big of a deal will it be to have replacement referees for a few games?

It’s sounding more and more likely that the NFL will have to use replacement referees for the first few weeks of the regular season, as the NFL and the NFL Referees Association are continuing to fail to make progress toward a new deal.

How bad will this be?  Big deal, small deal, or no problem at all?

We’re on Google+ now

Since Google+ has just opened up their service for websites and businesses, we’ve added a page on there to give you another way to stay up-to-date with us.  Come join us

Of course, you can always follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook or grab our RSS feed.  Whatever works for you, we’ll be there.

Thanks always to those of you that help track down the assignments each week, and a special thanks to Preth for helping me keep things running smoothly.

Week 10 Update

Hi all –

I have agreed to assist Mickey with updates for this website.  As my first major order of business, you will see that the list of 2011 crews has been updated to be current.  If you see any errors, please let me know and I’ll fix them.

We are just beginning the process of filling out the list for Week 10.  If you should come to learn of an assignment, please take the time to let us know.  If possible, include the source.


Who is fired up for some Lions-Niners?

Who would have thought that a week 6 match-up between the Lions and 49ers would be such a big deal.  As a life-long suffering Lions fan, I love it!  Mike Carey will be there in Detroit, so hopefully it’ll be a great game.

We’re still trying to dig up a few assignments, but most of the week 6 referee assignment list is ready to go.  If you can help with either of the missing games (Carolina/Atlanta, New Orleans/Tampa Bay), post a comment in there (with your source) and let us know.  Thanks!

Did Victor Cruz “give himself up”?

The big debate of the day.  The Giant’s Victor Cruz fell down, then intentionally let go of the ball because he thought the play was over.  However, having not been touched the Cardinals, he wasn’t actually down.  The refs decided that he “gave himself up”, making the play dead, but that’s controversial.

The rule states:

An official shall declare the ball dead and the down ended… when a runner is out of bounds, or declares himself down by falling to the ground, or kneeling, and making no effort to advance.

It doesn’t seem that Cruz fell down intentionally, and he certainly didn’t kneel, so did he give himself up?  Here’s a video of the play:

What do you think?  Did Jerome Boger and his crew make the right call?