Blandino: Cowboys party bus incident has no bearing on calls

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An old story about NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino hanging out on the party bus owned by the Cowboys has resurfaced in the last 24 hours after the Cowboys benefitted from what Blandino admits was a missed call in Sunday’s win over the Lions.

But Blandino says one has nothing to do with the other.

Blandino told Mike Florio on PFT Live that while people might think there’s some kind of close contact between himself and Jones, the Cowboys don’t get any type of preferential treatment from the officials.

“That’s something that, it happened, one has nothing to do with the other. I understand why some people might look at that,” Blandino said. “But it’s just something that has nothing to do with how the game was officiated.”

Blandino pointed out that he was part of a replay review earlier in the game that went against the Cowboys, when a Golden Tate catch that was originally spotted short of the first down line was changed to a Lions first down. If Blandino wanted to help the Cowboys, why would he overturn that call?

The idea that the NFL is conspiring to favor the Cowboys doesn’t make a lot of sense. Yes, officials sometimes screw up, and on Sunday an officiating screwup helped the Cowboys. That might be an indication that the officiating in the NFL isn’t good enough, but that’s a long way from saying the NFL’s officiating department is corrupt.

118 responses to “Blandino: Cowboys party bus incident has no bearing on calls

  1. Huh…….right…..cause he’s on every teams party bus? If it looks like a duck, smells like a duck, it’s probably a duck…… Just saying #NFLIsFixed.

  2. Wish I could be continually incompetent and never have to worry about getting suspended, fined or losing my job.

  3. Until the photos/video of what Blandino was doing on that bus loaded with the young drunk girls Stephen Jones escorted to the bus from the club.

  4. You left out his “personal growth” statement about the party bus.

    Actually, its probably for the better since no one wants to hear about it.

  5. Great point about the Tate reversal! And while we are at it, there did not appear to be an angle justifying that change, but no outrage because Dallas didn’t benefit. All of Detroit won’t remember that one or the ticky tack running into the kicker early on which kept them alive to score again.

  6. How can the rules have judgement areas like this fool explained for the DPI and Dez’s antics.

    Isn’t this an opening for inconsistent calls and potentially fixing of games? Someone needs to call the NFL out on this.

  7. Cowboys or Lions. The only difference is that the Cowboys players get another $22K check. Their road ends in Lambeau, and it would have for Detroit.

  8. Goes to show that league officials shouldn’t be fraternizing with team officials and/or players – questions like this wouldn’t even exist.

  9. Thats like the college recruit saying ‘there were no strippers, no girls, no alcohol’ ‘Just because I relaxed with some friends didnt effect my decision to go to the school’
    Taken from his own mouth, so oh I guess its ok then.

  10. Need TMZ on the NFL fixing case. They seem to be the only one who can break the big stories regarding the NFL.

  11. “Blandino: Cowboys party bus incident has no bearing on calls”

    Don’t insult the fans of the NFL.

  12. Here come all the cry babies to comment on another Dallas article. Don’t hate because your team isn’t in the post season. The better team won yesterday. Plain and simple. Detroit got away with more no calls and bad calls than Dallas. You are delusional if you think Detroit was the better team yesterday. Now thumbs down if you love you some cowboys!

  13. “the Cowboys don’t get any type of preferential treatment from the officials.”

    Riiiiight… just like the Patriots don’t get preferential treatment from the NFL as a whole.

  14. You can’t put yourself in that position to begin with, Dean.

    You really can’t see it’s a conflict of interest?


  15. It’s a shame that no-call was the end of the game. If only Detroit would have had 8 minutes left and a 4th and one ahead of them in the game to try and come away with a win.

  16. I think everyone officiating that game needs to be investigated. I’m also wondering if anyone talked to the women who were on that party bus. What happened to journalism?

  17. I think it would be very telling to look back into Goodell’s history on gamedays to find out which owners boxes he spends the most time in.

    I can tell you my guesses.


