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League says handling of end of Saints game wasn’t a mistake

Wild Card Playoffs - Detroit Lions v New Orleans Saints Getty Images

On Saturday night, as the Saints were trying to run out the clock with a 17-point lead on the doorstep of the Detroit end zone, quarterback Drew Brees took a knee with 38 seconds left on fourth down.  Instead of the clock stopping and the Lions getting a chance to cut the final score from 45-28 to 45-35, the seconds continued to tick, and the game ended.

The NFL has acknowledged that the Saints got a fifth down, but the league believes that no mistake was made.

“It was a common-sense judgment call by Tony Corrente, the referee,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told PFT via email.  “After that fourth-down kneel by Brees, both teams on the field started shaking hands, both teams on the sidelines started coming on to the field.  The Lions clearly had no intention of running a play.  The officials would have had to clear the field and bring both teams back out for the purpose of Detroit taking a knee.  It is not considered a mistake by the officials.”

It’s a fair explanation.  Though I haven’t personally seen the Lions’ official playbook, I suspect that the “17-point play” section is fairly thin.

But it’s a prime example of why the NFL will continue to spend millions of dollars to oppose efforts to further legalize betting on pro football.  In this specific case, a last-second meaningless touchdown by the Lions would have allowed Detroit to fall within the 11-point spread.  And it would have made the Lions’ apparent unwillingness to run a play and the officials’ decision not to force them to run a play more glaring.  Which would have resulted in criticism and/or allegations that someone on the inside wanted to ensure that the Saints would cover.

As long as gambling on NFL games is illegal, the league won’t have to answer questions about officiating errors and/or why officials aren’t full-time employees and/or whether anyone involved in the process is on the take in some way.  The moment that gambling would be legalized on a widespread basis, those questions would arise far more often — forcing the league to spend more time and money and effort dealing with matters that often have no bearing on the outcome of a game.

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72 Responses to “League says handling of end of Saints game wasn’t a mistake”
  1. kleppnasty says: Jan 9, 2012 3:50 PM

    Two things: A. Gambling is legal in Vegas and Delaware(parlays only). B. It’s not illegal (outside of those two areas) to bet on the NFL, it’s illegal to bet on all sports.

    I understand that the NFL is the biggest sport in America, but it’s not like if they say, ‘nah, let’s make it legal’ that it would all of the sudden be legal. The US Government is actually a bit bigger and more powerful than Roger Goodell.

  2. broncosaddict says: Jan 9, 2012 3:50 PM

    same thing happened at the end of the third quarter in the Broncos-Steelers game.
    Lance Ball caught the ball and ran out of bounds. There was 10 seconds left and the referee at the spot indicated to stop the clock.
    Somehow, a moment later, with no play run, it was the end of the 3rd quarter…

    While their explanation may seem fair and make sense. It sounds more like an excuse/cover.

    Officiating gets worse and worse each year….

  3. staff2cj4td says: Jan 9, 2012 3:53 PM

    the game was officiated poorly all night, why care about the last 38 seconds!!

    the NFL needs to worry about the officiating more then hits and rule changes!!

    watch an NCAA game, those refs are on top of everything!!

    it’s time to start drafting NCAA officials as well as players!!

  4. sparty0n says: Jan 9, 2012 3:58 PM

    They still havent mentioned Brees jumping over the OLine, sticking the ball out, pulling it back into his chest and STILL being awarded first down as if it was forward progress.

  5. nasaboy98 says: Jan 9, 2012 4:01 PM

    How about we discuss how the REFS blew the call on the Brees FUMBLE that would have resulted in a Detroit TD. Had Pittsburgh won that would have been (2) games that the REF’s blew in the playoffs. News Flash Stripes, how about you let a play go, and then the team can challenge that the player was in fact down by contact. Instead you blow it dead and the play CAN’T be challenged. The crews who worked those two games should be ashamed of themselves. (Don’t forget the face mask non call against Tebow) I am not a fan of any of these teams but find it very sad as NFL Football really is the best game out there!!

  6. bigjdve says: Jan 9, 2012 4:02 PM

    That is forward progress. It is just like any receiver or runner that gets to a certain point and then is knocked backwards. They are given forward progress.

