Chicago Sun-Times

Snap to it: NFL changes rule that saved Bears in Philly

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Owners passed a rule Tuesday that will permit a defensive player to wear a radio speaker in his helmet at the meetings in Palm Beach, Fla., a measure Bears coach Lovie Smith has long been in favor of adding.

Smith wasn’t so lucky with another more obscure rule, one many were not aware of until the Bears’ game at Philadelphia in Oct. 21.

It was no snap decision.

If you recall the game that saved the Bears’ season (before it was lost the very next week with a home loss to the Detroit Lions), the score was tied at 9 in the fourth quarter in Philadelphia when a snap from center Olin Kreutz went through quarterback Brian Griese’s legs untouched and the ball was eventually scooped up by Eagles safety Sean Considine, the Byron, Ill., product, and returned to the Bears’ nine-yard line before Cedric Benson ran him down. Who said Benson could not outrun defensive backs?

The Eagles were on the door step about to take control of the game.

Or so we thought.

In stepped referee Ed Hochuli, who blew the play dead and called a false start against the Bears, explaining when a quarterback is under center and the snap goes past him untouched, the play is dead and it’s a penalty.

Not anymore. According to ESPN’s John Clayton, ``a direct snap from center that goes backward will now be treated as a fumble. Previously, it was ruled a false start.’’

Officiating supervisor Art McNalley was at the game at Lincoln Financial Field and he quickly confirmed Hochuli had made the right call. The Bears, who retained possession near midfield, went on to get a 45-yard field goal from Robbie Gould, and triumphed 19-16 when Griese executed the now infamous 97-yard drive without the aid of his helmet communication system, capping it with a 15-yard touchdown toss to Muhsin Muhammad.

``If the ball is snapped in between the quarterback’s legs, he has to be the one to get the ball,’’ McNalley said in a pool report. ``Under these circumstances, it has to be ruled a false start. If he’s in shotgun and the [ball] is snapped over his head, [it’s a] clean play. Pick it up. Go ahead and go the other way. Everything’s fine. The fact that he's taking the snap direct from the center [and the ball] goes through his legs, [the referee has] got to kill it right away, false start.

``I don't know what the intent of the rule is. The ball has to be taken by the quarterback.’’

Said Smith after the game: ``I haven’t seen that. But I’m all in favor of that, for sure.’’

You win some, you lose some.

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6 Comments

It nice to see the NFL and owners make it fair on both sides of the ball.Comunication is the key to all life.
I think we all know Urlacher will have the green sticker.What if Urlacher misses a game? Who gets the comunication devise?
Is it Briggs, Hunter, Mike Brown, or Wally?

Im gonna assume that if Brown is 100% healthy he will the alternate if anythin happens to Urlacher.

My Question is, Will there be one possition i.e. QB, on the defence that can only the green dot?

Your like a kid that repeats the samething in just about every post. and what kills me, ou ask the most rhetorical questions. I see why most fans from the other 31 teams say the bear fans are bunch of whiners.

I was pretty shocked on the false start call in that game. I had no idea that was a rule. Glad they made it consistent. No sense in a team getting a break on a bad play like that. If they would only fix the "tuck" rule, we would be all set.

As far as the speaker in the helmet, they only allow one player on the field at a time with the green dot, so in cases where Seneca Wallace came onto the field, he had to wear a different helmet to prevent the rule from being broken. I imagine it will be the same thing, where the Bears will have to identify who the succession plan will be, and have alternate helmets for each of those players ready on the sideline. I would hope Lance Briggs would be the next guy in line if Urlacher goes down or has to leave the game, but what do I know?

Yeh from reading a transcript from a conference call between the owners the defence will have to announce two designated players to have a radio helmet, a primary and a secondary with the secondary probably just having a spare helmet on the sideline. If both the primary and secondary designated players come out of the game due to injury etc then they'd have to resort back to signals just as they do on offence.

Oh how I yearn for the good old days when coaching from the sidelines was a penalty. When the game was played by players and not by committee. So now we're going to have a defensive player wearing a headset. And, who's going to be talking to him? Bob Babich? Duh. The next step will be virtual players to match the virtual coaches the Bears have. The game gets worse and worse every year. I've been a Bears fan since the late 1930's and had a very short tryout with the Bears in 1954 (probably the shortest one on record) but I'm at the point where I don't give a damn if I ever see another game.
Bah Hmbug says the old Oak Park guy.

Bring back the Monsters of the Midway psychology.

Why are Bears coaches and front office guys whining for the little technical things instead of getting the real job done with the draft, free agency, and dominant coaching on the field?

Papa Bear Halas, send us some help from beyond!

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on April 2, 2008 10:36 AM.

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