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Archive for Tuesday, January 7, 2003

Spike wasn’t option for holder

NFL rules director: Only time player can spike is from under center

January 7, 2003

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— Giants holder Matt Allen could not have spiked the botched snap on the final play of New York's loss to the San Francisco 49ers. It's against the rules.

NFL Director of Officiating Mike Pereira said Monday that Allen would not have been allowed to immediately spike the ball because it was a long snap. The only time a player can spike the ball is when he takes the snap from under center.

With six seconds left Sunday and the Giants trailing 39-38, Matt Bryant lined up to try a potential game-winning 41-yard field goal. The snap from newly signed Trey Junkin was in the dirt. Allen fumbled the ball, then made a desperation pass downfield.

Fox commentator Cris Collinsworth said at the time that because it was third down, Allen could have spiked the ball, giving the Giants another chance at a kick. Afterward, on the Fox postgame show, other commentators agreed.

After a videotape review, Pereira said later Monday the officials should have called pass interference on 49ers defensive end Chike Okeafor for hitting Rich Seubert downfield when he was attempting to catch Allen's pass. Seubert was an eligible receiver on the play.

"If defensive pass interference had been called," an NFL statement explained, "there would have been offsetting penalties (ineligible receiver against the Giants and pass interference against the 49ers), with the down replayed at the original line of scrimmage, the San Francisco 23-yard line. Although time had expired, a game cannot end with offsetting penalties. Thus, the game would have been extended by one untimed down."

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