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The Refs Didn’t Care, But The Football Gods Smote The Vols For Taunting

What must Kansas State fans have thought?

If any Wildcat faithful had stayed tuned into ESPN after their own team was jobbed with a letter-of-the-law, Barney Fife-ish, ticky-tack call in the Pinstripe Bowl, they must’ve been sickened by what they saw.

First, the Pinstripe Fiasco: K-State receiver Adrian Hillborn scored on a 30-yard touchdown catch-and-run with little more than a minute to play.  When he reached the back of the end zone, he gave a very quick salute to the crowd.  Two Big Ten officials tossed their flags over the unsportsmanlike act and the Wildcats were forced to try a game-tying two-point conversion attempt from 18 yards away.  They failed.  And Syracuse won.

Now we usually defend officials around here because everyone picks on them.  They pick on them so much that we now have more letter-of-the-law calls being made.  That’s not a good thing.  Refs should be able to use their judgement as to when a foul impacts play or deserves to be penalized. 

Hillborn’s short, impromptu salute did not deserve a flag.

But in the very next game — Tennessee versus North Carolina in the Music City Bowl — Vol players were running through premeditated gestures for the full sixty minutes… actually more if you include two overtime periods. 

Kansas State fans had to be scratching their heads over what really constitutes unsportsmanlike conduct.  ESPN’s broadcasters certainly were.


* After touchdowns (and even after some run of the mill first-down completions), quarterback Tyler Bray and his receivers did their “loco” finger roll move, something they’ve been doing after big plays for five games now.  The gesture was “inspired” by a rap video.

* After a touchdown pass from Bray to Gerald Jones, both players gave saluting gestures to the crowd.  Their salutes were longer than Hillborn’s, by the way.

* After a touchdown pass from Bray to Da’Rick Rogers, the freshman wideout gestured to the crowd as though he were showing off a title belt.


And yet nary a flag flew.  The real oddity?  Like the Kansas State game, a Big Ten officiating crew was working Tennessee’s contest. 

How can a quick, unplanned salute in a game-changing moment be flagged while numerous planned celebrations throughout another game are ignored?  By officials from the same league?

It seems the NCAA has a little teaching to do this offseason.

As for the Vols, while the officials didn’t punish UT for their taunts, the football gods did.  After tossing an overtime touchdown pass to tie the game at 27, Bray was caught by ESPN cameras turning to the North Carolina bench and giving a two-handed throat slash gesture (photo at left).

Predictably, less than 10 minutes later Bray was teary-eyed on his own sideline after tossing an interception that wound up being a game-loser for his Vols.  Hello, Karma.

For a team that finished 6-7 and never beat an FBS team with a winning record, Tennessee’s players have apparently spent quite a bit of time working on their gestures, celebrations and taunts. 

Maybe next year the Vols should spend more time on boring ol’ blocking and tackling.

 


22 comments
belloni890
belloni890

PLEASE tell me where the heck this came from when the REF stops the play after we had just started to run a play the ball is in play and no sign of any review going on until the ref says "Oh I just got buzzed" as he was gesturing at his "buzzer" and that is when it was called "NO PLAY" and the 12 seonds were added back to the clock, this ref team looked like the keystone cops, the whole end of that game was laughable because when Tennessee F"ed UP when ther were only 85 or 90 seconds left and HAD THE BALL and turn around and GIVE the DAMN refs an opening to not let NC lose this game was just about too much to watch, and what is up with LINCOLN? Are we trying to find another kicker that maybe fits the mold of FUAD, JEFF, WILHOIT or the Barefoot kicker what was hgis name? I hope so. GO VOLS

belloni890
belloni890

Hey John Pennington,
I must agree with the Lack of discipline that the FEW freshmen and some upperclassmen have and to add even more ammo to ESPNs arsenal that they have for TENNESSEE is something they dont need to do,It will suprise me if they dont show Tyler on the sideline with teary eyes after the taunting of the NC sideline time after time after time. Come on coaching staff put a lid on this showboating B.S. especially when you have a damn 6 and 6 record give me a freakin break what in the hell is going on over there anyway we are the University of TENNESSEE football program and SHOULD CARRY OURSELVES AS SUCH and PRACTICE SOME SELF CONTROL AND SPORTSMANSHIP...............You can sure tell DOUG DICKEY is not in the buck stops here chair.

