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NFL officiating to crack down on illegal OT formation after Lions/Chiefs game

After Chiefs OT Jawaan Taylor got away with it against the Detroit Lions, NFL officials are cracking down on illegal alignment on the offensive line.

Detroit Lions v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Surprise, surprise! Another Detroit Lions game is influencing NFL officiating going forward.

Former NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino told Sports Illustrated this week that in the weekly training videos to officials and teams, the NFL included a portion that focused on the alignment of offensive tackles.

“On the tape this week at the very end, there are several examples of—and a couple from the Thursday night game with Jawaan Taylor—of tackles who are too far back. … That was emphasized on the training tape going into Week 2,” Blandino said.

This is relevant to the Lions, because in the season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs, the aforementioned Taylor—the Chiefs’ right tackle—was spotted lining up illegally. As the NBC broadcasting crew pointed out, Taylor stance was too far back from the line of scrimmage. Just three days ago, Blandino posted a video explainer on The 33rd Team titled “NFL Not Officiating the Line of Scrimmage Well Enough.”

Here’s what the NFL rulebook specifically says about alignment for offensive linemen in order to be a legal formation (emphasis added) in Section 19:

Item 1. Non-Snapper. If he is not the snapper, no part of his body is permitted to be in the neutral zone at the snap, and his helmet must break a vertical plane that passes through the beltline of the snapper

Many people pulled the tape and found many examples of Taylor breaking that rule. Brett Kollmann claimed he was guilty of it 21 times on Thursday:

Blandino expects officials to take the advice of this week’s training video and that means a crackdown on the rule going forward.

“I would expect, just from my experience, officials watch that training tape,” Blandino said. “It’s usually a very good learning tool, and it’s good for giving your officials direction. I would expect we will not see the egregious examples we may have seen in Week 1.”

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