Posted November 19, 2013

NFL head of officiating on Patriots-Panthers call: ‘I wouldn’t say they got it wrong’

NFL
The Pathers defeated the Patriots 24-20 after a controversial reversed call to end the game. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

The Panthers beat the Patriots 24-20 after a controversial reversed call to end the game. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

When asked about the controversial pass interference no-call that ended Monday night’s Patriots-Panthers game, Dean Blandino, the NFL’s head of officiating, said he wouldn’t downgrade the officials over the situation.

“I wouldn’t say they got it wrong,” Blandino said, according to ProFootballTalk, Blandino said officials did the right thing in conferring before reversing the call, noting that they made the decision in real time:

“This is a judgment call. The officials don’t have the use of replay. They don’t have slow motion replay and ultimately they ruled that the restriction occurred simultaneously with the ball being touched. When you watch it at full speed, you could see why they would make that call on the field.”

KING: New England Patriots-Carolina Panthers marred by officials’ bad call

Officials originally called pass interference on the play. After consultation, they decided the ball was uncatchable, allowing the interception to stand. Blandino says that the refs may have waived off the penalty for another reason as well.

“What they’re going to talk about is when did the restriction occur in relation to the ball being touched? Because once the ball is touched, you cannot have pass interference.”

Blandino never explicitly endorsed the call during the interview, but he said none of the refs involved would be prevented for working playoff games.

FARRAR: Umpire who allegedly swore at Trent Williams has been admonished before


64 comments
Richard--Ramirez
Richard--Ramirez

Packers fans last year, Patriots fans this year. What a bunch of cry babies. Terrible fanbases.

JimSmith4
JimSmith4

Great Win Panthers!  Don't mind the whining Pats cult.  They can't take it.

FrankBeans
FrankBeans

Here's the bottom-line, something that I think a lot of people keep forgetting.

Uncatchable means there is no way the receiver could have got to that ball.  That INCLUDES that fact that another defender intercepted it.

Look at it like this.  We all know it was underthrown.  Maybe, just maybe, Gronk could have made some miracle maneuver to get back to the ball.  But there was no way he was going to get in front of the DB who intercepted it.

If you completely remove the LB from the play (he magically disappears and never touched anyone), the ball still would have been intercepted.  Gronk had no chance.  Therefore there cannot be interference on Gronk.

jason g1
jason g1

I'm not a fan of either team but TOO many times this year the refs have thrown a flag and delay the game and then state No Penalty/NO Call. Then why are you throwing the flag.... Obviously you saw something.

TomOatway
TomOatway

"wouldn't say they got it wrong"? well at least you aren't saying they got it right...what a bunch of BS

rentistoohigh
rentistoohigh

The official closest to Brady could see that it was a deliberate underthrow for the purpose drawing a foul call in heavy coverage with nobody open where Brady was looking to go with it...the official at the back of the end zone was not responsible to watch that.   The play was not close. Classic example of a good non call.  Now,  just because it was at the end of the game does not mean that it is not up to the official's judgment. It is always up to the official's judgment.  Every play has potential penalties all over the field...requiring judgment on the spot. To flag that call would be like giving the Patriots ...who were at that time simply trying to get a call a free chance to win from one yard out. In a "hail mary" play ...the ball is launched up where the receiver can battle for it...Possibility of a foul...a tip...any number of things .  The presiding official's job is to see if  it is a ball in play that was bona fide attempt at reaching the receiver on his designated route. It wasn't.  Game over    

Craig
Craig

Just curious here.  Of all those commenting about how terrible the call was......

How many of you have ever passed the rules test and on-field or on-court exams that officials at all levels must pass?

How many of you have ever officiated a football game at any level?

How many of you have ever officiated any sport at any level?

How many of you have ever been on the field or the court with a bunch of big, athletic people (men or women) who are all moving around, making contact (both legal and illegal) while trying to observe specific actions and put them in relation to the overall game action?

I'm betting the answer in every case is None.  From your comfortable seat on the couch, using multiple camera angles, slow motion replays, and all that other stuff it looks easy.  Unless you've actually done it, you have no idea what you're talking about. 

reader4si
reader4si

Of course they never accept as they were wrong.  That's arrogant. Regardless of he can catch the ball or not, if a foul occurred they have to call.  Why they threw a flag if there is no foul?  Replay clearly shown the LB block the TE try to coming back for the ball.  Don't you not supposed to make contact with a receiver beyond 5 yards.  LB clearly guilty of pushing the guy toward to the back of the end zone.  Terrible call, just like the Seattle game.  For sure if it was a home team on offense they will continue to call it, but these zebra conferred and realized they were on NC turf, so they reversed the call and took an easy way out, simple as that. I don't like the Patriots cuz belichech was a sly coah and do anything even with cheating to win, but fair is a fair. That's total blew the call.

Kyle Spillman
Kyle Spillman

plus gronk ran into him by trying to come back to the ball, the defender had his back turned how was he supposed to know gronk was going to try to push threw him

Kyle Spillman
Kyle Spillman

theres no way he caught that ball even with the PI therefore the PI is irrelevant  and i agree with the no call

MattHaynes
MattHaynes

Of course Gronk couldn't catch the ball, when he made a move back to the ball, the LB bear hugged him and held him back from getting the ball BEFORE the ball was tipped or touched.  The backjudge, who had a clear view of the play, was 100% correct in throwing the flag and it should not have been picked up, period.

