The Minnesota Vikings were deprived of three points Monday night when Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner apparently used illegal means to block a fourth-quarter field goal attempt.
Wagner put his hands on two teammates as he leaped over the offensive linemen en route to swatting down a 47-yard field goal try by Minnesota’s Dan Bailey.
Former NFL officiating chief Mike Pereira, now a TV analyst for FOX, tweeted, “Lots of talk about the Wagner block. The wording in the rule book is NEW this year and is clear. The new wording states, ‘May not place a hand or hands on a teammate or opponent in an attempt to jump through a gap to block an opponent’s kick or apparent kick.’ Case closed. Foul.”
Referee Brad Allen tossed a penalty flag on Wagner but subsequent changed his mind and said no foul had been committed.
Had the penalty been enforced, the Vikings could have chosen to take the three points, cutting their deficit to 6-3 with 5:46 remaining, or they could have taken a 15-yard gain on the fourth-and-9 play, giving them a first down at the Seattle 14-yard line.
Wagner didn’t admit to any wrongdoing after the game, which Seattle won 21-7.
“I tried to time it up; I got over it and made the block,” Wagner said, according to ESPN. “I’m an athlete, so I have just got to jump over people. It’s not that big of a deal.”
Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer said, “You’re not supposed to be able to pull guys down, if that’s what they did. Quite honestly, I didn’t see it. I didn’t see what happened. I was told what happened.”
Bailey also didn’t see Wagner’s leverage move.
“Obviously I was kind of out there in the middle of it,” Bailey said, according to the Saint Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press. “From my understanding of that rule, he can jump over, he just can’t use leverage or whatever they call it. Sometimes that’s the way it goes.
“Obviously the most disappointing thing was not getting three points there. That would’ve really helped our team. Just have to try to knock the next one through.”
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll praised special teams coaches Brian Schneider and Larry Izzo for Wagner’s successful block.
“They came to me and said, ‘Hey look, we think we have something,’” he said. “That was a great find by those guys. ...
“We practiced all week with Bobby jumping over the guys; never touched anybody. I don’t know what happened in the game, but that’s the way he was doing (it). He was able to clear the line of scrimmage without touching anybody, and that was the plan.
“Very few people could do that, but he had pulled it off beautifully during the week, and that’s what the officials called. But I know that there’s some controversy about that.”
—Field Level Media