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“Official Review” returns, fails to tackle most of this week’s mistakes

Broncos Panthers Football AP

This was a good week for the NFL to bring back its “Official Review” segment because this was a bad week for the NFL’s officials. Unfortunately, when “Official Review” aired on NFL Network on Wednesday, all but one of this week’s officiating mistakes was ignored.

NFL Network started “Official Review” several years ago, featuring then-V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira. The segment disappeared not long after Pereira left the league office and was replaced by Carl Johnson, who’s not as smooth on TV as Pereira is. But starting today, NFL Network brought it back, featuring both Johnson and director of officiating Dean Blandino.

In theory, that should be a boon to fans, who deserve to get some straight talk from the people who oversee the officials. In practice, today’s return of “Official Review” was disappointing: It addressed only two issues that arose last week, and admitted a mistake in only one, the clock issue in the Rams-49ers game. Yes, the timekeeper in the Rams-49ers game screwed up and kept the clock running while the officials brought out the chains to measure for a first down, and it’s good that the NFL admitted that error, but there’s nothing particularly illuminating about Johnson and Blandino reiterating that fact: Basically, the league is acknowledging that the timing got screwed up, and that’s that.

And Johnson and Blandino used the other issue addressed during “Official Review” as an opportunity to praise their referee for getting a call right. That was the call when Jaguars receiver Cecil Shorts failed to maintain control of the ball as he went to the ground against the Colts and was originally ruled to have caught the pass, only to have the catch overturned on the Colts’ challenge.

But instead of praising the referee for correctly ruling on the replay, why not address how the on-field official got it wrong, forcing the Colts to use a challenge? The official who initially ruled that Shorts caught the ball had a good view of the play and simply misapplied the rule, which points to a much bigger issue that the NFL is facing: Even two and a half seasons after we were all introduced to what is now called the “Calvin Johnson Rule,” the officials still can’t seem to agree on what constitutes a catch when a player is going to the ground. Why can’t the NFL write that rule in such a way that every official understands it and enforces it uniformly? That question went unasked and unanswered during this week’s “Official Review.”

Fans would have been better served by more scrutiny of the officials. For instance, why didn’t the replay assistant tell the referee to review Broncos return man Trindon Holliday’s touchdown against the Panthers, when replays made it clear that Holliday fumbled before he crossed the goal line? The replay assistant is the only person who can order a review of scoring plays and turnovers, and those replay assistants deserve scrutiny. But the work done by the replay assistants was ignored by this week’s “Official Review.”

If the NFL wants to benefit the fans, it will deal head-on with officiating mistakes like the Holliday touchdown, or a bad pass interference call on an uncatchable pass in New England, or the bizarre interception return for a touchdown that was initially awarded to Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield on Sunday, on a play when the seven men in striped shirts seemed to be the only ones in the entire stadium who didn’t see that the ball bounced off the ground before Winfield grabbed it. The fans know when the officials make mistakes. The fans and the NFL will both be better off if the league deals with those mistakes candidly.

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34 Responses to ““Official Review” returns, fails to tackle most of this week’s mistakes”
  1. nyjets1017 says: Nov 14, 2012 7:44 PM

    Call me crazy but i was the replacements back. These guys aren’t doing any better and the favoritism is back

  2. jimnaizeeum says: Nov 14, 2012 7:49 PM

    These guys are getting less scrutiny than the replacements…but don’t seem much (if at all) better, except in controlling the flow of the game.

  3. bringbackkosar says: Nov 14, 2012 7:56 PM

    NFL to candidly admit and address mistakes? Good luck with that

  4. marvsleezy says: Nov 14, 2012 7:59 PM

    A lot of people see these inexplicable calls and think that the games are fixed or that gamblers have infiltrated the nfl. But I don’t believe it. I think refs work hard and make honest mistakes

  5. billsin20xx says: Nov 14, 2012 8:02 PM

    The favortism is def back, just check out the Bills-NE game. I would have loved to see an objective review of the two PI penalties they Bills took in the endzone, both of which appeared to be with uncatachable passes. One ended up to e a 37 yard penalty and the other a 13 yearder.

  6. jlb10 says: Nov 14, 2012 8:06 PM

    the nfl is treating it’s fans like we are all imbeciles and are too stupid to know when mistakes are made. i would rather see some transparency and know when and what discipline refs receive just like the players

  7. themackstrong says: Nov 14, 2012 8:29 PM

    Watching games last week two stand out to me as one sided. The Chiefs vs Steelers game, I admit the Kansas City had some dumb plays but it was like the refs were looking for anything to take away the game with that holding call on the touchdown to Bowe and 2 other times in that game. The Bills-Pats game was even worse, the pass interference on the uncatchable ball that Brady was throwing away in the end zone. Both of those games looked like favoritism to me and I’m not a fan of either team.

  8. ccoolahan14 says: Nov 14, 2012 8:31 PM

    Steelers and Patriots getting rigged wins from the refs, and no one has to address it. Some things never change. Everyone involved should be put in jail.

