I understand why the referees said Ahmad Brooks clotheslined Drew Brees

Take a look at this GIF. The play resulted in a fumble by Drew Brees and recover by the 49ers. However, the officials ruled that Ahmad Brooks contacted with Brees’ neck, thus negating the turnover.

I don’t see it that way. But apparently not everyone agrees with me.

Clearly? Not so. Brooks’ shoulder hits Brees’ shoulder. Brooks’ arm connects with Brees’ chest. Contact with the neck? Nope.

Of course the league rules state that contact can’t be made to the “neck area” but if that’s the case, where does the neck area begin? Apparently the shoulder and chest is part of the “neck area.”

Now, with that said. If I was the official, I might have made the same call on the field.

Yes, the replays show that there was no contact to the neck. Yes, the only thing close to contact was when Brees was falling and his neck ran into Brooks’ arm. Was that the foul?

The reason why I see what the officials are seeing is because they don’t have the option of replay. We did, so we got a better look at it. The officials, with what they saw in real time, so a perceived nasty whiplash that in most cases are a result of contact to the neck.

(A look into the exact wording of the rule and explanation can be found here.)

Because of that, calling it as a foul by contact to the neck seemed like the right call. To the naked eye, it was. But with replay, which the officials didn’t get to use, it’s a different story.

That ended up being a huge point in the game. But the 49ers didn’t play well and had bad penalties, bad clock management, bad playcalls and execution during the game throughout, so blaming this one play isn’t fair. But because of the magnitude of it, it just seems like the focus point.

Either way, it’s a tough reality in the NFL when we get the benefit replay the officials don’t. To quote a classic cliche: “it is what it is.” The 49ers didn’t play well enough to deserve the win. Not only is it a game of inches, but it’s a game of perception.


2 thoughts on “I understand why the referees said Ahmad Brooks clotheslined Drew Brees

    • No initial contact with neck. Neck only makes contact with Brooks’ arm after hit, and that was initiated by Brees. Can’t fault Brooks for Brees falling into his arm. But regardless, this foul was going to be called either way.

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