  7. mikeyhigs says: Jan 9, 2012 4:04 PM

    @spartyon,

    You are correct. That should not have been a first down, or at least should have had a measurement. It was treated as though the first down marker was the goal line. But as soon as Brees intentionally brought the ball back to the wrong side of the marker, his forward progress should have been marked where HE ended his progress.

  8. jags880 says: Jan 9, 2012 4:09 PM

    @broncosaddict

    It’s only in the last five minutes of the 2nd and 4th quarters that the clock will stay stopped at the end of an out of bounds play.

    At all other times the clock only stops momentarily to get the ball back into the field of play. The clock then restarts. The clock correctly ran to zero at the end of the third quarter.

  9. primetime0552 says: Jan 9, 2012 4:11 PM

    same thing happened at the end of the third quarter in the Broncos-Steelers game.
    Lance Ball caught the ball and ran out of bounds. There was 10 seconds left and the referee at the spot indicated to stop the clock.
    Somehow, a moment later, with no play run, it was the end of the 3rd quarter…

    While their explanation may seem fair and make sense. It sounds more like an excuse/cover.

    Officiating gets worse and worse each year….

    =============================

    You realize that’s how the game works right? The clock stops until the ball is placed. I believe the clock only stays stopped with in the last 4 minutes of each half. So you should probably shouldn’t complain about bad officiating when they actually did the right thing and you just dont understand how the rules work..

    I am a Lions fan and the Lions didn’t lose this game on officiating. When you give up over 600 yards you will rarely win. Sure some plays went against them, but some went for them as well. Everyone saying the Saints never got called for holding is correct, but the Lions were only called once. The officiating has been horrible for all NFL teams all year long. The NFL needs to hire full time refs. They are robbing fans everywhere by not doing so. There are so many mistakes in each and every game. I can point out a lot of the mistakes that have gone against the Lions this year, but that’s because I am fan of their team. It’s just like every fan could point out a lot of the mistakes that have gone against their teams. NFL officiating has been sub par for a long time now, this year is the worst that I remember though. I really hope the NFL will understand that they game is becoming worse and worse and it’s because of the horrible officiating, not the rule changes!!!

  10. wegonnadoitbaby says: Jan 9, 2012 4:11 PM

    I actually buy the answer and am Ok with it. I am not sure how gambling and spreads got into the story, but in this case lets not forget that the Saints had the ball second and goal on the four and could have easily scored a touchdown rather than take a knee, and had they done so there would likely be less than 38 seconds left. They showed sportsmanship by kneeling,
    both teams came onto the field, obviously Detroit had no interest in running a non consequential play.

    If the line makes it consequential, it would have been such when New Orleans had the ball and they would have tried to score…so what are we talking about exactly?

  11. tmcb7 says: Jan 9, 2012 4:12 PM

    the refs revert to 1985 refereeing…
    It used to be blow the whistle as soon as the player hits the ground… ball is dead.

    We now have replay. Any time the ball hits the ground or a questionable play… do not blow the freagin whistle! let it play out so the replays can determine what is correct and the proper result happen. Not this stupid whistle blowing NFL standing behind some stupid rule when it is plainly obvious the refs got it wrong.

    HEY NFL!, you gotta problem man….
    (and the technical facilities are already in place to fix it)

  12. ranksarot says: Jan 9, 2012 4:12 PM

    Seems us Steelers fans can’t make up our minds about how we lost: its either bad officiating or too many injuries. Fellow Steeler fans: give the Broncos some credit. They ouplayed us. Period.

  13. eddieapoc says: Jan 9, 2012 4:12 PM

    I’m a Lions fan so obviously I’m not too happy about the way the game was officiated Saturday.

    I think the real problem here though isnt who got what call and when. The problem is the sheer amount of botched calls. Time to figure out a way to institute replay into the entire game on a more consistent level.

    If the replays will slow the game down too much then why don’t they just add another Ref or two per game. Add ten more refs if you have to whatever it takes to get it right.

  14. savocabol1 says: Jan 9, 2012 4:13 PM

    Then why is there ever a kneel down play in the game? If the game is clearly over and the rest is a formality why have any team take a knee at the end?