  9. geniusfan says: Nov 14, 2012 8:31 PM

    “would have loved to see an objective review of the two PI penalties they Bills took in the endzone, both of which appeared to be with uncatachable passes. ”

    One call was definitely terrible, and the other while not pass interference was either illegal contact or holding on Gronkowski. The Patriots played one of the worst games I can remember watching them play in a while against the Bills.

    I suppose you could argue the Bills could have won without all the penalties but then again the Patriots are 18-2 in their last 20 games against the Bills so it probably wouldn’t have mattered.

  10. The Daily Informant says: Nov 14, 2012 8:45 PM

    That’ll never happen.

  11. tigercay says: Nov 14, 2012 8:49 PM

    I thought all scoring plays are now reviewed. How was Holliday’s punt return against the Panthers not reviewed right away and overturned to a touchback?

  12. rgwhodey says: Nov 14, 2012 9:17 PM

    the problem is they only have a short segment on terrible referee calls, they need at least a four hour segment to discuss all the missed calls, bad calls, defenseless receiver calls that are legal hits, pass interference vs holding, pinkies… at least.the replacements were consistant their worst flaw was the games took an extra 30 mins..

  13. stew48 says: Nov 14, 2012 9:18 PM

    Re: your Calvin Johnson catch comment. There is a big difference when in the end zone. CJ had caught the ball, took steps, went down rolled over and appeared to merely reach out and release the ball, not have the ground knock it loose. In the EZ, it was a touchdown when he controlled the ball because it was across the goal line. All you need think about is a running back entering the EZ and then fumble. TD because he had crossed the goal line prior to fumble. The CJ rule was invented and implemented on that day, not sooner. BTW, Jerry Markbreit confirmed to me that the NFL had favorites. (or, worse) His work got him a promotion after his career.

  14. eagleswin says: Nov 14, 2012 10:00 PM

    We need to get the real refs back to protect the integrity of the game. These replacement refs don’t know the rules and are costing teams wins and may cost coaches and players jobs. This season will have an asterisk next to it because these refs don’t know the rules and are changing the outcomes of games.

    Also think of player safety, the refs are first responders. If a player get’s injured because these refs don’t know the rules, then what is the NFL going to do?

    What, these are the real refs? Carry on, business as usual.

  15. jbniner says: Nov 14, 2012 10:02 PM

    1. The idea that the NFL would put league employees in a position to criticize or contradict NFL officials (on it’s own network no less) is a fallacy. The “Official Review” segment was a joke when Pereira ran it, since all he ever did was shill for the officials. These new guys are no different.

    2. If these were replacement officials we’d never hear the end of this. From the in-game announcers rambling on and on about horrible officiating and over emphasizing nonsense, to the 56 different articles that would be written every day for a week detailing the horrific nature of replacement officiating. I wish the level of criticism and demand for accountability was as prevalent today as it was two months ago.

    Bottom line…”Rookie mistakes” that happened with true rookies are now happening with “veterans”, yet the accountability is lacking now more than ever.

  16. imeanwhatisay says: Nov 14, 2012 10:09 PM

    how bad the refs robbing the Chiefs on a phoney holding call .All the so called markee teams had losing records when the old refs where here and since the so called real ones came back the Steelers and pats benefited the most from the so called real refs

  17. paleandpasty says: Nov 14, 2012 11:43 PM

    Its not like the dolphins were any good this past sunday but after gaffney looked for a passer interference call the announcer said he shouldnt look for that calll cause thd dolphins havent got any calls today. This has happened in most of their games since the regular refs came back wdiirdly just the opposite has happened for the pats and steelers…….weird.

  18. patsfan15 says: Nov 14, 2012 11:45 PM

    “Steelers and Patriots getting rigged wins from the refs, and no one has to address it. Some things never change. Everyone involved should be put in jail.”

    They should be put in jail ? what charge would that be ? You don’t think out prisons/jails aren’t over crowded as is ? People should think about things before making a comment as ridiculous as the above comment.

  19. mikelitoris1 says: Nov 15, 2012 12:00 AM

    Speaking of “fails to tackle”, look no further than King Dunlap, the king of missed tackles!

  20. billsboy88 says: Nov 15, 2012 12:04 AM

    Seriously NFL, it is time to re-think the way this game is officiated.

    Suggestions:
    -NHL style gameday war room. Commish, head of officiating and team of replay officials monitoring every game. Every review goes there, take it out of the on-field officials’ hands. This will speed up the game and lead to more non-partial reviews.
    -Create a new position, or a few, with a new set of rules defining “booth refs.” They will have the best view of the game from the box, why not let them have the ability to throw flags or overrule an on-field flag.
    -Create rules for challenging penalties. I have no idea how to do this, but it needs addressed.

