Biggs: NFL issues "rule explanation" on facemask calls

It’s unlikely it will have the far-reaching impact the “tuck rule” did following a snowy divisional playoff game in New England following the 2001 season, but the facemask penalty that wasn’t called in overtime of Sunday’s thriller in the desert, Arizona’s 51-45 victory over the Packers, is certainly fodder for discussion in Green Bay.

Mark Maske of the Washington Post breaks down the final play, when Karlos Dansby returned an Aaron Rodgers’ fumble for the game-winning touchdown, and blitzing defensive back Michael Adams got a handful of Rodgers’ facemask.

Adams knocked the ball free before grabbing the facemask. Rodgers inadvertently kicked the ball into the air where Dansby grabbed it and rumbled into the end zone for the score. The league issued a “rule explanation” noting that a facemask penalty is a judgment call that is not reviewable by video.

The rulebook states that no players shall “twist, turn or pull the facemask of an opponent in any direction.” Replays showed Rodgers’ facemask was twisted, but the issue at play here is whar referee Scott Green had to do. He’s got to follow the ball, and once Rodgers lost control of the ball, his attention had to turn to the ball and what was happening with it. Simply put, the men in striped shirts can’t catch everything. Maybe they should have caught a roughing the passer call a few plays earlier when Rodgers was decked by what looked to be helmet-to-helmet contact.

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