No Malice In The Palace On “Fifth Down” Play

December 14th, 2010

fifth downJudging by the comments from Bucs fans on this here site, and from angry phone calls and Twitterings over the past day, Joe has a sense that Bucs fans are outraged at NFL officials.

There was certainly some sort of goof-up near the end of the Bucs win over the Redskins Sunday. Enough that enough people think the Redskins got a fifth down.

Mike Tanier of heard all the ruckus and decided to do some research on his own about the issue.

So let’s see: we have about two feet of links missing from the first down chains, which somehow stretch from the 12 to the three-yard line; a generous spot for Armstrong’s catch; an umpire taking the ball away from a fellow official in good position to make a spot and going for a stroll around the red zone with it; and a pass play that gained somewhere between 9.25 and 10.05 yards on first-and-10 in a close game that isn’t measured, even though the clock stopped. Raheem Morris should have demanded a measurement, or the officials just should have done it themselves. If those chains were stretched out, Armstrong would never have been rewarded a first down. Then again, Morris might have preferred giving the Redskins the first down: extra downs mean extra shots at the end zone.

I don’t think this was a case of home cooking. I think it was raining. The chain gang got a little lax about placement. The referees wanted to keep things moving. Shanahan was screaming about timeouts, and everybody was focused more on the clock than the markers, which became less relevant once the Redskins were inside the five-yard line. Everyone on the field assumed that Armstrong had a first down: the down indicator stayed consistent through the whole series, and, there is no evidence of confusion among the Buccaneers when they line up for the Moss touchdown. And of course, the missed extra point rendered the whole sequence moot.

The reason why Joe hasn’t gone ga-ga over this issue is that, well, the Bucs won the game. Additionally, the Bucs didn’t complain while the alleged misdeed actually took place.

So in Joe’s eyes, at the risk of sounding irresponsible if not unethical, this issue/non-issue is a moot point.

24 Responses to “No Malice In The Palace On “Fifth Down” Play”

  1. Earl Says:

    Yes it’s moot now. But behind the scenes the refs are getting chewed out.

  2. Gary Says:

    Are they Earl? I hope so, at least then they know somebad bad happened. I’m thinking they don’t even recognize it as a mistake by them.

    Head Zebra to game zebras: “lets talk about what happened in the skinz-bucs game”

    Zebra: “what about it?”

    Head Zebra: “that mixup at the end on the down count”

    Zebra: “who cares, its the bucs!”

    Head zebra: “yea you’re right. How are the kids?”

    … thats about how the conversation went.

  3. Kevin Says:

    For a betting man the point would be not a moot point.

  4. Atrain WD40 Says:

    Winning ugly is still winning…. Let it go boys, let it go.

  5. Joe Says:


    For a betting man the point would be not a moot point.

    LOL I guess this is why Joe doesn’t gamble. That never crossed Joe’s mind. 🙂

  6. feel Says:

    Considering the hold we got away with on Winslow’s TD, I cannot complain about the 5 down series at all.

  7. McBuc Says:

    The bucs were -3, so the one point still did not matter. The touchdown however did. The Skins cover and the Bucs win. Anyone who placed a bet on the Bucs should be mad at the refs.

  8. JDouble Says:

    People act like this is the first time. I’ve noticed it happeb in games before. Or when guys run out of bounds but the clock keeps running anyways, or a team doesn’t get charged for a time out, or sometimes I swear I’ve even seen kicks miss the field goal and still get called as good. Mistakes happen.

  9. oar Says:

    Yeah, those dang refs are…er…well…human!
    I know., let’s get robot refs, that way we can blame conspiracy!

  10. McBuc Says:

    Yep JDouble…Humans make mistakes.

  11. oar Says:

    BTW I’m more glad thier kicker and holder suck!

  12. McBuc Says:

    OAR…Agreed. That was some crazy bad kicking.

  13. Snook Says:

    I’m with Steve White on this issue:

    As always, GREAT stuff from Steve.

