Facemask rule, as written, wasn’t violated by Lions

AP

Notwithstanding the explanation provided by NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino after the Packers beat the Lions with an untimed down after a facemask penalty at the end of a Stanford-band-style hackey-sack play by the Packers, the rules suggest that what happened to Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers wasn’t a foul.

“No player shall grasp and control, twist, turn, push, or pull the facemask of an opponent in any direction,” Rule 12, Section 2, Article 14 states.

The rule comes with an important caveat: “If a player grasps an opponent’s facemask, he must immediately release it. If he does not immediately release it and controls his opponent, it is a foul.”

Lions defender Devin Taylor grazed the facemask of Aaron Rodgers, at best. If there was any grasping (and there wasn’t), Taylor immediately released the facemask.

The game-deciding penalty underscores the need for the NFL to embrace technology, not necessarily as part of a second-guess replay review process but as a first look at the call based on the many available camera angles. If the NFL had a video official in the booth charged with assisting the on-field crew on a real-time basis in getting all calls right, that official could have informed referee Carl Cheffers and there was no grasp and control, no twist, no turn, no push, and no pull of the facemask.

Even if an official makes that call “every time,” as Blandino claims, it doesn’t make the call right. The video evidence makes it clear that there was no violation.

The outcome couldn’t have been more dramatic, for either team. The Packers avoided falling 1.5 games behind the Vikings in the NFC North, and the Lions had, as a practical matter, a death blow applied to their season. All because the officials didn’t accurately interpret the events unfolding in front of them.

If the NFL wants seasons to hinge on such arbitrary outcomes, so be it. But those who prefer that the officials always get it right will always have the ability to complain when the correctable frailties of human perception give a team an unwarranted opportunity to win a game.

467 responses to “Facemask rule, as written, wasn’t violated by Lions

  1. You know these are Florio article by the tone of how the Packers got away with it. You see that play in real time, Rodgers helmet moves, two defenders up near the head and you call it. I agree its not a penalty, but sitting at home with our 60 inch HDTVs, a dvr and getting to see these plays in slow-mo and zoomed in angles its easy to complain.

  2. Is anyone surprised that the pack gets a call that let’s them win a game? This happens at least a few times a year.

  3. The most disappointing fact of this call was the ref behind rogers threw the flag. not the one with the view.

    Second loss of the year by Lions due to refs. Seahawks batting ball out of bounds.

    Last year the Lions season ended on an announced PI that was marked off and later changed. Cost them the playoff game against Dallas. Kind of sad.

  4. 12th man in Seattle = Thousands of fans in the stands

    12th man for Green Bay = Man in striped shirt with yellow flag

  5. Whatever. I’m a Packers fan so I’m going to go with the refs on this one.
    If anyone thinks differently then feel free to apply for a job as an NFL ref.

  6. Ya, let’s just review every play to make sure it’s called correctly…we have the technology, why not? Or instead, you could just get a nice tackle and end the game instead of grabbing high and making contact with a player, who was a quarterback to boot. Smart, situational football…

  7. You have to love non-challengable calls made by an official who was behind the play and could not possibly see what happened.

    Fix this crap NFL.

  8. You know why my instincts as a football fan have gradually pushed me to the college game? Because there’s not flags on every single play and moreover the NCAA officials are just better than these guys. Not to mention the game is more exciting and there’s a depth of competitive teams unlike the NFL. But mainly because of Czar Goodell and the abysmal officiating.

  9. They’ll probably go back and give the win to the Lions. Oh they don’t do that? Ok. Stop whining then. Karma. “At least our guy really caught the ball.” -Mike McCarthy

  10. Ok – does that mean that every time a defensive player grabs a jersey of a reciever – an eye in the sky radios down and flag comes out? The problem now is that the referees are being micromanaged. Where the knee touches down – 5 different angles. And dont get me going on the what is an endzone catch and what isnt. It is time to back off a little on some of this stuff. Has baseball gone to an automatic strike and ball for the strikezone. The technology is there and is used in tennis. No it would change the game – right now too many coaches challenges are changing the game. It looked like a facemask and that is why they threw the flag. If the defensive player just tackled AR instead of trying to take his head off the game would have been over.

  11. Ok fine, but it is a blow to the head of the qb which is called multiple times every weekend and also is a 15 harder with automatic 1st down so how bout we give it a rest? You and your kind are killing this game.

  12. Apparently Florio has Superman vision because tell me ANY referee who doesn’t throw the flag there? We get to see replay upon replay at different angles and at a much slower speed. Refs have a split second. Fans just want consistency. This isn’t a Supreme Court decision.

  13. Packers won and there is not one thing anyone can do to change that. So there and learn to live with that.

  14. Yes! thank you! technology is good if applied and used correctly. Two rules that would need to be corrected, and/or aided enhanced, by technology, in my opinion:

    Holding

    What is a catch, what isn’t a catch.

  15. While its plane that he mearly slapped his facemask it was enough to turn his head, the ref behind him threw the flag on it and I can’t blame him with the way the defender preformed the tackle. I thought he was going to get a personal foul, unsportsmanlike conduct for the bit of flare he gave it. This is why a coach should be able to use his 2 challenges on any play

  16. I used to be a youth football referee. In my first year, I incorrectly called facemask several times – usually when a runner would stiff arm an opponent by pushing on the facemask. I learned after a few games that it wasn’t a penalty. As stated above, you must grasp and twist. It took me 3-4 games in pop warner ball to figure it out. Why can’t the professionals?

  17. Never want to hear packers and fans talk about the “fail Mary” ever again considering this was a much more cut and dried horrible call in a much more important game.

  18. As a Packer fan that is 100% correct, it wasn’t violated, the face mask was let go as soon as possible sort of an accident contact with the face mask… What was a violation was the play before where just because a defender is looking backwards, would allow him to bowl over a WR. I feel it was a make up call… if they call the PI its a 50 FGA. Instead its a Hail Mary, and I think Lions fans wished the PI was called, especially seeing as the last 50 FGA at GB was a mess. I also feel that the Refs missed 3-4 holding calls on WR screens becase the blocker would pull the defender into them allowing the WR to get outside to the sidelines.

  19. Penalty: For twisting, turning, pushing, pulling, or controlling the mask: Loss of 15 yards. The player may be disqualified if the action is flagrant. If the foul is by the defense, it is also an automatic first down.

  20. I love all these rules officials that can sit there and watch the play over and over again. They always say the officials made the wrong decision.

  21. Blandino steals another one for the Packers. Rodgers and his boy, Kevin Lanflisi, are gonna party tonight.

  22. The only people who think that was a facemask are packers fans. Clearly, and I mean clearly, that is not a personal foul. There was no “twist, turn, or pull” of the helmet. There wasn’t even a grab. The NFL gets yet another crucial call wrong. And no, I’m not a Lions fan.

  23. That was pretty weak. If it would have been a blatant fave mask then fine, but he barely touched him and they awarded an extra play to follow the last-resort-lateral that was going nowhere. Having said that, great catch and horrible job getting in front of Rogers by Detroit.

  24. Well we’ve seen it before. Never could find the rule where a receiver could catch a TD while never controlling the ball. Happened once in Seattle. I’ll take the win and sleep perfectly well tonight.

  25. Even if they had won tonight, does anyone in their right mind believe the Lions were going to make the playoffs?

    Rodgers has too much talent to be denied the playoffs. That’s why most people think he’s the best at the position.

    It was a 61 yard hail mary. The only other team that loses on plays like that is the Cleveland Browns.

  26. Lol. How about the “good” no defensive pass interference call on the previous play? Where the defender shoulder checked the Packers receiver but was given a pass because he was turned around?

    Or on that other failed packers TD pass where the Lions defender never turned his head around, had his hand up and was leaning into the receiver in the end zone, which by the letter of the rules should have been called DPI (he never turned his head around to make a play on the ball).

    There were bad calls on both sides. The Packers stole a game, but anyone who thinks that this game was decided by a questionable facemask penalty doesn’t know football at all.

  27. Don’t do it. Just stop. Don’t put this on one bad call. This was Caldwell and nothing more. We ran the ball three times with no chance of getting a first down. We left the Pack 30 seconds when we could have gotten ONE MORE FIRST DOWN AND LEFT THEM NOTHING!!!!!!
    One first down!?! All these coaches, all this experience, they can’t come up with one play that they are 90% about.

    It’s as bad as taking the wind.

  28. What must be agonizing for the Lions is the fact that Rodgers had absolutely nowhere to go when he caught the lateral except to run forward. There were no teammates behind him to lateral to and, of course, he could’t throw the ball forward. Devon Taylor should know better. Also, Detroit’s secondary is not well-coached either . . . and I said this before the final play. Teams like the Lions and Browns lose games like this because of the negative culture of their organizations and bad coaching is part of this culture.

  29. Terrible call in a season full of terrible calls. Once again refs are breathing new life in to games that should be over. I take nothing away from Aaron Rodgers or the TE, but it’s a play that should never have happened. It’s no surprise that the Blandino ( a man who never officiated) would say that it was a good call. It’s time penalties are reviewable.

  30. There was twisting and pulling! Heck Rodgers helmet was almost twisted side ways when he got of the ground!

  31. As a recent Seahawks from Japan, this is one of the worst calls I have seen to an end of the game. Mr Rogers did not get his face mask pulled despite a yellow flag. People will remember this for a long time as one of the worst calls in NFL history.

  32. I’m embarrassed. It is a painful loss. With so much on the line, I’ve never seen so many bad decisions. This didn’t have to be a situation where we put the refs in a position to make a bad call.

  33. They didn’t even need a replay booth to overturn the call. The ref in front of the play, the one staring right at the play, didn’t call a penalty. He needed to go to the rest of the crew and tell them there was no penalty and it should be waived off.

    Years ago the NFL instructed the refs that they had to see the penalty and not just assume. The back judge assumed there was a facemask, but obviously didn’t see it, since it didn’t happen.

  34. Yet another officiating cluster.

    Topped off with Lions defenders out of position (why were four guys guarding the sideline on the Hail Mary?) and not looking for the ball.

    And they call Cleveland the factory of sadness?!?!

  35. I’ll start by saying I’m a Packers fan, so forgive me if this comes across as biased, but I really don’t think it is….but what you’re suggesting seems a bit ridiculous. so you want all penalties review-able? the only way to know that the game is being called 100% correctly would be to have a group of people reviewing every player, after ever play. holding on the offensive line could be called every play. corners are always touching receivers past the 5 yard line, even if it’s just a slight touch, and even if it’s not close to the ball, still illegal. and don’t even get started on the calls that 5 people see and get 5 different opinions on. sometimes refs miss calls, and sometimes they make calls that aren’t there, every team has to deal with it equally. that’s just the way it will be until the league starts implementing the robotic refs. which will yield a whole new set of problems I’m sure…

  36. Interesting how all these officiating issues have really come to a head since the billion dollar explosion that is fantasy football has burst on the scene.
    Anyone out there honesty believe, given the BILLIONS spent on NFL gambling that none has infiltrated those directly involved on the field?

  37. “We’re going to make that call wrong, every time.”

    NFL officials rule. Nice to see Blandino still working on his standup routine.

  38. Do you want me to recite catch rules about the “possession” that comes with getting the tip of a glove on a ball in the hands of another player?

    Karma. Paid in full by Golden Tate’s defeated face.

  39. This was a quarterback facemask, and it does get called nearly every time. Based on games I’ve watched over the last two years, it could just have easily been called as a blow to the head. Much like many of the disputed calls on catches and fumbles, seeing the play in real time affirms the ref’s ruling. It is only high definition, slow motion views from multiple angles that make us question the call. Sometimes I wish we’d never started using instant replay within the game. Without it, a play would be a play, and we wouldn’t have any more controversies than we have with it.

  40. OK, OK, so you’re right. But we don’t care. We don’t need no stinkin rules. Cuz we’re supposed to get all the calls. We can’t make it fair and square. We’re from the little town. The underdogs. We need the help.

  41. From the ref’s vantage point it’s easy see why he threw the flag. In real time/full speed he makes the call as he sees it. Chances are there weren’t any other ref’s in a position to see it thus no discussion took place to see if the call was right or not. While replay gives the ability to scrutinize every call, the fact is the NFL is trying to leave the bulk of it in the hands of the humans on the field. If it’s my team getting the phantom call I feel jilted like every Lions fan does now, but in the end it’s a sport/game played by imperfect people and comes down to ‘—t happens’.

    Let’s not forget the Lions were giving this game away long before the bad call. They should have held the Packers to 14 points instead of letting them back in it.