    The NFL messed this one up, no matter how meaningless it makes it.

  15. Vegas Guy says: Jan 9, 2012 4:15 PM

    Here’s an idea.. have the officials be consistent regardless and this wouldn’t be a question about gambling at all.

    For example:

    I have no idea what a catch is, in the NFL.

    I used to. I used to know exactly what a catch is.. now? I’ve no idea.. The receiver has to catch the ball, tuck it away, not let it move around, get two feet down, execute a football move (my favorite).

    How about:

    I have the ball in my hands and two feet down.

    If it comes out after that it’s a fumble.

    Ground can’t cause a fumble is dumb too. HOLD ON TO THE BALL UNTIL YOU HEAR A WHISTLE.

    How hard is this?

    Sorry got off topic a little. But the refs aren’t consistent because the rules aren’t.

  16. primetime0552 says: Jan 9, 2012 4:15 PM

    bigjdve says:Jan 9, 2012 4:02 PM

    That is forward progress. It is just like any receiver or runner that gets to a certain point and then is knocked backwards. They are given forward progress.

    ==========================

    And if that runner deliberately runs backwards then that’s no longer forward progress. Brees deliberately brought the ball backwards, it wasn’t a result of being knocked backwards. It was a DELIBERATE action. The first down markers are not treated like a goal line…..

  17. really2011 says: Jan 9, 2012 4:16 PM

    The forward progress spot is the forward most point of the ball where it was when the ball became dead (i.e. when the runner’s knee touches the ground). The ball is not spotted where the knee is down or the foot steps out of bounds, but rather the spot of the ball at the instant the ball became dead. Any additional stretching or reaching the ball forward after that instant is ignored.

    Forward progress appears simple in concept – the forward most point of the ball when the play is declared dead. This simple concept is one of the most inconsistently applied and misunderstood rules of the game. “Forward progress”, one of the most significantly evolved rules, was first addressed in 1906 later edited in 1932, 1973 and again in 1988 providing the current definition.

    The forward progress rules are utilized on most every play. However, officials frequently misapply them. The reason officials tend to misjudge this call is because they do not use the ball as their reference point. It is not the position of the runner’s foot or the runner’s knee. Rather, it is the position of the forward most point of the ball when the play becomes dead by rule. It is this dead ball spot that determines forward progress.

  18. bk1374 says: Jan 9, 2012 4:17 PM

    @broncosaddict

    The refs got that call correct. Outside of 5 minutes left in each half, the clock only temporarily stops when a player is run out of bounds. Once the ball is set, the ref signals the game clock to start again. The NFL changed this rule several years ago in order to speed up games.

    bk

    @bk1374

    http://www.bksportsblog.com/

  19. dmartin17 says: Jan 9, 2012 4:17 PM

    @mikeyhigs
    I tweeted mike perraria for a ruling on that.

    I don’t see why he gets the forward progress when he intentionally pulls the ball back.

    That play needs to be looked at by the competition committee to at least clarify the situation.

  20. timmihendrix says: Jan 9, 2012 4:21 PM

    Is there anyone who believes that brees actually got that first down? I would love to hear an argument for that crucial call.

  21. boisestatewhodat says: Jan 9, 2012 4:24 PM

    That’s what forward progress is smart guy…the farthest point the ball makes is progress and spot. Example, if it had been on the goal line, Drew would have scored at TD. The fact that he tucked it back in and hit the ground at the line of scrimmage is irrelevant. How bout we talk about how Stafford’s TD really wasn’t a TD. Either way, the Lions never stood a chance and were never going to win the game.

  22. wegonnadoitbaby says: Jan 9, 2012 4:25 PM

    Forgot to mention…watched The Dan Patrick Show this morning..good job Mike…couple more free throws made by the left hander and the “Mothership” may give you thirty minutes on the Deuce to tell is what you’re burning on! I thought you were going to go Daryle Lamonica Mad Bomber on us.

    I know you will delete this post but I wanted to say you did a great job filling in. I enjoyed the show.

  23. scra22 says: Jan 9, 2012 4:26 PM

    It is really pointless to harp on this. If they *had* given Detroit the ball after that 4th down, were the Lions really going to start throwing Hail Marys, down 17 with 30 seconds, when the Saints had just kneeled four times on the Detroit 5-yard line? No, they weren’t going to do that. It’s common sense.

