On a number of occasions NFL rules aren’t fully known until that first team receives a penalty or challenges a questionable play that sets the precedent (i.e. 2001’s unofficially named, “Tuck Rule”). This past Sunday, another rule was brought to the attention of players, coaches and fans during the final minutes of the Patriots and Jets game, the “push rule.” Well, at least that’s what it will probably be called for future reference. Immediately following the call there was shock around the league of this unheard rule. Then in days to follow news would break of the Miami Dolphins’ probable hands in the matter.
As stated in the 2013 NFL Rule Book, "Team B players cannot push teammates on the line of scrimmage into the offensive formation." In Sunday’s game, “Team B” was the defense of the New England Patriots. Rookie Chris Jones pushed his fellow lineman and was called for unnecessary roughness during the Jets field goal. As a result of the call, kicker Nick Folk was allowed to re-kick the ball at a closer distance and win the game for his team.
In the NFL when there are new rules or changes to existing rules teams are notified, as are the officials for the matter. However, where does fault lay when a player breaks the rule or when a referee forgets to call it one game and not the other? Who’s to blame? Safe to say that each should know the rules of the game and follow them accordingly.
For example when driving and you take a turn on red. Sometimes you get away with this because you can and because you may be used to doing it anyways when there’s a sign that says so. Other instances you get caught because a police officer is near by. The key is to know the rules and stick to them at all times, no matter who is watching.
In the week 5 match-up when the Miami Dolphins faced off with the Baltimore Ravens, the referee wasn’t watching or potentially forgot the rule and allowed the “Push Rule” (unofficially titled) to be broken. Defensive lineman Chris Canty pushed his teammate, Arthur Jones onto the “line of scrimmage into the offensive formation.” Dolphins’ kicker, Caleb Sturgis went on to kick a 57-yard field goal that was no good. Ravens win the game. Had the call been made a penalty would’ve been called on Canty resulting in a re-kick at a closer distance. Had Sturgis gone on to make that attempt the 42-yarder the game would’ve been sent to overtime.
Here’s the kicker (no pun intended). Following the loss the Dolphins noticed this miss call countered the rule. According to Albert Bree of CBS Sports, the NFL Vice President of Officiating, Dean Blandindo made sure to send out a training tape to the game officials on this rule. Fast forward to Sunday’s game in the final minutes, Jets’ Folk goes for the kick, Canty pushes and the referee has his likely “ah ha” moment and the right call is made.
It’s possible that any Dolphins’ fan that’s privy to this information is reveling in the fact that in some funny way the Dolphins had a hand in the Patriots losing a game. It’s bitter sweet though, because it resulted in another division rival winning the game instead. But any help in the Patriots’ fall from grace is a shot worth taking. If this news goes through the grape vines up in New England, Patriot Nation is sure to be on fire when the Dolphins head to New England for their first match up of the season on Sunday.
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