In Super Bowl XLVI, the unintended use of an extra man on defense exposed a loophole that the NFL promptly closed. In Super Bowl XLVII, another loophole has been exposed.
But this one will be harder to remedy.
Facing fourth and seven from their own eight and clinging to a five-point lead, the Ravens opted to take an intentional safety. The clock showed 12 seconds at the snap, and the Ravens were able to milk eight of those ticks as punter Sam Koch moved to the back corner of the end zone.
Helping Koch delay as long as possible his exit from the field of play were multiple Ravens players who held 49ers defenders who were trying to get to Koch more quickly. And while a flag for holding inexplicably wasn't thrown, the outcome would have been no different. Holding in the end zone by the offensive team triggers a safety, and that's exactly what the Ravens were willing to concede.
Holding on intentional safety exposes loophole in rules
Pro Football Talk | Feb 4