Gene1356
Gene1356

This was a lame call. Okay not PI, but Gronk got held ...no question on that

ApolloOne
ApolloOne

Aw, those wagons look so cute, all in a circle!

thread5afe
thread5afe

Little or no accountability, that was an ugly bit of officiating. But I feel all better now 'cause the "NFL VP of Officiating" says they got it right... anybody else feel better after swallowing that?

WilyCoyoteSuperGenius
WilyCoyoteSuperGenius

Gee, the head zebra covers his nimrod buddies, what a shocker! I am not a Pats fan - and that call was WRONG! Just one more reason I watch less and less of the clown college called the NFL.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

The lack of ability of the referees is just one more problem with the NFL. They have had a disastrous year public-relations wise, and I doubt if it will get better. I'm beginning to think Roger Goodell has a secret plan to ruin professional football in America.

Matthew53
Matthew53

Gotta toe the corporate line now. He can't overturn the decision even if it were wrong.


The Pats got screwed on this. The 49ers did too on their call.

Thomas9
Thomas9

He didn't say it was right either.

And excuse me, why aren't we taking 30 seconds to use modern technology to make sure we got calls that decide a game correctly?

RaySexauer
RaySexauer

Of course YOU wouldn't. I would. 

PurityPrydain
PurityPrydain

The refs got it right.  Gronk has no chance on the ball as the Panthers defender got to the ball first regardless of what Gronk could have done had he not been held.

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@JimSmith4 This play has only given more evidence which media members are totally biased Pats lovers.  It is pathetic.  If the roles were reversed, I guarantee you, no media members at all would have been crying foul, for the Panthers.  I mean national media, by the way.  

SanityClause
SanityClause

@FrankBeans Maybe. But if not interference, it certainly was defensive holding or illegal contact. No one argues that Gronkowski wasn't mugged 20 yards downfield. Catchable or not, that's illegal and no CYA comment from the league can cover that fact.


randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@jason g1 Huh?  Obviously they throw it because they see something.  OBVIOUSLY they discuss what they see with the other refs and what they see, and then try to come up with the right call on the play, which sometimes is NO CALL.  Would you rather they just penalize randomly because a flag ended up on the field?  WTF?

MaxSewell
MaxSewell

@rentistoohigh Reading Brady's mind isn't a rationale for a call. If it wasn't Pass Interference, it was holding. If a bear hug isn't at least holding I don't know what is.


Patriots should have had one more play from 5 yards closer.

ki.nazir72
ki.nazir72

@rentistoohigh Morning, I totally agree with your assessment, and the Ref's decision to huddle amongst themselves and discuss was the best part of it.  They actually need to more of just that.  It was judgement call and they made a very good judgement when looking at the entire play from Brady's pass, which because he was under pressure, was short, the receiver had little to no chance to fight for the ball.  Which was the basis for the non call, the ball was well short of the receiver which is why the defender picked off the pass.  Even if that defender wasn't there to pick off the pass the ball was still short and the receiver had no real chance.  There was a pass earlier to a Patriots receiver, that pass interference was called and the ball was uncatchable and sailed out of bounds near the side line and that was a very bad call.  The ball was high and to the left out of bounds.  To your point though, I agree good non call Game Over!  Enjoy yourself!

Scramble
Scramble

@Craig So because I didn't go to law school OJ is innocent.

KeithKoloff
KeithKoloff

@Craig

Was Tom Brady wrong for confronting  the 2 refs? Brady has never passed the rules test and on-field or on-court exams, officiated a football game at any level. So was he wrong?

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@Craig Good point, but what is most funny about your point is all the slow motion replays and every angle you can check supports the decision the refs made.  Only biased whiners are still hanging their hat on it being a bad call. 


At best people's whining could suggest the NFL should use replay of the officials to use on important late game calls. 

JimSmith4
JimSmith4

@reader4si 


So when they don't throw a flag and are wrong that's ok, but if they do throw a flag and are wrong that's the word of god.  Gimme a break and stop the whining.  It was a good call by the officials.  No interference.  No holding.  Ball in no way catchable, and yes if you knew the rules then you would know that an uncatchable ball results in no interference and no flag.  Get a clue and stop whining.  Game over.  Move on.

iammagicland
iammagicland

@reader4si You don't know the first thing about officiating. "Regardless of he can catch the ball or not"? Try reading the rule book. If he can't catch the ball, there IS no foul. And once the ball is touched, there is no foul. But keep working on those ESL classes, they're helping!

JimSmith4
JimSmith4

@MattHaynes 

Gronk never moved back for the ball.  What game were you watching?  Gronk kept moving towards the back of the end zone and was watching the interception unfold.

JimSmith4
JimSmith4

@Gene1356 

Gronk's own comments immediately after the game indicated he didn't believe that to be the case.