  24. piemasteruk says: Jan 9, 2012 4:26 PM

    Gambling is legal on a widespread basis, just not in the US. I can sit here and bet on all kinds of football markets from the comfort of my living room. So can Asian betting syndicates. The fact it is illegal in most of the US is neither here nor there.

  25. boisestatewhodat says: Jan 9, 2012 4:27 PM

    You guys kill me with the forward progress thing. You obviously watch and care about football or you wouldn’t be here but jeez…learn the game and the rules.

  26. tv426 says: Jan 9, 2012 4:28 PM

    So the overriding assumption is that the Lions absolutely would have scored a TD if given those 38 seconds?

    Mighty big assumption considering they had 59:30 to do that many times beforehand.

  27. boisestatewhodat says: Jan 9, 2012 4:29 PM

    Its why you see players extending the ball every game. They’re extending their arm with ball in hand because it only matters where the ball is.

  28. primetime0552 says: Jan 9, 2012 4:35 PM

    boisestatewhodat says:Jan 9, 2012 4:24 PM

    That’s what forward progress is smart guy…the farthest point the ball makes is progress and spot. Example, if it had been on the goal line, Drew would have scored at TD. The fact that he tucked it back in and hit the ground at the line of scrimmage is irrelevant. How bout we talk about how Stafford’s TD really wasn’t a TD. Either way, the Lions never stood a chance and were never going to win the game.

    =========================

    The same logic should appy when a runner tries to avoid a tackle by running backwards, right? Just because the runner deliberately ran backwards doesn’t mean the fall wasn’t at a further point on the field before. By your logic runners should be able to run to a point on the field, run 50 yards backwards and still get the spot. Brees made a deliberate move to move the ball backwards, he wasn’t stopped by any defender. The forward progress rule should have never game effect on this play until after Brees was touched. Brees wasn’t touched until he had the ball secured in his chest……Forward progress isn’t treated like a goal line, they aren’t even close to the same thing.

  29. lioncrazy says: Jan 9, 2012 4:36 PM

    I keep hearing the refs missed….they missed that, game by game and week by week!
    How about hiring fulltime Professionals who don’t qualify for AARP to be able to run the field and see what is actually happening?
    Just too much on the line for all the continuing mistakes!!!

  30. jkearse2005 says: Jan 9, 2012 4:37 PM

    how about al michaels and chris collinsworth almost blowing there load when brees jumped for the first down…its like dude hes in the nfl it wasn’t that impressive

  31. primetime0552 says: Jan 9, 2012 4:39 PM

    boisestatewhodat says:Jan 9, 2012 4:29 PM

    Its why you see players extending the ball every game. They’re extending their arm with ball in hand because it only matters where the ball is.

    ====================

    But they aren’t deliberately pulling the ball back every single play. If you dont know the differance then there is no helping yo.

  32. nebster21 says: Jan 9, 2012 4:40 PM

    THE NFL IS WRONG. ANd until MORE Reporters blast the NFL and its MONOPOLY nothing will change.

  33. unbiased8383 says: Jan 9, 2012 4:41 PM

    “League says handling of end of Saints game wasn’t a mistake”
    ——————
    The rest of the game the league had no comment on.

  34. scra22 says: Jan 9, 2012 4:44 PM

    nasaboy98 says:
    Jan 9, 2012 4:01 PM
    How about we discuss how the REFS blew the call on the Brees FUMBLE that would have resulted in a Detroit TD.
    ====
    There’s actually an entire story about that fumble elsewhere on this site. Maybe you should check it out.

    And I don’t know why people INSIST that the Lions would have had a TD there if there was no whistle. The ball wasn’t even recovered until after the whistle blew, so players had stopped playing. We don’t know what would have happened.

  35. jakek2 says: Jan 9, 2012 4:46 PM

    Refs have pulled teams out of showers to run one last second off a game that has been clearly decided. Clearly, someone had some important $$ on this game to have 38 seconds mysteriously tick off the clock.

    When fans start realizing that the NFL is only marginally less fixed than the WWF, they will stop complaining over every “missed” call.

