(Shane Kosovac / JagNation.com)
Yellow hankies exploded on the field as penalty flags soared out of the referee's pockets as time neared the halftime mark. Few had seen such a rapid flurry of laundry, and based on the reports from the field, it was difficult to determine the cause of such an effect. What was finally determined was that Warren Sapp had crossed the line during the most recent game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The instigation of Mr. Sapp appeared to stem from the initial declination of the penalty on Tony Pashos. After the game, Raiders coach Lane Kiffin shared the following insight.
"I don't know what set him off but I'm going to guess that the penalty was declined by referees before talking to me. They did not look at me and I would have obviously taken the penalty to drive them out of field goal range. I think that is maybe what started it because Warren (Sapp) was there with me when I was talking to the ref about accepting the penalty," Kiffen explained.
So what was the reasoning for Sapp's ejection?
"I do not have the referee's version of the exact conversation but they ejected Warren (Sapp) and I assume that it was for making contact with the ref," Kiffen added.
Defensive end Jay Richardson shared another viewpoint.
"From what I understand there were a couple of calls questioned by a couple of guys, and some thought the referees were getting into the huddle putting hands on players. When we put our hands on the referee, it's a different deal. A few guys reacted to that. After that, everybody was done with it and wanted to just start making some plays. You can't control certain things in football. The only thing you can control is to play that next snap. No matter how many penalties moved that ball closer to the goal line, it didn't matter. On the next snap, we had a pick." said Richardson.
No matter the reason, the penalties multiplied, moving the ball from the twenty-five yard line down to the two.
Linebacker Thomas Howard shared what he observed.
"I didn't see anyone touch anyone. Everyone was arguing. There were a lot of emotions on that football field. If someone is wearing their emotions on their sleeves because of a call, that's football. Everyone is out there playing with emotion. It might have been a little too much and got out of hand with some feelings getting involved. We had to regroup out that. Kirk (Morrison) made the interception after that and that kind of went along with the theme that maybe the officials overreacted a little." Howard explained.
The subsequent result was Jaguars quarterback David Garrard throwing an interception to kill the penalty-aided drive.
When asked about the behavior displayed on the field, Garrard explained that the behavior bothered him.
"I tried to stay out of it because they really weren't talking to our team. They were directing all of their anger right at the refs. I really hated to see it because it really shows our youth out there a bad light on how professionals are supposed to be and how they're supposed to act on the football field. I just hated to see that for the kids out there." Garrard said.
Garrard blamed the resulting interception on the distraction and a disruption of rhythm.
"After all that mess that was going on, it sort of got us out of our rhythm and they dropped like nine guys into coverage. I should have seen it and thrown the ball out of the end zone but that's football. You're going to make those mistakes. It's how you come back from them."
Warren Sapp has not commented on the incident.