Officials made a colossal mistake on the final drive of Sunday Nights game between the Washington Redskins and the New York Giants that could have cost Washington the game. The redskins completed a 2nd down pass for what appeared to be a first down, and was signaled a first down by officials on the field. The down marker on the sideline also changed to signal a first down.
The redskins then passed down field on what they thought was first down and the play resulted in an incompletion. After the play officials apparently changed their mind about their earlier call and decided it should not have been a first down, and inexplicably changed the down to 4th down. Obviously having a 1st and 10 vs a 3rd and 1 would have a drastic effect on the play-calling in this situation. On the bogus 4th and 1 play Washington passed short and turned the ball over on a fumble.
In a season full of questionable and downright BAD CALLS, this one is a new low for the NFL. A coach was lied to and told that he had a 1st down, even when he specifically asked for a measurement, officials told him he didn’t need one because it was a first down. They then let him run a play believing it was 1st down, before changing their minds and telling him that it is now 4th down. Even the replacement officials never screwed up this bad.
Tel us what you think in the comments.
The Tampa Bay Bucs have to be furious after what happened on the final play vs the Saints on Sunday. After driving the length of the field, Bucs QB Josh Freeman hit WR Mike Williams for what looked like the game tying touchdown as time expired. Instead officials called a penalty on Williams for illegal touching because he had touched out of bounds earlier in the play. There are several glaring problems with this call. First of all Williams was pushed out of bounds by the defender, which is a penalty as the back of the endzone is obviously more than 5 yards from the line of scrimmage. Second, even if Williams had run out of bounds on his own and not been pushed, he is allowed to re-establish himself in the field of play and become an eligible receiver again. He did just this, taking no less than 6 steps in bounds before catching the ball.
I can honestly say this is a worse call than the Packers – Seahawks “simultaneous possession” call that the replacement refs were crucified for. It is also a worse call than the infamous Calvin Johnson catch a few years ago.
The problem with this call is how blatantly obvious it was that it should have been called a TD. Those other calls had grey area, this one did not. If defenders are allowed to push receivers out of bounds and make them ineligible for the rest of the play, then defenders would do nothing but that.
It will be interesting to see if the outrage over this call comes close to what we saw directed at the Replacement Officials after the blown call in Seattle. I suspect it won’t, though it should. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw an apology from the league office for this one after they have a chance to look at it on video, but I won’t hold my breath.
A bad call by the regular officials almost cost the Green Bay Packers a win just one week after they were robbed of a win by the replacement officials. You could even argue that this was a worse call than the ‘simultaneous possession’ call. At least that was a crazy, unique play that would be a tough call in any situation.
This week it was an obvious fumble by the Saints returner Darren Sproles that appeared to be recovered by the Packers. Instead, officials ruled that Sproles was down by contact before the fumble. Since the Packers had no more challenges remaining, they had to watch as Drew Brees and the Saints almost won the game with a late drive. Instead the Packers hung on for the win and avoided another week of controversy.
This was the NFL’s biggest fear with the replacement officials. That they would cost a team a win and determine the outcome of a game with a bad call. Well now it has happened, and in dramatic fashion on Monday Night Football.
The Green Bay Packers were robbed of a win when officials inexplicably ruled that Golden Tate caught a hail Mary pass on the last play of the game. Replays clearly showed that not only should a offensive pass interference penalty have been called, but that the Packers actually intercepted the ball.
The controversy started when two officials simultaneously signaled different outcomes for the play. One official correctly ruled it an interception while the other signaled touchdown. After that it went to a booth review as all scoring plays do. Somehow the original ruling on the field of a touchdown was upheld when it looked obvious to most people that the Packers had intercepted the ball. If you didn’t already see the endless replays while watching the game live, you can watch it here on the NFL’s official site.
The NFL will have a lot of explaining to do about this call and it could be the catalyst needed to end the lockout of the regular officials. Adding to the embarrassment for the league with this bad call is the fact that the officials ran off the field before the Seahawks had kicked the extra point, and further illustrating their incompetence.
Instead of getting better and adjusting to the speed of the NFL game, the replacement officials seem to be getting worse every week. On a Sunday full of bad calls the replacements had arguably their worst game in prime time on Sunday Night between the Ravens and the Patriots.
