Replay at first confirmed Lions’ touchdown that was later overturned

Getty Images

After every touchdown in the NFL, the replay official takes a second look to make sure the play should have counted, and then signals to the referee to allow the extra point if the score is confirmed. On Thanksgiving in Detroit, that happened — and then a touchdown was overturned anyway.

In a strange series of events, Lions tight end Darren Fells was awarded a touchdown catch in the end zone, even though he didn’t have control of the ball before it hit the ground. The replay official wrongly confirmed the touchdown, and the officials spotted the ball for the extra point and gave the ready for play signal.

If the Lions had realized they had been wrongly awarded a touchdown, they would have quickly snapped the ball on the extra point, and at that point it would have been too late to fix the mistake: Under NFL rules, a play can never be reviewed once the next play has started. But the Lions didn’t realize it, took their time, and then the replay official finally corrected himself and buzzed down to the referee to review the play. At that point, the league office overturned the call on the field, and the Lions had to settle for a field goal.

Lions coach Jim Caldwell said he had been told the touchdown was confirmed so he had no reason to tell his extra point team to hurry up and get the snap off.

They had confirmed it, so you confirm it, you take your time and you kick it,” Caldwell said. “They review every single score, correct? That’s the rule. So they review it, they tell you it’s good, it’s good, so why rush? So our guys were just doing what’s normal.”

It was a big officiating mistake that will only be a footnote because the Lions didn’t capitalize. The NFL better hope another such mistake doesn’t change the outcome of a game.

49 responses to “Replay at first confirmed Lions’ touchdown that was later overturned

  1. Not surprised in the least. The only thing that I am shocked at, is that the LG didn’t run over to Caldwell and tell him to hurry up and kick the PAT.

  2. Weird game. Never felt like the lions were going to come back but was close the entire time after the initial surge by the vikes. It felt like the vikes were dominating but I kept looking at the scoreboard confused. This just adds to it.

  3. The officiating in the NFL is so bad that one has to wonder if the refs have secret Swiss bank accounts. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t think that holding can be called on each and every play?

  4. Incompetence at my workplace often gets you fired, NFL Refs are defended as only “human” and may have to not work in the playoffs. I hope ratings and attendance continue to decline so the NFL wakes up and changes things…

  5. NFL officiating is the worst. Even with replay they continue to get stuff wrong, not to mention the terrible and inconsistent penalty calls. Happens in every game every weekend.

  6. Such mistakes do change the outcome of games. Regularly. Remember that Lions Thanksgiving game where the player was down and go touched by 2/3 players before getting up and running it in for a touchdown.. only to have Schwartz challenge.. and then to be told that the penalty for challenging an unchallengeable play was that the play stands. Or the Calvin Johnson Rule. Or the Dez catch. SMH.

  7. The refs decided to take the Vikings/Lions game off. There were a slew of baffling calls. Rhodes literally touches the Lions WR while the ball whistles by 10 yards away and the refs call interference. Diggs gets mugged and no interference was called. Keenum drops the ball in the general vicinity of Ansah and they call Keenum for unsportsmanlike conduct? Bizarre. The refs seem to get worse with each passing year. Sometimes I think the fix is in and the refs are just trying to keep games close.

  8. If the Diggs interference call had been made, that game would have been a blowout. You know that’s exactly what the official watching the play was thinking when he had his hand on his flag and then decided to keep it in his pocket.

  9. therealraider says:
    November 24, 2017 at 10:27 am
    The Lions have been getting screwed by the refs for years. Martha Ford must have zero clout in league circles.
    __________________________________

    The guy didn’t score a TD, the refs messed up. This game wasn’t suppose to be close. The Vikings were clearly dominating, and it looked like the refs might have had money on the Lions.

  10. Lets see, a confirmed touchdown on a ball that hits the ground, and No PU call for Lions mugging if Diggs. A bs taunting call, And we wonder why this game was remotely close at the end

  11. It’s always some crazy play or call haunting the Lions. Great teams never leave a game to chance, the sad sack Lions are always slow to start, missing key plays, making stupid penalties away from the real play and getting some crazy call against them. This team is snake bit, haunted AND cursed! Congrats to the Vikes, you have a real shot this year, and they earned it by making plays when they needed to, not making the stupid mistakes and by having a REAL GM who rebuilt their O-line superbly, where as we remade our O-line into the new version of the same old mess it always is!

