I watch a lot of football and this NFL’s Wildcard Weekend was something to behold with three games being snoozers and one game possibly having the outcome changed by the officials.
During Saturday’s game between Arizona Cardinals and the Carolina Panthers, I found myself hoping the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would walk out to midfield and call the game because of poor play, shoddy officiating, and terrible announcing by ESPN’s Mike Tirico.
Little did I know that substandard officiating would play a big role in the Detroit/Dallas game late Sunday afternoon.
Goodell should tell his private pilot to get the jet ready for a trip to Detroit today to apologize to the Lions and their fans for what was done to their team on Sunday.
Here is what happened, courtesy of ESPN:
With 8:25 left in the game, Cowboys rookie linebacker Anthony Hitchens was initially flagged for pass interference while defending Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew on a third-and-1 pass from the Dallas 46.
Referee Pete Morelli announced the penalty, which would have given the Lions a first down, but moments later changed the call to no penalty. The Lions lined up on fourth down but their attempt to draw the Cowboys offside failed and they eventually punted.
I don’t ever remember a penalty being announced and then reversed. It may have happened, but I don’t remember it. Somebody even Tweeted and asked if Buffalo Wild Wings had gotten involved…
The sad thing is that it was pass interference plain and simple.
Even with the call being reversed, the Lions should have been given a first down for an unsportsmanlike penalty on Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant because he ran on the field (not just a few steps, but maybe 10 yards on the field) without his helmet on, to protest the call.
Bryant wasn’t penalized for this.
People will say Detroit had many chances to win this game after the reversal. Maybe they did, but perhaps the wind was taken out of their sails after getting screwed over so badly.
I hope the team of officials for the Detroit/Dallas game headed by referee Pete Morelli isn’t allowed to defile the great game anymore this post-season – maybe forever.
The NFL has encountered many problems this season that were not handled well. Their brand/image has taken several hits. The shenanigans this Wildcard Weekend did nothing to help their image.
UPDATE: Here is THE LINK to comments from the NFL head of officiating, Dean Blandino.
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