The replacement officials repeatedly made questionable calls against both teams. There were so many bad calls in this game I won’t even try to get in to them individually. Many of the calls extended drives and awarded free first downs. With so many bad calls going both ways in this game it is impossible to tell what the outcome would have been if this game were properly officiated. There was even controversy with the game winning field goal when it cleared the top of the right upright and it was unclear if the field goal was good or not. While the call was ultimately made correctly on the field goal, the ruling could have been explained on the field afterwards as the normal officials often do with controversial or confusing calls.
This was far from being the only poorly officiated game this weekend. Later we will get into the embarrassment that happened in the 4th quarter of the Vikings – 49ers game, where John Harbaugh and the 49ers essentially got 5 time outs and 2 challenges in the final 3 minutes of the game, along with avoiding delay of game and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties of their own.
As I stated in an earlier post from week one, I think the biggest weakness of the replacement officials this year will be their inability to administer the basic rules of the game correctly. A perfect example came in the 4th quarter of the week one game between the Seahawks and the Cardinals.
As most serious NFL fans know, a timeout is charged to a team if one of their players in injured in the final 2 minutes of a half. This is to prevent teams from using fake injuries as free timeouts. Apparently the replacement officials skipped that lesson, because they did not take away Seattle’s final timeout as they should have when an injury stopped the clock with less than two minutes to go in the 4th. Seattle then called a timeout a few plays later when they should have had none, and officials gave it to them, and incorrectly explained that Seattle had a timeout left.
If the replacements continue to miss basic calls like this, the NFL may be forced to cave to the regular officials demands.
As expected, there was some sloppy officiating around the league in week one. The replacement officials got their first test in real games and the results were mixed. One particularly bad missed call happened in the Sunday night game between the Steelers and the Broncos. Peyton Manning spotted a Steelers defender who was late getting off the field, and quickly called for the snap to draw the flag for too many men on the field. One problem with that savvy veteran move though, the officials didn’t notice that the play started with 12 defenders on the field. Manning was visibly upset to say the least. Making this call look even worse for the replacement refs is the fact that there was an official within 5 yards of the defender as he was trying to get off the field in time, but his back was turned on the play as it started.
While this wasn’t the most game changing call we saw this week, it does highlight the replacements biggest weakness in my opinion: the failure to quickly and correctly get the simple routine calls right every time. This wasn’t a lighting fast judgment call that could go either way like a pass interference or holding. This was a basic pre-play penalty that the regular officials virtually never miss. Hopefully bad calls like this don’t become a common problem with the replacements.
Officials missed a very obvious face masking in the final seconds of the week 14 game between the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings, and this bad call could have playoff implications. If the officials would have made the right call, the Minnesota Vikings and Joe Webb would have had another shot at winning the game with a touchdown from the 1 yard line. Instead, officials didn’t even bother to throw a flag on what was the most obvious facemask we have seen in a long time.
Joe Webb dropped back to pass, and the Lions pass rush was on him immediately just as they had been all day long. When Webb rolled left to try to avoid the rush, Lions Left End Cliff Avril grabbed his facemask and jerked his head to the side. Basically the definition of an facemask penalty… yet no flags were thrown. In an era where officials are constantly going to far in protecting quarterbacks, how was this facemask not called in the crucial final seconds of an NFL game.
Lions fans have to be breathing a sigh of relief as they escaped this game with a win. The Vikings came storming back late in the game after Joe Webb replaced Christian Ponder at quarterback. Down by only six points in the final seconds, the Vikings had the ball at Detroit’s 1 yard line, and it was looking like they were going to steal this one from the and deal a huge blow to their playoff hopes. Instead the Vikings were robbed of the chance to play spoiler and all NFL fans were robbed of seeing a legitimate finish to what was otherwise a great game.
The NFL really needs to overhaul the rules to prevent these controversial calls from ruining the integrity of the game, as well as find some way of holding officials accountable for missing easy, routine calls like this. Unfortunately under the current rules a team cannot challenge a facemask penalty, and there are no booth reviews for facemask penalties. We now have an automatic video review of every touchdown, so why is the NFL still allowing games to be ruined by bad calls like this that don’t happen on a touchdown play.
The play can be seen here. It starts about 1:15 in to the video.
Watch how hard Webb’s head gets snapped to the side by the facemask, causing the fumble. Its just pathetic and inexcusable that this call was missed in an NFL game.