Blandino: Once ball is in the air, it’s interference or nothing

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One of the major questions that has surfaced in the aftermath of Monday night’s much-disputed non-call is whether the officials could have flagged Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly for something other than pass interference.

Plenty of fans and more than a few members of the media have suggested that Kuechly should have been flagged for illegal contact or defensive holding.

According to NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino, penalties other than interference no longer are available once the ball is thrown.

“Illegal contact or holding are fouls that can only occur before the pass is thrown,” Blandino told PFT. “Once the ball is in the air it is pass interference or nothing.”

And that makes sense; otherwise, any play involving contact on an uncatchable pass would trigger an illegal contact foul or a holding call.

On Monday night, quarterback Tom Brady threw the ball before the contact occurred between Kuechly and Gronkowski. The available options were pass interference or no penalty. The officials made the judgment after consultation that there was no interference because the ball, intercepted by safety Robert Lester, could not have been caught.

108 responses to “Blandino: Once ball is in the air, it’s interference or nothing

  1. As a Patriots fan I accept that even when the Officials are wrong, they’re right.

    They botch calls all game – sure it’s infuriating when that call comes on the last, potentially pivotal play of the game. But that’s the way it goes.

    The bottom line, that the Patriots accept more so than other teams – and the Patriots fans generally accept – is that it’s up to a team to win decisively and not put the officials in a situation where THEY decide the game.

    So no whining from this Patriots fan.

    I’ll consider this a “good loss” where even the Patriots injury depleted offense and defense may, or may not have, done enough to beat a very strong Carolina team.

    Ultimately the “real” season starts come playoff time – and even this injury depleted team showed they can compete with the best.

  2. The WWNFL strikes again – if you have money on this it’s gotta’ hurt but this happens every week and so you should expect it. Find another sport to gamble on because that was interference.

  3. Blandino may have the exact letter of the rule correct, but he’s reading the rule so narrowly as to guarantee that he doesn’t have criticize the refs who made the call.

    This is a very inconsistent rule at the very least. Virtually every NFL game has calls where the ball is far less “catchable” and a penalty is called for contact. Heck, penalties for physical contact are often called on plays where the ball is thrown to another receiver rather than the one interfered with.

    Not to mention that penalties are rountinely called in situations where the ball is intercepted to boot! So, if the NFL were to be consistent, then any time there is an interception it should be treated the same as a tip at the line of scrimmage, right?

    (not a Pats fan)

  4. Look, I’m a Viking fan so I’ve seen a lot of bad luck/plays going the other way. My advice to Patriot fans is to accept that life moves on. Eventually you’ll move on and forget an- WHY BRETT FAVRE WHY?!

  5. So anytime a ball is thrown if the defense takes the receiver out of the play and it’s intercepted it’s legal?

    Should have never come down to one play(Ridley fumble, bad 3rd and goal call, personal fouls) but it’s sad the game will be remembered for a call the refs blew


  6. After watching the tape, the ball was short of Gronk, there we 2 other panthers in front of him, so even though Luke grabbed Gronk the the ball would have never made it past the other 2 so it was uncatchable.


    or else all we’d have to talk about was that bounty-gate level hit job on Johnson.

    3 points in the first half? easy solution for that!

  8. According to NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino, penalties other than interference no longer are available once the ball is thrown.

    Since when ? How many times have we seen holding calls on receivers after the ball is in the air ? Lots.

    I don’t care about how good or bad the call was as the Pats lost because of Ridely’s fumble, 2 dropped interceptions etc. But Blandino is just as good as Pererria at fabricating reasons why bad calls are just dandy.

  9. Not a fan of either team, but two things are true. It did not look Gronk was going to be able to catch the ball, and what Kuechly was doing is something that SHOULD be illegal. I think PI would have been too extreme of an award to put the ball on the 1 for an untimed down since the ball pretty much was untouchable. However, I don’t know why holding can’t be called in a situation like that and result in a 5 yard penalty. Of course without Kuechly holding Gronk, he might have been able to make the ball look a little more catchable.

