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Intriguing replay-review twist could eventually have impact on gambling interests

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 12: Outside linebacker James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates after the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Washington Redskins 38-16 at FedExField on September 12, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL’s commitment to conduct replay review on all turnovers, scoring plays, and plays occurring in the final two minutes of either half or during overtime comes with an intriguing caveat that, while never relevant to the outcome of a game, could be relevant to those who use the games as a vehicle for making or losing money.

In his weekly officiating video, NFL senior V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino explains that the replay official did not call for a review of a diving end-zone interception by Steelers linebacker James Harrison late in Monday nights game at Washington because a reversal would not have affected the victory. With Pittsburgh leading 38-16 and 16 seconds left, it simply wouldn’t have mattered if the interception had been wiped off the books. (Blandino nevertheless believes the pass was “probably” incomplete.)

“There’s no competitive impact on the outcome of the game due to this play, and the replay official has that discretion,” Blandino says. “If this is a one-score game, absolutely we’re going to stop the game. But here, with the score 38-16 and it’s not an obvious mistake, the replay official can let this go because it’s not going to impact the outcome of the game.”

That’s fine, but what if the team that’s driving the ball with 16 second lefts if down by 14 in a game where it’s an eight-point underdog? Allowing the interception to stand if it really wasn’t an interception would artificially eliminate the offense’s chance of covering the spread.

That’s another reason why the NFL continues to oppose further legalization of gambling. If betting on games is legitimized, an exercise of discretion by the replay official not to call for a full-blown review late in a game where the outcome of the wagers could change would trigger complaints and criticism and scrutiny and cries for more/any governmental regulation of a sport that stubbornly insists on policing itself.

Indeed, eight years ago an error that wiped a late defensive score by former Steelers safety Troy Polamalu off the books didn’t change the outcome of the game but kept the Steelers from covering — and reportedly took $64 million away from those who had taken the Steelers and given the points. If that money had been legally wagered, fans, media, and politicians would have demanded an investigation and accountability and other things the league would prefer not to have to worry about.

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39 Responses to “Intriguing replay-review twist could eventually have impact on gambling interests”
  1. jag1959 says: Sep 16, 2016 6:31 PM

    “If that money had been legally wagered, fans, media, and politicians would have demanded an investigation and accountability and other things the league would prefer not to have to worry about.”

    Money is being legally wagered on every NFL game.

  2. briang123 says: Sep 16, 2016 6:31 PM

    I’m shocked, shocked to hear there is gambling on football.

  3. letsgolightning says: Sep 16, 2016 6:35 PM

    The bigger issue is that strength of victory is a tiebreaker in the NFL, so allowing the turnover and preventing Washington another attempt at scoring may eventually (though not likely) affect playoff positioning.

  4. mmack66 says: Sep 16, 2016 6:36 PM

    Who did Blandino have to sleep with to get that job?

  5. quincyjwagstaff says: Sep 16, 2016 6:36 PM

    Come on. The NFL doesn’t want gambling to be legal so that it’s easier for the NFL to pretend that gambling is not as much of a focus of interest in the game as it is.

  6. FinFan68 says: Sep 16, 2016 6:37 PM

    “There’s no competitive impact on the outcome of the game due to this play, and the replay official has that discretion,” Blandino says.
    ~~~~~~~~~
    That is fundamentally flawed. The replay official should NEVER have such discretion. The job is to analyze the play and determine if a review should be conducted based solely on what happened on the field. It should not matter if it was the first play of the game or a play that ended with the clock at 00:00. The moment you allow external influences to impact the decision, you forfeit the credibility of the game’s score/outcome.

  7. joetoronto says: Sep 16, 2016 6:42 PM

    The NFL is operating like Billary and her campaign.

  8. sportzpig says: Sep 16, 2016 6:44 PM

    Yet the NFL is all in with daily fantasy sites right?

    How much money switches from one side to the other based on the two points awarded or deducted for a meaningless INT at the end of a game? Millions at least.

    Hypocrites. But what’s new…

  9. mmack66 says: Sep 16, 2016 6:44 PM

    This interception non-review brought to you by Draft Duel and Fan Kings.

  10. sonhoodoo says: Sep 16, 2016 6:46 PM

    Money is being legally wagered on football. How the game is run is exclusive for the gambling. This means that the language of the Steelers not being given a chance to cover the spread has no relevance to the game and isn’t a factor in determining whether penalties should be called.

  11. maddenboy says: Sep 16, 2016 6:48 PM

    What about Players’ contract incentives?

    “Oh, sorry, if you had 5 interceptions you woulda got a $250k bonus, but you only got 4. Sorry.”

    Slippery slope?

  12. codiablo says: Sep 16, 2016 7:23 PM

    It affects fantasy, as well, media and advertising, but these things don’t create the game, they were built to work around the game (“cough!” Super Bowl). Yeeesssss, “built around it,”….yeah, that’s the ticket!

  13. TheBrownswillstinkagain says: Sep 16, 2016 7:30 PM

    I have said this for years that the NFL fixes the gambling outcomes and replay is all geared to fixing the betting outcomes for Vegas to clean up

  14. xbam says: Sep 16, 2016 7:36 PM

    the ONLY reason the “NFL” opposes gambling on games legally is because someone other than the NFL owners will make more money than them…once the owners take care of that and THEY get the majority the income then they will no longer be opposed….

  15. ctbarryjr says: Sep 16, 2016 7:41 PM

    It dosent matter, EVERY PLAY from start to end must be called correctly!!!!

  16. baronvonheil says: Sep 16, 2016 7:45 PM

    Someone somewhere in an IDP league lost on an Int that wasn’t.

  17. morr24 says: Sep 16, 2016 7:56 PM

    It seems to me that while that call or lack thereof would not affect the outcome of the game, it could potentially affect the outcome of a season. I believe point differential is a potential tiebreaker.