  36. thetooloftools says: Jan 9, 2012 4:46 PM

    Good. Screw those degenerate gamblers who thinks the work revolves around them.
    It was OVER for the Lions so it was over for the gamblers too.
    Suck it up and take your beatings.
    If it comes down to a couple of desperate plays in the NFL.. your going down anyway.

  37. broncosaddict says: Jan 9, 2012 4:47 PM

    My mistake, did not know they changed the rule on going out of bounds.
    That would explain alot :-)
    Learn something new everyday…

  38. blahblahblah1313 says: Jan 9, 2012 4:48 PM

    If anyone thinks that gambling is not THE biggest reason that NFL football is as hugely popular as it is they are very naive. the NFL would be hockey without gambling whatever the NFL office would like to make you think. Not saying that the 38 second thing was any big deal, but let’s not minimize the effect gambling has on the popularity of the sport. Football is the best for wagering and coincidentally the most popular…

  39. FinFan68 says: Jan 9, 2012 4:51 PM

    I’m not saying that what the ref did in this case wasn’t the common sense thing to do, however, it seems like the NFL is condoning referees making calls outside the rules. When many of these guys have trouble applying some simple rules (and some unnecessarily complicated ones) it’s no wonder why there is so much disparity between the calls. Follow the rules regardless of convenience. At some point (if it hasn’t actually happened already) the NFL will start influencing calls based on TV ratings or profit made off certain fan bases.

  40. ezwriter69 says: Jan 9, 2012 4:52 PM

    The most successful, rich professional sports league in history should have full-time, professional officials… instead of part time workers who do their best, who generally do very well… but still, are part time employees working full time at other jobs. Indefensible. This league can afford full-time, well paid officials… and any player who bitches about officiating but doesn’t make it an issue with the union is full of bleep, especially since the league’s objection isn’t paying the officials, it’s the fear that then the refs would create their own union… and we know how the one percent feel about unions, don’t we.

  41. boisestatewhodat says: Jan 9, 2012 4:54 PM

    During his extension of the ball, he was touched by multiple defenders and he subsequently pulled the ball back in and went down…so, he’s effectively down…forward progress during the play is the farthest point the ball reached before being touched by a defender. Its really a non-argument.

  42. jonsilver1947 says: Jan 9, 2012 4:56 PM

    Dear BoiseStateWhoDat:

    Brees extended the football with both hands, then, before he was down (he was lying completely on other players), he intentionally pulled it back to protect it from being ripped out of his hands. Since he intentionally moved it backwards before he was down, the rules say he loses the farthest point the ball reached, just like a receiver who intentionally retreats after a catch in the hopes of getting more yards after that. The first down line is not treated the same as the goal line. The officials got that call wrong as per the rules. You may need to brush up on the rules yourself before telling others to do so and calling them names.

  43. boisestatewhodat says: Jan 9, 2012 4:56 PM

    BTW, it is the same as the goal line. To break the plane doesn’t just appy to the goal line…breaking the plane exists on every play. If you break the plane on the 1cm line of the 45 yard line, the ball is placed at the 45 yard line…simple.

  44. dudeicle says: Jan 9, 2012 5:00 PM

    If they hire full time refs, it’ll just be the same bunch of schmucks they already have. I don’t see how giving them a full-time paycheck improves their ability to make the right call

  45. vikingdoode says: Jan 9, 2012 5:00 PM

    I was always told NEVER AND I MEAN NEVER allow the refs decide the out come. Kick the living crap out of the other team and theres no questions……..

  46. jackblackshairyback says: Jan 9, 2012 5:04 PM

    “It was a common-sense judgment call by Tony Corrente, the referee,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told PFT via email. “After that fourth-down kneel by Brees, both teams on the field started shaking hands, both teams on the sidelines started coming on to the field. The Lions clearly had no intention of running a play. The officials would have had to clear the field and bring both teams back out for the purpose of Detroit taking a knee. It is not considered a mistake by the officials.”

    Bullcrap. it’s happened before. I’ve seen refs have to pull teams out of their locker rooms to run one more play.

    They admit it the Saints got a 5th down, which is against the rules, but no mistake was made? Please.