steve
steve

Its hard to sat and watch any game where the REFEREES are in CONTROL over who wins and who gets another chance to win, but as far as the FRESHMEN acting the way they are acting, The young players emulate their upperclassmen so as far as blaming someone for the SHOWBOATING then you have to look STRAIGHT at the COACHING STAFF, How damn stupid did that make the WHOLE TENNESSEE team and sideline look when you have gunslingers and cutthroats after a couple of excellent plays taking all of the lustre OFF OF THEIR PASS AND CATCH to the STUPID SHOWBOATING and to beat it all then the camera catches mr. cutthroat on the sideline C R Y I N G, BOY TYLER YOU SURE GIVE ALL OF YOUR COMPETITION FOR NEXT YEAR PLENTY to gouge you with so listen son just play the game and dont get caught up in your other teamates( which it is obvious who the few ones are ) are doing AFTER the play because you dont want to be known as the tearyeyerd cutthroat quarterback, but you are one hell of a good freshman QB and just keep up the GOOD work and that is ditto for the rest of the freshmen.

footballfan
footballfan

Maybe Mr. Pennington should be more willing to criticize bad officials as much as he criticizes bad behavior. If anyone deserved to display bad behavior it was Tennessee. The officiating at the end was abysmal and media should be ashamed for not screaming foul for such bad work. Those officials should NEVER work a game again...especially the referee and the replay official. The officials made no less than 6 errors in the last 25 seconds of regulation (or is it 26 seconds as they mistakenly set the clock).

Maybe next year Mr. Pennington should work on not being afraid to call out the officials for their errors. His credibility is taking a hit just like all media who are afraid they won't get access if the are critical of officials or the NCAA...Shame on you John

Kris
Kris

Also, the ref announced the game was over. When he does that, it's supposed to be over. There is a rule stating that.

The UNC players were doing the "loco" gesture that UT players have been doing after every sack in that game, yet, no mention of that either.

pmm
pmm

One word "sportsmanship" - I was apalled about the lack of it and was embarassed by it as a UT fan.

tim
tim

About the gestures and taunting it justs needs to stop period and the coachs are the ones that need to stop it, Its coming from the thug, gangster wanta be BS that is killing this football program. About the NC game we need a kicker and a running game .

Kris
Kris

Every single team out there taunts, but since you hate UT, you write an entire article about it. Completely ridiculous.

I like how you conveniently left out all the things the refs did wrong to cost UT this game:

1. Should have been an illegal participation penalty, not illegal substitution, since they ran a play with too many men on the field, which constitutes a 15-yd penalty, not a 5-yd.
2. Refs should have stood over the ball to allow substitutions, which would've ran the clock out.
3. After the long pass play, there were 25 seconds on the clock. When everything was reviewed and they lined up to run, there were 26 seconds on the clock. 1 second sure would've made a difference.

But hey, let's not dwell on horrible officiating. Let's talk about silly gestures and taunting. The biased here is absurd.

Mike
Mike

I am not a Vols fan but I did pull hard for them vs. NC (money has a way of causing that)

so I feel i am objective

the real travesty is NC was allowed to spike the ball with so much crap going on. That rule loophole must be closed. Otherwise, a QB and center could just snap a ball immediately and damn the receivers downfield who can't get back onsides. In the pros, that costs you 10 seconds on the clock.

So I was Pissed
but otherwise, this article hit the nail on the head. Vol players played with NO discipline. Many silly mistakes and some were just absolutely thuggish and unforgivable, given what was on the line in the game at the time.

Big 10 Officals Suck
Big 10 Officals Suck

Everyone is talking like this gesture after a good play thing just started. Ironically enough one of the most televised gestures that went unpunished came out of the big ten, 11, 12. I'll give you a hint, the player was a wolverine and he struck a pose that is given away every year.