  21. richc111 says: Nov 15, 2012 12:06 AM

    I have been saying this for months now. These guys are no better than the replacement refs. The only difference is they know the rules better. As far as making calls they might even be worst. The next time the contract is up it should be in the middle of the season so everyone is use to all of the bad calls already. Again I have said this online a bunch of times now. Where is the media outrage! You couldn’t get enough of how these replacement ref’s were ruining the game and putting players at risk. Hell after the GB game I saw stories on major network news shows about how the league was screwing up using replacement refs. Now they just stink, they go on and decide games and nothing. Barely even a peep!

  22. ygkr85 says: Nov 15, 2012 1:03 AM

    Let’s not be absurd and ask for the replacements back. Please.

    Just like (video game) NFL Blitz , games are better when they are closer. More money is made when the sport is more competitive / stars stay healthy. Breathe. Referees do a pretty solid job all things considering.

  23. pick6ftw says: Nov 15, 2012 1:51 AM

    Finally feeling redeemed. These guys are, and always have been awful. The way the press blew up the replacement refs was atrocious, and even worse is how they now hold their tongues while they watch bad call after bad call unfold so they don’t look stupid back tracking their opinions. I still can’t believe they announced them in starting line up style when their contract was resolved, what a joke.

  24. blanchonegro says: Nov 15, 2012 2:37 AM

    oh wow ya the first 2 quarters n beginning of the 3rd of the Pats/Bills game was atrocious. They even marched of a penalty against the Bills 17 yards instead of 5. almost as bad was the announcers talking about how bad the calls were than covering em up. Ive never been one to rag on officials but were are the replacements when you need em. this weeks games were as bad as week 1 games with the replacements. Every game I watched was reffed horribly but Bills Pats was by far the worst.

  25. lawyermalloy says: Nov 15, 2012 4:43 AM

    The Network that has Mike Pereira should simply do a corresponding show;Pereira would be great for a 30 min. piece each week.

  26. azskinsfan says: Nov 15, 2012 6:12 AM

    “the officials still can’t seem to agree on what constitutes a catch when a player is going to the ground.”

    You are correct. That rule should read: “If the receiver has the ball when the play is over, and the ball doesn’t touch the ground, that’s a catch.” Who cares if he roll it up his back side and over his helmet.
    When they have a fumble and players are scrambling about to get the ball, It’s ruled that who’s got it last, has it.
    Why not apply that thinking to a reception. Just think of the fantastic catches you would see.

  27. eagleswin says: Nov 15, 2012 6:49 AM

    jbniner says:
    Nov 14, 2012 10:02 PM

    2. If these were replacement officials we’d never hear the end of this. From the in-game announcers rambling on and on about horrible officiating and over emphasizing nonsense, to the 56 different articles that would be written every day for a week detailing the horrific nature of replacement officiating. I wish the level of criticism and demand for accountability was as prevalent today as it was two months ago.

    —————————————

    The announcers were the worst for all the time they spent criticizing the refs rather than calling the game. You barely knew a football game was going on when Al Michaels was in the booth with the replacement refs. He’d spend 3 hours telling us all how horrible the refs were on almost every play.

    Funny thing about the announcers, they will not say a single word about the regular refs regardless how bad the calls are. The reason? The regular refs are here to stay. The replacement refs were viewed as temps and they didn’t have to worry about offending someone and working with them in the future. The announcers and their ridiculous over the air reactions to everything are part of the reason why. It’s much easier to pick on the little kid when he can’t fight back than a bigger kid who does the same thing. Congrats announcers and media.

  28. Beezo-Doo-doo-Zippity-Bop-bop-bop says: Nov 15, 2012 8:06 AM

    Call me crazy but I want the replacements back. These guys aren’t doing any better and the favoritism is back.

    I said it back then and stand by it today. All ref’s will make mistakes but the favoritism is both blatent and repulsive.

  29. tiggerblood says: Nov 15, 2012 8:15 AM

    No robbery I watched the game he was holding him. Was it ticky tacky yes but still a hold. Not a Steelers fan either.

  30. sbh1cats says: Nov 15, 2012 8:22 AM

    just think it these calls were made by the replacement officials…such an uproar..why do the real guys get a pass? sorta like some of our gov’t with the media!

  31. tdshouldbeinthehall says: Nov 15, 2012 8:24 AM

    I put it on the media for pounding the replacements and giving the regular refs a pass. UNIONS SUCK!! Just thought I’d throw that in there.

  32. opbilly says: Nov 15, 2012 8:26 AM

    ill bet either ron winter or gene steratore shows up in pittsburgh this week to offset the injuries!

  33. stew48 says: Nov 15, 2012 9:11 AM

    A clarification on my earlier comment. Markbreit and I did not communicate; I meant his on-field actions spoke, much louder than words.

  34. volez2igles2volez says: Nov 15, 2012 10:38 AM

    I noticed in the cowboys eagles game that even the players are looking for calls instead of playing through the play. Now it seems instead of trying their best to catch the ball or make a play they’re looking for the penalty before the play is even over. Frustrating

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