Jon Wilner makes a pretty good case that the ref who blew the hands to the face call in the Cal-Wazzu game simply had a brain fart. And, you know, I get that. We’re all human and the occasional brain fart is part of that.
What I don’t get is how completely broken down the rest of what happened was.
Why didn’t members of the officiating crew correct Richards?
Because he saw the penalty — it was his call.
Wires crossed in his head, he told the crew that No. 15 “on the receiving team” had committed the penalty, and they assumed that meant WSU.
When Richards walked off the yardage, the other officials had no reason to think he was doing so in error.
What about the replay official?
Why didn’t the replay booth or the command center in San Francisco get involved?
Because illegal hands-to-the-face, like holding, isn’t a reviewable play.
Reviewable plays involve the boundary, the goal-line, control of the ball, targeting, etc.
Richards realized his mistake almost immediately.
According to the conference statement Sunday evening, Richards informed the Cougars’ sideline of the mistake “after the next play was run.”
One play — why not fix an egregious error at that point? It’s not like much happened in the interim. The reason, I suspect, would be the precedent being set by such a decision.
College football needs some kind of mechanism in place to correct an obvious screw up like this — not a judgment call, such as whether a penalty had occurred, but a true factual error by an on-field official. This really wasn’t fair.
Yes, I know I’m dreaming. Bureaucrats prefer finality over accuracy.