Ugly Penalties



The Good, The Bad, and now The Ugly Penalties. All the penalties that are called on actions that are contrary to the rules designed to protect players from injury made the ugly list. When players intentionally attempt to break these rules they are dirty players.

When a coach on a team encourages players to intentionally attempt to injure other players they are a dirty coach and should be banned permanently from the league. The "No Mercy Rule".

The first Ugly Penalty is one that Bronco fans should be very familiar with since it involves the old "cut" blocking technique that Shanahan and Alex Gibbs brought with them from San Francisco.

From Wiki:

...cut blocking is an offensive line technique that consists of an offensive player knocking a defensive player down by hitting his knees.

The technique, which was initially instilled by Bobb McKittrick, the offensive line coach of the San Francisco 49ers from 1979 to 1999, is often criticized as being "dirty."

Additionally, it is illegal for an offensive player to "cut" a defensive player already engaged with another offensive player. This is considered a "chop block."

Mike Shanahan, the 49ers' offensive coordinator from 1992 to 1994, became the Denver Broncos' head coach in 1995, and brought Alex Gibbs along to become his offensive line coach.

In the span from 1995 to 2003 in which Gibbs coached the team's offensive line, and implemented the cut blocking technique, the Broncos won two Super Bowls.

However, chop blocks are still legal IF...

Chop blocks are legal if they occur along the line of scrimmage, the area up to 3 yards behind the line of scrimmage, or within the area 4 yards within either direction of where the ball is snapped.

- See more at:

The NFL gives 10 different explanations of times where a chop block is illegal, and you can view the official rule at this link.

Illegal Chop Block – 15 yards

The only Bronco player called on this penalty during the past five seasons is:

2010 – K.Moreno 1

Clipping – Loss of 15 yards.

Article 10 There shall be no clipping from behind below the waist against a non-runner. This does not apply to offensive blocking in close-line play where it is legal to clip above the knee(s), but it is illegal to clip at or below the knee(s).

No Bronco players were called on this penalty during the past five seasons.

Illegal Blindside Block – 15 yards (Most often called on ST, but can be committed by players on any unit.)

This is a block that can hurt a player since they cannot prepare themselves for the hit. The only Bronco player called on this penalty during the past five seasons is:

2009 - C.Bailey 1

Horse Collar Tackle Loss of 15 yards.

Whiplash? It's the "immediate yanking motion" that makes this tackle illegal. Tackling a player by grabbing the inside of the shoulder pad is legal without the yanking motion.



The only Bronco player called on this penalty during the past five seasons is:

2012 - K.Vickerson 1,

Face Mask – 15 Yards (There is also a 5 yard but these are all 15 yards)

This is a very dangerous act by any player, as the term "broken neck" comes to mind.

The Bronco players called on this penalty during the past five seasons are:

2013 - C.Harris 1, D.Ihenacho 1, M.Jackson 1, R.Moore 1, M.Adams 1,

2012 - E.Dumervil 1, O.Franklin 1, R.Moore 1, J.Bannan 1,

2011 - D.Williams 2, R.McBean 1, K.Vickerson 1, J.Mays 1, W.McGahee 1,

2010 - K.Moreno 1, R.McBean 1, B.Dawkins 1, R.Quinn 1,

2009 - E.Dumervil 1, R.Ayers 1,

Unnecessary Roughness – 15 yards; automatic first down if committed by defense

This is a penalty that can go both (good to ugly) ways depending on exactly how it occurs. As you might expect, the official explanation for this rule is extensive. I starts out:

"Article 8: There shall be no unnecessary roughness. This shall include, but will not be limited to:"



The Bronco players called on this penalty during the past five seasons are:

2013 - K.Vickerson 2, O.Franklin 1, D.R-C 1, K.Moreno 1, M.Jackson 1, R.Moore 1, M.Adams 1

2012 - J.Mays 1, M.Adams 1, W.Woodyard 1, R.Moore 1

2011 - Z.Beadles 1, V.Miller 1, D.Williams 1, C.Harris 1, E.Dumervil 1, R.Ayers 1, B.Colquitt 1, R.Moore 1, Q.Carter 1, L.Ball 1, B.Bunkley 1,

2010 - J.Walton 1, M.Haggan 1, K.Vickerson 1, E.Decker 1, J.Mays 1, W.Woodyard 1, D.Williams 1, N.Jones 1, S.Thompson 1

2009 - R.Ayers 1, D.Williams 1, E.Royal 1

Unsportsmanlike Conduct – 15 yards.

The "Worst of the Worst", this tops the Ugly Penalties List! First of all, it is committed by a player who is clearly out of control of his temper. You don't touch a referee at all during a game - There is no reason to (unless you are clearly pissed off and are trying to intimidate him).

This is a penalty that reflects poorly on both the player and the team, and can get the player (or coach) suspended and fined. This is also a rule that has an extensive explanation, and it most likely will see "racial slurs" added to the list.

The Official Rule list is substantially larger than the Unnecessary Roughness list and includes these headings:

Section 3 - Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Article 1 includes:

Taunting – Contact (GAME Official) – Removal Of Helmet – Disconcerting – Lingering – Hide Out – Leverage – Leaping – Goal Tending – Freezing The Kicker (An attempt to call an excess or illegal timeout)

Article 2: Fouls To Prevent Score

Article 3: Palpably Unfair Act (PLAYER)

GOAL TENDING? I had to check that one out. How the heck do you goal tend in football? I'm not telling!



Our biggest offender last year was:

2013 - K.Vickerson 2, T.Knighton 1,

2012 - T.Carter 1,

2011 - E.Decker 1,

2010 - P.Cox 1, D.Graham 1,

2009 - B.Marshall 1, D.Reid 1, R.Fields 1, M.Thomas 1, B.Stokley 1,

Sheeesh! It would seem like McDoofuss taught his players to be unsportsmanlike right out of the gate.

That concludes my look into the Broncos penalty issues, and I came away from it with a deeper appreciation for what these referees must know. The extensive nature of the NFL Rules book is daunting.

I'm of the opinion that the NFL rule book is far too complicated for anyone to possibly want to be a referee in the NFL, let alone to have to deal with the disrespect that is constantly doled out.

I suggest that you all go read the entire rules book before your next derisive tirade about how lousy the officials are for this game we all love. Perhaps then you'll be a bit more appreciative of what all it is that they must keep track of on EVERY PLAY!

This is a Fan-Created Comment on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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