  42. The Lions are like the kid on the little league team that doesn’t win a game all year, but the whole team gets participation medals, but they run out of participation medals for the last kid in line, so they tell him they’ll mail him one, but the package gets mixed up with a box of dog droppings.

  43. Might seemed Biased here cuz of the circumstances, but something needs to change. Too many games are being decided by the refs instead of the players.

  44. “Facemask.” I remember the Packers smacking Bridgewater in the face like that and there being no flag. Good game either way, they kept it interesting, but the wrong team won.

  45. Hey Florio, if you are worried about the refs getting a call right, then talk about the pass interference non call on the same series. It would given Crosby a chance to kick a field goal. Go dry your tears Bear fan.

  46. The refs always call that pass interference on Abbrederis that occurred near the end of the game. Not saying they should have, but they almost always do, because Abbrederis was coming back to the ball. That would’ve given GB an easy FG and still a win.

    The solution is to not use helmets, just use light pads, and get rid of most of the rules.

  47. Bad call? Yes. Detroit fell apart in the second half to no fault of the refs. After that facemask, GB still had to do the impossible.

    I can’t hear anymore of this “that call cost us the game” bs.

    How about not blowing a 20 point lead? Try that Detroit.

  48. If you watch the replay on NFL website, around the 43 second mark, it looks like Rogers moved his chin strap up to sell the “foul”. His chin strap was perfectly on his chin as he was going down after the hit. #strapgate

  49. The NFL no longer has the five-yard variety of that rule so the officials have no other options in that case. That factor has to be taken into consideration.

    I’m probably in the minority here, but I’m so tired of hearing fans whine and complain about the officiating. It’s such a tired, lazy, unimaginative way to view the game.

    Nothing happens in a vacuum. The Lions still had a tremendous chance to win that game, referees be damned, and they couldn’t execute one of the most routine of plays: On a hail mary play, don’t allow yourself to be walled off by the opposing team’s receivers.

    The Packers looked like they were defenders as they clearly and without much resistance assembled a cluster of bodies in front of the Lions and they gave up the game-winner with no time left.

    Somehow, this will all get overlooked and forgotten and the overwrought ‘the referees are terrible’ dialogue will win the day.

  50. Once again Rodgers is given the benefit-of-the-doubt when it comes to penalties. It’s simply because of this bias and the fact that another blown call by the officials dramatically alters the NFC playoff race that the NFL absolutely NEEDS to allow for reviews of penalties–especially in the final two minutes of halves. They also need to get rid of spot of the foul pass interference penalties and adopt college rules in this regard. Looks like another officiating crew likely to be pulled from any future prime time games. Absolutely pathetic that the head official who was behind the play made the call without talking with the official who had the much better/clearer view. The NFL has a growing problem that it needs to address this off-season. Florio hit the nail on the head with this one. Technology allows for games not to be so dramatically affected and not to utilize it cheapens the game.

  51. If you feel bad for Devin Taylor on that facemask call remember that he kicked Rodgers in the stomach without a call earlier in the game. Facemask call extended the drive. Non call on the kick stopped a drive. No difference.

  52. Totally BS call, and terrible “explanation” by Blandino.

    And the media bias was evident in the post game show, where the touchdown that shouldn’t have been was showed 9000 times, but the facemask that wasn’t did not get showed at all.

  53. It was a real-time, bang bang play. If a guy’s hand hits the facemask first and it sends the HOF QB’s head around as he goes down it’s gonna get the flag.

    It wasn’t a bad call, but it wasn’t a good one either

  54. Another horse-feathers call that benefits a “money” team. Can Congress please investigate NFL officiating. If we’re going to grant them a pseudo-anti-trust exemption, can’t we take a minute to check in on their corrupt practices?

  55. In real time it was a tough call. I thought it was a face mask too until I saw the replay in slow-mo. This just proves more that everything needs to be able to be reviewed. Unlike in past games this year this one isn’t on the refs as much as it is on the stupidity of not just having everything be reviewable

  56. Here’s the deal, any official who saw that play in real time would throw that flag. You know it and I know it, Florio. Rodgers’ helmet was twisted, and in real time, that will always be called a face mask penalty.

    We all know you’re a Vikings fan, Florio, so of course you’ll fan the flames of those who will whine the Lions were robbed by that official.

    Here’s the deal, too: the Lions spit the bit by blowing a 20 point lead. They had that game won and couldn’t put the lid on it. Even after the face mask call, the odds were still largely in their favor to win that game, but they blew it. When I saw that Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate weren’t in on that Hail Mary play, I was very happy. And it cost the Lions dearly because Aaron Rodgers made a great throw and Richard Rodgers made a terrific catch.

    The officials did not cost the Lions this game, and anyone who says they did is nothing more than a whiner. The Lions blew it as they most often do, and the Packers never gave up. That was the story of that game.

  57. You’re right, Mike. But as much as I hate to say this, Blandino was also right. Without the benefit of instant replay for such a judgment call, any official who sees a quarterback’s head get turned like that is going to throw a flag.

  58. Was there contact to the facemask? Yes.
    Did Aaron’s head turn? Yes.

    Then the defender “used force to turn the helmet in one of (any) direction” which is a penalty.

    Also if it wasn’t a penalty:
    Why did Aaron’s head turn?
    Why did his chin strap end up in his face when no other hit during the entire game had previously caused this to happen, in a game where he was hit multiple times due to a patchwork offense line?

  59. Right or wrong, that call will be made every time because of how it looked at full speed. Even when slowed down, the fingers do pull the mask slightly.

    Also, how often do you see the interpretation of “immediately released” actually applied? Every week there is a face mask penalty called where it’s incidental contact at best and it immediately released. But the player almost never gets the benefit of the doubt. It gets called, right or wrong, every time.

    If anything, it was a swing in karma for the blatant face mask penalty that wasn’t called to end the playoff game in Arizona after the ’09 season in OT.

  60. Here’s a question for Packers foes’ fans: had your QB had this play happen to him, would you have jumped out of your chair and yelled “face mask!!”? If not, you have reason to complain. But be honest. If not, you have reason to complain.

  61. I wonder if some elected official (even if it’s just grandstanding in an attempt to get votes) now demands the NFL either overturn the face mask penalty and award the Lions the win or threatens the NFL a criminal investigation and the officials throwing the flags facing criminal charges over that. While the chances of that actually happening less holding up in court are slim and none, it’s something I can see an elected official attempting to do to placate to fans.

    That said, that play was awfully close and I can see where that was called as it was.

  62. I said that immediately when it happened. He didn’t grab it at all, his hand just touched it and then he grabbed the shirt, I couldn’t believe that call, another bad call determining the outcome of a game. Blandinos explanation is hogwash.

  63. Why is it that every single week the refs directly affect the outcome of a game this year? Every single week. In decades of watching the NFL, I can’t remember this level of ineptitude. Pretty soon, Vegas will stop allowing wagers.

  64. If you have an issue with that judgement call, you should have an issue with the non-call DPI on third down and the way the pass interference rule is written. Anyone chirping about that? Didn’t think so.

    Bat the ball down, and we aren’t having this conversation.

    Packers win.

  65. Too bad for the lions, incredible break of the pack. To many one who would suggest making penalties like that review-able it would be a good idea, but only if you want to make games even longer and with more delays then their already are.

  66. QBs who get the call: Brady, Rodgers, P. Manning, Brees.
    QBs who don’t get the call: Everyone else.

    I need to start evaluating why I waste my time watching this sport.

  67. Yeah, the technology exists, but just how many stoppages and delays do you want in a game??? Maybe each call down from the replay booth could be sponsored?
    “This face mask review brought to you by Depends, the official adult diaper of the NFL”.
    Why not, everything from the coin flip to the closing credits are sponsored, whats another hour of delays and/or commercials to the truly dedicated fan? SMH…

  68. The G on the helmut stands for “Gift” tonight.
    (There also seemed to be a couple of blocks in the back that could have been called on the untimed down.)

  69. Cards fan, but, I can’t help but feel for the lions. This is the second time the officials have blown a call in a prime time setting. Both games have drastically affected the playoff seeding as it stands now. If they have those two wins they are in as a wild card. Seattle is out, Green Bay would be all but out losing the tiebreaker to the lions. It also seems quite convenient for the nfl that two of the most popular teams in the nfl are the winning team involved in both of the games. I’m no conspiracy theorist but if the NBA is constantly accused of fixing games maybe the NFL should feel some of that same heat. The NFL seems more and more stages each year. But hey my team benefited last week so I’ll be quiet now.

  70. Rogers sold it like the pro he is. As he went down, he held his head tucked into his right shoulder as if it were still being tugged.

    His chin strap cup thingie ending up over his mouth was the frosting on a masterful performance.

  71. Sorry Florio. The Packers won. Should we discuss the pass interference on the previous play as well?

  72. While we have one guy on the Vikings who always pleads for penalties (Wallace) I have never seen any team beg and try to bait penalties as much as the Packers do and no person does it more then Rogers. He tries to dip his helmet into players hands to get a facemask. You watch, every time GB is failing on 3rd down to get a first there are many attempts to get a flag. I think it was in the 3rd quarter they were showing a replay to show of an offensive play of the Packers and while it was not the focus of the replay, you saw Rogers go down, barely getting touched, grimmising in pain, then while he is on the ground he turns his head sideways and see that he does not get the call, grimmising ends and he gets up and walks around like normal.

    LIONS WERE ROBBED AGAIN

  73. It would appear that the NFL is becoming scripted, The number of game changing calls can not be all done through simple error.

  74. rodgers was a good actor. he kept his head twisted to make it look like it was being pulled by the facemask.

    need challenge and replay for all personal fouls. this is getting bad. teams losing with bad calls.

  75. I don’t fault the officials for the call. It definitely looked like a face mask, but this is further proof that everything should be reviewable inside the 2 minute warning.

  76. It’s sure funny. When GB was on the other side of this, they whined INCESSANTLY afterwards. Now they act like this was a legit win. Biggest bunch of whiners, them and their fans.

  77. Practically every game is decided by a penalty or penalties. Many times the call is purely subjective. This systemic problem has always been the weakest link in this sport.

  78. Finger went in the facemask and his head turned. It was very quick, but it happened. Sorry, it qualifies. Cry me a river, Lionesses.

  79. even with replay, the nfl is blowing calls. the ravens lined up off sides after a players jumped the snap and tried to get back and no call. then it looked like the ravens player was out of bounds on the block return and again, no call.
    this is really getting stupid.

  80. I’ve never seen a more screwed up, poorly officiated NFL football season in my lifetime. Rest assured nothing will result from this bad call either.

  81. If Green Bay goes anywhere this year, there is your asterisk. Never, ever seen one team get more love from the league, ever. Of course the Packer trolls will be all over this. As if it is their God given right to get the benefit of the doubt, even when there is not doubt. I was at work tonight and several of my clients were watching this fiasco and of course, the Packer fan in the bunch is literally screaming for others to quit whining and that they “deserve to win” of course magically “because they are the Packers”. Pretty much sums up the fan base, doesn’t it? The league has a serious PR situation here. Folks like myself don’t follow like we used to and frankly, once hockey started, I have only watched a couple of games. You can’t make this up, though. I just had to say something.

  82. Not that I’m counting, because I’m not even a lions fan, but they’ve gotten screwed twice this year on end-of-the-game horrible ref calls. This time was much worse than the call in the game against the Seahawks. Not only was it not a face mask, but to give the packers another chance for the hell of it is, dare I say it, sad.

  83. As a Lions fan … games over. The Packers had the same refs we did. What’s done is done. We had plenty of chances to win and we blew it.

    But the fact these sort of factual errors are so common is becoming tiresome. For the amount of money the league takes in, these mishaps shouldn’t be happening this often. The refs blowing calls are ruining the fun of the watching the games.

    This happens so often that it’s hard to believe that the NFL has any sort of continuous learning program for its refs. If they do, whatever it is isn’t effective.

  84. No one in the last five years has had more drama in crucial moments decide games than the Lions and it is not close. They almost always lose in some gut wrenching fashion decided by the refs. It is unbelievable.

  85. No surprise that the refs played an important part in the packers win.

    No need to play any more games, the refs have the packers going to the super bowl

  86. Devon Taylor hooked Rodgers’ facemask with his thumb – not just grazed it – and pulled it down. This is obvious on the replay. This is a clear violation of the rule and the penalty was called properly.

  87. how many times have we seen a player get called for barely touching the facemask? If you touch the facemask and the head moves at all, its going to get called every time they see it.

  88. If you’re up twenty in the third quarter at home against a team without 80% of its offensive line, and manage to lose on a last second 70 yard bomb, I am not sure a questionable face mask penalty is the problem.

