Super Bowl XLVIII will be quite a Battle by the players. How will the Zebras fair? What will the toughest calls be?
This picture tells the tale of 2 of the major figures in this epic battle. Peyton Manning vs. Richard Sherman and the Legion of Boom.
As a Deep Official there were 3 things during any game that were huge. It wasn’t the rules or enforcement, but Judgement calls based on the rules and being in the right position to make these calls. Every Official has his responsibility and match up. But sometimes there are plays that create chaos unexpectedly and other plays that are planned by the teams to take advantage of the rules. I always worked hard to get myself in position to make the correct judgement by relying on preparation and proper mechanics.
Here are the 3 Keys to watch:
1. The Kicking Game. Anytime there’s a kickoff or punt, each official has things to watch, certain areas. You don’t want to be a ball watcher, but start looking for illegal blocks, holding and late hits. One missed illegal play by the return team could be a big play and potential game breaker.
2. Change of Possession. Worse that the kicking game, since it isn’t a planned play. We say, “your antenna goes up” when we have a fumble or interception, that turns into a return play. It becomes very similar to a kicking play since you have to watch for illegal blocks, holding and late hits. But another element comes in with cheap shots of defenseless players.
3. Offensive and Defensive Pass Interference. This is where the rubber meets the road. The crew wants to be consistent when it comes to these calls. Defensive Pass Interference will have to be “big fouls”, not ticky tack, and jump out at you. We will see early in the game how tight this will be, the criteria is, does the contact have a “material effect” on the play. The more difficult issue is Offensive Pass Interference, the picks and rubs. With the tight pressure that Seattle applies, you will probably see “Bunch sets” and “Drag Routes” by Denver to try and get receivers free from the contact allowed within 5 yards of the Line of Scrimmage.
These are my thoughts, hope it is a great game!