  47. smitty218 says: Jan 9, 2012 5:06 PM

    This entire season has been an unfortunate display of bad officiating. In today’s game officials have the ability to directly affect the tenor as well as the result of a game. For me, there has been an unbelievable inconsistency in “roughing the quarterback” and “roughing the kicker” calls this year. Officials have way too much discretion in games where millions of $ are at stake. Maybe one solution is to fine officials for bad calls and have an impartial group [not other officials] critique games. Just my opinion.

  48. sparty0n says: Jan 9, 2012 5:06 PM

    Breaking the plane does not apply if the runner (in this case Brees), through his own effort, goes backward. I dont have replay of the game. But, I do not believe he was touched by a defender while the ball was extended either.

  49. scra22 says: Jan 9, 2012 5:06 PM

    jakek2 says:
    Jan 9, 2012 4:46 PM
    Refs have pulled teams out of showers to run one last second off a game that has been clearly decided. Clearly, someone had some important $$ on this game to have 38 seconds mysteriously tick off the clock.
    ===
    The Saints were on the goal line and could have just scored a touchdown to go up by 24 points instead of kneeling, meaning the Lions would have had to score two touchdowns instead of just one in a small amount of time to cover the spread. The Lions were never going to try and get a TD in 30 seconds if they had gotten the ball back, I suspect they too would have kneeled or run one rushing play to run out the clock as well. So you can take off your tin foil hat now.

  50. ricardorobertasq says: Jan 9, 2012 5:08 PM

    I remember some years ago in a playoff game, New England and Miami, the players were in the locker and the stands were empty. The refs then realized that there was enough time for one more play and called the players back on the field. Why not just do this then-be consistent. The rules are the rules; if we aren’t going to play by them, then change them. Maybe we could implement a “if a team has no hope of winning, you may just end the game” rule.

  51. jeffchadwick says: Jan 9, 2012 5:10 PM

    boisestatewhodat says:
    Jan 9, 2012 4:56 PM
    BTW, it is the same as the goal line. To break the plane doesn’t just appy to the goal line…breaking the plane exists on every play. If you break the plane on the 1cm line of the 45 yard line, the ball is placed at the 45 yard line…simple.

    _____________________________

    Folks, I really don’t see the point in continued arguing with someone who so grossly misunderstands some very basic rules of professional football. Either way, I see that Peter King asked the same question regarding the same play today.

    All things considered, if a couple breaks go the Lions way on Saturday, maybe they lose by a touchdown instead of 17. Not game changing by any means, but really NFL, is it that hard to get something as simple as a change of possession after 4th down correct? And to make matters worse, the league defends what was clearly a mistake? A little honesty can sometimes be the best policy.

  52. 20bust11 says: Jan 9, 2012 5:11 PM

    timmihendrix says:
    Jan 9, 2012 4:21 PM
    Is there anyone who believes that brees actually got that first down? I would love to hear an argument for that crucial call.

    I have the game on Tivo. Brees did extend the ball, but he also bent low to the ground, prior to the snap, making the Lions think he was going to sneak the ball in low, then leaped up over the bodies. He extended the ball to insure he got a 1st down, but when he pulled the ball back in to protect it, he was still at the marker, with the ball. Once he leaped onto the pile, he had the 1st down, and he was pushed back a little, but it didn’t matter; he had gotten a 1st down. The extension wasn’t the reason he had a 1st down, the leap was.

    If you want to argue about something, explain how Stafford scored a TD with a knee on the ground, and the ball outside of the marker.
    Mistakes were made in that game, just like every game played this year, but does anyone believe the Lions, who couldn’t stop the run, and allowed Meachem, and Colston to do whatever they pleased, won that game? C’mon, man!

  53. leofan1234 says: Jan 9, 2012 5:13 PM

    jonsilver1947 says:
    Jan 9, 2012 4:56 PM
    Brees extended the football with both hands, then, before he was down (he was lying completely on other players), he intentionally pulled it back to protect it from being ripped out of his hands. Since he intentionally moved it backwards before he was down, the rules say he loses the farthest point the ball reached, just like a receiver who intentionally retreats after a catch in the hopes of getting more yards after that. The first down line is not treated the same as the goal line. The officials got that call wrong as per the rules. You may need to brush up on the rules yourself before telling others to do so and calling them names.
    +++++++++++++++
    didn’t he lose the ball as he was trying to tuck it? I can’t remember and I am too lazy to youtube it.

