Bucs Busted For “Words,” Not Shift

October 22nd, 2012

The NFL claims Bucs linebacker Mason Foster said something to try to get the Saints to jump offsides during a field goal attempt, which is an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. What Foster said is still a mystery.

The servers in the NFL Manhattan offices must have overheated this morning as a result of the mysterious unsportsmanlike penalty call on the Bucs, which negated a Saints field goal attempt and instead set up a Saints touchdown.

Oh, and the Saints won by a touchdown Sunday.

The NFL has “clarified,” in the words of Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, what happened on the play in question.

According to league spokesman Jon Zimmer, “Tampa Bay was penalized yesterday for Unsportsmanlike Conduct for using disconcerting signals, defined as ‘words designed to disconcert an offensive team at the snap,’ in Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 of the NFL rule book.

And the NFL also specified the words came from Mason Foster, per Stroud.

So there you have it. The shift, which Bucs coach Greg Schiano maintained was legal, was legal, per the NFL.

Just whatever Foster said wasn’t.

Bucs fans can now rest. The issue is over.

18 Responses to “Bucs Busted For “Words,” Not Shift”

  1. AmbushBuc Says:

    Basically what I figured. I suspect Foster was trying to imitate a snap count.

  2. Eric Says:

    Maybe he was just clearing his throat.

  3. Eric Says:

    But who told Foster to do that?

  4. lightningbuc Says:

    Bucs fans can now rest. The issue is over.

    Why do you say that Joe? The Saints admitted they prepped the refs ahead of time. Foster may have said shift, the ref heard something because the saints told him to listen, so he threw a flag.

    This has to be the most ignorant call of all time. And all the rules that have now been quoted don’t differentiate offense from defense so the question still remains – why can offense attempt to draw defense offsides, but not vice versa?

  5. Drew Says:


    Completely agree that if the Offense can hard count why not the Defense.

  6. Andrew Says:

    out of all my years of watching football I have only seen a penalty called for that only once before, and that must have been 12 years ago. then again no other team has really tried it since then.

  7. raphael Says:

    OHHH its Waayy from over my friends !!!

    A new excitement has been brought to kneeldowns and FG’s ….wait till we see what happenes with timeouts !!

  8. Gus Says:

    We can rest now its over……no. There is still the mystery of what he said. Words like “hike” and “go” are against the rules and I get that. But if he said “shift” or “move” that is certainly not against the rules.

  9. Bucsnutt Says:

    Why does it seem that the Bucs tend to get a little more than their fare share of the obscure penalties that haven’t been called but maybe three or four times in NFL history? Disconcerting signals, leaping, hell, I’ll even include K2’s pass interference calls… At least the tuck rule hasn’t gotten us (yet)

  10. JBUC24 Says:

    I am mentally drained from this game and the aftermath info that comes with it!!

    Our team seems to be under a microscope ever since kneelgate.

  11. @eric Says:

    So now coach knows what works in college doesn’t translate to the NFL, he’s just like the newbie draftees, he’s a rookie head coach that is making dumb mental errors, Ome on coach feel free to read the NFL Manuel, should be in your top drawer next to the bible and cafeteria keys.

  12. AmbushBuc Says:

    There was a controversy over this last year and the NFL warned teams not to do it.


  13. MTM Says:

    I can’t wait for next weeks made up calls. I wonder how the refs can screw the Bucs and hats off to N.O. o-line for not getting any holding calls all game.

  14. DallasBuc Says:

    ‘words designed to disconcert an offensive team at the snap’

    Could there be anymore subjective language defining this rule? Just because schiano is a rookie head coach from college doesn’t mean that this was a mistake. Some ref with delicate sensibilities thought he heard a disconcerting word on a football field. Garbage folks!
    I hope Schiano and Foster defend kicks like this every time. Maybe it’s the NFLs mistake for writing such an unclear rule that is clearly open to any liberal interpretation.

    How disconcerting

  15. BigMacAttack Says:

    LightningBuc, you make a great point.

    Eric, I agree with you. Coach needs to get with the program.

  16. Macabee Says:


    Be careful that you don’t assume that what is being said is that it was only the fact that words were spoken that this penalty was called. In this particular case, it was the spoken word of Mason Foster that was deemed a “disconcerting signal”. The rule specifically states that disconcerting is defined as “The defensive use of acts or words designed to disconcert an offensive player at the snap”.

    This is an intentional vague rule written to allow the referee the judgment to determine what is a “disconcerting signal”. There is no list of infractions written into the rule. If everyone had stood up and started clapping their hands, it might have likewise been deemed a “disconcerting signal” even though no words were spoken.

    The NFL has lots of these types of rules subject to interpretation that have become settled law by the actions of the parties, ie, years of practice where certain behavior has become acceptable even though the rule doesn’t spell it out. Like the victory formation where teams have generally accepted over the years how teams behave even though there is no specific language in a rule that addresses it.

    That gray area is where Schiano is going against the grain. True, he has broken no rules, but is not adhering to the generally accepted behavior of the league. I won’t pass judgment on what he is doing, but he may earn his team unnecessary scrutiny or even unequal treatment by the officials if he persists!

  17. 1976Buc Says:

    Maybe a list of approved words is in order.

  18. ander33 Says:

    first leaping and then this bs watching that call being made me sick its terrible but whatever bucs need to finish this games because i dont care what nobody says if you can get a yard in 4 tries in the goal line. then you shouldnt deserve to win. somebody tell sullivan to qb sneak it and it wouldve been a different story youre paying a 355 pound guard name nicks millions of dollars for a reason. rather than give it to blount. that was just terrible