Durwood
Durwood

Don't hurt yourself falling off that high horse.

BIG GREG
BIG GREG

I TRY TO MAKE MYSELF FEEL BETTER BY SAYING WE WENT 8-5 THIS SEASON,............. AT THE END OF REGULATION. TOO BAD THE 6-7 AFTER FURTHER REVIEW RECORD IS WHAT GOES IN THE BOOKS....................LOL

ATL Vol Fan
ATL Vol Fan

As a Vols fan I didn't care for the throat slash or the tears after the interception. Hopefully he learns from it and doesn't make the same mistake in a future SEC game (i.e. a game that counts.) I was surprised Rogers didn't get a penalty on his self-centered showcase. However, the "Loco" thing strikes me as a team celebration and I don't see anything wrong with that since they aren't taunting the other team.

I do have a question, though. When the offense brings in substitutions (as they did on the final spike) isn't the Umpire supposed to cover the ball and allow the defense an opportunity to make substitutions as well? In a replay I saw this morning I noticed that the umpire did not approach the ball when the substitutions were being made. I would think that had the Umpire done that then time would have expired and the Vols would've escaped. Thoughts?

ocelot
ocelot

Spot on. These goons are just butt hurt that their team of showoffs' antics caught up with them. Throat Slash'd.

Dave
Dave

That's all you can come up with? Who hires these people?

John
John

Nooneknows,

Actually, I said it was karma to throw a pick after turning to an opposing sideline and taunting them with a throat-slash gesture. And you would say so too had someone done that to your Vols.

John

Yes
Yes

It is the norm in college football these days. You find me one team that does not taunt at all, and I will shut up.
This is nothing but the UT haters needing something to write about in a negative way.

GunnySack
GunnySack

The BIASED here is absurd? It's BIAS, but your past tense is telling since you can't seem to get over the game....did you happen to notice the blatant late hit on Draughn that wasn't called at the end of the game? There's 15 yards for ya in the OTHER DIRECTION that the refs disregarded. Yes, the refs made some bad calls BOTH WAYS--however....

...this article was about IDIOTIC GESTURES and a LACK OF CONSISTENCY by refs from the SAME CONFERENCE in two back-to-back games. Heels players did not taunt, and did not "DRAW ATTENTION TO THEMSELVES" after a touchdown by saluting or acting like a WWF thug. And the artice was written by a guy who runs a FAN SITE, not an ESPN sportswriter, you Jackwagons.

Written quite well, coming from a Journalism major at a top-5 J-School university. It's in a little college town called Chapel Hill.

NOOOO MOOOOORE ROCKY TOP!

Houstonvol
Houstonvol

Also don't forget the play before the penalty was a running play. The clock should have started running as soon as the ball was marked ready for play, not when the ball was snapped. There is no way that the ball could have been snapped and spiked in under a second.

As for the double throat slashing jester - that should have been a penalty.

BIG GREG
BIG GREG

GOOD POINT, IT LOOKED TO ME AS IF THE REF ALMOST TOSSED THE BALL DOWN AND RAN AWAY.

Jacko
Jacko

There is a difference between substituting in a huddle and having too many men on the field. When there are too many men on the field the play goes and then the opposing team has the right to decline or accept it. A substitution is one player going in and one going out not a bunch of extra players running onto the field.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] you missed what might have gone down as the most celebrations by a losing team in football history.We wrote as much the following morning, pointing out the numerous Tennessee “loco” finger rolls, salutes and even a [...]

  2. [...] at last season’s Music City Bowl loss to North Carolina, I couldn’t see the Tyler Bray throat-slashes. From our point-of-view as couch coaches, we had no way of knowing to what level running back [...]

  3. […] When we chided him during his freshman year for his over the top on-field celebrations and taunts (including a throat slash gesture against North Carolina), several Vol fans filled our email box in defense of their supa-dupa gunslinger.  And when we […]



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