Top rulings from Giants-Vikings game

BY foxsports • December 13, 2010

Week 14 is now officially in the books — in more ways than one.

Not only did Monday night prove to be historic when Brett Favre's record-setting streak of consecutive starts ended, but it also proved to be unusual, as a winter storm in Minnesota caused the collapse of the Metrodome roof, forcing the New York Giants-Minnesota game to be played in Detroit on Monday night.

There was not a lot of controversy in either game Monday, so let's do a little teaching.

1. N.Y. Giants vs. Minnesota

THE SITUATION: New York had the ball, fourth-and-13 from the Minnesota 45-yard line with 5:25 to go in the third quarter. The Giants led 14-3.

THE PLAY: The Giants' Matt Dodge punted and the Vikings' Greg Camarillo signaled for a fair catch. The ball was muffed by Camarillo and recovered by the Giants. However, three penalties were called on the play — one on New York's Deon Grant for fair-catch interference and two unnecessary-roughness penalties, one on each team.

MY TAKE: This was a bit confusing because referee Jeff Triplette initially announced there were only two penalties on the play and both were against the Giants.

The unnecessary roughness was declined and fair-catch interference was accepted. The fair-catch interference penalty is a new rule change. A player who signals for a fair catch has always received protection even after muffing the kick until the ball hits the ground.

In this case, Grant interfered with Camarillo's ability to make the catch after the muff. This is a foul, but beginning this season, there is no penalty yardage assessed.

Before this season, it was a 15-yard penalty from the spot of the foul. The reason there is no yardage assessed is because it's a natural reaction for a kicking-team member to attempt to recover the ball after it has been muffed. Therefore, the rule was changed to treat this more like a violation rather than a foul.

2. N.Y. Giants vs. Minnesota

THE SITUATION: Minnesota had the ball, third-and-11 from its 12-yard line with 7:11 to play in the game. The Giants led, 21-3.

THE PLAY: Minnesota quarterback Tarvaris Jackson was in the shotgun formation when a bad snap by center John Sullivan resulted in the ball rolling into the end zone. The ruling was Jackson recovered the ball and advanced to the 1-yard line.

MY TAKE: This really was a safety, and had the Giants challenged, they would have been awarded two points. The Vikings put the ball in the end zone by way of the errant snap. When Jackson finally possessed the ball in the end zone, he was touched down by the Giants' Antrel Rolle before advancing the ball into the field of play.

Once the ball is in the end zone, the only way to avoid a safety is to advance the entire ball out of the end zone before you are ruled down. That wasn't the case here.

3. N.Y. Giants vs. Minnesota

THE SITUATION: Last play of the third quarter

THE PLAY: Line judge Jeff Bergman was injured on the play and was unable to continue.

MY TAKE: I hate to see this. Bergman is part of the Bergman family that has been officiating in this league for decades. His dad, Jerry, worked for many years and one was one of the best head linesmen ever to step on the field. His brother, Jerry Jr., is currently in the league, also.

It is interesting what happens when an official gets hurt. The crew makes adjustments by eliminating the back judge position and moving him to the injured official's spot. That means there are only two downfield officials essentially trying to cover three receivers in certain formations.

The back judge is normally responsible for the tight end. I think this is clearly an advantage for the defense, as the tight end is not going to be covered in certain formations. And linebackers might likely get away with defensive holding and illegal contact.

I do want to point out that on punt plays, the crew makes a second adjustment and moves the back judge back to his original position to rule on blocks that occur during punt plays.



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