Week 11 Blunders

In watching today’s games, I saw two calls in the Indianapolis/Baltimore game that were not called by John Parry‘s crew and impacted the game.

With 13 minutes left in the game, Flacco completed a pass, but was contacted by Mathis in the helmet, which should have added 15 yards to the end of the play. It was not called, although the pass was completed, it was not a major impact on the game.

Worse then this was the missed false start by the Ravens with under 3 minutes to go. The Ravens offensive line committed the false start, which wasn’t called, and on that play Flacco tossed an interception, virtually icing the game for the Colts.

Any other missed calls change games today?


Romo Fumbles Away Another Win??

With Dallas down 10-0 early in the fourth quarter, Tony Romo was sacked and fumbled the ball which was eventually recovered Clay Mathews and gave the Packers the ball at the Dallas 3 yard line.

But was the ball recovered by Felix Jones first? On the clip below, the play is shown at the 2:45 mark.

Jeff Triplette and his crew ruled that the ball was a fumble the entire way throughout and therefore Wade Phillips was unable to challenge. After watching the replay several times today, I believe the officials had this one correct, do you?

The NFL admits it goofed at the end of the Steelers-Chargers game

As it turns out, it WAS a touchdown for Troy Polamalu, but it’ll never show up that way in the history books.  Fortunately, this error didn’t change the outcome of the game.  However, it messed up a lot of gamblers and fantasy players, and could possibly affect the playoff picture under certain scenarios.

The problem is that if ANY forward pass touches the ground, the play is dead.  The officials simply got confused about which pass was which.

The little flip pass from LaDanian Tomlinson to Chris Chambers was an illegal forward pass, but was handled cleanly by Chambers.  When Chambers tried to lateral again, the ball hit the ground.  However, because that pass went backwards, the ball was still live and it was legal for Polamalu to pick it up and score.

There still should have been a penalty on the Chargers for the illegal forward pass from Tomlinson, which the Steelers could decline so they could keep the touchdown.  That’s what happened initially.  After that, referee Scott Green changed his mind (got confused, etc) and things got a little weird.

As a result of this mess, the NFL is looking at making some slight tweaks to the replay system.  With the new rules, officials will be allowed to re-review a play if they think they need to.  This new system could be in place in time for the playoffs.

Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh reprimanded for criticizing Pac-10 officials

After Saturday’s 28-21 loss to Notre Dame, Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh made it clear he wasn’t pleased with the officials:

We got a couple of bad calls. It’s hard to imagine people don’t know football any better than that. Maybe I’ll be swayed differently after I see the replay, but from what I saw on the field, I still can’t get over it. It was a really bad call. It should have been our ball and a touchdown for us.

Unfortunately for Jim, there were two problems with those comments:

  1. The officials were correct.  Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen confirmed that the call was correct.
  2. Pac-10 rules prohibit coaches from commenting publically on officiating.

I’m a big Jim Harbaugh fan, but he really should have kept his mouth shut this time.

Any idea who the head official was in that game?

Hochuli involved in another controversial call: helmet-to-helmet in ATL-CAR

If not for the mess in week one, this probably wouldn’t even be a story.  Unfortunately, it is.

Early in the first quarter of the Falcons-Panthers game today, referee Ed Hochuli flagged Julius Peppers for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Falcons’ QB Matt Ryan.  The play had resulted in an interception and a touchdown for the Panthers, but it was called back due to the penalty.  Should it have been called?

I watched the game live, and thought it was the right call.  It certainly appeared to be helmet-to-helmet, although it wasn’t very hard and it didn’t seem to be intentional.  I really think this was a call that could go either way.  Sadly for Hochuli, the call had a very direct impact on the game, taking seven points away from the Panthers.  Like his call a few weeks ago, he threw the flag before the “big play” happened, so he had no way of knowing how important the call would be.

If I can find a video or screencap of the hit, I’ll post it here.  Please let me know if you find one.

