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NFL admits flag was wrongly picked up on hit to Baker Mayfield’s head

Browns Mayfield Hit Football

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Jordan Whitehead (31) hits Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. A person familiar with NFL discipline says Tampa Bay safety Jordan Whitehead is expected to be fined for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. Whitehead struck a sliding Mayfield in the fourth quarter and should’ve been flagged for unnecessary roughness or unsportsmanlike conduct, said the person who spoke Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018, to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the league has not commented on calls from last week’s games. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)


The NFL has admitted that the official who threw a flag on a hit to the head taken by Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield made the right call, and should not have been overruled by the other officials.

In his weekly video, NFL head of officiating Al Riveron showed the hit from Buccaneers safety Jordan Whitehead. Riveron said the hit actually should have been flagged for two reasons.

“We had a flag on this play and we incorrectly picked it up after we had a conference by the officials,” Riveron said. “He lowers his head to initiate contact, and he does make contact, so that right there is a foul in itself. No. 2, as we can see, the quarterback starts to slide, and even though he slides late, he is still afforded protection from forcible contact to the neck and head area. And there is your contact, so that is a foul for two reasons. No. 1, lowering your head to initiate contact. And No. 2, forcible contact to a quarterback who has given himself up in the head or neck area.”

It’s unclear what was said in the conference by the officials that resulted in a hit that should have been two penalties being ruled no penalty at all. But the officials botched this one.