    These men are the black hand of the NFL.

  18. That may be true but the head of officiating meeting and partying with the owners of ANY team is a troubling image that certainly hurts the credibility of a league that wants you to believe the refs are unbiased and competent.

  19. Why has this story, and the one with Jerry Jones standing with the young women, head pressed against his crotch gone widely unreported in the media? It was a headline for less than a day then disappeared.

  20. As an attorney, we had a rule that we had to follow. It was called … “the appearance of impropriety”. That should apply to these nitwits. Basic common sense tells you not to do this.

  21. Does anyone really believe the call would have been reversed if the interference penalty was on a Lion DB instead. Not a chance. The league is very dirty today, very dirty.

  22. Talk about can’t let something go.

    Let it go PFT. Every comment made on it isn’t a new headline story.

    Offsetting penalties no call, as Hitchens couldn’t turn his head around with Pettigrew’s hand holding his facemask didn’t lose the Lions the game.
    Only scoring Two lousy field goals after the 1st quarter did.

  23. How about the NFL CorruptRefGate? Blandino is a liar and takes the rest of us for idiots and we are if we allow the corrupt refs to keep deciding the outcomes of games.

  24. While I put little stock in the “conspiracy” angle as well, it just seems the NFL and it wide ranging officials cannot seem to keep themselves out of questionable situations or decisions.

    From the top on down.. the PR hits just keep rolling for the NFL as a whole or sum of its parts. There was a day that the NFL lead professional leagues around this country in how to run a league. Those days are well past.

    What did Blandino think was going to come of this outing? That people wouldn’t bank it and pull it out when it seems to support an angle. Just another poor decision. A very public and attention drawing decision at that.

  25. So how did the refs miss the unsportsmanlike conduct of offensive player Dez Bryant running out on the field with no helmet to argue a defensive call for his team?

  26. “The idea that the NFL is conspiring to favor the Cowboys doesn’t make a lot of sense. ”

    Why does that have to be the conclusion?Why does it have to be entire NFL management: Why can’t the conclusion be that Jones and/or his son used their tremendous wealth to gain the sympathies of Blandino through the age-old tactic of parties, wine, and women? How do we not know they didn’t also use their tremendous wealth to get at least one official to look the other way, or at least gain their sympathy? An investigation needs to be done.

  27. Well that really makes me question the NFL not a good look at all.. Sometimes you really get that sense that the refs are on one teams side.

  28. I don’t think that the NFL is corrupt. It would have surfaced long before this year.
    But in the field of business and personal ethics it is often the perception that one creates that gives an appearance of inappropriate bias.
    So that being on a Cowboys party bus, and then having officials blow what seems like a real clear call, could muddy the waters.
    Blandino also makes a lame attempt to show how unbiased he is by pointing out that a first down call was decided in favor of the Lions.
    Just stay away from every team’s party bus and there will be no need to make such lame and comical declarations of fairness.

    The Lions lost because they could not score in the second half. The punt after the blown call really decided the final couple of minutes of the game. I do not know why Caldwell did not go for it on 4th and 1 at midfield. If he had made it he’d have at least taken more time off the clock. The Cowboys offense was getting in rhythm and the Lions could have used an emotional boost. Instead the shanked punt was an emotional letdown. It also provided a big emotional boost to the Cowboys.

    What does it say to your team when the season hangs in the balance and you don’t think they can get 1 yard?

  29. I’ve been a hardcore NFL fan ever since I can remember. This year has been a complete disaster and the league better tread lightly. They’re losing creditibility, even with die-hard fans like myself.

  30. Refs always suck if you leave it to them. Be a man, deal with it. 8:30 left after that call. Lions…FINISH. (Although I’m personally glad they didn’t).
    People that blame refs are losers. That goes for Cowboys fans too…or any fans. Just handle your business.

    Detroit doesn’t score for the final 23 minutes or something like that…against THIS DALLAS DEFENSE! Ha, that’s freaking laughable.

