On Sunday, Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said it was “bullshit” that Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner was allowed to leap over the long snapper to block a Chandler Catanzaro field goal attempt. On Wednesday, Arians was still mad about the play, saying it is “bad for football” and should be illegal.
During an appearance on Sirius XM Radio’s Late Hits with Bill Polian and Tom Pelissero, Arians explained why he believes that play should be against NFL rules.
“The Competition Committee went through that play and officials wanted it taken out,” Arians said. “The committee left it in, but it cannot be officiated. Whether he touches, whether it was leverage, was his foot within the framework of the defensive lineman’s feet before he jumped, all those things that go into that call, I think it’s bad for football.”
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman disagreed with Arians’ assessment.
Richard Sherman on Bruce Arians saying Bobby Wagner's leap is bad for football."It's bad for his team,'' Sherman said.— Bob Condotta (@bcondotta) October 26, 2016
The NFL’s head of officiating, Dean Blandino, clarified exactly why the play was legal.
"(Wagner) can run up and jump, but he can't land on players,” Blandino said via Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com. “Now if he brushes a player or brushes a teammate with incidental contact, that would be legal. So he's gonna run, jump and clear the line, block the kick.”
Wagner did make contact with the long snapper, but it was incidental contact. He did not land on him, and Blandino said that’s the reason Wagner wasn’t penalized.
“His foot is going to brush the back of the snapper, but that is not significant contact; it's incidental,” Blandino said. “He didn't land on players. So that's what made it legal."
From Arians’ perspective, this is a matter of player safety.
“Because what you’re going to have to do now is start having centers raise their face up and get kicked in the face and things that are just dangerous to the players,” Arians said. “I think it’s a dangerous play as it is and should be taken out of the game.”
The league has taken a hard line approach toward legislating things like touchdown celebrations, while plays that might put player safety at risk seem to be more of a gray area. For now, though, the play is legal, regardless of Arian’s perspective on it.