NFL apologizes to Bucs for Kellen Winslow TD that didn’t count

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In the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game against the Lions, Buccaneers tight end Kellen Winslow caught what could have been a game-winning touchdown pass — except that Winslow was called for offensive pass interference, and the Bucs ended up having to settle for a field goal in a game they would lose in overtime.

Now the NFL has told the Bucs the official got the call wrong.

We got an apology this week on the touchdown to Kellen,” Bucs offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. “That doesn’t help anything at all. . . . We got a number of those this year which has been real discouraging because we’ve played so many tight games. You can’t have those kind of mistakes.”

Olson may run the risk of being fined by the league office for divulging that the Bucs were told the call was wrong. Bucs head coach Raheem Morris wouldn’t answer reporters’ questions about the call for exactly that reason.

“It’s Christmas, and I just bought a bunch of people gifts,” Morris said. “I like to keep my money.”

Former VP of Officiating Mike Pereira wrote at that he didn’t think any call should have been made, but that if anything it was Lions defensive back C.C. Brown who should have been flagged for contact with Winslow, not the other way around.

Morris read Pereira’s explanation of the play and endorsed it.

“I did see the old director of officiating had a comment, so you can just read his article and take out of that the context,” Morris said. “I guess that’s legal, so you can read his. Me? I’m going to give you a nice no comment.”

45 responses to “NFL apologizes to Bucs for Kellen Winslow TD that didn’t count

  1. I guess instead of going for the game tying FG the Lions would have went for the game tying TD since we were inside the 20 and the Bucs had no answer for Calvin.

    The Lions have been boned all year as well with ridiculous calls, Suhs horse collar against Dallas and the phantom forearm shiver against the Bears to name two, so deal with it Morris apparently its part of the game now.

  2. I don’t care if games take longer, we have the benefit and instant replay and it needs to be used more.

  3. NFL Officials need to stop doing this…they call what they call on the field, leave it at that.

    The more they keep coming back after games saying, this was wrong, we missed that, is doing no good for the league and creating more people that are calling for rule changes.

  4. The officiating this year has been abysmal. It used to be you might say officials blew a handful of calls over the course of a season. Now, it is PER GAME. Yet, GODell will focus all of his time and attention to trying to enforce his arbitrary rules for how players should change the way they tackle and how much they will be fined. He had better start to address how the officials are directly impacting the outcomes of games with their poor performance. I frankly don’t understand why they don’t have full-time refs, or at least the head official should be a full-time ref who knows everything inside out, and has the ability to see what happens on a play. Maybe they need a full-time ref in the booth to overrule the bad decisions made on the field.

  5. Isn’t Roger Goodell getting tired of having to make these apologies? You’d think by how he;d want to get rid of some of these idiot officials. Ed Hochuli’s looking at the Jumbotron the other day and throwing a flag 30 seconds after the play ended has got to be the worst officiating ever seen, and it happened right in front of the Commish.

  6. It sucks, but we who were at the game knew that K2 had the ball and there was no interference. BTW, another big story is brewing down here in Tampa.

    Bottomline is that when the county signed the contract in the 90’s for Raymond James with the Glazers, the Glazers get to not only pocket the receipts for the games, but also profits from all other events. (USF Football, Monster Truck rallies, and concerts). The county government is telling them to use the profits to buy tickets so games can be shown on TV for the taxpayers who built their stadium in the first place. Expect this issue to come to a head if not this year, then definitely 2011.

  7. What about the 3 non calls for pass interference on the Jets when Pitt was driving for the win

  8. Lions have been shafted royally all year long by officiating, and when we complain about it we just get accused of being crybabies and losers. Well, how does it feel being on the other end of the screw-job now, huh? Having a game robbed from you by a ref stings, now you know.

  9. I’m with holeinone09, the officiating this season has been downright embarrassing! The NFL is turning into a complete joke.

  10. Oh and when will any ref call Roddy White for pass interference? He threw down that Ravens CB but no flag.

  11. “This is a joke right? I’m still waiting for our apology for the Calvin Johnson TD catch.”

    This is your apology, in “make-up play” fashion. It cost the Bucs the game as did the CJ catch…although the rule clearly states you must maintain possession through the catch.

  12. Again, interference calls should be reviewable. Same with Personal fouls. And NOT by some ref going to the sidelines to look inside a camera. It should take 5-10 seconds for somebody at NFL headquarters to make the decision to review it, and then about 5-10 seconds more for them to make a decision. This won’t happen until the Super Bowl is ruined on a bad call.

  13. Quit frickin’ whining.

    Whine. Whine. Whine.

    What a nanny state we have become.

    The feminization of America continues.


  14. njhitman says:
    Dec 23, 2010 9:14 AM
    What about the 3 non calls for pass interference on the Jets when Pitt was driving for the win

    Good point hit man. If that isn’t holding – what is? The jersies of the recievers were pulled away from the players – one in the end zone?????? How could the refs miss it – at least three times?