    Dallas won. Detroit go prepare for the draft.

  31. Aaron Rodgers is about to put up a 40 spot on them. Then we can all forget about these overrated chumps.””

    wow must really be hard to root for a different color green…LOL

  32. One playoff win since the 1996 playoffs, no playoff appearances since 2009, fined $10 million in cap space for breaking a rule that doesn’t exist… yeah, there’s clearly a bias towards the Cowboys.

  33. If you really think the NFL is fixed, you all should just pack it up and go home because if that’s the case, then it’s all fixed. Everything from every Packers championship to every suspension and every media outlet including PFT.

  34. What’s he gonna do admit he’s in the take…$$$$ POS got caught and now has to spin to save the whole ball of NFL corruption… The next few games can be the beginning of the end of legitimacy for the next generation of potential fans whom will go to other sports. Beware NFL it’s a new world..

  35. I think that PFT should survey the front office of every team in the league, and see how many have had drinks, dinner, or long casual conversations with Blandino. This is another one of those stories that wouldn’t even have been run if the Cowboys weren’t involved.

  36. Like little goldfish being fed you lemmings gobble this up–Cowboys will win the SB merely because the refs were paid off—uh, yeah right. Maybe it was actually the Illuminati…..

  37. Look what the nfl did to the Raiders more so Al Davis. The tuck rule was a BS call never called in a game up to that point. Stopped the game go for a long time scramble in to find something or in this case make something up to stick it MR Davis. …..still makes sports center top five worst calls of all time 15 years later ….. These games are decided by a play or two the nfl controls the officials so they controll the outcome of games. You can call a holding penalty on almost every play notice how some teams are always called for it some other teams aren’t ???????? The nfl is about money they want the highest rated games period Dall -GB. Or Det – GB you do the math ……..

  38. After this year, all announced penalties will be final!

    Everyone says well on 4 and 1 the Lions got to go for it.
    First they need to Dez Bryant off the field, second of all the Lions are confused as can be. They changed the situation from 1st down, to 4th down without explanation.

    I don’t expect any coach to be able to get a play call in without a delay of game in that spot he doesn’t even know what the situation is. It is probably like trying to regain bearings after a sucker punch, it will take a minute.

    Everyone says “its just one play” but the refs completely lost control for a 3 minute span and it had an effect on more than one play.

  39. So he says the party bus incident had nothing to do with it, and you just it for granted that he has no incentive to lie? That’s “journalism” in 2015, I guess

  40. It was incredibly short-sighted for Blandino to visit the Dallas team bus last year. The conspiracy theories were readily foreseeable. All that was needed was: (1) the public to find out about his presence on the team bus; and (2) a controversial call to go in Dallas’ favor. Once those two predictable events occurred, it was fair game for the grassy-knoll crowd. Even if we see the conspiracy theories as far-fetched, Blandino brought it on himself.

    Think of it this way. You’re a defendant (or victim) in a criminal case and you find out that the judge hearing your case had accepted a free dinner from the prosecutor (or defense attorney). If the judge decides the case against you, do you think you might have a few questions about the judge’s impartiality?

  41. I don’t think NFL officials are corrupt. But why would any official especially the head of officials be on any teams party bus.

    Then they need to define the rules better, not more complicated. There was contact but not enough, he hit him but he was falling backward, his shirt was untucked so it doesn’t count( ok the last one I made up).

    He hit him when the ball was in the air. Foul, Don’t make it hard.

  42. Really hate NFL officiating – feels like wrestling a lot – Someone once said to me “if you can buy a US border guard, you can buy an NFL referee!”
    He was right.

  43. There are games where you scratch your head. This goes down as one of them. Just like the Packers/Giants game a few years back.. tuck rule game. Indy game against the Steelers (that Pitt won anyways). It’s there. Nothing can be clean in any professional sports. People can get corrupted. Hopefully they sniff them out.