  89. That 2 games that have been taken away from the Lions.

    Sea Hawks game the ball that was batted out the end zone and ruled a touch back and a turnover. The Lions lost.

    Now we have the none face mask that was call and the Packers got another play and won.

    Being a Lions face it very hard to get a win but to beat the REFS to that very hard.

  90. How about the defensive PI that wasn’t called earlier? The replay clearly shows that the defender wasn’t trying to play the ball but was actively backing into the WR. Just because you picked the Lions to win doesn’t mean you get to play fast and loose with the facts.

  91. Based on this it sounds like we got away with one. All the more reason to make sure the rules are clear and that the officials know them. This play HAS been called like this every time and that may mean NONE of the officials in the NFL know the rule.

  92. Penalty stats from the last three Packers games:

    Lions: 108 penalty yards
    Packers: 55 penalty yards

    Bears: 95 penalty yards
    Packers: 38 penalty yards

    Vikings: 110 penalty yards
    Packers: 19 penalty yards
    **Vikings were least penalized team in league coming into game

    Packers almost went 3-0 in these games (Bears won by a literal fingertip).

    Of course, there’s NOTHING fishy going on here !!!

  93. I am not a fan of either team tonight. So I have no skin in the game as to who won or lost. However, if the NFL wants to get things right and stop everyone from second-guessing officials, which is clearly called for in every NFL game then, at the very least, everything and I mean everything including penalties should be reviewable during the last two minutes of every game. All they need is a guy in the booth and when he sees the same thing that we as viewers see on TV, that clearly is a questionable call, all he needs to do is buzz down so the play can be reviewed. That way we don’t have endings that don’t follow the NFL rulebook. The game is just too important to be officiated like it’s a grade school game!

  94. I can’t tell you if NFL is fixing games or its just ref bias but Rodgers team had no reason to win that game. Multiple calls to give 1st down and one to extend the game. Pathetic it end Lions season.

  95. So with this and BAL-JAX, that means TWO games in just one season (which isn’t even over!) have literally been decided by refs. No what-ifs, no “and that caused this which caused that which made us lose,” but literally the very last play that 100% determined the win/loss.

    The NFL is a multibillion dollar business and it can’t even make sure for three hours once a week teams can play a fair game? That’s insanity.

  96. The thumb runs along the bottom bar. Just wasn’t a grab, like you see most players get busted for. The speed of the play and the force from his hand made it look worse than it was. The refs are seeing it at speed, unlike everyone else that gets to see the slow-mo close up version. Even at speed when it happen I thought he had grabbed it and pulled.

  97. While it’s true that it was probably a bogus call, made by an unsighted official, I have determined that the correct call is always the call that annoys Vikings fans the most.

  98. I have yet to hear a valid reason as to why that isnt a reviewable play.

    Everything should be reviewable. It is absolutely baffling why it isnt

  99. If there was video review the call would’ve stood as on the field.

    A 2D camera image isn’t really enough to say there was some degree of pushing, pulling or twisting of the facemask.

    The reality is the defender has to tackle better and avoid the face mask area otherwise they run the risk of this unfortunate result.

    Detroit were unlucky, but have no one to blame but themselves.

  100. in all honesty (and this IS coming from a Packer fan), it shouldn’t have been a penalty. in real time yes, it looked like a penalty, but replay looked clean to me. but on the other hand, if you’re going to call love taps to the top of helmets, I expect calls like this one to be made.

  101. It underscores nothing. Even if it isn’t a face mask violation, it is still 10 yards for illegal hands to the face. Beyond that, it’s an incredibly stupid play by the Lions defender, who should have realized Rodgers caught a pass after throwing one, and all that was required was to prevent him from running forward or throwing laterally. Great job being fair to the situation, Florio.

  102. Blandino has made it apparent that the NFL has no desire to get all penalty calls correct.

    In an attempt to rationalize this year’s less than stellar officiating performances, he has referenced that the 4.x number of “correctable” calls is consistent with the rate over the last few years. Not only does it seem like he thinks that the number of errors is acceptable, apparently the lack of improvement is too.

  103. That was clearly a face mask. The Redskins get these Tickytack calls against them every week. There is a certain disparity in officiating if your the lions Redskins or some other perennial bottom dweller compared to teams like the packers and patriots. Just the way it is

  104. That was the worst call of the season to me. The game was over and they awarded another play. It clearly didn’t violate any rules. Why would they call that every time!!!! It’s only because it was the QB who was not supposed to be treated as a QB at that time. Detroit won that game. That is a travesty.

    Ofcourse why on earth were Calvin and others not in the game on the Hail Mary is beyond me.

    The officials cannot change the course of games like they have been this year. Lay off the whistle more late in games!!! It’s ruining the sport!

  105. I’m not a Packers fan (I’m a lapsed 9er, Belichick admirer) but though it wasn’t a facemask, it was – as written – apparently both an illegal use of hands to the face AND a horsecollar: the thumb briefly pokes through and grazes the chin protector and bottom bar of the mask (foul) before the hand grasps purchase on the inside edge of the side collar and pulls Rodgers to the ground (he’s not still in the pocket at this time, so that’s a foul too). And the defender looks crestfallen even before we see the flag emerge – it probably wasn’t malicious but he knew he’d caught the QB that way. (Please don’t downthumb before you study the clip in slowmo for yourself).

  106. Oh…and I suspect…for as long as the Packers have cried about a hail mary 3 years ago in Seattle…I’m sure (being the smartest franchise in all of football) they will admit that there was NO win tonight…..right?…..lol yeah right. This was somehow all skill.

    Congrats to the refs…great win.

  107. So that means the Lions would be 6-6 if not for bad calls costing the Lions the game, and would have beaten Seattle on the road and swept Green Bay with a soft remaining schedule and an excellent chance to finish 10-6. I don’t think Martha’s talk with Roger did any good.

  108. I 100% agree with this article as rule states it’s not a penalty! If the all the NFL needs to do is make called penalties reviewable same rules as any play, the booth would automatically look at it since it was inside of 2 min and game would end correctly. False/fake penalties are a bigger issue for the NFL than the catch/no catch issue, it’s getting out of control how many bad penalties are called.

  109. It’s difficult for Florio to try to appear objective when his Vikings aren’t advantaged by a call. It was interesting reading the comments through out the game and watching all the Purple jeers transform into all the Purple tears.

  110. If you need any more evidence that the Lions are the most cursed franchise in the NFL, and probably only 2nd to the Cubs in all of professional sports, see the last two plays on Thursday night. (Apologies to Browns fans, but this comes after waving off PI on an obvious infraction in the first round of last year’s playoffs in Dallas and this year’s batted ball no call in Seattle.) An incorrectly called facemask penalty and a terrible defensive plan for the last hail mary. Caldwell is a fantastic coach Mon-Sat, but they need an upgrade in a game day coach. Impromptu decision making and time management are not this man’s strengths. Hopefully the search for a new front office will finally begin a bright future for this franchise.

  111. When is Blandino going to get tired of making up excuses? Kids playing pickup have a better grasp of the rules. Not to worry NFL fans we’ll get the right teams into the playoffs! #NFLrefssuck!

  112. So this is the second game that officials have taken from Detroit. If I were a fan, I’d be pretty PO for the remainder of the season. How are those part time refs working out for the NFL?

  113. It shouldn’t have been a penalty, but that was one heck of a throw by Rodgers on the next play. I feel for the Lions and there fans, but hopefully this will force the League to have an official in the box for every game. It isn’t as if they don’t have enough money to pay them. I’m more wondering if this has more to do with the officials union than the League.

  114. Come on Mike you know better than this, the ref call it in real time, not with the benefit of replay and slow motion like arm-chair refs (like you) have. That play in real time looked like a face mask on TV and I am sure it did on the field as well.

    You are right the video evidence shows the call was wrong, but they can’t take that into account they need to call it real time, in the moment, at full speed, on the field, with the NFL telling them to err on the side of player safety.

    But go ahead and use this in your ongoing bad ref narrative.

  115. So this game and the game in Seattle were lost because the referees got the call wrong or failed to spot someone batting a ball out of the end zone 2 feet from them.

    The Lions should be 6-6 and have the tiebreaker vs Seattle who would be 5-6. while the Lions would also have the tiebreaker vs the packers who would be 7-5.

    So all the teams who are affected by these two game changing calls can thank the referees, Blandino and the NFLs refusal to use a solution that is already in use in College for their lack of a playoff spot.

    As a Lions fan I feel cheated. As a football fan I feel disgust.

  116. Lions got jobbed for sure. As a packers fan i’ll take it, but that has to hurt for the lions. But really the defender has to be smart there and avoid any potential facemask

  117. Another call that if allowed to challenge they would have ruled no face mask. He barely grazed it. Didn’t stop Rodgers from asking like his head came off.

  118. I am a fan of neither team. I used like the Packers and would on occasion root for them whenever my favorite team was not playing. However, after watching the game being decided on that b.s. play, I’m no longer really interested in the NFL and I completely lost all respect for Aaron Rodgers for not owning up to the truth, even after the fact that his face mask was not yanked. Talk about INTEGRITY of the game? Where is it?

  119. This happened the same day Goodell applauded the exceptional officiating done in the League, which means even the football gods can’t stand the man.

    We need a new Commissioner.

    (And full-time refs.)

  120. I’m seriously thinking about taking a break from this game. The refs are basically deciding games with the calls. Can’t take it anymore.

  121. Nobody, not even the Patriots, have been victimized by the NFL with so many bad calls. Ridiculous! Goodell, Vincent and Kensil need to turn over their cell phones.
    By the way hows that PSI investigation going?

  122. As neither was was the Defensive Pass Interference rule , “as written” , violated the play before?

  123. But you have to protect the commissioners favorite teams. Of course the Packers and Seahawks both have gotten free wins. As a result they are both wildcard teams. As sad as it sounds, the Lions it would be in the thick of the playoffs if they could have both of those games back. At least if they suck, maybe they will still fire Caldwell.

  124. Oh, but I bet you’re fine with that facemask against Josh Sitton on the second play of the game huh? Tulloch pushed Sitton’s hand right into his facemask and Sitton let go as soon as his arm was not being pushed anymore and there was no turn of the head there whatsoever but they called back a 30 yard screen pass. No one seems to want to talk about that though. Just look at the play from a ref’s perspective. Rodgers head gets turned, then gets dragged down by what looks like the facemask due to the manner of which his body turned and he ended up with his helmet half off. That doesn’t just happen on its own folks.

  125. It’s not just the Detroit game, it’s all these games with the defense getting flagged.The N.F.L. wants all these games to have scoring as much as possible(like a video game).

    The defenses have their hands tied and it’s going to get worst. Mark my words, the least penalized defensive teams like Seattle, Caroline and Denver are due for a breakout game of defensive flags by the zebras very soon.

  126. It’s like that State Farm commercial is true, the NFL does want to operate as though they’re in the 1880’s. On the flip side, just because the state would be in place doesn’t mean that the NFL would use it properly.

  127. As a Viking fan and of course rooting for the Lions I say you can’t blame the Refs when judging the infraction at real speed.

    The Packers will choke anyways this post season lol so it’s mute.

    Skololol

  128. Even if the facemask rule wasn’t violated, the rule of having sucked for the last 24 years WAS violated, and thus prevented the Lions from getting the benefit of the doubt. As painful as it might be, the league just has to step in and say that when you’ve gone 0-16 in a season, you just aren’t getting any marginal calls in a rivalry game until you can actually step up and win a playoff game. GREAT job by the officiating crew last night.

  129. Humans make errors. That cannot be avoided. I wish the Lions did not have the score so close that errors affect the outcome. They failed to step on the Packers throat in the first half while they were still asleep.

    All penalties greater than 10 yards should be confirmed for correctness as they greatly affect outcomes. We don’t need a two minute stoppage, just a quick video confirmation like college does.

  130. For those who say the refs don’t decide the outcome of the game and everything evens out. The Lions loss is yet another example of that not happening.

    It was almost as bad as that call in the playoffs which cost the Lions the playoff game last year.

    What separates a good team from a bad team can sometimes be measured in one play or one call.

  131. Martha Ford is going to be steaming. First that bat out of hell call in Seattle which cost the Lions a game and now this bogus horse collar call at 0:00 seconds costing the Lions a game when they were the far superior team. It was an unfair call which blew their playoff hopes when it was them looking like a playoff team and the Cheeseheads looking like they were playing flag football. I agree with this article–the human refs need to go and bring in technology.

