Detroit Lions 3 at Philadelphia Eagles 0
Second-and-6, Detroit at PHI 13, 4:53 of Q1
PENALTY on DET-G.Cherilus, Unnecessary Roughness, 15 yards, enforced at PHI 13 – No Play. Penalty on DET-C.Johnson, False Start, declined.
This non-play was a bit of a doozy. Matthew Stafford took the snap and dropped back to pass; however, the short wings threw their flags, whistled the play dead, and reported a false start on the offense. It is important to remember that, despite the flags coming after the snap, false starts are always dead ball fouls, since they involve movement before the ball is snapped (live). After the players milled around a bit, Gosder Cherilus punched Jason Babin in the face. The umpire was in the middle of all this and threw a flag for unnecessary roughness. Philadelphia declined the false start, accepted the roughness, but the referee then announced that it was third down. There are two problems with this:
1. The commentators have no idea how the rules work, so they just picked up on the referee's ruling regarding the down and said the roughness was "after the play," when it was in fact before the play, during the same dead-ball period as the false start; and
2. Because TV crew has no idea how any of this works, they cut to a commercial a few seconds before the referee got back on his mic and announced that the prior ruling was incorrect and that it was still second down. In fact, the only person who seem to have caught this were myself and one of Mike Pereira's minions, as his excellent (albeit difficult to parse) twitter feed almost immediately mentioned the correction. FOX's broadcast didn't even mention it after returning from commercial.
The officiating crew quickly got the down corrected, but the audience at home was completely left in the dark. Just a reminder that game management is just as important, if not more important, than rules enforcement.