  44. He should have at least been suspended without pay when that bus incident happened, for a clear conflict of interest.

    However, integrity doesn’t seem to count for too much with the NFL these days.

  45. richiethegreek says: Jan 5, 2015 4:45 PM

    I’ve been a hardcore NFL fan ever since I can remember. This year has been a complete disaster and the league better tread lightly. They’re losing creditibility, even with die-hard fans like myself.


    Lose credibility, sure, but their TV ratings are at an all-time high and they are making money hand over fist. It’s not like they’re in danger of no one tuning into the games. Gotta remember, people like you and me represent a very, very small subset of NFL fans. Most people don’t know (or care) and that’s why the league can pretty much do whatever they want because most people will still tune in.

  46. @rhemish

    You are completely wrong about the tuck rule and it is simple to google and confirm your false assertion.

    It was called (ironically) against the Patriots in week #2 of the 2001 season when the pats played the Jets.

    I am so sick of everyone blaming the refs for every loss. MAKE A PLAY!

    Disclosure, I ref for a local flag football league. We don’t care who wins, we just try to make the right calls. But we hear the same gripes from the same players every week. It’s called sportsmanship, or lack thereof.

    In this day and age, with 22 high def cameras and super slo-mo, it is hard to be a ref. In the old days, you just moved on to the next play.

  47. There’s a corollary to Occam’s Razor

    Never ascribe an event to evil intent when simple incompetence will suffice as an explanation.

    There is some serious ‘grabbing at straws’ by fans to explain the Lions meltdown in the 4th Qtr.

    Did the call impact the game? Yes. Did the call cause the Lions to lose? No. The fact is it was a badly officiated game and that call was only one of many missed/bad calls on both sides. Dallas overcame its bad calls, Detroit didn’t.

    The Lions inability to score and inability to keep Dallas from scoring cost them the game. the refs didn’t make Detroit shank a 10 yd punt, the refs didn’t let Dallas convert a 4th & 6, the refs didn’t let Dallas score a TD with a 2nd and goal from the 20, the refs didn’t make the Lions surrender a strip/sack/fumble TWICE on their final drive, the refs didn’t make Detroit surrender a 14 pt lead at the half and a 13 pt lead 3/4 way through the 3rd qtr.

    The Cowboys beat the Lions, while that call frustrated 1 Detroit drive, it did NOT prevent them from making the plays to win the game. get over it.

  48. Check out the game film what about the trip during that play that wasn’t called NE would have been out of field goal position.One question if it was the right call why does it make the top five worst calls of all time ……….in that lies your answer

  49. bluechocolaterain says:
    Jan 5, 2015 4:22 PM
    Here come all the cry babies to comment on another Dallas article. Don’t hate because your team isn’t in the post season. The better team won yesterday. Plain and simple. Detroit got away with more no calls and bad calls than Dallas. You are delusional if you think Detroit was the better team yesterday. Now thumbs down if you love you some cowboys!
    The only delusion here comes on the part of the Cowboys fans. It’s like the Seattle fail mary all over again. The only people who bought that were from Seattle. Just like the only people who thought it was the right call are Cowboys fans. Now that should tell you something.

  50. Detroit was the better team. up until the refs fixed the game. cant win against crooked refs.

  51. There are just too many people involved in an officiating crew and each NFL team for me to believe the NFL could be fixed. If you sit in a sports bar on any given Sunday you’ll hear fans of every single NFL team bitching about blown calls that hurt their chances of winning. NFL officiating is flawed, like it is in many sports. I’ll be bitching along with all of you when it affects me(my team), it’s one of my favorite things to do.

  52. Tapes are being sent of Blandino on the bus to NFL HQ.

    Someone will sign for them and someone from the NFL office will make a call saying how graphic it is and Roger will say it never got here and hire Mueller again to investigate which will take him a year and he will say it never happened.