  10. Gronk had absolutely no play on the ball. The fact that this is getting the press it is doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Can anyone honestly say upon watching the replay that he could have somehow made a play on that ball? The answer is no.

  11. The people who do not understand this (primarily the former player-commentators) are appalling. Good reporting on the complete stupidity of NFL coverage is the story. The commenters mostly aren’t entertaining. So they might as well be judged on their accuracy.

    The number of play-by-play and color men who are either showing early senility or are just highly susceptible to a large number of brain farts is ridiculous: constantly getting names wrong, etc. None of them know the rules. The one or two guys hired to specifically know the rules don’t allows know the rules. The players and coaches forget the rules.

    But the commenters are the worse. They get to preach what they think are the rules, what they want to be the rules. And they are morons. Just as stupid, blind, biased as every armchair quarterback. It’s stupid, appalling, and a shame. The NFL needs cleaning up in lots of ways.

  12. That’s not one of the issues that people have a problem with that makes this a controversy. That’s all a moot point even though Pioli makes a good case if there was illegal contact earlier, but that’s not relevant to the process issues and rulebook language issues that can still be much better and clearer.

    And it still doesn’t address the bigger issue of why there isn’t an Oversight person who can mediate anything that’s better to be done from a more controlled and objective environment. That person can alleviate and eliminate a lot of problems and have the power to make things more equitable in general for all teams. And to give the referees protection and isolation from ever being in a position to make a mistake because the Oversight person has the responsibility to trump them from ever leaving an injustice uncorrected.

  13. kwjsb says: Nov 19, 2013 7:53 PM

    After watching the tape, the ball was short of Gronk, there we 2 other panthers in front of him, so even though Luke grabbed Gronk the the ball would have never made it past the other 2 so it was uncatchable.


    The receiver being wrapped up by a defender and having no chance at the ball made it uncatchable. You see so many flags for so much less than that all the time. They even threw the flag. The official standing right there had enough sense to see it was a penalty but he was overruled.

  14. Of course it couldn’t have been caught. Who can make a move and catch a pass while being mugged by a linebacker?

  15. What a bunch of horse crap spewing out of these officials and people defending them with this “catchability” of the ball. How many times throughout the NFL have you seen a pass go one way and a flag gets thrown on the opposite side of the field for pass interference? Are you seriously telling us that in those cases that there was a chance of catching the ball when it’s half a field away from the PI call? I call BS on any idiot who defends this non-call on this play. You defend the non-call you’re an idiot.

  16. The explanation makes sense, but the fact that we had to wait a day to get it is ridiculous. The ref should be reprimanded for failing to explain it at the appropriate time. Most of the controversy could have been avoided had he done so. That must be made clear to him by his superiors.

  17. Whats the point in continuing this anyways?
    Not going to change the score or who won.
    For sure, the last thing that needs to happen is PI be easier to call. Way too many rules have lamed up the game. Before we know it, you will not be able to touch the offender or the ball while in the air until the offense secures the catch.

  18. Jon Ritchie talked extensively about this last night on “The Artie Lange Show” and he talked about one thing he had been taught by Coach Jon Gruden, and apparently this was something Gruden drilled into all of his teams, was that it was an unwritten rule that NFL refs would not call pass interference on the final play of a game.

    Gruden taught his defenders that they could often get away with more on that last play because of this unwritten rule. And Ritchie seemed to think that’s why the flag was overruled by the other refs, because they refused to insert themselves and call pass interference on the final play.

    Thought that was an interesting observation. Ritchie also felt Gruden didn’t bring it up on the air to protect the league.

  19. Not a horse in this race. Pass interference plain and simple. No chance for Gronk to make a play on the ball. Botched the call and never explained picking up the flag.

