Seattle's Richard Sherman said he was surprised officials didn't know if a hold in the end zone was reviewable last Sunday at Tampa Bay.
Whatever criticism might sometimes be lobbed at Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, he can’t be accused of not knowing the rules of the game.
Recall that after the Buffalo game, it was Sherman who took to social media to remind people that his hit on a Bills’ receiver on the final play was perfectly legal.
Sunday, it was left to Sherman to remind the officials that a second-quarter play when Frank Clark drew a holding call in the end zone might just be a safety for Seattle.
Initially, referee Bill Vinovich began marking the ball half the distance to the goal line. Sherman, though, helped remind the refs that holding in the end zone was now a play that could be reviewed.
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The Seahawks challenged the play and eventually got the ruling they wanted, with officials deciding it was a hold in the end zone and a safety for Seattle.
Sherman said he knew immediately the play could be reviewed even if, he said, some of the officials did not.
“It’s important to know it so you know what applies and you know what you can and can’t do out there,’’ he said. “So many nuanced rules that refs don’t even know half the time, because most of the refs on that play didn’t know we could challenge the play. The only one who knew was the white hat (the referee). That’s kind of ridiculous. We deal with that on a week in, week out basis, just calling New York. What if you got five games going on and five games calling New York at the same time? It doesn’t make sense. You can simplify that but of course they won’t, because you have people who’ve never played the game writing the rules for a game they’ve never played and they have no idea how it works.”
Sherman said he initially noticed the hold while looking at the big screen.
“I saw it on the replay,’’ he said. “I didn’t see it in real time because I was covering on the other side of the field, but yeah. Once we looked up and then he flew the flag, where they threw the flag was the spot of the foul. He threw the flag in the end zone so we were kind of like, anytime you see a ref go pick up his flag and toss it a little further, it’s because he’s getting it to the spot of the foul. So they throw the flag at the spot of the foul, so the spot of the foul was in the end zone. So I think he kind of messed it up initially and wanted to get it right.”
Sherman said the first official he talked to said it was not a reviewable play (it was a play added to the reviewable list only this season)
“He said it’s not reviewable,’’ Sherman said. “Well the other ref that we were talking to said he didn’t think this was reviewable, I think they’re going to send him back. I was like, ‘Well he just told me it was, and I told you guys what he told me, so I hope he gives us a break if it’s not because he told me it was.’”
Holds are only reviewable if they result in a potential score, as that one did.
“It wasn’t a scoring play until we made it a scoring play, because it wasn’t a safety until we suggested it was a safety,’’ Sherman said. “It’s not like they called it a safety, because then it would be a reviewable scoring play. They didn’t call it a safety so it’s not reviewable.”
But that eventually got sorted out by Vinovich.
“I just asked him what could we do,’’ Sherman said. “He said we could challenge it. He said you can’t challenge a penalty but you can challenge a spot on the field that had happened. Once he said that, I just ran and made sure Pete (Carroll) knew, because I don’t think Pete knew he could challenge it. Pete threw the flag.”
The play made it 14-2 in the second quarter and the Seahawks then scored a field goal on the following possession, with the play resulting in all the points Seattle scored in the game.