49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

December 2, 2012
NFL loophole: Officials say safety play is not reviewable

Here's referee Carl Cheffers on the third-quarter intentional grounding penalty on Colin Kaepernick that resulted in a safety. Kaepernick and the 49ers insist his throw made it to the line of scrimmage, which would have made it a legal throw. However, Jim Harbaugh said he was told he could not review the play because it resulted in a score.

Cheffers: "It was an intentional grounding. The quarterback rolled out of the pocket and he needs one of two things: he either needs a receiver in the area, or he needs to throw the ball beyond the line of scrimmage. The official on that side of the field came to me and reported that neither of those things took place. So, we have intentional grounding. And because he threw the ball from the end zone, by rule, that penalty is enforced and the result of the enforcement is a safety, by rule."

(On if that play is subject to review):
"No, it is not. It's all judgment. So, none of that is subject to a review."

(On if it was not reviewable because it was called a penalty):
"No aspect of that is reviewable. The result of the play is not a scoring play, it's a penalty enforcement that results in a score. There's just no aspect of that play that, by rule, is challengeable."

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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