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SEC Explains Spot Of The Ball In Alabama, Ole Miss Game

Well, we started our day with the questionable spot in the Alabama/Ole Miss game and that’s where we’ll finish, too.

SEC associate commissioner Charles Bloom was kind enough — as usual — to respond to our query about the video you can watch below:


Alabama Moving spot for first down


Bloom’s response:


“On a 3rd down play at the 13:31 mark of the first quarter, an Alabama pass play was completed to the Alabama 32-yard line and signaled for a first down. 

A YouTube video calls attention to the placement of the football.  The following outlines the sequence of events leading up to the first down placement:

1)  The receiver is down outstretched with the football inches shy of the 32 yard line and at the line to gain when his knees touch the ground;

2)  The head linesman immediately stops the clock and gives Alabama the first down (By Rule, clock stops at the awarding of a first down);

3)  The head linesman is seen stopping the clock and initially places the ball shy of where the football was declared dead and shy of the previously awarded first down;

4)  The head linesman uses an incorrect mechanic in looking back to the first down marker to move the football back to the original correct spot;

5)  Video review of this sequence confirms that the final spot of the ball is correct.”


Now, this writer is not concerned with where the person controlling the video pauses it.  That’s his opinion of when the ballcarrier’s knee hit the ground and his view and angle are different from those of the official marking the spot.

However, it does appear to me that the official runs in to spot the ball where he thought it should be marked, then looked back to the marker (incorrectly, as Bloom notes) to make sure he’s putting it where he’d lined it up initially.

Personally, I don’t think it looks like he marks the ball in the same spot as he initially meant to.  But that’s my take.  Officials — especially linesmen — would have a better idea of whether or not this mark was correct.

The key here — and I wish I’d picked up on it earlier — is that the linesman does stop the clock before marking the ball.  That means that in his live-action view, the ballcarrier got past the first down marker.  You can argue about where the ball was when the knee hit, but the official didn’t have the benefit of a high-angle camera and slow-motion eyesight.  He saw the play, marked the spot, blew his whistle… and then tried to make sure he placed the ball where it had initially gone down (and I think he goofed on that front.)

In the end, though, what I believe and what Bloom says will be of little importance to those who feel an SEC official decided to give Alabama an extra foot of yardage because the game was being played in Tuscaloosa.  Just as my beliefs and the US government’s statements about Area 51 aren’t going to convince some folks that little green men aren’t hanging out in Nevada helping to develop new iPhones.

It’s all in the eye of the beholder.  Bloom and the SEC say the spot is correct.  It’s looks to me like the official messed himself up and by using an incorrect mechanic and placed the ball at the wrong spot.  While you may believe the 13 schools in the SEC not named Alabama are all happy to go along with a conspiracy to help Alabama beat them.

Personally, I really don’t care much one way or the other because a) bad spots and bad calls are going to happen — whether this was a bad one or not, and b) Alabama won the game 33-14 and this spot of the ball really didn’t have much of an impact on that outcome.  The league should work to correct as many mistakes as possible and the league office has reviewed the tape and found — in its opinion — that the only problem was the linesman using an incorrect mechanic to spot the ball.

You’ve heard my take.  You’ve heard the league’s take.  Feel free to share yours.



One sports writer for the Bleacher Report summed it up near the end of his article when he wrote Personallly,l buy....  Just as Alabama does with officials.It's very hard to beat a team whose colors are Crimson, White and Black. Those Black and White extra special team players are easily the most valuable on their team. Remarkably, these iron men play both offense and defense for the entire sixty minutes of every game. At least there is now a really good answer for the meaning of the phrase The Whole Nine Yards. It's the yardage that Alabama has to gain in four downs to earn a first down and maintain possession of the ball,


So the HL awards the first down before marking the ball?  Right.  Only at Alabama.  How could he know that?  He is facing away from the down marker.


Get real, SEC.


This call must be taken in context.  The context that there have been many 'questionable' calls or controversial calls that always seem to go to Alabama's favor in these games.  Especially the 2007 game where the Ole Miss receiver goes out of bounds and comes back in to receive the ball on the 4 yard line.   He can't do that unless he was pushed out or the defender touched the ball first.  It is questionable whether he was pushed, the defender does have an arm on him, but even the announcers at the moment comment that he did a good job of taking the ball away from the defender. 


And how in the world can you know whether or not this would have affected the game.  Games are a series of chains of event and at any moment can head one way or the other.  This could have affected the rest of the game.  But I agree with the earlier poster who mentions the refs slowing the hurry up offense down.  Pathetic. 

Goat Herder
Goat Herder

So...if you read the Bloom "explaination" carefully it says the head linesman awarded Alabama the first down and then adjusted the spot and subsequent placement of the ball to fit that narrative.  That was all wrong of course, complete with an "incorrect mechanic", but the video confirmed it was correct in the end so all is well.  And all of that with no measurement.  C'mon MAN.....seriously. 


It's interesting the way that you play this off as a "bad spot" and fail to mention the main piece of incriminating evidence which is the fact that he turned around to find the first down marker as he was placing the ball. Come on man, your crimson under shirt is showing.


I noticed another issue in this game in the first half. Ole Miss honestly gave Bama's defense some difficulty with the hurry up offense a couple of times until the referees held up the ball and didn't allow Ole Miss to snap it as quickly as they wanted to. It obviously helped Bama's defense get lined up a couple of times after Ole Miss had a couple of successful runs. Even if it's only for a split second, that prevented the hurry offense from catching the defense a little unprepared.


The score was 33-14.  The game was really never in doubt.  This ball spot was inconsequential.  But, you know, you can write about whatever you want.


My take is that a good old boy with a TV and a computer was able to cause the SEC office to explain itself over an irrelevant officiating issue.  In one sense, this is good because the SEC feels the need to be responsible to its fan base.  If this good old boy causes officials to be more highly scrutinized and more circumspect where Alabama is concerned than when any of the other thirteen teams are at issue, then we have a problem, at least if football can really be important enough to cause a problem.  Can one person with a Youtube account really change college football?  It has happened in other places and at other times.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator



Looks like you commented without actually reading what was written:


"Personally, I really don’t care much one way or the other because a) bad spots and bad calls are going to happen — whether this was a bad one or not, and b) Alabama won the game 33-14 and this spot of the ball really didn’t have much of an impact on that outcome."


Thanks for visiting,


John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator



If I don't run a video emailed to me by about a hundred Ole Miss fans, I'll be dubbed an Alabama fan on every Ole Miss messageboard.


If I do run it, then Alabama fans feel I've been duped and that this could somehow make officials work against Alabama in the future.


This is  Lose-lose scenarios day after day.


Thanks for reading,



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