  20. Wasn’t there a play earlier in the game that seemed similar – one of the McCourtey brothers basically had his arms wrapped around Greg Olsen and Olsen gave up on the play? Ref threw the flag for holding or PI. The similarities of the two defenders with their arms extended out obstructing the receivers path to the ball makes me think both deserved a flag.

  21. Ha, ha, ha. All that ink spilt by righteous Patriot fans for naught. Back to complaining about whether Gronk, with his best Randy Moss I’m not going to try imitation, could have reversed his momentum, defied the laws of physics, and competed with a DB in perfect position for a pick 4 yards away from him, for the ball . . . if he had tried, which he didn’t. He and Brady begged for a call.

    Good no call.

  22. Hey Dude,

    You have suck marks on your face from towing the company line. Pats fan or not, this is bad for the league. Don’t come out with this insulting crap. We are not 5 years old. We can handle the truth. The refs blew the call. You can hear it in this explanation, but he cannot say it for fear of losing his position as an NFL politician. Pretty soon, he will start telling us that we can keep our healthcare if we like our healthcare. The ball was clearly not touched by the defense before the holding happened. Shame on you.

  23. “thepftpoet says:Nov 19, 2013 7:45 PM

    This is karma for Spygate & Tuck rule

    Patriots deserve it.”

    Karma suggests an apportionment by the universe. Not the intentional actions of a ref who was either biased or terrified he might get trapped in a stadium filled with angry Panthers fans. Anyone who actually cares about the integrity of the sport should be upset when something like this happens, which is presumably why you’re fine with it.

  24. no, this was last night’s explanation:

    “the officials made the judgment after consultation that there was no interference because the ball, intercepted by safety Robert Lester, could not have been caught.”

    the new explanation:

    “the officials made the judgment after consultation that there was no interference because the ball, intercepted by safety Robert Lester, arrived nearly simultaneous with the restrictive contact, but they did not realize that they had decided on this until today”


  25. KWJSB-

    You say that there was two defenders in front of Gronk so it was “uncatchable”..

    Well my friend, say that to AJ Green two weeks ago when he caught a hail mary tipped pass right next to two defenders, for the win.

    And I’m no Pats fan either. That call, and the sack on Drew Brees were pathetic

  26. Referees disgraced themselves and the game last night. They should be suspended or fired. How dare the refs throw a flag and then backtrack without any explanation and then run off the field like they have somewhere more important to be. They disgraced themselves and the game last night. This is another low for the NFL, which is reaching new lows every week. Seems like the game was fixed to me. Either the refs had money on the game or they were Panther fans. The Carolina win should be overturned and the Pats awarded the victory.

  27. Filmex2000-

    I could not agree with you more. There’s one reason the refs didn’t call that PI last night…

    It’s the same reason the 49ers did not win the Superbowl last year.

    Bcuz NFL refs don’t have the eggs in their shorts to call PI in the last 10 seconds of a game

  28. I don’t care about how good or bad the call was as the Pats lost because of Ridely’s fumble, 2 dropped interceptions etc. But Blandino is just as good as Pererria at fabricating reasons why bad calls are just dandy.

    This may be true but just because a team plays poorly shouldn’t negate the fact they got the shaft when they at least had a chance to make up for playing poorly.

  29. edavidberg says:
    Nov 19, 2013 8:22 PM
    Considering the Pats got a Super Bowl because of the tuck rule, I don’t see how they have standing to complain.

    The Raiders got a super bowl thanks to Ben Dreith.
    Raiders complain all the time.

    Watch your tuck penalty again – call the penalty on Woodson’s striking of Brady’s helmet – which happens before the ball is out of Brady’s hand.

  30. One last time…

    One respected football name after another has stepped up and said that this was the WRONG call except the ones in the NFL officials office. I’ll accept the “PI or nothing” argument just fine on the grounds that this was pass interference all the way. Bear hugging a receiver and impeding his chance to compete for the ball is pass interference 100% of the time.

