So we had one particular drive on Sunday where McKinnie was flagged twice for grasping the facemask within a couple of plays of each other. This drive began with 14:51 on the clock in the 2nd quarter. The play I am referring to in the title was the 4th play of the drive, taking place with 13:33 left on the clock. It was 1st down and 10 to go.
Flacco scrambles out of the pocket and moves around quite a bit before eventually finding Ed Dickson for a beautiful 23 yard completion. Perfect throw and caught without issue by Dickson. Problem is, it gets called back and we find ourselves in a 1st and 25 situation. The penalty was a facemask on Bryant McKinnie.
I've gone over the tape and I don't see anything illegal happening here.
His hand does go up towards the facemask of the opposing player, but it only touches it in the same way a stiff arm from a ball carrier goes against the facemask. His hand without a doubt does not close around the facemask, does not grasp, and does not turn in any way. It looks totally clean to me.
From the official rulebook:
GRASPING FACEMASKArticle 5 No player shall twist, turn, or pull the facemask of an opponent in any direction.Penalty: For twisting, turning, or pulling the mask: Loss of 15 yards. A personal foul. The player maybe disqualified if the action is judged by the official(s) to be of a flagrant nature.A.R. 12.12 Third-and-10 on A30. Runner A1 runs to the A33, where he is tackled by B1, who incidentally grasps A1’sfacemask on the tackle, but it is not a twist, turn, or pull.Ruling: A’s ball, fourth-and-seven, on A33. No Foul.
So am I missing something that makes this play illegal, or was it just an awful call that shouldn't have been made and instead of setting up an eventual 3rd and 33 to go on that drive, we should have moved the chains?
(Three plays later on 3rd and 18, McKinnie is flagged again for a facemask penalty, but this time the tape shows him clearly grasp the facemask and turn/pull, so that one was unquestionable).
Edited by callahan09, 24 September 2013 - 12:09 PM.