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NFL Plans Rule Crackdown After Lions-Chiefs Controversy: Insider

Jawaan Taylor, Patrick Mahomes

Getty Kansas City Chiefs right tackle Jawaan Taylor protects Patrick Mahomes II in Week 1.

Many Detroit Lions fans were angry over officiating in the team’s season opener when Kansas City Chiefs tackle Jawaan Taylor appeared to get an early jump and line up illegally on several plays.

Now, the NFL is apparently cracking down to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Former top NFL official Dean Blandino told Sports Illustrated that the league is planning to crack down on offensive linemen getting an early jump on the snap and lining up illegally. Blandino said the league sent a guidance to referees to keep an eye out for the penalties going forward.

League Responds to Jawaan Taylor Controversy

Blandino, the former NFL vice president of officiating, said Taylor was not the only offensive lineman to stray outside the rules when it came to lining up before the snap. The league emphasized this point to officials in their weekly training tapes, Blandino reported.

“On the tape this week at the very end, there are several examples of—and a couple from the Thursday night game with Jawaan Taylor—of tackles who are too far back. … That was emphasized on the training tape going into Week 2,” Blandino said. “I would expect, just from my experience, officials watch that training tape. It’s usually a very good learning tool, and it’s good for giving your officials direction. I would expect we will not see the egregious examples we may have seen in Week 1.”

Though Taylor was often seen lining up too deep past the line of scrimmage and starting his dropback before the ball was snapped, he was only called for one false start penalty in the September 7 game against the Lions. That came on a 4th-and-20 play late in the fourth quarter after the Lions had taken a 21-20 lead. The Lions held the Chiefs on the next play, running out the clock on the final drive to start the season with an upset victory.

Lions Fans Angry About Apparent Missed Penalties

Though the Lions were able to overcome the apparent missed calls, many Detroit fans were upset both during and after the game. Many took to social media to claim that it appeared the officials were favoring the defending Super Bowl champions.

“Pretty embarrassing for KC and the NFL refs that it hasn’t been called once this game,” one fan wrote on Twitter.

Even the NBC broadcast of the game acknowledged that it appeared Taylor was regularly getting away with what should have been penalties. Terry McAulay, a former NFL official turned rules analyst for NBC, said during the game that it was putting the Lions’ defensive linemen at a considerable disadvantage in getting to Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

“To be on the line, his helmet has to break the waistline of the center. And to be honest, we’ve watched him the whole game, he’s really not remotely close,” McAulay said to NBC’s Mike Tirico, via “And it’s really putting the defender at a tremendous disadvantage when he can be that far back.”

But Taylor also may have been handing the Lions an advantage. Charles Curtis of USA Today’s For The Win also noticed what appeared to be play-tipping by Taylor depending on how he lined up before the play.

Charles Curtis of USA Today’s For The Win also noticed what appeared to be play-tipping by Taylor, noting that the Chiefs will likely need to address the issue before the next game.

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