Earlier this week, longtime Big Ten official Dan Capron sat down with the Chicago Tribune to discuss several stories from his time as a referee. In the interview, Capron admitted there were a few misses during his career.
After 20 years on the job, he was guaranteed to make a few mistakes.
None were bigger than when he called the national title game between Alabama and Georgia. Capron admitted to Teddy Greenstein that his crew missed a pivotal call on a blocked punt.
Georgia fans who maintain to this day that Tyler Simmons was onside were right. Capron revealed his crew incorrectly judged that Simmons jumped the snap en route to blocking the punt.
Here’s what Capron had to say about the play:
We had a miss. Alabama was on the ropes. They were deep in their own territory and they’re punting. The punt gets blocked. There’s a flag on the ground because the line judge had Georgia offside. Oh, boy. He (the player, Tyler Simmons) actually had a running start and timed it (properly). He wasn’t offside.
But that wasn’t my call. The blocking backs, a split-second before the snap, moved. That was a false start. That should have been my call. It still wouldn’t have been a blocked punt but instead a five-yard penalty against the offense. You never want to make a mistake of any kind in such a high-profile atmosphere.
Video of the play shows Simmons was not offside, but it also shows the non-called false start from the backs.
Check it out.
The backs clearly move before the ball is snapped, which would have wiped the blocked punt off the board.
Alabama and Georgia fans can debate if this would have changed the outcome of the game.