Skip to main content
Publish date:

Vic Fangio: Refs need to "err on the correct side, not the safe side"

Just five weeks into the season, San Francisco defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has seen enough of the yellow flags on the field after a big hit.

Yesterday, Fangio said that the league has instructed officials to be cautious when it comes to illegal hits, which is resulting in too many defensive penalties, many of which are given out to hard hits that are well within the rules. For example, one player in the 49er's secondary (Donte Whitner) was penalized during a game a few weeks ago that the league later reviewed and deemed to be a legal hit. In order to remedy the situation, Fangio suggested keeping the flags tucked away, unless it's an obvious call.

"They need to err on the correct side, not on the safe side." Fangio said in the San Francisco Chronicle yesterday, referring to the officials.

"If it is an illegal hit, the guy will get fined on Monday or Tuesday. If you miss it as an official, that doesn't mean that it's over and done with." he went on to explain, meaning that the league can still review a hit that isn't flagged, but chances are really good that if a flag comes out, it's going to be accompanied with a hefty fine.

Then Fangio took things a step further, suggesting that quarterbacks should also get fined.

"I've always said when they’re fining these people for these hits they should be fining the quarterback for throwing these guys into those big hits."

While that's an interesting suggestion by the defensive minded coach, let's all be honest; that's not going to happen anytime soon. However, Fangio does bring up a good point initially about having the refs err on the side of caution, and is likely speaking on behalf of many of the defensive coordinators out there frustrated with the timing and accuracy of illegal hit calls that have been emphasized this season. .

If he were involved in the Iowa State vs. Texas game last night, I have a feeling Fangio would say the same thing about erring on the correct side.

It should go without saying that no one is suggesting that deciphering between a legal and illegal hit in the span of one second is an easy thing for officials to do, but Fangio's point is interesting nonetheless