After all the criticism the NFL has taken the last few years for bad calls and questionable helmet to helmet and defenseless receiver penalties, I thought that the refs would be at the top of their game this year to avoid these kind of bad calls. Instead, they seem to have somehow gotten worse.
Danieal Manning of the Texans was flagged for hitting a defenseless receiver in the 4th quarter of the Texans game against the Colts. Usually when there is a bad call like this the defensive back delivers a brutal hit on the receiver, but in this case Manning barely touched Colts receiver Pierre Garcon. After the game Manning said that he actually saw the ball knocked out of Garcons hands before he got to him, so he started to slow down so as not to draw a penalty. As he was slowing down and trying to avoid a collision, Garcon’s shoulder hit Manning’s leg… and officials decided to penalize Manning for hitting a defenseless receiver.
Here is a video of the play.
After the game Manning said that he wasn’t so much angry at the call as he was confused, and understandably so. I’m also confused. If this is a penalty then I don’t know how every hit on a receiver isn’t a penalty. Once again NFL officials have proven that they cannot make these judgment calls consistent from team to team and game to game. We have seen many receivers hit much harder on plays that did not draw a flag.
While this bad call did not have any effect on the outcome of the game it was still a bad call and it is still unacceptable in the NFL. Its beginning to appear as if the officials don’t really know the rules to the game they are in charge of officiating, and that is a scary thing. Eventually a ridiculous call like this while change the outcome of a big game and fans will be furious. Unfortunately the NFL will probably wait until calls like this ruin the integrity of the game before taking action to prevent them.
Let us know what you think of this call or any other questionable calls from this weekend in the comments.