  54. tndiver says: Jan 9, 2012 5:21 PM

    I’m calling BS on this. If the refs did the right thing then why did they force the Browns to come out of the lockerroom and kneel the ball after bottlegate?

  55. xxwhodatxx says: Jan 9, 2012 5:24 PM

    Saints>Lions Broncos>Steelers

  56. jeffchadwick says: Jan 9, 2012 5:31 PM

    I’ve yet to see a single non-Saints fan argue the Stafford touchdown. Heck, NBC even showed a still shot showing the ball touching the pilon literally simultaneously with Stafford’s knee hitting the ground. How would the call on the field in that instance – either way – have possibly been overturned? To argue otherwise is to have an agenda.

  57. isphet71 says: Jan 9, 2012 5:34 PM

    Big Lions fan here.

    The reason the Lions lost was because the first three Lions defenders to the ball were playing 2 hand touch instead of tackle football.

    The officiating stunk, but the game ended the way most sane people expected it to end.

  58. halfie6 says: Jan 9, 2012 5:38 PM

    boisestatewhodat says:

    BTW, it is the same as the goal line. To break the plane doesn’t just appy to the goal line…breaking the plane exists on every play. If you break the plane on the 1cm line of the 45 yard line, the ball is placed at the 45 yard line…simple.

    =============================

    BoiseStateWhoDat:

    As multiple people have tried to tell you, your understanding of the forward progress rule is incorrect. “Breaking the plane” is only applied at the goal line. Here’s an example: if a player is running in the open field and breaks the plane of the 30 yard line, but then retreats on his own accord to the 25 before he is tackled the ball will be spotted at the 25.

    Forward progress is the farthest-most point reached by the ball when a player’s forward momentum is stopped by a tackling defender. In the case of the Brees sneak since he pulled the ball back voluntarily before his forward momentum was stopped, the spot awarded by the referees was too generous.

  59. ajschn06 says: Jan 9, 2012 5:42 PM

    When Brees pulled the ball back, he lost the forward progress he gained by sticking the ball out. Simple as that. He may have still had the first down, but they didn’t measure.

    Matt Stafford did score a touchdown. It was called a touchdown on the field, and there certainly wasn’t conclusive evidence to overturn it. If they called him down on the field, that call would have stood too.

    The REAL problem is the automatic review of scoring plays, but not potential scoring plays. IE “If the referee messes up and calls it a touchdown, we’ll review it…..but if he messes up and doesn’t call it a touchdown, you’ll have to waste a challenge…”

  60. farmmbig says: Jan 9, 2012 5:50 PM

    I’d also like to suggest the league legalize holding on every play—- Obviously, it’s a penalty that’s going to occur all the time and officials have the ability to call it in the most critical parts of games to reduce a team’s momentum.

    I could not believe some of the holds for which New Orleans was able to get away with Saturday Night.

    Jersey makers need to be congratulated for the quality of their product.

  61. ikoikofinanay says: Jan 9, 2012 6:11 PM

    Saints fan here. First – We can identify with your hopes and dreams. Don’t worry you’ll come back next season and be a monster team.

    Second – Lions did not lose because of the HORRIBLE officiating. They lost because THIS TIME they were out played. I know it won’t be so the next time. But the officiating this year has been abominable. However you should have seen some other games if you think the bad calls have only happened to you. It happened to us all season. The Saints got stronger. That’s why they try to put up so many points to insure that bad calls do not lose them a game.

    If we lost we would have been pulling for you and your city. But you lost. Our Saints are our pride. They’re our joy. Win or lose. Drew Brees IS a class act. He has been attacked by some sore losers. We don’t understand why. He plays to win. But as SoundFX can attest, he is not interested in the humiliation of any team.

    There’s just no reason to hate us. We wish you well. good luck next
    season.

  62. zn0rseman says: Jan 9, 2012 6:27 PM

    Since 2009 the Saints have resembled the Steelers when at home. The get unbelievable breaks from the refs.