  15. It’s always been said that the best games are the ones where you don’t even notice the officials.

    Thanks to the NFL and their knee-jerk reaction to make in-season rule changes, the officials are clearly confused and it’s been affecting their work the entire season.

    Now the officials are the story every week, are changing the outcomes of games, and are issuing apologies when it becomes clear they blew a call.

    What a circus this has become.

  16. Give me a break, there was over 7 min left. The Bucs could have also tried to actually score at the end of the game instead of settling for a FG.

    Also, did that missed call stop the Tampa defenders from tackling in OT?

  17. Officiating in the NFL is becoming embarrassing, GODel is clueless. This issue hurts the sport more than the stupid head to head crap.
    Flouride, you got clout now, get the ball rolling to fix the problem.

  18. @bucfansouthtampa says:

    The article you linked blamed the lack of attendance “largely” to the economy. That’s bull.
    Attendance has been diminishing since the 10 year PSL expired in mid 2000’s, and the team increased prices. In prior years, the Glazer’s forked over the cash to allow the blackout to be lifted. This year they said, ENOUGH! I don’t blame them.
    They are in a lose-lose situation. The $ needed to lift blackout and expose this team to the public are not a good economic decision in their minds. That’s the real world.

  19. Hey refs!!! When in doubt, keep the dang flag in your pocket!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t mind so much getting the bad end of a non-call. But to get screwed on a ‘phantom’ flag is the WORST!!! As a Vikings fan, this has happened way too many times, especially last year.

  20. Funny, I said it before and I’ll say it again. This is exactly why I’m losing interest in opinions about rules. In one case, no common sense is applied to a call, such as the non-catch Calvin Johnson TD in week #1, and they apply the letter of the law, and everybody backs up the decision. Then, this last week, they apply the letter of the law again on an Offensive Pass Interference but the league says they made a mistake this time. See how confusing this is. The refs can make any call at all these days and there is so much grey area to every rule and regulation, that either way you can make a case for the call or against it. I feel for the refs. The new rules put them in a no-win situation.

    I also will say once again, though I’ve seen more flagrant PI calls, I still agree with the one against Winslow, fully. If even the league doesn’t understand the rule anymore, this will be a tough game to regulate. The call was not for the grabbing. That, whether defense or offense, would have been a 5 yard holding penalty. They both were engaged, that wasn’t the call. The call was the push off at the end. I don’t care if you’re a Bucs or a Lions fan, that is the definition of PI and you can’t deny the push off. I know many will, but he clearly extends his arms while holding onto Brown and grabs the ball.

    I think this apology is a case of making all the public forget about the absolute nuts calls against the Lions all year long. Say the call wasn’t right, then it looks like the Lions got a call they shouldn’t have had and then all the brutal calls against the Lions all season disappear.

    League can say whatever it wants. The call was correct.

  21. The officiating has been bad for a while now, but this year it has been off the charts for game impacting bad calls…Steelers/Dolphins, Lions/Bears, Lions/Bucs, Falcons/Ravens, etc. Couple that with the league’s inconsist and confusing interpretations about big hits and the refs look like they were picked up off the street. I’m not one of those guys that says that the refs should “let ’em play” at the end of the game…if it is a penalty in the first quarter then it should be a penalty in the 4th quarter. The league needs to do something to fix the rules and train the refs better. It’s not that the refs are slow or out of shape as some have suggested this year. Many of the BS calls are given the most convoluted explanantions because the rules are written by lawyers and can be interpreted many ways. A catch is a catch, a TD is a TD…unless replay is used.

  22. Also, aside from what I said earlier, I do agree it’s time to allow for replays on major fouls. I also don’t think it should be the coaching staff making the calls. If it’s close, there should be a group of people upstairs, looking at the replays, just like in college, to tell the refs there has to be a replay. This nonsense about losing timeouts etc is such a stupid rule. Just phone down all game, just like in the final 2 minutes.

  23. “It’s Christmas, and I just bought a bunch of people gifts,”

    As opposed to, say, animal gifts? Or is it that he wrapped up human beings as gifts?

  24. That call was not correct. In no way did your defender do anything to play “defense” other than hold the receiver.
    Another reason why the call wasn’t correct: The league reviewed it. Hmmm…believe simplesimon1 or the people who actually know the rule book.

  25. “zoxitic says: Dec 23, 2010 8:50 AM
    I don’t care if games take longer, we have the benefit and instant replay and it needs to be used more.”

    I just wish they’d get rid of replay altogether. It’s ridiculous that some calls that blow the game can be reviewed and overturned and other calls can’t be reviewed. Since we can’t review every play, just review nothing and deal with the refs calls. The system now is ridiculous. There are some weeks when I don’t even enjoy football anymore.

  26. I thought the call was fine on the field. The announcers didn’t seem to think it was wrong at the time either.

  27. I agree with theoriginalcaptainmarvel.

    I can easily handle non-calls if they treat them consistently for both teams.