    The back judge saw it and made the right call. Picking up that flag will never make sense.

  31. If defensive holding was not available to be called, than I am sorry but the call was correct. Gronk was at least 5 yards away from where the pass landed, was running away from where the pass landed before he was contacted and there were at least two and maybe three Carolina defenders between him and the ball. That ball was not catchable by Gronkowski.

    But that rule is stupid, and I know for a fact is not applied consistently. I have seen plenty of instances where holding was called when a DB grabs a reciever that has beaten him and the ball was in the air.

    Like the Patriots fan said above, it’s an unfortunate reality that the rules have become so complicated, and the refereeing so inconsistent and unreliable, that you can’t put yourself in position to rely on a call to win a game.

  32. If I had a $1 for every time I watched pass interference called in a situation where the receiver would have had to be a magician to catch the ball…. I could retire.

  33. Brady gets credit for stating that they should have made plays and not been in that situation. He never complained, nor did their Coach. It is obvious from their body language and what was said that they feel it was a bad call. So do I. However, understand what the call was and why it can be interrupted the way it was.

    Would Carolina stopped the TD from being scored on the one yard line if it had been called an interception? I think so.

  34. During the play you can clearly see Gronk make an attempt to stop to try to come back to the ball and Kuechly’s momentum just continues to carry Gronk towards the back of the endzone where he can’t even change his direction. As someone said earlier, if you can honestly sit with a clear head and say that this wasn’t a penalty then you can’t look at anything rationally when it comes to the Patriots. You hate them that much.

    I am a Viking fan and know heartache but even if it were the Packers this happened to I would still be saying bullsh#t on this play. If the ref hadn’t thrown the flag then so be it, but the flag was thrown and it shouldn’t have been picked up. I think that is one of the biggest reasons for all this bickering. The ref who was right on top of the play made the correct call and then gets overturned by refs who weren’t even close.

  35. C’mon. Yes, it looked like something should have been called on that last play. But if we’re going to point out missed calls that could have cost a team the game, shouldn’t we include the nasty leg whip that almost destroyed Charles Johnson’s season? Should have been a fifteen yard penalty that would have likely stopped New England’s first touchdown drive. Also, Johnson was out most of the second half, which not coincidentally is when the Pats started scoring real points. Where’s the uproar over the refs missing this? Fine if you want to whine, but either include the other team’s legitimate points or declare yourself a homer.

  36. Do people understand that an uncatchable pass cannot be pass interference under any circumstance? That pass was as uncatchable as it gets.

    Right call. Good call. Pats fans can whine all they want. And they usually do conveniently forgetting the hundreds of incorrect calls that go in their favor over the last decade and a half.

  37. Would this play be called if it were in the 1st quarter? I think it would be. I don’t get it, the guy is 6’7 and when he attempted to stop Luke was hugging him, face guarding, and even pushing him back making him have NO chance for a play on the ball.

  38. Gronk is to big of a meat head to know what was going on…uhh I don’t really know what happened and Brady was to worried about what his hair would look like after the game to focus enough to complete the pass….hahaha

  39. For it to be catchable, three things had to occur: (1) Gronk had to make a play on the ball, not given up on the play as he did; (2) Ref had to make a judgment call that, but for the inference, it might have been catchable; and (3) notwithstanding the DB in perfect position 3 yards in front of him when the ball came down, determine that it was stil catchable by Gronk. The play fails each part of this test. Good no call, without question. Guess NE fan is too use to getting most calls to their way, like the holding on the LT that wasn’t called on the same play.

  40. Face it Pats fans your a bunch of wine and cheese divas and Brady’s best years are behind him. In 3 years you guys will be at the bottom of your division and you will be irrelevant

  41. There’s no karma for the Tuck Rule. The Tuck Rule was actually karma for the poor calls (and non-calls) in the Patriots@Raiders playoff game in 1976 (Google it).