  132. There was a clear defensive PI no-call right before that which would have been huge for the Packers’ chance at winning with a field goal. Of course that is going to get ignored now and people will just act like the Lions got screwed by the officials because they gave up a huge hail mary they shouldn’t have.

    Obviously the Packers got lucky with the blown facemask call but it wasn’t like they were handed the win because of it. Again, the Lions were who gave up a 61 yard hail mary pass.

  133. Blandino is becoming as bad as Goodell! Instead of doing the right thing he does the expedient thing that serves the leagues perceived interests. I could see clearly from the from the play itseld then confirmed by the replay, it was no facemask. This is ridiculous.

    How can the NFL allow any games in a 16 game schedule to be incorrectly decided by erroneous calls and rulings is beyond. It really shows the NFL is about $$$ and not the “integrity of the game.”

  134. And for Detroit it doesn’t matter, this is the third time in 2015 an officiating blunder has played a significant role in the outcome of a game on the national stage. As a lifelong Lions fan there is no surprise it was the Cowboys, Packers, and Seahawks that were the benefactors of poor officiating, the NFL would rather see those teams be successful than Detrot.

  135. Facemask grazes have been called against pass rushers for years against QB’s. Always hated it.
    It should only be a penalty if it was deemed a deliberate facemask only.

    However illegal hands to the face has been called a multitude of times this years on both sides of the ball.

    I agree with the call only because this is the new NORM.

  136. How about we let the league resolve exactly what a catch is (or isn’t) before jumping down their throat about the facemask rule?

    One disaster at a time, please.

  137. Pretty tough to make that call at high speed. The hand hits the facemask, the head twists & the player gets up with his chin strap on his nose.we should have some checks & balances in these situations.
    Game deciding call doesn’t seem like expression. They were still 61 yards from the goal line. If the refs were trying to screw Detroit they could have called the interference on abbrederis on the play before.
    Great play by Rodgers to escape the pocket & throw a moonshot 70 yards in the air.great play by Richard Rodgers to high point the ball.

    Packers still have a lot of problems to solve.

  138. Which is worth, incompetence or outright fraud? In principle, they’re the same – and make it difficult to watch the sports I love.

    I stopped watching NBA games (after owning season tickets 2x) because of the Tim Donaghy scandal… I’m not there yet with football, but I’m getting close.

  139. Blandino always sticking up for these terrible refs. What a joke the NFL has become. No wonder they keep losing viewees and losing to “The Walking Dead.”

    Instant replay needs to be used at all times, especially on situations like these. Detroit was robbed.

  140. If I was a Lions fan I would seriously consider a Class Action lawsuit against the NFL this morning. It’s hard to win games in the NFL but they have now had TWO wins literally taken from them this season. First, the “batted ball” against Seattle and now the “face mask” against Green Bay. Their season is now truly over at 4-8 but had the refs DID THEIR JOB they’d be 6-6 and in the thick of the playoff hunt. That. Is. HUGE. Maybe a Class Action is fruitless but it would bring attention that the NFL has a serious Ref problem that needs/must be changed.

  141. the old eyeball test showed anyone watching there was no foul on the play. Maybe ref had a bad angle?

    Goodell” I think our refs do a fine job”

    Tell that to the Lions Frodger

  142. And how did the back judge miss the huge hold from the Packers LT on the last play? You know, the same judge that called the face mask penalty. We keep complaining that the refs are making mistakes, but I’m not so sure they are mistakes anymore. I think they have an agenda, just like anyone else. Whether that agenda is because of the league, their personal preference or even maybe their gambling habits is a different question.
    The truth is that too many games every week are being decided from calls by the refs and not game play on the field.

  143. See, it’s these sort of outcomes that SHOULD force the league to demand accountability from the officials. But that probably won’t happen.

    — Packers fan that knows this isn’t their year

  144. I’m not a Packers or Lions fan so I’m completely impartial, but you’re a crazy person if you don’t think that was a facemask. The defender clearly had atleast 2 fingers wrapped around his facemask and that’s how he was able to tackle him. How else did Rodgers’ helmet end up sideways?

  145. No mention of course of the pass interference that the refs didn’t have the guts to call on the previous play. Guess you missed that florio. So at worst it’s simply a makeup call as it should have been

  146. die hard packer fan here,it was not a facemask as much as i wanted it to be. going to gb next week to see packers -v- cowgirls. hope to see jerruuhh’s plastic surgery up close…please come to the nose bleed seats!!

  147. Another game decided by poor officiating. I don’t know if there are more of this now days or if it’s just seen more now due to more and better cameras. It’s sad either way tho. Doesn’t excuse the fact that the Lions DB’s can’t let that happen tho.. Should never have gotten to that point tho…

  148. Mr. Florio,

    Bravo! The 6-6 Lions would be right in the playoff hunt now without TWO game-deciding blown calls this year, including the Seattle game. These errors are costing people jobs and ruining the fairness and competitiveness of the game as a whole.

    Reminds me of the scoring in Olympic boxing! If you can’t trust the officials, you can’t trust the integrity of the sport. Is is well past time for replays to help referees and umpires in all facets of officiating, including penalty calls. Ugh. At least it helps the Lions draft slot! On to 2016!

  149. The announcer of the game was hell-bent on justifying the call; “Yep! He touched the facemask. The official HAS to make that call!” I was just thinking what a moron he was! No one grabbed his mask! His helmet was askew because he got flipped onto his head.

  150. Dean Blandino and Roger Goodell must take great pride in this spectacular shady result. The video replay clearly shows there was no violation and the penalty should not have been called but this creates drama and the Packers are good for TV ratings. It seems like every season that the Lions are on the wrong end of a really bad ref decision, but the NFL is incapable of ever admitting a major error that changes the result.
    Goodell is untouchable because of the profits generated (and the probable dirt he keeps on certain owners) but Blandino should be fired ASAP.

  151. To the official it looked like he was brought down by the face mask in real time. If you keep complaining about these types of judgement calls, why even have officials on the field?

  152. This is nice and all, but i have seen 100 facemask calls where the player grabs it and immediately lets it go b/c he realizes what he’s grabbing. I have never seen them just ‘let it slide’ b/c they let go quick enough. Everytime a defensive players hands or fingers touch the facemask- its called. Regardless of what the rule states, thats just how it is EVERy single time. And those saying it was a fix by the ref (i dont care about either team by the way), they did it and gave the packers a 61 yd hail mary attempt. It wasnt realistic, no one risks their job to give a team a 61 yd attempt at a TD. If this happened on the 10 yd line, i can see where your coming from detroit fans. But the ref saw hands to a facemask- they call that anytime, for any team.

  153. Yeah, definitely was not a penalty. Poor Mike Carey, he may have to retire from TV soon too. But, great Hail Mary execution by the Packers.

  154. And what about the 3rd last play of the game? That was a blatant defensive pass interference. It was terrible pay calling all game. But can you really blame the ref for the facemask? Taylors fingers were on Rodgers face mask and his head all of sudden got turned the other direction. Every play you can call, or not call for that matter, a penalty when you slow it down in HD. Only ones on here crying are the queen fans. All the BS spewing out of their mouths make one thing obvious, they don’t want us in the playoffs.

    #Vikingsarescaredofpack

  155. Exactly. The only thing I would add is I would have several replay officials in the booth communicating in real-time with the guys on the field. And it wouldn’t even delay the games one second. It would actually speed them up. I love technology. We all do. Does anybody still ride a horse and buggy across the country?

  156. In addition, the flag was thrown from behind, so there was no way the official could see whether or not the facemask was grabbed. He went on what he THOUGHT happened, not what he saw.

  157. It was a bad call. The lions should have won. I even know that rule! It was inadvertent. Don’t understand those officials. They wanted to see a Packer win I guess.

  158. Wild, unreal finish to the game last night. Was it a facemask? In the eyes of the officials, yes. Now before anyone comments that the ref’s won that game for the Packers, try to say that every other team in the league has not won a game on a similar call. Anyone? Anyone?

  159. Judgment call by the Ref. Looked like defenders thumb “pushed” the facemask of Rodgers briefly, his head definitely jerked and ref threw flag.

    I’m ok with a ref making a judgment call in the heat of the game at live speed over refs simply not knowing the rules or losing track of what down it is.

  160. Could have gone either way. If it didn’t get called we’d be talking about that today also. Fact of the matter is, it was hit hard enough that it did twist the facemask to the side. And even the body language of the Lion who did it, indicates he knew he go the facemask. And the last we need in the NFL is more rules and reviews. That’s probably contributing to the overall officiating problems as much as anything.

  161. Notwithstanding the outcome of this game, I am so sick of everybody crying for “video evidence” on every single play in football.

  162. It sucks for the Lions, who dominated GB the entire game, but at game speed I’m quite sure 10 out of 10 people would have said that was a facemask. It looked pretty blatant, then with him coming up with his helmet all contorted on his face…. It looked like an easy call. In slow motion I’d say most, if not all, would say it would be a good no call.

  163. It may of been a bad call, but the Lions have no one to blame but them selfs for giving up a 60 yard hail mary TD.

  164. As bad as the phantom facemask call was, the officiating was even worse on the final play. The offensive line protecting Rogers on the Hail Mary got away with two blatant infractions….holding and block from behind. The block from behind was more egregious than the typical block from behind penatly thrown on every punt/kickoff.
    It has never been more clear how the referees manipulate games at their/Park Avenue discretion.

  165. It appears likely to have not been a facemask penalty. Blandino’s statement is carefully worded.

    I think the NFL wants to get it right, but the mistakes also add to the spectacle and attention given to the NFL: more discussion, publicity, drama.

  166. Ahhh I see, so when the Hawks benefited from a bad call : Golden Tate’s Fail Marry.

    Packer fans whined, cried, acted like big babies, and some of them even sent death threats to that poor referee.

    Now that they benefited from a blown call and then win by a hail marry and its all good now?

    Can’t have it both ways hypocrites.

  167. Wow what a surprise–a huge call at the end of the game goes against the Lions to save the Packer’s season. That’s now 3 games in the last 13 months that have been absolutely stolen from the Lions with calls at the end: Playoffs against the Cowboys, the batted ball in Seattle, and now this.

    Also, if you want to call the facemask fine, but what about the BLATANT block in the back on the Hail Mary play. Why doesn’t that get called ‘every time’ Dean?

  168. Karmic payback for the facemask penalty that wasn’t called on the final play of the 2009 playoff game against the Cardinals. It all evens out in the end.

  169. As a Packer fan I’m thrilled to get a free win gift wrapped by the officials but I just wish they would let us either win or lose on our own. My “friends” that wear purple or bear black have been pointing out the leagues bias for a couple of years but I just didn’t want to believe it. Not saying the league actually controls wins and loses but they have a desire to give us every possible chance to pull a win out of a game we actually lost. As a pack fan it’s great but it just taints every conversations I have with them because it’s so obvious. Nonetheless, I’ll take the win….we needed it. Just glad we are on this end of the “unspoken rule”. Would suck to be a lions, bears or queen fan with these refs.

  170. There is only one take-away from this game.

    SCOREBOARD!

    Remember when the refs never called the obvious roughing the kicker against the Vikings when they played the Bears? This was winning like that…..when you had no right to do so.

    What goes around, comes around.

    GO SEAHAWKS!

  171. As a Packers fan I completely agree that this was not a penalty. And I also agree that they need to have something in place to look at plays like this to ensure they got things right on the field. But, that being said

    Go Pack Go!

  172. It may not have been violated by the Lions, but after all the other horrible officiating last night and the rest of this season, who really cares anymore besides Lions fans. Personally, I’m happy to see one go Green Bay’s way for a change!

  173. Doesn’t matter. The entire country wants the packers to win! That’s why the refs called that foul.

    We’re on our way to the Super Bowl. Can’t wait to face the Patriots. No NFC team has a chance to beat the Patriots other than the mighty packers.

  174. From the ref’s angle behind Rogers, I’m sure it looked like a facemask penalty when Taylor yanked Rogers down by grabbing the jersey. That’s why penalties the ref thinks he sees or which he misses should be challengeable.

  175. Exactly what I thought and yet the two holds and illegal block in the back on the. Hail Mary weren’t called by the ref who had plain visibility. It’s amazing how he missed all of that yet he could see Taylor’s hand supposedly grabbing Rodgers’ face mask.

  176. I kind of agree, I think that was a terrible call and the Lions won that game. There was clearly no control no even an attempt to touch his facemask. You can clearly see he is going to grab Rodgers shoulder, but he’s reaching across their chests to grab the opposite shoulder, and Rodgers’ mask is just barely in the way and the tip of the guys finger glances across it.