  12. The NFL has turned into nothing but a corrupted, circus sideshow. All they care about is ratings and money. They don’t care if they ruin a teams season or not. Then if anyone says a single word about them, they are fined and/or suspended. Sure miss old days of football where there was no Goodell, and just smash mouth football.

  13. The score was 20-3 right before half time, and I’m sure 75% of the viewing audience was thinking about going for a walk or something. Then, magically the Lions moved down the filed right before halftime and made the score 20-10. That’s close enough to keep watching. Not surprisingly, there were a few questionable calls that went in the Lions favor during that drive. It was pretty obvious that the refs were well aware of the potential to lose the TV audience.

  14. Might have been the worst officiated game top to bottom that I’ve ever seen. I have no skin in the game, but it was jarringly obvious that the officials were doing whatever they could to keep Detroit from getting blown out.

    I’m starting to lose faith that the players are deciding games when the NFL has a monetary interest for all nationally televised games to be competitive.

  15. The picture above is intended to provide visual proof of the finality of “breaking the plane of the goal line. But as the Lions have been on both sides of (with CJ, then Dez), the completion was a non-event.

  16. The call was correctly corrected. It was not a catch, per the existing rules that have been around forever. The people that disagree are usually fantasy players that just want what they want, despite the rules.

  17. The rules have been watered down sooo much and are only in favor of the NFL deciding who gets to win each game. Inadvertent whistles, can’t review fumbles for TD’s, Cowboys have no holding calls against opponents for holding in 33 quarters, Dez Bryant’s catch, Calvin Johnson’s catch…Haven’t even mentioned the Big Tobacco or Ponzi Scheme aspects… NFL needs transparency and needs to stop stealing teams for tax dollars and build their own houses with $12B in annual profits.

  18. I agree that the initial confirmation was a mistake. IF the mistake wasn’t corrected then it could have changed the outcome of the game IF the Lions hurried the snap. We all would rather see a flawlessly called game on the field but I want the replay calls to be correct THE FIRST TIME they look at it. There is absolutely NO EXCUSE for missing blatantly obvious calls after reviewing the the replay from several angles. The officiating in the NFL is hopelessly flawed. Officials are encouraged to let replay adjust a close call on the field so they let plays continue rather than call what they see. On the other hand, the officials often call things they do not actually see. You often see a guy whose vision of the play is obviously obscured yet still makes the call. In other words, he guesses.

  19. None of these games were watchable. We ended up putting some 1980s movies on a loop and they were both more entertaining and less predictable.

  20. The refs did not do a terrible job at all. They do not need to be fined or suspended.

    Their REAL job is to keep games close & they had to try extra hard in this one because the Lions were so terrible.

    If anything, the refs should get a reward for working so hard.

  21. The officiating during that game was awful. I was cheering for the Lions, but in the back of my mind I could hear Vikings fans saying the refs were trying to give the game to Detroit.

    But here’s the other thing that was running through my head. At times, Stafford’s errors seemed out of character – a lot of blown throws that were sure things. Throws over the middle where the receiver was wide open – some were potential big gainers or TDs. The screen pass that was a sure TD. In the NFL we rarely talk about players tanking a game, but there are times when you really wonder.

  22. But the Lions got a bogus TD on Marvin Jones’ catch where the ball didn’t cross the goal line. The officials called it a TD so they could review it, then couldn’t apply common sense to see the ball didn’t cross the plane and issued a “Play Stands” ruling. So it evened out.

  23. One of the most puzzling calls that game. Some of the other calls can fall under the “judgment call” or “poor view” argument but the call was confirmed then they re-reviewed it? Whoever did the initial review and confirmation needs to be fired immediately.

  24. Without bad calls the Vikings would have put this game away much earlier….bad calls kept the Lions in the game…

    Again, these are not officials…these are conductors…

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!