    Karma for Spygate came in the 2007 Super Bowl when Eli Manning evaded two near sacks and David Tyree came down with a catch against his helmet while Rodney Harrison was draped over him…all of which occurred in the same play and helped dash the Patriots’ hopes for a perfect season. And gave me an ulcer to boot.

  42. You know, I do not understand all of the outrage. Sure, it was probably interference, but I suspect most of us can agree that had the linebacker not even been there the ball still would have been intercepted.

    It was under thrown, and Gronk could not have stopped his momentum on a dime to come back in time to beat the defensive back. Ultimately, the Panthers should have won due to that bad pass.

    Now, if the ball had been higher and toward the back line were Gronk was going, I would say let the penalty stand and give them the ball at the one yard line. That would have been justified, but letting it stand on an under thrown ball, even if a penalty, would have seemed really cheap.

  43. Dear Patriots fans and Tom :
    Your tears of unfathomable sadness are delicious. Tom your tears are even more tasty.

    Signed Eric Cartman and the Raider Nation.

    With the above being said I am first and foremost a 49er fan so getting jobbed and suffering home cooking is no stranger.

  44. His route was disrupted as the ball was being released, got worse and worse when the ball was in the air. Their trying to get technical and hide behind their rulebook. It atleast should have been illegal contact, down over.

  45. “Once the ball is in the air it is pass interference or nothing.”

    People please, you don’t have to be a Patriots fan to want this to be right. That can’t be the right answer because every game has PI, holding and illegal contact when the ball is in the air. How can the NFL now say it isn’t a foul?

    We all have a stake in this since we all have our teams destiny decided by refs who aren’t watching the QB and when he throws the ball. That’s not their job. They’re supposed to be watching the receivers and defenders. They can’t watch the QB and the refs watching the QB can’t watch the contact down field.

    This answer by the NFL is nuts.

  46. So it is absolutely ok to bear hug receivers to prevent them from even attempting to catch a pass. Glad we got that straightened out Blandodinodondodildo.

  47. anybody saying that wasn’t interference shouldn’t be watching football. You cant grab the WR and pull him away from the ball. It was blatant. even worse than Seattle green bay last year.


    It could happen to a better team, the recipients of the worst call in NFL history…..the dusting off of the playbook to find an obscure rule to screw all Davis ( which was still wrong)

  48. The rulebook says a ball is uncatchable if it is “clearly uncatchable by the involved players.” (Rule 8, Section 5, Article 3, Paragraph c).

    Obviously it wasn’t uncatchable by all involved players since, ya know, one of the involved players actually caught it.

  49. I am getting tired of discussing this. It was a bad call but the Patriots have to play Denver in Foxboro coming up. Time for the Patriots to use that anger to beat the Broncos.

  50. so when there are punt returns ran back for touchdowns negated because of a block in the back by a guy on the opposite side of the field having no impact on the play, that isnt a foul either then right? what is the difference here?

  51. So, as long as an offensive player isn’t close enough to the ball to catch it, a defensive player can hold him all he wants to once the ball is in the air.

    Why don’t I believe that?

  52. spacemaker101 says: Seriously patriots fans need to stop crying its ridiculous you were outplayed the WHOLE night including the last play


    Not sure if you were watching the same game.

    Pats had more first downs, more yardarge, more running yards, 1 sack on Brady (after everyone suggested the same fate as San Fran) and had the lead with under 2 minutes to go.

    If by “beating the Panthers in all categories up to the final 2 minutes” means “outplayed all night” then you’d be correct – but I think you need to rule out the stat sheet and rethink whether a 4 point win is a blowout.

  53. Have not read the above comments yet but the PI that should also be talked about is the previous one called on that last drive. Fourth down Brady threw to his left sideline the defensive back made a great breakup and gets called for PI. Game should have been over for NewEngland there except for knell downs from Carolina.

    Carolina was the team which was abused from the officals on that last drive not New England.