  18. winged warrior says: Sep 16, 2016 7:57 PM

    forget about point spreads , the only number the league is concerned about is the tv ratings , period !
    within 8 pts they may have a quick thought and then carry on .

  19. helicopterpilot13 says: Sep 16, 2016 8:21 PM

    One other caveat that I’m surprised the lawyer Florio didn’t mention is total points scored by a team in a regular season is one of the tie-breakers that could be used in determining playoff tiebreakers for each conference.
    So this is already an issue.

  20. harrisonhits2 says: Sep 16, 2016 8:37 PM

    Well…they oppose expansion of gambling except for the daily fantasy gambling sites that they are shadow owners of.

    Billions from normal operations. Billions from the daily fantasy gambling sites, yet they still want to extort their buildings from the taxpayers.

  21. finfanjim says: Sep 16, 2016 8:43 PM

    In 1998, the Dolphins scored a very late TD at home in a bad loss to the Jets. :06 left.

    They ended up going to a points tiebreaker that allowed them to HOST a home game against Buffalo instead of playing on the road. All because of that one little TD.

    And they eeked out a win against the Flutie led Bills. Doubtful they win on the road…

  22. ebdug says: Sep 16, 2016 8:45 PM

    Good gamblers can tell ahead of time when Goodell and Vegas have conspired to fix games.

  23. bowenfootdoc2013 says: Sep 16, 2016 8:57 PM

    When there is money to be made, just look who surfaces from beneath the rocks?

  24. craigruby20 says: Sep 16, 2016 9:16 PM

    Isn’t Cousins playing for a huge contract? Each pick will cost him about $1 million. He should sue the nfl

  25. MichaelEdits says: Sep 16, 2016 10:19 PM

    F the gambling interests and F the fantasy leagues. They are abominations. And F Goodell too. Yep, sometimes life is quite simple. I love it when that happens.

  26. upper23 says: Sep 16, 2016 11:15 PM

    Rules are rules. Procedures are procedures. Should be followed in first quarter thru end of game.

  27. smokehouse56 says: Sep 16, 2016 11:56 PM

    You would never find something like this in MLB. The sport is stat driven. If stats are this useless to the NFL don’t keep them.

  28. mdd913 says: Sep 17, 2016 2:12 AM

    Of course, if the NFL and its officials had any kind of reputation for fair play and honesty, these issues wouldn’t exist in the first place. The league has zero integrity left.

  29. bjwbrown2011 says: Sep 17, 2016 2:24 AM

    Seriously screw this guy.

    Why doesn’t they just have the clock run on incompletions since we’re apparently disregarding rules and procedures.

    The NFL tells us that they want the refs to call plays the same whether its preseason or the SuperBowl yet apparently the replay officials get to leave early with the crowd if they feel the games out of hand.

  30. bspurloc says: Sep 17, 2016 2:37 AM

    .
    it 100% should have been reviewed because that is the RULE. ALL turnaovers are reviewed…
    it was not an interception but now a QB has an INT in his stats because of lazy refs.

  31. gwhite13 says: Sep 17, 2016 5:55 AM

    Not following the rules on ALL plays ?

    What about “integrity of the game” roger?

  32. bartpkelly says: Sep 17, 2016 6:19 AM

    A couple people already said it but points for and against can come into playoff seeding or making the playoffs.

  33. canmannac says: Sep 17, 2016 6:19 AM

    That would be like that fake penalty against the Saints last weekend on 4th and 5… No impact all, even in the ball was totally uncatchable….

  34. Mo Pro Babble says: Sep 17, 2016 6:48 AM

    FinFan68 says:
    Sep 16, 2016 6:37 PM

    “There’s no competitive impact on the outcome of the game due to this play, and the replay official has that discretion,” Blandino says.
    ~~~~~~~~~
    That is fundamentally flawed. The replay official should NEVER have such discretion. The job is to analyze the play and determine if a review should be conducted based solely on what happened on the field. It should not matter if it was the first play of the game or a play that ended with the clock at 00:00. The moment you allow external influences to impact the decision, you forfeit the credibility of the game’s score/outcome.

    while I agree with you we’ve all heard many times the TV crew tell us, “you’re not getting that call at that point in the game”

    this is how its always been and always shall be. refs make reputation calls, timing non-calls near the end of games and the ever popular and timely inadvertent whistle which has changed the outcome of games and thereby entire seasons.

  35. dogdaze123 says: Sep 17, 2016 6:50 AM

    That’s why it’s called gambling.

  36. JSpicoli says: Sep 17, 2016 7:36 AM

    Gambling is the biggest reason the NFL is so popular. Fairy Tale Football is gambling. Think of that the next time you laugh at a bingo playing 80 year old. You have a lot in common.

  37. twinfan24 says: Sep 17, 2016 8:47 AM

    While the NFL likes to pretend that they don’t care about gambling, they are partners with a lot of entities that are very involved in fantasy sports. If a non-review on a play like that leads to someone scoring points, there is almost a guarantee that it would affect many people in fantasy sports even in a blowout, where it would only affect the spread if the game had been closer. While I no longer play fantasy sports myself, many people do, and if the NFL is going to commit to “getting it right” and be partners with those that do run fantasy sports, they need to get every play right, regardless of how inconsequential it may seem.

  38. troy43mvp says: Sep 17, 2016 10:57 AM

    Not one word on how the over under is influenced by these calls or non calls as the case may be.

  39. icancountcanyou says: Sep 17, 2016 1:49 PM

    The gambling exists either way, and there are bets on both sides of the line, so there is no gambling edge either way. Get the call right – you aren’t helping bettors by letting the wrong call go, you’re hurting players, coaches, and fans.

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