    In the playoff game against Detroit, the TD pulled off the board on a blown call was the least of the officiating bias. The Saints were getting extremely favorable spots all night, while Detroit repeated was getting the shaft. It was like the Saints only needed 8 and 1/2 yards for a first down while the Lions needed 11.

    In a game of inches… that is HUGE.

    Anymore, it’s starting to feel like I’m watching “pro” wrestling instead of the integrity sport of American Football.

  63. djstat says: Jan 9, 2012 6:28 PM

    This is the same league that once forced the Browns to come finish a snap after te fans through beer bottles all over the field

  64. frenchy121212 says: Jan 9, 2012 6:52 PM

    This is too funny. The NFL admits to not finishing a game and then comes out and says its the right call. No wonder they blew the whistle on the fumble and gave Brees a first down he didn’t really get. Saints -11 was the call I guess.

  65. bobbyhoying says: Jan 9, 2012 7:39 PM

    So we’re assuming, unlike the NBA, no NFL official is ever bought or personally, through a third party, bets the over/under? I think these clowns should be subjected to random polygraphs and we’ll see how many pass.

  66. bleedgreen says: Jan 9, 2012 10:06 PM

    ajschn06 says:
    Jan 9, 2012 5:42 PM
    The REAL problem is the automatic review of scoring plays, but not potential scoring plays. IE “If the referee messes up and calls it a touchdown, we’ll review it…..but if he messes up and doesn’t call it a touchdown, you’ll have to waste a challenge…”
    ————

    I’ve been beating this drum all season. They should be calling ANYTHING remotely close a TD and letting it be reviewed. Thats the point of the rule, is it not? To not force the coaches to challenge ?

  67. darthhitman77 says: Jan 9, 2012 10:44 PM

    Too bad they didn’t use common-sense on Calvin’s TD in Chicago last year on a play it had never been applied to while they dug through the rule book YET, it’s cool to go and give a team 5 downs even though we play with four every other game, every other week

  68. NoRespect says: Jan 10, 2012 7:39 AM

    I think that everyone is missing the very important difference between breaking the plane in the endzone and breaking the plane on the first down.

    Once you break the plane in the endzone (with control of the ball), the play is dead, over, done with. That is not the case of breaking the 1st down plane. The play continues until the player is down or out of bounds or his forward progress is stopped.

  69. rickyhenderson says: Jan 10, 2012 9:21 AM

    Okay, I have a question regarding the first down play. As a Cards fan and non-gambler, I have absolutely no stake in this game, myself not being a fan of either team.
    When Brees is extended on the pile, if an opposing player is touching him in any way as part of the pile, isn’t that forward progress? Or, does the player touching him have to be making the tackle?
    I’m just wondering as I was thinking like everyone is saying that he intentionally brought the ball backwards before the whistle.

    Also, I did not know the out of bounds clock stopping rule had changed either, so thanks for the info. :)

  70. kevinfromphilly says: Jan 10, 2012 9:51 AM

    What a BS arguement – if gambling on football was legal, you’d get people saying the NFL games are fixed? It’s NOT legal and people think the games are fixed anyway. Meanwhile, states are missing out on millions of dollars of tax revenues, while organized crime gets a windfall that they pump back into other, far worse criminal activities. Stupid.

  71. musicman495 says: Jan 10, 2012 12:12 PM

    This whining about officiating at Saints games is getting ridiculous. “The Vikings should have won the NFC Championship Game, but the game was fixed.” Yeah, I am sure the Peterson fumbles and the Favre interceptions were all fixed too.

    Now this? “The Saints got a fifth down?” Are you nuts? Did the Lions send their offense on the field or complain about this? Did they use their final time outs to stop the clock? No, because all were trying to use good sportsmanship not to prolong a game that was over. The refs made the call to let the clock expire. Mistaken or not, it means nothing to the outcome. If the Saints had gone ahead and tried to score in the last eight minutes instead of killing the clock and kneeling down, you whiners would also have been the first to complain that they were running up the score.

    Grow up. This is NFL football, not Pee Wee league.

  72. bischof21 says: Jan 10, 2012 12:36 PM

    Shocker. Didn’t say anything inappropriate and my comment still got nixed.

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