    The Lions won that game the whole way. But at the same time, why wouldn’t any of the defenders stand in front? Hasn’t anyone ever played 500? If you let that hail mary get caught, you kind of deserve to lose anyway.

  177. The facemask was terrible at best. But how come no one is talking about the most egregious block in the back that literally peeled the lions defender off of Rodgers on the final hail Mary throw? It was the most ridiculous and impure ending I’ve ever seen .

  178. Yes it was a bad call, but let’s not act like that was the only reason the Lions lost. How about score more than 3 points in the 2nd half? How about defend a Hail Mary properly? Classic Lions collapse and they have no one to blame but themselves.

  179. The rule also gave an example that if a player glances or
    touches the facemask but no twist turn or spin occur that it is not a foul which is clearly what happened last night. I’m not
    a Lions fan, but they have been hosed so many times by the refs that I’m surprised the owner hasn’t starting keying their cars after the games. I have been watching football for 25 years and really have not remembered a worse year of blantant bad calls affecting the outcome of so many games. It’s getting to the point that I’m starting to believe my cynical father who used to say the games was fixed.

  180. In slow motion it looked like a pretty soft touch. The miscall was helped by Rogers turning his head that direction as he hunched to protect the ball. In real time it looked like the hand moved the head but in slow motion you can see they were unrelated. I can see why the officials got it wrong.

  181. HMM, HOW ODD, AND THE SPREAD WAS 3.5……….PACKERS WIN BY 4 WITH ZEROS ON THE CLOCK…..BUT IN ALL HONESTY, THE LIONS WENT INTOI A COMPLETE SHELL FROM MID 3RD QUARTER ON. THIS WAS THE LIONS BLOWING IT

  182. The NFL is a joke this is literally a weekly event now where referees decide the outcome of games instead of the players. It’s becoming WWF wrestling with scripted outcomes. The packers cover the spread by a half point and Vegas wins again.

  183. If that is the rule and they are going to call it “almost every time”…. Why are ball carriers allowed to grasp and control the face mask? And… If that is the proper interpretation of the rule, I am willing to bet that almost every play has a face mask penalty at the line of scrimmage.

    I am a stickler for the rules, so if you tell me you will always call it this way, that it was correct and you continue to call it, all is forgiven, but I also don’t believe that call would even be made if the Quarterback was Cutler.

  184. Good explanation, Florio. And good response from Blandino. When I saw the flag my thought was, is that what they mean by grabbing the face mask. Is that what they intended the penalty should address. I didn’t think so. But Rogers knew how to play it.

    Unfortunate loss for the Lions.

  185. That was a horrible call, so sick of watching Packer players throw their arms in the air every play looking for a penalty. Even Devonte Adams does it. The guy is a chop, has earned zero respect in the NFL. But because Arodg and McCarthy bitch any time they don’t make a play, their teammates/player’s have also absorbed that mentality.

  186. Not Lions fan just a football fan. IMHO the competency of officials has regressed considerably. Last week the Pats lost with Phantom calls now the Lions. They need to hire full time guys and train them. They should attend weekly clinics and all these arbitrary judgement calls would at least be called more consistently. Billion dollar business being decided by part time guys without proper training. Nice pass by Rodgers but it never should have happened. Under Goodell’s leadership or lack of it the NFL lacks considerable credibility.

  187. Not Lions fan just a football fan. IMHO the competency of officials has regressed considerably. Last week the Pats lost with Phantom calls now the Lions. They need to hire full time guys and train them. They should attend weekly clinics and all these arbitrary judgement calls would at least be called more consistently. Billion dollar business being decided by part time guys without proper training. Nice pass by Rodgers but it never should have happened. Under Goodell’s leadership or lack of it the NFL lacks considerable credibility.

  188. It seems TOO logical to have a replay official in the booth watching plays in detail so they can assist he crews. If a flag is thrown and the zebras confer with one another, he can check to make sure it’s legit then relay it to the head official before he announces it so he can give an explanation of why it was or wasn’t a penalty. They may have something like this in place already? I’m not sure, but if they do it needs a tune up. Just give the guy in the booth the power to overturn calls on the field based on what he sees in high def slow mo. I don’t think penalties should be challengeable or reviewable because then games would take 4-5 hours but I feel like this would clean up A TON of the crappy calls.

  189. When was the last time an umpire called a sttike by the rules of baseball?

    There’s what’s written in a book, and there’s the real world. Guess which rules we have to live by.

  190. Yet again, the officials inject themselves into the outcome of a game for no apparent reason. We saw the same earlier in the game with a totally mystifying pass interference call on the Lions that cost them 40 yards. This must stop. Let the players play and only call clear fouls.

  191. Maybe the Lions shouldn’t have pissed the game away in the second half when they were leading 20-0. Good teams don’t put themselves in positions where a single bad call can decide the game. Time to clean house, down to the scouts.

  192. So that’s two games given away this year for the lions due to bad officiating at the end of the game. After a playoff loss due to bad officiating at the end of the game. Not that we don’t have a tendency to self destruct, but maybe if some of these games were wins and we were looking at a chance at the playoffs we wouldn’t feel like that’s the case. Very disappointing in any case.

  193. We will not stop until every NFL game is 5 hours long! Because that’s the way we’re headed, gotta challenge EVERYTHING!

  194. What about the play before where there was clear pass interference on the Lions that would have put the Pack in FG range? The dude ran through the receiver before the ball got there

  195. so the official rule says the facemask shall not be pushed pulled or twisted in any direction? Are you guys saying his facemask wasnt pushed? What replay are you watching?

  196. Integrity is what the commissioner stands for and is what he claims. How is the outcome of the game ruined by a nefarious ref call at the last second, not the most integral part of any NLF game? The robbed the Lion’s players of a great effort. They go out there and risk their necks to get cheated in the end! Totally lacking in fairness.

    The Lions should have won, the refs took the game away from the Lions and Vegas made out too. So think what you want but that’s the best example of cheating I can think of, so let’s get Wells on this case right away. What hypocrites run this league? If you can’t be fair to the team and it’s fans, stop collecting their money. No one wants to dish hundreds of dollars and then watch a great effort get canceled by another bogus call. Is there any major sports organization less honest than the NFL?

  197. So the Lions have been screwed twice by the refs (each time cost them the game) One the call wasn’t made (Seattle) last night a bad call wasn’t made and there is no recourse to correct these to get the call right. This is wrong NFl FIX IT!!!!!!!!

    I am not a lions fan either just feel bad for them.

  198. In real time, it looks like a facemask and the call is understandable. It is made by the ref who is behind Rodgers and when his mask is hit, his head does turn. I am not sure who wouldn’t make that call.

  199. I have a theory on missed calls and penalties. It tends to even out in the course of a game and if not, it will be even by the end of the season. Fans like to point out a specific play as the being the worst call of the game but in reality, missed calls rarely impact the end of the game. The Lion’s DB’s played the final play like they were spectators. If they want to evaluate the reason they lost, they should start there.

  200. Yep-getting it right comes with a price. All the reviews slow the game to a crawl. Should defensive holding be reviewable? It is laughable to say the Packers get all the calls. Teams have decided the way to beat the Pack is to mug their receivers and it is usually not called. How many replays over the last few weeks show the opposition db’s grabbing jersey? But should it be reviewable? Heck no–play the game.

  201. The previous play where folks think PI was missed was not a penalty. The defender clearly turned his head, located the ball and had every right to the position he occupied when the receiver tried to get to the ball.

    The facemask call seemed clear in real time but was obviously not a foul upon close examination of the replay. I can see why it was called and I can’t find fault in the refs decision.

    Blandino omitting the crucial text of the written rule is a disgrace-as usual.

  202. “This play HAS been called like this every time and that may mean NONE of the officials in the NFL know the rule.”

    This.

    The play was close, replay shows me it didn’t meet the criteria for a foul, but they will call it every time if the QB’s head moves and it did last night.

    The head of NFL officiating just publicly stated that his referees will misinterpret a rule every time.

    That’s some quality work there, Dean.

  203. This ghost facemask call last night was an insult not only to the Lions Organization, but to fans watching world wide. Game officials are given the liberty to single handily change lives and livelihoods, are you kidding me? I’d say the league suffered another black eye.

    The broadcast crew endorsed the call. It’ embarrassing to have these jokers on TV with their complete lack of knowledge of the rules that govern the game.

    The real issue here is the greed of the NFL. Week after week we see phantom calls by NFL refs that aid golden-child teams to unmerited wins. It’s so blatant this sham, WWF is now a better option.

    At this rate, we can expect crappy playoffs. It’s the “lie” effect. The NFL is lying to fans that bad teams are good by having refs decide the outcomes of games. The lies that get the bad teams into the playoffs would have to be told again. smh

    The NFL is a Fraud and Rodger Crookdell is a crook. No change is coming unless fans stay home and let staff at 345 Park Avenue sit in the stands.

  204. Notwithstanding the points my fantasy team needed Rodgers to score for me, that wrongly called face mask penalty cost the Lions another game.

    At best, the rule is subjective and, yet again, leaves too many openings for judgment, however the part which states “If a player grasps an opponent’s facemask, he must immediately release it. If he does not immediately release it and controls his opponent, it is a foul.” at least attempts to make it slightly more objective, and yet was disregarded here.

    Not really a surprise though that Blind-ino justifies the call, as it almost seems that the rules were purposely written to create loopholes in order to make judgment calls are not really representative of what a logical person would think the intent would be.

  205. What about article 9 which reads “In covering the passer position, Referees will be particularly alert to fouls in which defenders impermissibly use the helmet and/or facemask to hit the passer, or use hands, arms, or other parts of the body to hit the passer forcibly in the head or neck area (see also the other unnecessary roughness rules covering these subjects).”

    Could have called it an illegal blow to the head/neck area just the same. It’s a penalty.

  206. guyljr says:
    Dec 4, 2015 9:40 AM

    What about article 9 which reads “In covering the passer position, Referees will be particularly alert to fouls in which defenders impermissibly use the helmet and/or facemask to hit the passer, or use hands, arms, or other parts of the body to hit the passer forcibly in the head or neck area (see also the other unnecessary roughness rules covering these subjects).”

    Could have called it an illegal blow to the head/neck area just the same.

    ———-

    if that is what it was, then that is what should have been called. but it wasn’t what was called.

  207. If the quarterback would’ve been named something like Tannehill, Bridgewater, Cousins, or Fitzpatrick, this would never have been called…just sayin’. Rodgers, Manning, Brady, Brees will get this call every time…

  208. “No player shall grasp and control, twist, turn, push, or pull the facemask of an opponent in any direction,” Rule 12, Section 2, Article 14 states.

    The rule comes with an important caveat: “If a player grasps an opponent’s facemask, he must immediately release it. If he does not immediately release it and controls his opponent, it is a foul.”

    ————————————————————

    It WAS violated. The key is “no player shall…TURN, push, or pull the face mask in any direction”.

    The caveat’s key words are: If a player GRASPS an opponent’s face make.

    True the face make was not grabbed but was TURNED with the hand brushing against it.

    So if you want to dissect the rule, then make sure you’re doing it correctly.

  209. paulrevereshorse1775 says:
    Dec 4, 2015 9:48 AM

    if that is what it was, then that is what should have been called. but it wasn’t what was called.

    ———-

    The point is everyone is acting like the Lions got robbed because Florio wants to dissect the rule book. They didn’t get robbed, because it should have been a penalty. Regardless of if the ref incorrectly called a facemask, a 15 yard penalty was still the correct call on the play and the rule book says so!

  210. packmanfan says:
    Dec 4, 2015 12:47 AM
    Packers won and there is not one thing anyone can do to change that. So there and learn to live with that.

    ___

    Did you say the same thing after Seattle beat the Packers on the last second TD a few years ago? I doubt it.

  211. When a penalty gives an untimed down at the end of the game that either ties or wins the game for a team and the penalty is obviously wrong, how can the NFL uphold the result of the game?

    Not a fan of either team (pats fan) but the packers should be given a loss and the lions a win. It does not make sense to me to not do that.

  212. I feel sorry for the Lions they were clearly the superior team and looked like the only playoff team on the field, and again they get a bogus call and again the refs give the game to the Cheeseheads. I hope Martha lets Ole Roger G have it. And I agree: Go to technology and eliminate the human error and bias forever.

  213. Also, here is the first “NOTE” for the Roughing the Passer section of the rule book:

    “(1) When in doubt about a roughness call or potentially dangerous tactic against the quarterback, the Referee should
    always call roughing the passer.”