Jerry Jones fined $25K for comments about the referees

Just days after Saints’ coach Sean Payton was fined $15,000 for ripping the officials, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been fined $25,000 for a similar offense.

Jones had made comments about Ed Hochuli‘s famous week one mistake in the Broncos-Chargers game.  Jones admits he was out of line, saying that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is “doing his job”.

Jones was fined more than Payton because owners are held to a higher standard.  Chargers coach Norv Turner was not fined for referring to the blown call as “unacceptable”, since he limited himself to that single word and referred all other questions about the matter to the league office.

Saints coach Sean Payton fined $15K for criticizing officials

According to ESPN, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has been fined $15,000 by the NFL for criticizing the officals after last week’s 34-32 loss to the Denver Broncos.

Specifically, Payton was upset that an obvious neutral zone infraction wasn’t called with 2:40 left in the game.  NFL commissioner Roger Goodell made it clear to all teams that they are welcome to talk to him about officiating problems, but any public criticism (like Payton’s) will result in disciplinary action.

The referee in the Saints-Broncos game last week was Ron Winter, though this call would have been the responsibility of his Head Linesman or Line Judge.

Hochuli is devasted, but Pereira wants him back on the field this weekend

The NFL’s supervisor of officials, Mike Pereira, says that he has spoken to Ed Hochuli a few times over the past week and that Hochuli still feels devastated about what happened.  According to Pereira:

“He is a consummate professional who’s refereed in this league for 17 years and he hates to make any mistake. So when you add a mistake of this magnitude, at this particular junction of the game, it’s been really hard on him. We’ve talked probably seven or eight times since that game, and my whole goal is to try to get him back to get on the horse and work again this weekend. He’s too good of a guy, too good of an official to keep off the field over this critical mistake he made. I think he’ll be all right, but he’s really been affected over this mistake he made.”

If Pereira is right and Hochuli gets right back into it, he’s scheduled to ref the Browns-Ravens game at 4:15EST.

Hochuli issues an apology for Chargers-Broncos blown call

Referee Ed Hochuli has issued a brief statement apologizing for the blown call in last week’s Chargers-Broncos game.  His statement:

“I’m getting hundreds of e-mails — hate mail — but I’m responding to it all.  People deserve a response. You can rest assured that nothing anyone can say can make me feel worse than I already feel about my mistake on the fumble play. You have no idea … Affecting the outcome of a game is a devastating feeling. Officials strive for perfection — I failed miserably. Although it does no good to say it, I am very, very sorry.”

At this point, I’m not sure what else can be done.  He’s apologized and the league will look into the “inadvertent whistle” rule, so hopefully this story can start to go to rest.

You can bet his next game will be scrutinized closely, though.

Hochuli punished a little bit. Was it enough?

The NFL has decided to give Ed Hochuli some “marked down” grades for his bad call in the Broncos-Chargers game, which may mean he can’t work in the playoffs this year.  GIven all of your harsh comments, I’m guessing most of you think it’s too light.

The official statement, from NFL spokesman Greg Aiello:

 “Officials are held accountable for their calls. They are graded on every play of every game.  Ed has been an outstanding official for many years, but he will be marked down for this call. Under our evaluation system, an official’s grades impact his status for potentially working the playoffs and ultimately whether or not he is retained.”

At the same time, the referees association has made it clear that they are standing behind Ed.  They admit that he obviously screwed up, but they point to his 19 years of experience (with very little criscism).  Tim Miller, the executive director of the NFLRA, had this to say:

“No one feels worse about this than Ed, but like the coaches and players in our high-speed game, mistakes will occur.”

“The NFLRA stands by Ed Hochuli as a 19-year veteran with multiple Super Bowl and countless playoff game experience who has the integrity and character to admit a mistake and accept the criticism that comes with it.”

So what do you think?  Should Hochuli have been punished more, for what was really just one quick mistake?  Or does the fault lie with the NFL, whose rules didn’t allow Hochuli the ability to fix it (by awarding the ball to San Diego)?