  54. No call was the right call.. Watch the play again.. The ball was under thrown, and intercepted yards in front of Gronk.. There was no way the ball was getting to Gronk..had the defender not been in front of Gronk to intercept may be there is a call there.. The NFL really should look into fining Brady and Mallet for yelling at the refs all the way off the field..

  55. In nearly every other case where PI has been overturned, “uncatchable” was defined as uncatchable by anyone, a clear overthrow or throw out of bounds that no one could catch.

    But this ball was caught. It was intercepted by a defender that was in close proximity to the receiver, until the receiver was wrapped up and forced backwards.

    If mugging a receiver now counts as clearly uncatchable, it’s going to be good times for defenders in the NFL from this day forward.

  56. Chubrock has it right. This is about the league lacking integrity. Sometimes you get the calls, and sometimes you don’t. Certainly helps to be at home. Regardless, this was interference, the flag was thrown, and the league comes with a different explanation today than last night to try and fit the story. In reality, yesterday’s explanation makes more sense, but then it should have been called holding. If you screw up, come clean and admit it. Don’t pander the fans. The NFL has become one of the largest money-grabs on the planet, and it is losing sight of integrity.

  57. The Pats were given the Saints game on a platter. I don’t even want to hear them complain about this.

  58. The good thing for us (Pats fans) is the Patriots are still the Patriots. This was the Panther’s Superbowl, just like the Seahawks last year. Only a few teams can make it when the snow starts to fly. The Panthers are not one of those teams. By this time next month this game will not matter.

  59. If this was any other team or it happened to the panthers the media would not say a word about the call.

  60. 1. The fact that it was intercepted has nothing to do with the definition of “catchability” of the ball. Have you ever seen a play where an intercepted ball was called back due to pass interference? Of course, all the time. If Gronk wasn’t interfered with, he could have made a play on the ball.

    2. Every call at the end of the game should be called as if it was the Super Bowl with a billion people watching. If this was how the Super Bowl ended, can you imagine the outrage? Is this what the NFL wants?

    3. Isn’t it funny how the “pushing” call that cost the Patriots a game earlier this year against the Jets wasn’t called before and hasn’t been called since? Think about the hundreds of field goals and extra points that have been kicked this year. Only called once. Interesting.

    4. The Patriots are 7-1 vs. their opponents, 0-2 vs. the refs.

  61. That game was awesome right to the final second, and i’m a pats fan. Brady takes the lead in the 4th, but only a FG. Panthers march on the depleted pats defense, go-ahead TD , less than a minute left. Brady gets it to the goal line and almost punches it in.

    Everybody crying about getting screwed, end of the nfl, blah blah blah, you are not seeing the forest for the trees. It was a dicey call, but when you are behind you have to make the plays, not cry about the refs. I’d save that for the jets FG debacle. Appreciate the excitement and drama of one of the best games so far this year.

  62. There’s somethin about hearing all of you pats fans squirm…..


    Enjoy it, because it doesn’t happen often.


  63. So let me see if I got this right. If Brady gets sacked and doesn’t throw the ball it’s holding or illegal contact but because there was a pass then no penalty. Do we look stupid????

  64. the ball was picked before it had a chance to get to gronk. therefore it’s uncatchable and there can be no call for PI. but don’t let the rules get in the way of you’re crying

  65. This is another example of the NFL making up a bunch of nonsense to defend a terrible call, and in the process, ruining the league by abiding by their phony excuse to cover their ass in perpituity. Just like the Calvin Johnson continuation ruling that has nobody understanding what is a catch anymore.

    Now we’re going to see probably double the pass interference calls, because in the past they’d always call holding or ilegal contact if it wasn’t egregious, as a hedge, where its a penalty, but not a spot foul.

    Now we’re going to see just a complete cluster-F of officiating pass defense going forward.

  66. The Pats are always on the receiving end of every big call that could go either way ….. Welcome to the freakin’ club. Cry me a freakin’ river.