  214. All I know is this: had the Lions not given up 14 points quickly to let the Packers back in it, there would not have been a comeback.

    Zimmer’s 4 steps to greatness:
    1. You learn how to compete
    2. You learn how to win
    3. You learn how to handle winning
    4. You learn how to be a champion

    Detroit is stuck working on level 2.

  215. The illegal “blow to the head” you guys are referring to only protects a “passer” not a runner (article 13-3 and 13-7 of the penalty rules). They called it a facemask which is 2-5 grasping and twisting, turning, or pulling facemask.

    The refs called it a facemask because it looked like a facemask from their perspective, even though it was not. The combination of the bump to the facemask, Rodgers turning his head to protect himself/draw the penalty, and the way he fell because of the defender pulling him down by the shoulder made it look like a facemask so the ref threw the flag.

  216. lindacaseauthor says:
    Dec 4, 2015 10:09 AM
    I feel sorry for the Lions they were clearly the superior team and looked like the only playoff team on the field, and again they get a bogus call and again the refs give the game to the Cheeseheads. I hope Martha lets Ole Roger G have it. And I agree: Go to technology and eliminate the human error and bias forever.

    ——————————————

    Superior team? Ha!

    Only playoff team on the field? Ha!

    Lions scored only 2 field goals in the 2nd half after being up 17 points to zero. Call that a playoff team? How about a team that can’t finish?

  217. If the quarterback would’ve been named something like Tannehill, Bridgewater, Cousins, or Fitzpatrick, this would never have been called…just sayin’. Rodgers, Manning, Brady, Brees will get this call every time…
    ________________________________

    In the Denver game Miller speared Brady after he was tackled and was lying defenseless on the ground-helmet to helmet. Miller was penalized but was only fined half the amount prescribed by NFL rule. Later in the game Miller launched himself with both feet and went airborne helmet to helmet on Brady and no flag was thrown.

    Refs miss calls for star QB’s too.

  218. That penalty gets called in games every week. Don’t give me this crap that it was only called because it’s Aaron Rodgers. It happens all the time. Some guy puts his fingers in the face mask and no matter how fast he “removes” them it gets called. Quit being a bunch of crybabies and blaming the refs for the Lions blowing a 20 point lead.

  219. Two refs saw the same thing on the same play from two different angles. You want to micro analyze one play, you have to do it for every play. I’m not saying that calling a facemask penalty on that play was the perfect call – but two referees, from two different places on the field threw a flag when they saw what they saw in real time. Deal with it, Lions, you blew a 20 point lead and your team lost on a phenomenal play at the end. If you call Rodgers and the Packers whiners, just listen to yourself. We have come to expect no class, no dignity out of Detroit – kind of why they are losers, and have been for so long.

  220. packmanfan says:
    Dec 4, 2015 12:47 AM

    Packers won and there is not one thing anyone can do to change that. So there and learn to live with that.

    —————

    I couldn’t care less who won the game. Neither do all the other outraged fans of other teams. What matters is that the officials call a fair game and don’t become the determining factor of who wins the game. That was a travesty and if it went the other way it would still be a travesty. Everyone loves a Hail Mary, but Detroit should have already won.

  221. What a lot of people are forgetting is Rodgers was no longer a QB when the “face mask” penalty was called. He was a runner due to the ball being laterally thrown back to him. That would rule out any penalty for illegal blow to the QBs head as well. The defender’s finger grazed Rodgers’ face mask but there was no action of grabbing or pulling on it. Should have been a no call.

    There was also a blatant holding, block in the back, and offensive PI on Green Bay’s game winning play. The bear hug that Ansa was getting should have been a penalty. Which would back the Packers up 10 yards, which would be too far for Rodgers to heave the ball into the end zone at that point.

    Very sloppy officiating.

    That said, the Lions had a 99.9% chance of winning that game and all of those defenders in the end zone stood and watched. Instead of making a play on the ball. Lions were the better team and still found a way to lose.

  222. The facemask rule, as written, was not violated. However, the rules for horsecollar tackle and illegal use of hands, as written, were both violated by Taylor on the play. The penalty they actually called on the field was incorrect, but the end result ultimately was correct regardless.

  223. thegreenandcold says:
    Dec 4, 2015 1:23 AM

    Was there contact to the facemask? Yes.
    Did Aaron’s head turn? Yes.

    Then the defender “used force to turn the helmet in one of (any) direction” which is a penalty.

    Also if it wasn’t a penalty:
    Why did Aaron’s head turn?
    Why did his chin strap end up in his face when no other hit during the entire game had previously caused this to happen, in a game where he was hit multiple times due to a patchwork offense line?

    ———————————————————-

    Why did Rodgers’ head turn? Neck muscles.
    Why did Rodgers’ chin strap end up under his nose? Rodgers’ thumb.

  224. The problem is the bias in the calls, not the calls themselves. In the Lions-Seahawks game, the officials made a subjective decision to let the game end without a penalty. In this game, they make a subjective decision to give the Packers another chance. Even if the official thought there might be a penalty, why not “let it go” like they did in the other game.

    It’s called bias. That’s where the problem lies.

  225. To make things easier, penalty plays like these should be included in the instant replay review. Hindsight doesn’t do anything to reverse a call or even affect the outcome of the game. Reviews should be done in corresponding with a consultation of the actual rule that applies. I know it will add time to games but at the very least, it should eliminate majority, if not all, of the second guessing that happens the day after.

  226. These referees are NOT professionals – that is part of the problem, they are part time employees! In a multi billion dollar industry! The other problem is the age of the referees -there is no way they can keep up with these 20 year old players. The NFL needs to change the system.

  227. Reminder to Lions fans saying they should be 6-6 but for the referees… you won your game at Ford Field against the Bears because the referees gave you a TD catch that wasn’t.

    As a Bear fan… I sucked up remembering how dirty I felt when Calvin Johnson’s catch in Soldier Field 2012 was called incomplete (you guys should have won that game).

    You guys got screwed this game (and yes… the Seattle game too). I don’t always root for the Lions, but when you play the Packers, how can I not. The Lions’ coaching and players also had an influence on the outcome of that game in the second half but that was one cruddy facemask call and you guys would have survived the bad coaching and execution down the stretch if the officials got that right.

    Packer fans… especially after hearing Mike McCarthy complain that they lost last week because of a PI call/non-call (even though the officials were absolutely skewed to the Packers and spotted them a TD)… do you feel a little dirty with this morning? Do you need a bath?

  228. Did anyone wonder why the back judge threw the flag instead of the referee standing right in front of the play. Here’s the reason, from another replay angle as the Lion defender was falling to the ground, he ‘blatantly’ grabbed Rodgers face mask. Most folks have not seen that replay. The back judge made the correct call, case closed. Remember the TV announcers talking about Rodgers chin strap and helmet being misaligned, that’s why the facemask was blatantly grabbed, you did not see on the original replay.

  229. I can’t believe the NFL doesn’t already have this video official. Why? They don’t need a new technology from another planet, just watch the damn TV! But hey, that extra official needs to be paid… and it would cut a few bucks in the NFL billions profit.

    Goodell is all about money

  230. do any other sports review fouls? i’m not aware of any. if you want to contend it wasn’t a face mask which isn’t hard to do. there is still the fact that the Lions couldn’t defend the hail mary. the play the works once every 100 times. has there even been a successful hail mary this year?

    if they start reviewing every foul the game is going to be extremely long and not reviewing every foul but just those at the end of the game is not an option.

  231. As a Packer fan, I won’t say this was a bad call. Honestly, I feel it could have gone either way. That said, I think the tackler got his hand under the shoulder pads after the “face-mask” and could have also been called for a horse-collar tackle. I don’t think a blow to the head penalty would have been warranted, as at this point in the play Rodgers is no longer a QB, he’s a runner.

    But the game didn’t hinge on this play. It didn’t put points on the board. All it did was give the Packers one final chance. The Lions poorly defended the 61 yard pass play. That’s on the Lions.

    These penalties tend to even out over the game and over the season. For example, Josh Sitton was called for a face-mask, that by the above definition, wasn’t a face-mask. It wiped out a very nice screen play by Starks that would have given the Packers a prime chance for points, instead it killed a drive.

  232. mufan2907 says:
    Dec 4, 2015 12:52 AM
    The only people who think that was a facemask are packers fans. Clearly, and I mean clearly, that is not a personal foul. There was no “twist, turn, or pull” of the helmet. There wasn’t even a grab. The NFL gets yet another crucial call wrong. And no, I’m not a Lions fan.
    _____________________
    Uhm the announcers and the ENTIRE world said it was a facemask when they first saw it. Everyone would have called it. Lastly he could have gotten a finger in their after Rodgers helmet turns away from the camera. The NFLs focus on player safety will ensure that play would be called that way every time. Next Lions and Vikings fans really need to quit whining it is getting old. Maybe just win a few without expecting the refs help. Finally it was a much better piece of officiating than the “Fail Mary.” Florio writes like this because it generates clicks. Finally even he knows it was the right call but it soooooooo easy to get Lions Vikings fans going. I mean the NFL must love the Packers there is no way the Vikings, Lions, and Bears truly suck this much is there?

  233. I don’t know the titles of all the different officials on the field but the flag was thrown by an official whose view was from behind Rogers. There was another official with a frontside who didn’t throw a flag so obviously what he saw even in real time at full speed wasn’t enough to make him throw a flag. I don’t see why officials have a problem with communicating with each other and correcting each other.

  234. Was it a face mask? Possibly not. Was it a blow to the head? Probably. Lions fans should be more upset for Taylor for trying to take the head off the player who was the last line of a lateral, for not blitzing against 4 replacement OL, not having Megatron in the end zone. Again, poor coaching and scheming by the Lions.

  235. That was no horse-collar tackle. You’re allowed to grab someone’s shoulder pads to tackle them, you’re not allowed to yank them down from the back holding the collar of the pads… that’s not what happened.

    In real time, it looks like a facemask. Up close and in slow motion, it clearly isn’t. Lions got jobbed for sure, but I wouldn’t fire a referee over it. Replay would have brought a more just outcome though.

  236. Curiouser and curiouser.
    There have always been bad calls – it just seems like lately they all happen to further the end result of a storyline the league would like to push going into the postseason. And it is not the number of calls, or the yardage that jumps out, it is the timing of those calls and the impact on the particular game.

    The league wants Rogers, the heir apparent to Brady/Manning to move on.
    Early in the year, the Colts were getting the suspect calls, not long after the league had an ad featuring Luck.
    Can’t let the Patriots go undefeated, can we?

    Looking more and more like pro wrestling all the time.

    Or maybe just coincidence, who knows? It just smells funny.

  237. gratngoodman93 says “Not to mention the game is more exciting and there’s a depth of competitive teams unlike the NFL.”

    Novice football fans like a lot of action. They don’t seem to appreciate outstanding play on the defensive side as much as more seasoned fans. It’s not a video game. These are amazing athletes and the best are on the defensive side of the ball. If you really love such trivial action, but a Madden game.

    College football is unbelievably boring to me. Every so often when I watch the top teams compete, I almost gag at the overall lack of skills. They don’t play defense. I feel like I’m watching a friggin track meet. Any good coach can find a weak link in the opposing team and exploit it many times.

    Why do you think so many great college players fail to make it in the NFL? Simply because they have never competed against such widespread talent. The team speed overwhelms many college superstars and exposes them for their flaws.

  238. thekiy says:
    Dec 4, 2015 12:42 AM

    Is anyone surprised that the pack gets a call that let’s them win a game? This happens at least a few times a year.
    —————————–
    Last I checked, that call didn’t put any points on the baord and they still had to go 61 yards for a score to win. Detroits’s D let the Packers win, not the refs.

  239. thejohnsmith1122 says:
    Dec 4, 2015 10:15 AM
    lindacaseauthor says:
    Dec 4, 2015 10:09 AM
    I feel sorry for the Lions they were clearly the superior team and looked like the only playoff team on the field, and again they get a bogus call and again the refs give the game to the Cheeseheads. I hope Martha lets Ole Roger G have it. And I agree: Go to technology and eliminate the human error and bias forever.

    ——————————————

    Superior team? Ha!

    Only playoff team on the field? Ha!

    Lions scored only 2 field goals in the 2nd half after being up 17 points
    to zero. Call that a playoff team? How about a team that can’t finish?

