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bobref

Fake Kneeldown

Question

This is inspired by a play in yesterday’s Purdue bowl game, but I’ve made it a hypothetical by changing the situation a little bit. So, if you’re a Purdue fan, or a hater, it’s not intended to be a comment on that play. If you want to rail about that play, please find someplace else to do it.

Team A has just executed a fair catch of a punt on their own 25 yd. line. So, they have 1st and 10 there with only 4 seconds remaining in the first half. As the offense comes onto the field, the referee asks the QB if they’re going to run a play. He tells the R they’re going to kneel down. They come out in “Victory Formation,” whereupon the Umpire tells the defense they’re going to kneel down so “don’t do anything stupid.” At the snap, the QB fakes taking a knee and throws the bomb to a wide open receiver running a fly pattern, who walks into the end zone for a TD as time expires. What do you do? Some possible options are:

  1. Nothing. That’s football.
  2. Unsportsmanlike conduct on the A QB. Cancel the TD. Start the 2nd half with a 15 yd. penalty on A.
  3. Unsportsmanlike conduct on the A Head Coach. Cancel the TD. Start the 2nd half with a 15 yd. penalty on A. 
  4. Blow an intentional “inadvertent whistle.” Extend the period by an untimed down. No foul. No TD.

On a closely related subject, as officials, how should we handle those situations?Don’t ask the QB? Don’t say anything to the defense? Simply tell the defense to “play smart,” but don’t say anything about taking a knee?

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2.  Unsportsmanlike on the QB.

Our crew will not ask regardless of the situation.  If we are told by the QB or the coach they are planning on taking a knee the U will tell the defense "they are taking a knee, if the ball winds up on the ground its live, if not be smart."  Have very few times had to address any abnormal actions by either team.  

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1 hour ago, fbofficial said:

2.  Unsportsmanlike on the QB.

Our crew will not ask regardless of the situation.  If we are told by the QB or the coach they are planning on taking a knee the U will tell the defense "they are taking a knee, if the ball winds up on the ground its live, if not be smart."  Have very few times had to address any abnormal actions by either team.  

I’m not disagreeing with you, but if you did that and were challenged on it, what rules support could you provide? And if it’s unsportsmanlike conduct - a live ball foul enforced as a dead ball foul - why would that cancel the TD? It’s a succeeding spot enforcement.

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Is the current rule or the way it plays out # 1?

I'd treat that situation like I'm a boxer. It's customary to come out and touch gloves before the start of the fight/round but everything is in play. When in doubt keep you guard. Purdue and Brohm have been pulling out trick plays all year and his WKU team actually ran that play in their bowl game last year (while Holt was coaching as Brohm had already left). Someone on the Arizona staff should have been shouting heads up.

What is the customary approach between player/coach and referee before running a trick play that could be blow dead inadvertently? Do most coaches tell the referee's before game what they have up their sleeve and does the QB whisper to the ref right before? 

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1 hour ago, Footballking16 said:

Is the current rule or the way it plays out # 1?

I'd treat that situation like I'm a boxer. It's customary to come out and touch gloves before the start of the fight/round but everything is in play. When in doubt keep you guard. Purdue and Brohm have been pulling out trick plays all year and his WKU team actually ran that play in their bowl game last year (while Holt was coaching as Brohm had already left). Someone on the Arizona staff should have been shouting heads up.

Again, the actual play Purdue ran is not under discussion here, because I wanted to avoid this discussion turning into a defense or condemnation of Purdue.

Should the fact that the QB told the referee they were going to take a knee have any impact on the ruling?

What is the customary approach between player/coach and referee before running a trick play that could be blow dead inadvertently? Do most coaches tell the referee's before game what they have up their sleeve and does the QB whisper to the ref right before? 

Most referees ask the coach in the pregame conference about “trick” plays. I can recall several occasions when a coach told me about a trick play and I had to tell him it was illegal. If the coach withholds that information, he does so at his own risk.

 

Edited by bobref

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11 minutes ago, bobref said:

Should the fact that the QB told the referee they were going to take a knee have any impact on the ruling?