  67. Great to have another spokesperson explain to us philistines the rules of the NFL.

    And, again, us plebeians NFL fans are reminded that the refs will remain subjective and bias in how they call these so called definitive NFL rules.

  68. So then once the ball is released can DB’s just tackle WR’s who aren’t being thrown the ball? No illegal contact and no holding is possible. Why not just tackle them so they can’t help with a block downfield?

  69. “All Gronk had to do was try to catch the ball. His passive play ended the day. Game over.”

    Totally agree with this post. I think this the most overlooked part of the play. It’s hard to say the LB impeded him even with his arms around him like a “halo” because Gronk’s own momentum carried him to the back of the end zone and at no time does he fight to get back to the underthrown ball. Had he done that, it’s a call no-brainer.

  70. “If I had a $1 for every time I watched pass interference called in a situation where the receiver would have had to be a magician to catch the ball…. I could retire.”

    Great post. It’s so true. Watching that replay over and over, I don’t think the ‘interference’ mattered because Gronk isn’t fighting to come back to the ball which was well underthrown and covered by the intercepting DB.

  71. Let’s be real here – Brady made a piss-poor attempt at completing the pass and that’s why the flag was picked up. In fact it was a bad decision to throw that way in the first place. If he had no other option than to lob it and hope for the best, then he should have used Gronk’s height advantage.

    Bad play by Brady. Terrible finish (4 of 12, whaaa?) after starting 25-of-28. Reminiscent of SB46.

  72. If Gronk falls down on that play, he gets the flag. You see it all the time; a receiver with a defender touching him makes some kind of flailing or lunging movement toward the ball, but since the defender is on him, he falls down — flag comes out.

    In this case, neither Gronk nor Luke fall down — they’re both still just standing there at the end of the play, which is rare in this case. Gronk should have tried to reverse direction, reach his arms out, or make some kind of movement that made it look like he was trying to play the ball.

    Why didn’t Gronk do this?

    Because the ball was uncatchable. So clearly uncatchable that not even a half-hearted attempt was made.

    Good non-call.

  73. The number of fans here who don’t know the difference between DPI and holding is also appalling.

    No, I have never seen DPI thrown against the non-receiving player… That would be the most obvious bad call. Please provide an example! I have seen holding in such a case. Has holding sometimes been called before it’s in the air? Maybe on a few close calls, but when that happens, the players and coaches all of a sudden know the rule… a discussion happens as to whether the ball has been released. Sometimes the holding flag gets picked up. Seen this innumerable times… So… please provide an example of holding being called after the pass is in the air!

    Because, no, I don’t see what you are claiming happening ALL the time; I see fans who don’t know the rules but somehow thinking they know whats going on.

  74. Sorry, “Has holding sometimes been called before it’s in the air?” should be “Has holding sometimes been called AFTER it’s in the air?”

  75. Patskrieg dot com says:
    Nov 19, 2013 8:49 PM
    One last time…

    One respected football name after another has stepped up and said that this was the WRONG call except the ones in the NFL officials office. I’ll accept the “PI or nothing” argument just fine on the grounds that this was pass interference all the way. Bear hugging a receiver and impeding his chance to compete for the ball is pass interference 100% of the time.

    The back judge saw it and made the right call. Picking up that flag will never make sense.
    “Respected football name” is not synonymous with expertise and fluency of the rule book. The back judge saw contact, threw the flag, then the ball was simultaneously intercepted. He himself immediately called for the consultation, presumably because of the interception and distance between Gronl and the ball, and correctly picked the flag up. You may not like the rule, but they followed it

  76. I love how the Patriots have gotten every call for more than a decade and now that they’re finally on the other end of a bad call, there’s national outrage.

  77. If it was uncatchable why was it necessary to hold Gronk and try to wrap up his arms, the way you would someone you wanted to prevent from catching something? use your head for something besides a hat rack.

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