The NFL found no evidence the Tampa Bay Buccaneers broke league rules with their use of the videoboards at Raymond James Stadium last weekend when the Carolina Panthers’ Graham Gano was kicking.
After missing three of four field goals in the Panthers’ 17-16 loss, Gano said the end zone videoboards showed live footage of his placements while displaying the Bucs’ logo against a solid red background when Tampa Bay’s Roberto Aguayo was kicking.
Gano said it was distracting to look up and see two sets of goalposts – the actual uprights and those on the screen. Gano also said he’d experienced the same issue in Tampa Bay previously, and the league had reprimanded the Bucs.
“I know the league talked to them about it before when we played here a couple years ago. So it’s a bit bush league,” Gano told the Observer. “But once again it’s not a reason why I performed poorly. It just adds another element.”
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Teams are prohibited from using videoboards to distract the visiting team’s kicker with, for example, extreme close-ups of the kicker’s face and fast zooms in and out. The league recommends a wide shot of all 22 players.
But a league spokesman said the NFL found no violations related to Gano’s claim.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera also took issue with Tampa Bay’s videoboard operator.
Rivera was upset that two replays were shown of Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis’ unflagged hit on receiver Russell Shepard. He used the same expression Gano did in venting his frustrations.
“Well, first of all I think that’s bush league, to show that play up on the screen,” Rivera said. “What are we trying to incite here? Let’s don’t do that. That’s got no place in the NFL, as far as I’m concerned.”
Davis was not fined for the hit and the NFL had no issues with the videoboard use in that instance either, according to league officials.