CBS college football analyst Gary Danielson is known for trying to predict and explain penalty calls in addition to predicting plays, but he appears to have missed a penalty call in Saturday’s Army-Navy game.
With Navy facing a third and six, whistles blew and Danielson said it was an illegal formation penalty for not enough players on the field (which later turned out to be nullified, as Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo had called timeout before the whistle).
Danielson then went on to circle five players, add the five linemen and again say there were too few players, missing the receiver at the top of the screen. The real whistle, and the call on the field, was for delay of game thanks to the play clock’s expiration:
“That was an illegal formation, and Kenny Niumatalolo took it. Did they get away with it? No, not in time. I thought Coach Niumatalolo was able to get the call. But it was going to be not enough men on the field. See, they’ve got one, two, three, four, five. Good call by Coach Niumatalolo.”
After the ensuing commercial break, Danielson doubled down on the illegal formation analysis, saying “Let’s see if they can get in a legal formation this time. Yes. They’re legal.”
This isn’t a huge deal, as the penalties for delay of game and illegal formation are both five yards (and no penalty was given in any case thanks to the timeout). It’s also somewhat understandable how Danielson could miss this, given the snowy conditions and poor visibility in Philadelphia and given how infrequently Navy lines up with two wide receivers.
But it’s interesting that the on-screen play clock showed its expiry long before the whistles and that the official called “Delay, offense,” and that Danielson ignored that to go on and telestrate a graphic seemingly showing 10 players that actually showed 11. Mistakes happen, but this was certainly an unusual one, especially considering Danielson’s expressed certainty.
Correction: This post initially misstated the location of the game. It’s in Philadelphia, not Baltimore.