Does this fall into that category of intentionally deceptive plays, assuming the QB tells the ref that they are taking a knee?  The whole idea of TELLING the ref you are taking a knee seems to be to avoid the kind of unnecessary injuries that come in at the end of the game/half. 

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4 hours ago, bobref said:

I’m not disagreeing with you, but if you did that and were challenged on it, what rules support could you provide? And if it’s unsportsmanlike conduct - a live ball foul enforced as a dead ball foul - why would that cancel the TD? It’s a succeeding spot enforcement.

Very good point.  We would be in a tough spot with the defensive team's coach.

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If they say they are taking a knee there should be a whistle that doesn't let them score. They shouldn't say they are taking a knee  

End of game that's 1 score play football. If they do something that warrants a flag or ejection they get it but on that 1% chance they muff the snap, live ball and the defense should have a chance to recover it.

Multi score, large margin of victory game (which is the norm in Indiana) its over and stop anything unnecessar from happening. The game is over but end of half and close games, football should be played without the officials telling the players anything. Except the qb. I hate when they take a knee and sit there on their knee. If someone does rush hard and hit them and the get bent over their knee and tear it up. It might be a foul but so what qb is still hurt. Take a knee stand up fast and throw the ball the  R and get out of the way. 

10 hours ago, bobref said:

I’m not disagreeing with you, but if you did that and were challenged on it, what rules support could you provide? And if it’s unsportsmanlike conduct - a live ball foul enforced as a dead ball foul - why would that cancel the TD? It’s a succeeding spot enforcement.

I disagree with Bob on this one. I believe if you are calling it unsportsmanship, it is a foul at the snap and is to be killed and the yardage marked off from the previous spot  as if you were treating it like the "where is the tee play". It's at the end of rule 9 isn't it?

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3 hours ago, Huge football fan said:

I disagree with Bob on this one. I believe if you are calling it unsportsmanship, it is a foul at the snap and is to be killed and the yardage marked off from the previous spot  as if you were treating it like the "where is the tee play". It's at the end of rule 9 isn't it?

Pretty hard to disagree with me ... since I haven’t taken a position, yet. I’ve merely asked some questions.But here’s what I would do in this situation:

First, this is USC on the QB. When he told the officials he was taking a knee, without intending to do that, he made them part of the play. It’s OK to use deception on the defense (within limits): But it’s not OK to deceive the officials in an attempt to gain an advantage.

Second, I’d take away the TD and declare the half over. The period is not extended for an untimed down since the foul was for USC. 15 yd. penalty enforced on the 2nd half kickoff.

The rules support for this is found in Rule 9-10-1, which prohibits a team from committing an “unfair act” for which there is “no specific rules coverage.” In such cases, the referee is empowered to enforce any penalty he deems “equitable.” But, I definitely would not kill the play. If you do that, you’re depriving the offended team of a chance to cause a fumble, get an interception, etc. You’re also violating Fundamental IiI.2: “No live-ball foul causes the ball to become dead.” So, let the play go, and fix it afterward.

Now, what the crew does to prevent such scenarios from occurring is another matter, and clearly one on which reasonable people can differ. Let’s have more discussion on that. I’d also like to hear from some of our college officials. They may have been given specific guidance on how to handle kneel down scenarios.

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2 hours ago, bobref said:

 

Pretty hard to disagree with me ... since I haven’t taken a position, yet. I’ve merely asked some questions.But here’s what I would do in this situation:

First, this is USC on the QB. When he told the officials he was taking a knee, without intending to do that, he made them part of the play. It’s OK to use deception on the defense (within limits): But it’s not OK to deceive the officials in an attempt to gain an advantage.

Second, I’d take away the TD and declare the half over. The period is not extended for an untimed down since the foul was for USC. 15 yd. penalty enforced on the 2nd half kickoff.

The rules support for this is found in Rule 9-10-1, which prohibits a team from committing an “unfair act” for which there is “no specific rules coverage.” In such cases, the referee is empowered to enforce any penalty he deems “equitable.” But, I definitely would not kill the play. If you do that, you’re depriving the offended team of a chance to cause a fumble, get an interception, etc. You’re also violating Fundamental IiI.2: “No live-ball foul causes the ball to become dead.” So, let the play go, and fix it afterward.

