The league, on Friday, admitted that Whitehead should have been penalized for Whitehead’s helmet-to-helmet hit on Baker Mayfield during last week’s overtime win.
The flag was originally thrown for the illegal hit. After the hit by Whitehead, Mayfield jumped up and began taunting the rookie safety, which drew another flag from the officials. The officials conferred with each other and decided to pick both of the penalty flags up.
Shawn Hochuli announced that Mayfield was still a runner and therefore is allowed to be hit in the head, however, per the league’s senior vice president of officiating, Al Riveron, when Mayfield started to slide that he was supposed to be protected by league rule from hits to the head.
Riveron said that the flag was incorrectly picked up by the officials and that you can clearly see the defender lowering his head and initiate contact and that that is a foul in itself.
Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter was asked to comment on the situation in which he replied, “What they said on the field was that it was a helmet-to-helmet hit and then he got up and taunted our guy, so they threw the second flag. Somehow, they worked it out that they were picking up both flags. Where I was on the field, I didn’t see it as a helmet-to-helmet, but when you look at it on tape it clearly was and I guess the fallout from that is what it is.”
Rookie QB Baker Mayfield admits that he did taunt Whitehead by telling him he would have to hit him harder than that.
There has not been a fine handed out by the league for Whitehead’s helmet-to-helmet as of yet, but a fine is likely to be handed out later in the day on Saturday.
There has also, been no mention of whether-or-not Hochuli and his officiating crew will be punished for making the incorrect call.