JamesMartens
JamesMartens

@Thomas9 Because a call in the first qrter, 2nd qrtr, or 3rd qrtr can have the same impact...therefore every penalty would be open to review.


Charles58
Charles58

@PurityPrydain That's not the criteria for catchability. If Gronk was in the vicinity of the ball and could have caught it then it is PI. The ball could have hit the DB's shoulder pads and bounced in the air or in the direction of where Gronk is coming from. It is a real possibility and that is all that matters in determining catchability. The fact that it was intercepted is irrelevant - you would not know that when the PI occurred. The only correct call was made by the back judge - PI and Patriots should have gotten one play first and goal from the one yard line. The refs blew it.

KenKing
KenKing

@PurityPrydain Getting to the ball first has nothing to do with catchability. The very fact that a human being caught the ball establishes that it was catchable. If you removed all the Carolina players from the field, Gronkowski still - 5 yards back - probably catches thae pass on his shoestrings. If he dives toward the ball, he easily catches it. Thus the ball is catchable. The Pass Interferecnce happened well before the Carolina player touched / intercepted the ball.


Take PI out of play altogether. A player is guilty of holding even if he is on the complete opposite side of the field as the direction the ball is thrown.  Holding is holding. And Gronkowski got held. Clearly.

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@SanityClause @FrankBeans Except for the REALITY that defensive holding CAN NOT be called.  No flag can be thrown for defensive holding when the ball is in the air.  So, it is obvious that you just like many biased Pat jock holders, HAVE NO CLUE, about the rules and how the refs got it right.  

As stated above, there is NO WAY Gronk gets in front of the guy who intercepted the ball.  It would not have been possible for him to reverse his direction and beat a guy who did NOT have to reverse direction to get there. 

RCH
RCH

@MaxSewell @rentistoohigh its been well explained that neither holding nor illegal contact can be called after the ball is in the air so the only call is PI.

meandmesa
meandmesa

@Scramble @Craig Terrible Analogy.  Being a referee is way different given the speed of what happens in real time.  You can make all the judgments you want from the comfort of your couch watching the game but until you're on that field seeing it firsthand in a moment's notice and having every ref watching all parts of the field simultaneously to see extenuating circumstances impacting the play, it's difficult to know what was observed to justify the call.  That is my problem with the whole thing.  The ref should've explained  why the flag was picked up.

SanityClause
SanityClause

@randomdeletion @Craig I'm not biased. If anything, I'm biased against the Patriots. I hate their smug coach, I hate their smug QB, I hate their smug fans. But a bad call is a bad call.

TomOatway
TomOatway

@randomdeletion @Craig 

actually the whiners are the haters who are supporting the god-awful non-call, if it wasn't interference it was either holding or illegal contact. at the very least 5 yards and another play.

SanityClause
SanityClause

@iammagicland @reader4si When a receiver is mugged 20 yards downfield, it's a penalty. Period. Maybe only 5 yards, but also an untimed down and who knows what happens. Turns out YOU don't know the first thing about officiating.


newnick2
newnick2

@KenKing @PurityPrydain Defensive holding ends as soon as the pass is thrown, so it's not a holding penalty.

The ball needs to be catchable by "the involved players" (quoting the rulebook). The rulebook never mentions mentally removing all the other players from the field.

Learn the rules, please.

JimSmith4
JimSmith4

@SanityClause

The call was good.  Ball uncatchable.  Laws of physics with where the ball was thrown and where Gronk was and his momentum regardless of Kuechly.  The safety had the superior position.  If anything Gronk would have caused offensive pass interference attempting to get to the ball.

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@TomOatway @randomdeletion @Craig See, everyone like you only backs up the notion that you are just whiners, because obviously you are idiots.  Not only does anyone that truly knows the rules and can make a better assessment than yourself know that defensive holding and/or illegal contact is NOT AN OPTION for a penalty in this case... many have already explained this.  OVER AND OVER AND OVER, and yet more and more idiots keep insisting "at least holding should have been called"... JFC

Even Jon Gruden, who many who whine hang their hat on for agreeing with them, TODAY said, well at least holding should be called.  He is just a whiny offensive guy and he is WRONG.  

iammagicland
iammagicland

@Sportsredo @newnick2 @KenKing @PurityPrydain You don't have a clue what holding is, do you? Once the ball is thrown, there CAN NOT BE HOLDING! There can only be pass interference, and if the ball is not catchable by the involved players, there's no pass interference either.

Sportsredo
Sportsredo

@newnick2 @KenKing @PurityPrydain I've seen plenty of plays were defensive holding is called away from who the ball was thrown too.  Wake up man.  That's holding and everyone that saw it….knows it.  

Thomas9
Thomas9

@newnick2 @KenKing @PurityPrydain Once the ball is in the air it isn't holding, but I've seen Gronk catch more a few passes.  He isn't your every day receiver/tight end.  Even money says he reaches around that safety and takes it away from him or slides in and keeps the safety from taking position and gets it clean.  Dude just had his second back surgery and he knew the back judge was right behind him and expected pass interference all the way so he's not pushing.  Had he pushed back it might have been called offensive pass interference, declined, game over.