    When the league instructed refs to “err on the side of caution”, it guaranteed a rise in phantom calls. Now they’re being asked them to assume something about what they saw instead of calling what they actually saw. Instead of affecting only helmet-to-helmet hits, it’s affected pass interference, holding, and a slew of other situations.

    Refs should call what they see and only what they see.

  28. This game is getting faster and faster and unfortunately the refs just can’t keep up. Perhaps a judge in the booth that has instant replay readily available that can overturn erroneous calls made on the field is in order.

  29. #
    wahoomilko says: Dec 23, 2010 9:01 AM

    This is a joke right? I’m still waiting for our apology for the Calvin Johnson TD catch.
    Well, I hope you’re good at waiting. It wasn’t a catch.

  30. It is amazing how much fans complain about the state of the officiating. Here’s some news for you: These men are the best that the league has to offer, and errors will ALWAYS be made.

    It’s similar to politics: People complain about politicians, but they are the best the U.S. population has to offer.

    There is only one solution to correct human error. More replay and longer games. Otherwise, it will never get better than this.

  31. lleesman725:

    “Hmmm…believe simplesimon1 or the people who actually know the rule book.”

    I know the rule book just fine, but nice try. If a defender or WR pushes off while the ball is in the air, that is the actual, original form of PI. If you can’t see the arms extend and push Brown back you have your “Tampa did no wrong” blinders on.

    Also, seeing as you want to throw the rulebook out there, why don’t you tell me about the Pettigrew offensive PI that took away a nice gain and put the Lions in 1st and 20. There was no push off at all on that one. In fact, on that one, the TE wasn’t even near the defender at all during the play. Or how about calling PI on Detroit on the Bucs second TD drive. You know, the one where they called a PI spot foul on a player across the field. If you know the rule book then you know that this can only be a holding call or illegal contact, not PI if it’s not the person getting the ball.

    Or how about Williams stopping and pulling Vasher into himself to get the PI on the same drive of the Winslow OPI? They could have called no penalty there as well as Vasher did nothing wrong. He was playing the football. Smart play by Williams but it could have easily been a non-call as well.

    The calls work both ways. And even though Winslow happened in the endzone doesn’t mean this is worse than any of the other calls. Without the PI on Vasher, which was 3rd down, you’re punting, and the Winslow play never even happens. Without the OPI on Pettigrew, the Lions are moving and the Bucs look completely unable to stop them. Without the PI on the Lions that was a mystery call, the Bucs might not go down the field and score on that drive.

    Lots of “what if’s”. Fact is, the Lions won. They deserved to win. The interference on Winslow was correct. Even if they give a TD to Winslow, there is 7 minutes left. No guarantees the Lions don’t score anyways.

    Instead of thinking the officials blew it for you, realize penalties, and important ones, went both ways. Instead, stop the run, don’t call conservative plays at the end, and don’t cover CJ with a DE/LB combo or a rookie CB. It’s playcalling that cost the Bucs the game, not the officials.

  32. simplesimon1 has it right.
    If Winslow wants to get that call he has to jump to make a play on the ball and not push off. If he gets impeded when he jumps he gets the call.
    Here is what is in the rules that applies to this play. It makes me even more curious as to why the league sent and apology. Read it and weep, lleesman725:
    “Actions that do not constitute pass interference include but are not limited to:
    (a) Incidental contact by a defender’s hands, arms, or body when both players are competing for the ball, or neither player is looking for the ball. If there is any question whether contact is incidental, the ruling shall be no interference.
    (e) Contact by a defender who has gained position on a receiver in an attempt to catch the ball.

    Actions that constitute offensive pass interference include but are not limited to:
    (b) Initiating contact with a defender by shoving or pushing off thus creating a separation in an attempt to catch a pass.
    Note 2: Defensive players have as much right to the path of the ball as eligible offensive players.”

  33. lleesman: I don’t really care because we’ve been bent over far more than we’ve gotten calls, but when you watch that play, Winslow initiates the contact with the DB. I think that is why the call was made against him and why I think it was right….BUT, I also think a no call might have been best there.

    So, I think it was more OPI than DPI but both were in the wrong. I’m sorry, but when an offensive player makes first contact and reaches his arms out, that’s a penalty by rule so I just don’t understand the apology, IF the apology even occurred. I think Mr. Olson might just be making that up since I’ve seen nothing directly from the NFL.

  34. The bucs benefited from a bad defensive pi/holding on an Adrian Wilson TD and won by 4. Still, one play doesn’t make a game and they should have stopped talking about it Monday

  35. well now the refs just need to rip the bears off when they play the bucs.

    problem solved.

  36. bucs will miss the playoffs because of that. losing that playoff revenue now, the owner will be forced to sell his soccer team.

  37. Something has to been to done to stop the bad officiating. Players can be fined comments they tweet or comments they make about missed penalties. So what is the deterrent for poor officiating, do they all go to band camp? In MOST cases one missed call will never determine the outcome, they players ultimately will. But in this case the officials missed called at the end of the game certainly played a larger role in the outcome.

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