    ——————————
    Ha! Back to you. Your team was totally inferior. Rodgers barely threw for 200 yds and your team was 3-12 on third down. I will admit that Detroit made a bevy of mistakes and had a lack of strategy on that Hail Mary play. 6’5″ Megatron and 6’4″ Ebron should have been in the end zone as both are jumpers, and to get things set up, Caldwell should of called his last time out. The two players on Rodgers were useless, letting him escape to the right where he throws the best. The coaching for the Lions was bad on that last play, but the Lions ARE a more complete team than the Cheeseheads. And in answer to your comment about a team finishing, that’s only true about that very last play and only by sheer luck did the Packers win this game. But let’s be honest, just because the luckier team won the game, doesn’t mean the better team won the game.

  240. it was a penalty but it could easily have not been called either way..the lions still have to play that last down which they didn’t..brutal way to lose but i don’t see any controversy on this one.

    also im really really sick of blandino..time for that fool to go

  241. The slo mo replay showed Taylor accidentally hooking Rodgers facemask with his thumb for a second. It did turn Rodgers head somewhat, so I would have to agree with the call, it was a foul.

    What I don’t understand is how Caldwell could think he would see a Cal Bears style lateral play from 61 yards out. That makes no sense to me. Rodgers can easily heave it that far. The mistake his D made was to keep everyone behind the deepest receiver. That made for a barrier between his own defensive players and the eventual player who made the catch.

    I give them an F for poor coaching.

  242. customframing says “These referees are NOT professionals – that is part of the problem, they are part time employees!”

    They certainly ARE professionals. The get paid. Part time work is the norm in the US now. Have you been living under a rock or something?

  243. packsupersoldier says:
    Dec 4, 2015 12:45 AM

    Let the butthurt whining begin.
    ________________

    Erin Rodgers is your quarterback and you’re talking about butthurt? You know what I’m talking about.

  244. The pass play to Abberdarris a few plays before was eerily similar to one lions fans have been griping aboutf or a year. No call there. Call that and it’s a chip shot field goal. Don’t see anyone bringing that up.

  245. I’m just not having fun watching football anymore. The main reason I watch now is fantasy football. There are literal wife-beaters that play the game every week, there’s complete denial of brain damage, there’s a flag thrown every play, calls are being made that are breaking the game, rules are complex and entirely stupid, Goodell is blatantly corrupt along with the entire league, etc.. I’m not having fun watching anymore. It’s almost like an obligation to watch, an just when I start to have fun again, a ref throws another bogus flag. I’m not an expert at the game’s rules (who even is though?), but I can see complete bogus calls left and right. It’s insane. Last night’s game was insane. The Green Bay offense runs completely on Pass Interference calls. Like, completely. I knew they did it before, but now it’s even more obvious. The rules are SO BROKEN… Everything is broken.

  246. I think you are misreading the rule. It says if you “push” the face mask in any direction it is a foul. The part about grabbing and releasing only applies to the grabbing portion of the foul.

    From what you are saying, you grab the facemask and immediately release it but push the guys head in the ground with it and not be a foul because he immediately released it.

    The releasing then doesn’t apply to the Lions player because he never grabbed it. He was flagged for pushing it. I admit it looks petty on replay but you can’t use your argument to criticize the call.

  247. This happens in every Packers game. The opposing teams QB can get mauled with no calls, but pat Rogers on the shoulder pads, it’s roughing the passer. I wish I had a link to the commentator showing the way Teddy Bridgewater was roughed up after the pass with no calls, and how little contact it took on Rodgers to get a call, it’s pretty telling.

  248. Aaron Rodgers folks, Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Rodgers!!! Don’t you know the NFL is tired of seeing him throwing his helmet or cap on the sidelines after another loss. I watched the GB – Minnesota game where he got a call but Bridgewater had hands to the face twice with nothing. You could see telling the official the second time it happened. Aaron Rodgers is the Tom Brady of the NFC and that’s not a shot at Tom Brady, it’s just the way the NFL is.

  249. What one fan who does not watch the Packers on a regular basis is, Watch how the Officials protect “Karen Rodgers”. If Karen does not get the play, he or his receivers will almost always throw their hands in the air trying to get a flag thrown.

  250. how about we get rid of all replay all together and let the officals make the call on the field in real time. Sure they will miss some calls, but thats part of the game. Why do we feel the need to have to perfect every damn thing anymore? Some things are beautiful because they are flawed.

  251. I guess I missed the notice from the NFL when they decided to implement special “No Touch” Rules specifically for Rodgers, Brady, Manning & Breeze several years back. Pretty easy to consistently win when the refs are on your side…

  252. To all that are whining and belly aching about the call last night really need to find another sport to watch. The game is played by human beings and reffed by human beings and mistakes will be made. Learn to deal with disappointment for the love of god and understand it’s just a game. At least none of you were killed in California a few days ago or in Paris last month or in any other real tragedies that occur in this world every day. Can we get some perspective? Please?

  253. This is the parity the NFL has been preaching…the Patriots (an AFC Team) lost to the Broncos due to Non-calls of obvious penalties…The Lions (an NFC Team) lost to the Packers due to a call of a non-penalty….see parity. Great job, Roger!

  254. This comment section is EPIC! So much hatred for the Packers…I kinda love it. Sorry guys, they got the call, Aaron Rodgers threw an absolute bomb and the Lions’ D couldn’t cover the easiest play to defend. Too bad.

  255. Packers aided greatly by a bogus call…again. You would think they are the Patriots or Steelers these days….

  256. I think Rule 12, Section 2, Article 15 states – that if you get with in 6 feet of Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady during the course of play a flag will be thrown, your team will be penalized 15 yards, offending player should be banned from the league.

  257. You know these are Florio article by the tone of how the Packers got away with it. You see that play in real time, Rodgers helmet moves, two defenders up near the head and you call it. I agree its not a penalty, but sitting at home with our 60 inch HDTVs, a dvr and getting to see these plays in slow-mo and zoomed in angles its easy to complain.

    If only the league could afford a setup like that at every game for an official. But, man, the cost would be, what, $44,000,000? Just to pick a random number…

  258. Mike Pereira also agrees that it was a facemask. Basically that makes it everyone with the knowledge to know the rule thinks it was a facemask. Everyone who has no clue (99% of the media and fans) thinks it was… As usual those in the minority are right.

  259. peytonwantsaflag says:
    Dec 4, 2015 12:47 AM
    Ok fine, but it is a blow to the head of the qb which is called multiple times every weekend and also is a 15 harder with automatic 1st down so how bout we give it a rest? You and your kind are killing this game.

    ——————————————————–

    Wrong, once he leaves the pocket he is considered a runner, therefore there is no automatic call for the hand to the head or tackle at the knees

  260. Fortunately for the Lions no one is talking about how the blew a 20 point lead, other words Mama Ford might take her 2nd tour through the facilities canning more people.

  261. Hopefully this doesn’t get censored this time, as it breaks no rules:

    “The rules quoted demonstrate why it was a facemask.

    “No player shall grasp and control, twist, turn, push, or pull the facemask of an opponent in any direction”

    The facemask of Rodgers was pushed towards the ground by the Lions defender. The facemask was not grabbed in the first place, therefore making the caveat regarding grabbing the facemask irrelevant. Rodgers’ facemask was pushed towards the ground. Therefore it’s a penalty by rule and was correctly called.

    Officials make that call “every time” according to Blandino because it actually is a penalty every time. “

  262. They are looking at the wrong rule. Look at Article 13 –
    In covering the passer position, “Referees will be particularly alert to fouls in which defenders impermissibly use the helmet and/or facemask to hit the passer, or use hands, arms, or other parts of
    the body to hit the passer forcibly in the head or neck area (see also the other unnecessary-roughness
    rules covering these subjects).

  263. They can throw a flag for someone touching the helmet of a qb anyway, so what’s all the yippy yapp? Other than the fact than 50% of all penalties in the NFL shouldn’t be penalties, this is just another thing.

  264. Florio you’re blind as a bat! The Facemask was obviously grasped and Rodgers was twisted as he tried to escape. It wasn’t intentional but it was still a foul!

  265. How about the phantom pass interference calls against the Lions to “keep the game close” early on? At the time of the 2 absurd calls I saw (back to back GB possessions), it was 17-0 & I definitely had my finger on the remote & was ready to switch.

  266. All those packer fans claiming for a PI on the previous play, do you actually know the rules of the game? Actually, it does not surprise me as rules for your team are different, but please try to comprehend the actual football rules:

    When the ball is thrown, both the WR and defender have the SAME right to the ball. And if the defender has his eyes set to the ball is making and attempt to catch, he is NOT committing a foul. On the PI call that led to the missed FG, that was actually an offensive PI and because that call was called in your favor, that does not mean that it was the correct one and that it should be called every time.

    The packers get the most calls by far every season. “Illegal contact” in the bears game led to their only td last week. Some of the calls against the vikings were incredible. And those are just the last three games….

  267. Initially, the defender’s finger was touching the facemask and then came off, BUT, as Rodgers was being twisted around, the defender’s middle finger lifted off the shoulder pad and hooked onto the facemask, just before before the defender’s hand goes out of view. A facemask call was properly called.

    People keep looking at the initial touching of the facemask and not beyond that, and therefore, not getting the truth. Also, A. Rodgers sure didn’t get his helmet twisted on his head from just hitting the ground.

  268. So is usdcoyote going to be crying about THIS call for the next 3 years too, or not since his team was the benefactor?

    Go steal a doughnut, dude.

  269. It’s no surprise to me that the Packers and their fanbase are okay with this – they’re used to winning games thanks to ghost penalties. I’m personally happy that my Bears beat them at home, at a game where Ed Hochuli was doing everything he could to give that game to them as well!

  270. Seriously Lions, Vikings, Bears whiners, if your theory is that the Packers get ALL the breaks, why have they won only 2 of their last 5 games? Certainly if what you say is true, the refs easily could have manufactured defensive infractions against the Panthers, Lions, and Bears to give Rodgers more chances to steal a win. Grow up! Besides the non-call DPI on the 3rd to last play, there was an even more obvious DPI non-call much earlier in the game, the Lions defender was not looking back for the ball and was face guarding/running over the Packers receiver down the far sideline. I could go on and on about offensive holding non-calls on several plays where the Lions offense made a significant gains. The Rodgers face mask wasn’t even close to the worst call made last night.

  271. So, the Vikings fans, who are the 3rd least penalized team in the league(Packers are 12th most penalized) are complaining about refs? Am I missing something here? Did they watch last week when they called an OPI on James Jones on what would have been a game winning touchdown catch by Randall Cobb? CLEARLY not OPI, period. Get over it Vikes, the Pack is STILL better than you

  272. I think really looking at this wrong. There was a bigger problem the last few minutes than the penalty….i think im the only one who noticed that every time the the packers stepped out of bounds the clock never stopped,this happened many times and the packers never rushed cause they thought it stopped, this is a bigger problem,that game lost about two minutes because someone failed to stop the clock while packers were driving down the field and the officials never noticed…..that is a bigger problem than the face mask call.

  273. fclevskisofia1914 says:
    Dec 4, 2015 4:15 PM
    All those packer fans claiming for a PI on the previous play, do you actually know the rules of the game? Actually, it does not surprise me as rules for your team are different, but please try to comprehend the actual football rules:

    When the ball is thrown, both the WR and defender have the SAME right to the ball. And if the defender has his eyes set to the ball is making and attempt to catch, he is NOT committing a foul. On the PI call that led to the missed FG, that was actually an offensive PI and because that call was called in your favor, that does not mean that it was the correct one and that it should be called every time.

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

    So fclevskisofia1914, what you are saying as long as the defender has eye on ball and trying to catch it that is not DPI? BS and you know it. If Diggs is waiting on an under thrown ball from Bridgewater and Sam Shields runs him over BUT was looking back towards ball trying to catch it and not at Diggs……that is ok? I mean, he is just trying to catch the ball. Wrong, that is DPI whether it was intentional, unintentional, looking at ball, looking at receiver or looking out in the stands. You cannot INTERFERE with a receiver. You do not know football son.

  274. That was not defensive pass interference. Stop reaching. We know Packer fans are used to getting every call that they beg for on the field, but that was textbook ball skills by Diggs. If anything, Rodgers could have been called for wrapping him up and preventing him from completing the interception.

  275. Mr. Wright 212 says:
    Dec 4, 2015 7:39 PM
    That was not defensive pass interference. Stop reaching. We know Packer fans are used to getting every call that they beg for on the field, but that was textbook ball skills by Diggs. If anything, Rodgers could have been called for wrapping him up and preventing him from completing the interception.

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

    You must have been watching the game closely, seeing as that pass was not thrown to Rodgers. If you want to spew nonsense at least act like you watched the game. Here is some advice….tune into your Wild team as they will still be playing after January 3rd. They should keep you entertained until April when your annual Super Bowl predictions start back up:)

  276. Wow. All these pucker fan commenting like they know the rules. But their spewing clearly shows that they do not. What a bunch of idiots.

