Field Goal Controversy in Thursday Night Football

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Last night’s game between the Jets and Patriots has caused a bit of a controversy with a long snapper in the middle of it.  A 58-yard field goal attempt by Nick Folk of the Jets was blocked, giving the Patriots a narrow victory.  The controversy surrounds what happened just prior to the failed kick.

Specifically, Dont’a Hightower of the Patriots lined up in a standing position and directly over snapper Tanner Purdum of the Jets.  This would violate NFL Rule 9, Section 1, Article 3 that requires the defender on a kick attempt to “have his entire body outside of the snapper’s shoulder pads at the snap.”

Instead of a flag being thrown, the official notified Hightower to move out of the illegal formation and he promptly shifted his position.  The issue is whether the official should have thrown the flag or was it appropriate to first warn the player.  An NFL spokesperson called it “standard operating procedure” to have the official assist, since the goal of the rule is player safety.


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