Week 1 of the NFL season can get pretty sloppy for both teams and referees, as both players and officials get back into the swing of things with limited preparation. However, one referee made a mistake so egregious, the league downgraded him, putting his chances of officiating playoff games in jeopardy, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter
Bill Leavy gave the San Francisco 49ers two third downs in a scoring drive that helped them beat the Green Bay Packers after a scuffle following the end of the play was mishandled.
After a third-and-6 play at the Green Bay 10-yard line in the second quarter, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was hit out of bounds by Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews. Matthews was hit with personal foul penalty, but so was 49ers tackle Joe Staley for unsportsmanlike conduct in a scuffle after the play was already dead. However Stanley shouldn’t have received a personal foul, since both penalties came after the play ended with Kaepernick stepping out of bounds without gaining a first down, making them dead ball penalties.
The league said Sunday the penalties were dead-ball fouls and the ball should have been spotted at the Packers' 6, making it fourth-and-2. However, officials gave the 49ers another third-and-6 play, which became a 10-yard touchdown pass from Kaepernick to wide receiver Anquan Boldin to take a 14-7 lead with just under nine minuets to play in the first half.
"The down should have counted," Leavy said after the game. "The penalties were both dead ball, and they should have offset at the spot where the runner went out of bounds. And it would have been fourth down."
The rule in question states, "Dead ball fouls by both teams are offset at the succeeding spot, and the down counts, and any disqualified player or players must be removed ..."