Now, what the crew does to prevent such scenarios from occurring is another matter, and clearly one on which reasonable people can differ. Let’s have more discussion on that. I’d also like to hear from some of our college officials. They may have been given specific guidance on how to handle kneel down scenarios.

According to rich Rod these officials told his defense not to hit anybody. I'm sure someone will come out with something that is very clear and specific now

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3 hours ago, bobref said:

 

Pretty hard to disagree with me ... since I haven’t taken a position, yet. I’ve merely asked some questions.But here’s what I would do in this situation:

First, this is USC on the QB. When he told the officials he was taking a knee, without intending to do that, he made them part of the play. It’s OK to use deception on the defense (within limits): But it’s not OK to deceive the officials in an attempt to gain an advantage.

Second, I’d take away the TD and declare the half over. The period is not extended for an untimed down since the foul was for USC. 15 yd. penalty enforced on the 2nd half kickoff.

The rules support for this is found in Rule 9-10-1, which prohibits a team from committing an “unfair act” for which there is “no specific rules coverage.” In such cases, the referee is empowered to enforce any penalty he deems “equitable.” But, I definitely would not kill the play. If you do that, you’re depriving the offended team of a chance to cause a fumble, get an interception, etc. You’re also violating Fundamental IiI.2: “No live-ball foul causes the ball to become dead.” So, let the play go, and fix it afterward.

Now, what the crew does to prevent such scenarios from occurring is another matter, and clearly one on which reasonable people can differ. Let’s have more discussion on that. I’d also like to hear from some of our college officials. They may have been given specific guidance on how to handle kneel down scenarios.

I agree....Unfair act and penalize as you say....

 

I think, and this is different than we handle it now, is to just not ask, not say anything.  This is the standard procedure for "onside kicks".  I dont say anything, I dont tip off anyone on the crew.  So, in end of game situations, just dont say anything, and let things play out.  If the D does something dumb, then penalize them.  If the QB wants to run back about 8 steps and then take a knee, then let them play.  I think we just do our jobs like normal.

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I agree with HFF's comments about the difference between 1st half/close 2nd half versus blowout 2nd half. In the latter situation I just tell the defense to be smart and remind the offense it's still a live ball and prepare to block. In the former situation I put myself much closer to the snapper and make sure nobody does anything. But I also never ask what they plan to do. They usually just tell us what they plan to do.

I didn't see the Purdue play, but in NCAA rules if a QB simulates taking a snap the down is considered over. So as soon as he starts to go down kill it. That would be a good rule change for NFHS as well. It's never been an issue though.

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15 minutes ago, BisonUmpire said:

I agree with HFF's comments about the difference between 1st half/close 2nd half versus blowout 2nd half. In the latter situation I just tell the defense to be smart and remind the offense it's still a live ball and prepare to block. In the former situation I put myself much closer to the snapper and make sure nobody does anything. But I also never ask what they plan to do. They usually just tell us what they plan to do.

I didn't see the Purdue play, but in NCAA rules if a QB simulates taking a snap the down is considered over. So as soon as he starts to go down kill it. That would be a good rule change for NFHS as well. It's never been an issue though.

As an umpire, you’re the one that comminicates with the defensive front 7. If the offense tells you that they’re going to take a knee, what do you tell the defense, if anything?

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1 hour ago, bobref said:

As an umpire, you’re the one that comminicates with the defensive front 7. If the offense tells you that they’re going to take a knee, what do you tell the defense, if anything?

As I said above, if it's the first half or a close second half I just tell them to be smart and remember it's a live ball. When the offense is telling me they are usually telling the defense as well so I don't tell them anything .If someone on the defense asks me if they are taking a knee I either tell them I don't know (if they never said anything to me) or they said they were taking a knee but be smart. The key is for the OL to remember it's still a live ball and they shouldn't expect the defense to do nothing.

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