  277. shaggytoodle says: Dec 4, 2015 12:50 AM

    What was a violation was the play before where just because a defender is looking backwards, would allow him to bowl over a WR.

    ——————————————-

    You Packer fans have had so many bogus calls go your way over the years you know longer understand the rules. The DB didn’t bowl the receiver over. He was running along side of him in perfect position for the INT, while tracking the ball. He has as much right to the ball as the WR. It was the WR who creates contact by grabbing the DB to prevent the INT. So if PI should have been called, it would have been on Green Bay.

    I have a site for you where the play is shown in slow motion, showing exactly what I described. But denial will prevent you from seeing the truth.

  278. When you watch that live it looks like a facemask, and a bad one. I’m not sure what caused Rodgers head to snap around but something not natural happened there. Human eyes in *real time* are very likely to make the same judgement on that same play 10/10 times. And by the way I hate the Packers. They would be the team that gets this call. But you can’t say nothing happened or that you don’t know why the call was made at full speed.

  279. milehighsal says: Dec 4, 2015 12:47 AM

    Apparently Florio has Superman vision because tell me ANY referee who doesn’t throw the flag there?

    —————————————

    I’ll tell you a ref who doesn’t throw the flag there – the one with the perfect view. The ref in front of the play, the one staring right at Rodgers & Taylor and who could see EVERYTHING and DIDN’T throw his flag…THAT’S WHO!!!!

  280. peytonwantsaflag says: Dec 4, 2015 12:47 AM

    Ok fine, but it is a blow to the head of the qb which is called multiple times every weekend and also is a 15 harder with automatic 1st down so how bout we give it a rest?

    —————————————

    Again, another person who doesn’t know the rules. Rodgers was no longer considered a passer, but instead a runner, and thus hitting the head is permissible. Look it up. Or better yet, watch some games other than Green Bay’s, where the refs aren’t always slanting things in that team’s favor.

  281. OK, this explains why Green Bay was able to get one more play to pull off the “Hail Mary” that gave them the win.

    So how do you alibi the other three touchdowns the Lions gave up in the last 20 minutes?  They were leading 20-0 with five minutes to go in the 3rd quarter, remember?  If anyone screwed the pooch here, it was the Lions themselves and not the refs.

  282. Contra your drivel is as old as the drivel in this entire thread. The lions had a 20-0 lead and could not keep it. If you seriously think the refs prefer the packers then why sould they play the game. Go ahead and give it to the Packers as well as the sup bowl too. How dare they actually want them to win it. And I was going to try to be more civil to you. Pff#fft.

  283. Ah, but Dean Blendino, the excuse man for the NFL, said “The officials got the hands to the face mask call correct;” despite what the cameras showed and what all of America, outside of the state of Wisconsin saw on their TV screens.
    The officiating was bad last year. It’s worse now!

  284. After reading 100+ comments, I finally had to register. Here are some points to consider:

    1) For those that say only the ref without a view threw a flag, watch closely. A second flag comes in from a ref that had a view. The flag comes in behind Rodgers as he is sitting on the ground.

    2) If the Lions could watch Rodgers instead of having their backs turned, maybe they wouldn’t have been boxed out. Or maybe they would have stopped Rodgers from running a TD in. What kind of defense allows themselves to get boxed out on such a HUGE play?

    3) The Lions should have put in AT LEAST Calvin Johnson on that play. EVERYONE AGREES WITH THIS.

    4) I didn’t realize that that last play was worth 27 points… with all the complaining you would think that the Lions dominated for 59 minutes and 54 seconds, while that one penalty and the resulting play lost them their 20 point lead.

    Full speed, that penalty is called 100% of the time. Right or wrong, it will be called.

  285. Stop bringing up poor defense by the poorly coached team. One has nothing to do with the other. They never should have had to defend anything. The game was over. Bringing that into the discussion just allows one to evade that the GB packers were again helped out by this league through their rotten officials.

  286. cinvis says:
    Dec 4, 2015 1:38 PM

    Mike Pereira also agrees that it was a facemask.
    00000000000000
    Not really a solid point. It is Mike’s job to agree with the refs’s calls. He does this 99.9 % of the time. I think the NFL told the networks to have these refs on the broadcast to minimize the outrage.

  287. Hard to say the Lions got screwed when they blew a 20 point lead, got lucky with a no call after blatant pass interference on the last drive, and allowed an average at best TE in Rchard Rodgers beat them on a hail Mary, also in real time that play would have been called a facemask by ANY ref in the NFL

  288. shaggytoodle says: Dec 4, 2015 12:50 AM

    You Packer fans have had so many bogus calls go your way over the years you know longer understand the rules. The DB didn’t bowl the receiver over. He was running along side of him in perfect position for the INT, while tracking the ball. He has as much right to the ball as the WR. It was the WR who creates contact by grabbing the DB to prevent the INT. So if PI should have been called, it would have been on Green Bay.

    I have a site for you where the play is shown in slow motion, showing exactly what I described. But denial will prevent you from seeing the truth.

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

    Abbrederis slows down to catch an under thrown ball. Yes the defender had an eye on ball, but he still ran into/over a slowing down Abbrederis. A receiver has a right to slow down with out getting contacted/ran over. “Playing the ball” does not give you the right to run into a receiver. Had their been NO contact, we would not be having this conversation. It really is clear, watch it again buddy.

  289. Whatever. I’m a Packers fan so I’m going to go with the refs on this one.
    If anyone thinks differently then feel free to apply for a job as an NFL ref
    —–
    This is exactly why I am no longer a Packers fan (they never were my no 1 team…)

    The players and coaches and TV broadcasters etc all act like spoiled kids. Admit they got away with one and you look like an adult. Keep making excuses and you look like a child.
    Ignore and hope it goes away = lose.

  290. goskinsgo says:
    Dec 5, 2015 11:28 AM

    Ignore and hope it goes away = lose.

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

    Actually, goskinsgo, it really does not matter what Packer fans do or say the that game still goes in the “W” column.

  291. Face Mask rule as written was violated.

    I can almost agree with this article, except Rodgers head was controlled by the thumb that went into his facemask. To further the point even more, the penalty flag come from the ref behind Rodgers. He must have seen Rodgers head being controlled and assumed there was interaction with the face mask to throw that flag. Then take away his perspective and see only the camera; there was clearly, although slight interaction with the face mask. The back ref already knew Rodger was controlled and the camera perspective confirms that he was controlled by the facemask. Each perspective on its own would make a reasonable case to throw that flag. Combine them together and it’s a solid case.

  292. LOL, look at all the crybabies I see here.
    “The NFL hates the Lions”
    You know how you start getting some borderline calls, Lions fans? Have a good team. Then, just occasionally, you may get the benefit of the doubt. Instead, you’re the laughingstock of the league. This year the 50th Super Bowl will be played. The Lions haven’t been to a single one, and winning this game wouldn’t have changed that.
    You’ve made it to ONE NFC Championship Game. ONE.

    Here’s a thought. Instead of crying all over the internet because you think you team got jobbed, how about your team not choke away a 20 point second half lead, hmm? How about your coaches teach your defensive players not to go grabbing for the quarterback’s helmet on a cut back? How about just knocking the Hail Mary pass down instead of lining everybody up behind the Packers receivers in the endzone, and letting Rodgers go up and catch the ball uncontested? Your idiot head coach didn’t think Aaron Rodgers could throw it 70 yards downfield. This is the guy who flicks the ball downfield 40 yards without even trying. He and Richard Rodgers sere practicing this exact kind of lob bomb BEFORE THE GAME. Did any of the numerous coaches, or anybody with a connection to the Lions tell him, “hey, put your tallest guys in, maybe Calvin Johnson, because Rodgers can toss the ball 75 yards if he needs to”? Nope.
    You lost. You could have won a game you lead by nearly three touchdowns by keeping your foot on the Packers throats. You didn’t. Quit whining.
    You lost this game, just like you have lost every last game of the seasons since 1957, because your franchise sucks. You are quick to blame the officials here (when there was clearly contact with the facemask-Rodgers helmet spins around, for God’s sake). How about you blame the inept ownership instead?

  293. Love the apologists…that Detroit blew the lead and therefore deserve a phantom penalty. Seriously…
    Ref behind play throws flag…no way he could have seen facemask…AR sold it. Game would have been over…no hail mary.

  294. We’re still not hearing much about the missed pass interference on the 3rd to last play that should’ve put the Packers in field goal range.

  295. Loser fans blame the refs.

    The fact is the Lions had no business being in that position anyway. Only a few teams in the modern era made up 20 points in that amount of time remaining.

    How about the Lions offensive line that allowed Peppers to strip the ball from Stafford? If that didn’t happen likely no Packers comeback.

    Stop whining and grow up.

  296. hodag54501 says:
    Dec 6, 2015 11:21 AM
    Loser fans blame the refs.

    The fact is the Lions had no business being in that position anyway. Only a few teams in the modern era made up 20 points in that amount of time remaining.

    How about the Lions offensive line that allowed Peppers to strip the ball from Stafford? If that didn’t happen likely no Packers comeback.

    Stop whining and grow up.

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

    Only problem is it’s not the Lions fans who are whining, although they should be the only ones whining. Vikings need to stop their obsession with the Pack.

    Stil
    Keep
    On
    Losing

    #Vikingsarescaredofpack

  297. Dale T. J. Sandberg says:
    Dec 5, 2015 10:58 PM
    Face Mask rule as written was violated.

    I can almost agree with this article, except Rodgers head was controlled by the thumb that went into his facemask. To further the point even more, the penalty flag come from the ref behind Rodgers. He must have seen Rodgers head being controlled and assumed there was interaction with the face mask to throw that flag. Then take away his perspective and see only the camera; there was clearly, although slight interaction with the face mask. The back ref already knew Rodger was controlled and the camera perspective confirms that he was controlled by the facemask. Each perspective on its own would make a reasonable case to throw that flag. Combine them together and it’s a solid case.

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

    In additon to this point, TWO refs threw a flag for the face mask. So BOTH refs saw fingers graze Rodgers face mask and his head jerked to his right. Really, I just don’t see a cause for whining….

    Pack fans have more of a case on the non-call DPI on third to last play. Nonetheless Packers won despite almost getting screwed by refs, AGAIN.

  298. I can almost agree with this article, except Rodgers head was controlled by the thumb that went into his facemask. To further the point even more, the penalty flag come from the ref behind Rodgers.

    ===

    Go to nfl.com and watch the play with the sound off and keep your cursor on the pause button. Pause it when the hand gets close to the facemask and frame-advance it through the play. You will see there was no grasp of the facemask and in fact it is hard to tell if he even made contact with it. What you will see is Rodgers twisting his head to avoid the tackle and then being twisted when a big, strong defensive lineman throws him down with a grab of his shoulder.

    No penalty, game over. It was a terrible call.

  299. i am THROUGH with the NFL, PERIOD;

    this makes FIVE games i’ve seen this season–two with the Lions and three with the Browns–where the referees have arbitrarily completely determined the outcome;

    granted, these are not the best or even the marquee teams of the league, but the way games have been completely taken away from those teams this season–and in most cases in favor of marquee teams with princesses for QBs (Baltimore, GB, etc.) the better for league PR–has reduced the league to the level of WWE;

    the only way you win now is either have a team so demonstrably superior they don’t have to worry about close games (Seathl two seasons ago, like Carolina today) or you have a location in a top media market and/or a princess QB (NE, Baltimore, GB);

    one of these days both the Browns and Lions will win it all, but i don’t know if i want to wait around for that because i don’t know if i’ll like the character of either team when they do, because they will have become what they’re now struggling against;

    ladies and gentlemen, that ain’t football, that’s WWE–small wonder the NFL is so popular with women these days, when the players act like, mug like and carry themselves like wrestlers;

  300. Here in the NFC North, fans are really getting tired of seeing Aaron Rodgers constantly working the officials.

    From going totally spastic every time he purposely short- throws those long sideline passes trying to get a PI call by having the defender come back to simply compete for the ball with receivers who just can’t get open, to throwing deep every time he thinks he sees an offside call and whining when he doesn’t get it to flopping all over the place each time he is touched on the helmet, this is all getting kind of old.

    This “protect the QB” deal with the NFL has now advanced to “The entire game is played at the pleasure of the QB”

    The extra play he was given after losing to the Lions at Lambeau was just sickening.

    I hope they lose to the Cowboys today, preferably by a bad call. The Lambeau refs owe the Cowboys one.

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