Noted Ref To Head Crew For Ravens' Opener

Posted on September 01, 2013

By Joe Platania

OWINGS MILLS -- Baltimore's season-opening game in Denver will have one of the game's most noted referees heading the officiating crew.

Walt Coleman, heading into his 25th year as an NFL official, will be working the Ravens-Broncos game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, and his use of the yellow flag will be closely watched.

Excessive penalty numbers was one of the major talking points for the Ravens in 2012, even though they went on to win the Super Bowl.

Baltimore was flagged for 121 accepted infractions last year, the most in the AFC and second in the NFL only to St. Louis (130). It was the most during the John Harbaugh era and the fourth most in team history; the 2005 team committed 139 penalties.

Coleman has been on the field for some of the sport's most controversial moments, most notably the tuck rule AFC Divisional Round playoff game 11 seasons ago, the final game at the old Foxborough Stadium between the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders.

The way the rule was written at the time, Coleman -- to the Raiders' chagrin -- got the call correct, but the much-maligned rule was expunged from the books this past offseason. Any play that resembles the one that gave the Patriots the ball back against Oakland will now be ruled a fumble.

Coleman hasn't seen the Ravens in quite a while. He did not work a game involving Baltimore at all last year, but he did handle the Ravens twice in 2011.

Coleman was on the field for Torrey Smith's last-second touchdown catch at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, a grab that gave the Ravens a 23-20 win against the Steelers.

Later that season, Coleman worked the team's 20-14 Christmas Eve home win against Cleveland.

Posted Sept. 1, 2013

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