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Late in Monday’s game between the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings, Bobby Wagner came up with a big field block as Seattle held a 6-0 lead.
He put his hands on the shoulders of two Seahawks defensive linemen to leapfrog the Vikings offensive line and get behind the line of scrimmage for the block.
Officials throw, pick up flag
Officials threw a flag on the play, but picked it up, with an explanation the Wagner “jumped legally over” the line of scrimmage.
Former NFL official and ESPN rules analyst Jeff Triplette disagreed.
Rules expert disagrees with call on the field
“He’s on the line of scrimmage,” Tripplette said. “But he’s not supposed to be able to put his hands on adjacent players to go over the top.”
“He can’t put his hands on his own player or anyone else. You put both hands down, that’s leverage as we call it. Goes across the top. Then goes up with his hands. That’s a 15-yard penalty.”
Monday Night Football play-by-play man Joe Tessitore went on to clarify that the penalty is a judgment call.
By the rule book
Here’s the wording of the relevant rule from Article 17 (subsection 3-1-5-H) of the NFL rule book that calls for a 15-yard personal foul penalty:
Placing a hand or hands on a teammate or opponent to gain additional height to block or attempt to block an opponent’s kick or apparent kick, or in an attempt to jump through a gap to block an opponent’s kick or apparent kick
Wagner’s block was a big play in a defensive struggle that led to a Seahawks touchdown when they took over possession on downs in a 21-7 win. Players are generally flagged for using their teammates as leverage to block kicks.
Should it have been allowed?