When a 12th man is mentioned regarding a football team, it usually references the crowd. One NFL team frequently associated with the 12th man is the Seattle Seahawks, especially when they play at home. But during one play in Week 12’s against the Las Vegas Raiders, the 12th man took on a new, more literal meaning.

While the game finished poorly for the Seahawks, it started well. Seattle scored less than 30 seconds into the game. That touchdown was set up when safety Quandre Diggs intercepted Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr, on the first play from scrimmage. Among the blockers on Diggs’ 12-yard return was linebacker Darrell Taylor. Only, Taylor shouldn’t have been on the field. Amazingly, this penalty was missed.

Taylor was on the bench for the play. Replay shows that at the time Diggs intercepted the pass, Taylor No. 52, was standing on Seattle’s sideline, roughly on the 31-yard line and just to the left of the first down marker. Taylor then sprinted onto the field and even blocked during Diggs’ return.

Football fans were largely amused upon seeing what happened.

Indeed, it’s unlikely that Taylor was blatantly trying to cheat. Given that Diggs went to the ground to make the interception, Taylor probably did think the play was over and just went out to celebrate with his teammates. The bigger issue here is, he did block. It wasn’t a big block and it didn’t impact the play. But Taylor clearly made contact with Vegas’ Mack Hollins as Diggs was going out of bounds.

Perhaps the larger issue here is that the referees somehow missed this. All turnovers are automatically reviewed. And while Diggs did intercept the ball, he did go to the ground on the play. In those situations, replay officials will generally want to take some time to be sure that the catch was made and that Diggs wasn’t touched down. In that process, though, the replay booth might also notice something like a player from the bench running onto the field. Here, that did not happen.

This is not the first time this has happened, though it is rare. In the 1954 Cotton Bowl, Alabama’s Tommy Lewis ran off of the bench to tackle Rice’s Dicky Maegle. Only, Lewis was penalized, despite the referees from 1954 not having access to numerous camera angles or even instant replay. Somehow, the modern referees with modern technology missed this one.

[Sangit T. on Twitter, Photo Credit: CBS]

About Michael Dixon

Michael is a writer and editor for The Comeback Media. Fan of most sports, nerd when it comes to sports history. Bay Area based for now. Likely leaving sometime early in 2023.

Other loves include good tacos, pizza and obscure Seinfeld quotes.

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