Chris Conte says ‘leaping’ penalty was bad call
The Tampa Tribune, published 30 November 2015

Lovie Smith said it wasn’t just a good call, it was the correct call. But safety Chris Conte vehemently disagreed, saying it was nothing short of a bad call.

Even the officials who penalized Conte for illegally leaping over the Colts’ long-snapper during a critical field-goal attempt late in the Bucs’ 25-12 loss Sunday weren’t quite sure, Conte said. “They said, ‘Yeah, we’re going to go back and look at that one heavily,’ ” Conte said.

The penalty allowed the Colts to eschew a 30-yard field goal and a 22-12 lead with 6:31 to play for a first down at the Tampa Bay 6-yard line. Two plays later, Indianapolis scored a game-sealing touchdown.

Leaping over the long snapper, or center, to block a field goal is legal in the NFL, but only if the leaping player does not use the snapper or any other player as leverage during his leap. Conte was certain he didn’t use anyone as leverage, and confident he didn’t touch any player during his leap. But, he said, the officials disagreed.

“They called me for touching the center, but there is no way I touched the center,’’ Conte said. “He told me afterwards my foot grazed the center. When I heard that I was like, ‘C’mon.’ I’m not trying to throw anyone under the bus, but how do you call that? How do you not criticize the official on that? They made a bad call, that’s all I can say.”

Though it didn’t work out, Conte and Bucs special teams coordinator Kevin O’Dea thought they made a good call in ordering Conte to take his giant leap.

“It was something we saw on film,’’ Conte said. “We saw that a few teams have had success doing it, and so it was something we worked on and something we planned on doing. We got the timing down on it throughout the game and we said, ‘We’re going to use it if we need.’ And we ended up needing it. And I’m telling you, I never touched the guy.’’