  14. BigMacAttack Says:

    This is just another symptom of a much greater problem. Gary’s analogy is pretty close to the way I have seen it play out this season. It is difficult enough having to play against 11, but when your playing 13 to 15, it is almost impossible to overcome. Players and coaches always say film doesn’t lie and the film shows that it was 2’nd & 1, not first down, based on the spot of the ball. The Skins were given an extra down, and although the refs missed it, the Booth should have caught it and called for the ref to stop and review it. If they had corrected the down or the spot, it may have altered the Skins next play calls, but facts are facts, and tape doesn’t lie…unlike officials…especially in Bucs’ games. The Falcons’ games were among the worst ever. A couple bad calls and maybe the Bucs are 10-3 & the Falcons are 9-4. Penalties should be re-viewable, at least 2 per game.

  15. McBuc Says:

    Bigmac..I have seen the Falcons win games against other teams from bad calls as well…check out the Raven’s game.

  16. Snook Says:

    I don’t get the “well, the Bucs won so this doesn’t matter” stance.

    This EASILY could’ve cost the Bucs the game. Then what?

    I just want to know how something as easy as stretching out a 10 yard chain with two poles on either end is screwed up. That’s ALL those guys do over there is hold two posts up that are held together by a 10 yard chain. That’s it! Nothing else!

    Is there an EASIER job on the sidelines of a football game?

  17. DailyRich Says:

    Here’s the thing — if the incomplete pass through the end zone was really 4th down, where was the celebration from the Bucs defenders? The play ends and they go right back to their defensive huddle. Don’t you think there’d be some kind of reaction if they thought they’d just won the game?

  18. jvato24 Says:

    Humans make mistakes … But this is their job and when they blow something they should be penalized ..

    For whatever reason the college officials are so much better at obvious calls and get through Instant replay in 45 seconds

  19. Brad Says:

    And the Big Dog won’t even discuss it. He must have bet on the Skins or didn’t bet on thus game. If he would have bet on the Bucs I’m sure he would be discussing it.

  20. Snook Says:

    Daily Rich… the issue isn’t really whether or not there was a “fifth down”. There technically wasn’t a fifth down.

    The issue is that the refs gave the Redskins a first down after only going 9 yards on 1st and 10 from the 12. There’s plenty of pictures out there. The chains stretched from the 12 to the 3 yard line… instead of the 2 yard line. Essentially a 9 yard 1st down.

    Get it?

  21. notorious_BUC Says:

    Yep…between this and the asinine cover in the Tennessee game, it’s been a tough week for the wagerer.

  22. BigMacAttack Says:

    My question is:
    When will it end???
    Probably Never.

    Someone mentioned using Robots as refs. Really not a bad idea. Cameras work well and anything is better than this crap. My prediction is the Falcons will lose their first playoff game, as Karma will again right the wrongs of the past. The Giants won,, which sucks, but lost a couple key players, Steve Smith, Manningham & a LB. Eli was pretty much impotent and now ay they beat the Eagles on a short week. Bucs have to win out. Saints will be tough, and hopefully the Dirty Birds will beat the Saints…if the refs keep on giving ATL the calls. Maybe the Saints get beat up too and softened for the Bucs’ final game.

  23. Joke Says:

    I think Tanier’s got it mostly right, but is missing one key point. The far side of the field (the one visible in the replays) did NOT have the chains. The chains were on the near side. I assume the near-side chains were in fact stretched out, and the first-down marker was in the proper spot. But somehow the far-side guys with the unofficial marker got misaligned, and lined up one hash mark off.
    That’s speculation, of course, but I think that explanation is more likely than the near-side guys failing to stretch out the chains, and that they had EXACTLY one yard of slack in the chains.

    The bigger question is — how often does stuff like this happen? The vast majority of plays don’t end up right at the marker, so most of the time we don’t pay too close attention. So it could be a not-uncommon occurrence that the unofficial side gets misaligned with the chains side.

  24. McBuc Says:

    Joke, I bet it happens more than people think, but the refs should be using the official side.