  53. This is why I’m a Packer fan (among 1000 other reasons). No single ultra-wealthy owner to buy off the rest of the NFL, league officials, refs, sympathetic politicians, ad nauseum.

    Just play by the rules and win.

  54. Look a lot of people want to talk about the one bad call, while there were many that in the end would helped Dallas if they weren’t called. One call that bothered me is the OPI on Williams. Here is my question, if being pushed into the kicker doesn’t result in a roughing the kicker, which is the explanation I got for the no call against Dallas, how is pushing a player into an illegal contact scenario any different. If Williams was allowed to run his route and not get pushed from the side into the crossing coverage, the two Lions players would hit each other, but because he was showed into another player it’s a penalty.

    The game was terribly officiated from both sides, if Dallas lost I have 6 or 7 blown calls that I can bring up that were terrible. The fact that neither team got a roughing the passer is crazy, especially when Rodgers or Wilson were hit by less and drew flags during the season. I am not saying there was roughing, I am just saying in the softer NFL, the hits Romo and Stafford took normally get some laundry tossed around.

    As a Dallas fan I admit mistakes were made, but it goes both ways. Lions fans can cry that the refs were against them, but for 3 quarters, I thought they were against us. We got hosed so much, and caught a lucky break. Until we have robots riffing the game, this will always happen, because people are objective, and objectivity is flawed one way or the other.

    This is the real truth in it all, you have to execute perfectly for 60 minutes. Neither team did, there was a lot of head scratching no calls, or bad calls, and in the end, when Stafford had the ball, he coughed it up twice.

  55. In 1929, I’m sure most Americans didn’t think the World Series could be fixed either.

    Then, the Blacksox.

    I’m sure the NFL heirarchy, with BILLIONS in TV advertising at stake, is pure as the driven snow, and the Cowgirls legitimately won that game.

  56. Emmonsh,when have the Lions ever been a better team than anyone let alone the Cowboys. Get into reality chief ,the best team won!!! all this talk about the officiating sure it may have been a bad call, but it all comes out in the wash after 60 minutes chief

  57. Appearance of impropriety. That is the bottom line. Of course there may not be anything to it, but then again that is what Pete Rose claimed when he was accused of sports betting. Believe the worst and you will never be disappointed.

  58. If the NFL wanted Dallas to win the game why did they allow Suh to play? No doubt that non interference call was horrible. In every game there are bad calls. Refs are human they make mistakes. How many of you critics can say you are perfect?

    It’s always the refs fault, or the other team was cheating. Never did a team lose because the other team was better.

    What a bunch of cry babies!!!

  59. There was the facemask by Pettigrew on Hitchens on that same play. There was the phantom hold by Witten and the missed call for interference on him. There was Tyrone Crawford getting tackled by a lineman and the touchdown that eventually resulted, rather than a punt. There was Williams getting a penalty for getting hit.

    But only the Cowboys got any calls. Right.

  60. The on-field officials would be the ones changing calls, not Blandino. I don’t really buy into the conspiracy much, but the fact that the NFL refuses to have any sort of accountability for it’s officials, as well as its insistence on using their “good ol’ boys” gives much more weight to the idea than any one particular call.

  61. Here is the problem with the party bus incident, the NFL was asked about it last August and they refuse to answer any questions about it. The NFL announced it was a non issue and refused to discuss it any further.

    I suppose that would be acceptable if you didn’t desire transparency but in a multi-billion dollar business like the NFL, that’s not a smart PR strategy.

    Then flash forward to yesterday and it now it begs the question if the two aren’t connected. Everyone is allowed their opinion but the NFL made this unnecessarily an issue with their refusal to address it last August.

  62. “It has no bearing on calls.”

    However it is a MASSIVE conflict of interest. Plus, it looks absolutely terrible coming immediately after one of the biggest Referee Playoff blunders since the phantom Tuck Rule.

    The previous untarnished teflon perception of the NFL of a decade or so ago has faded to a transparent blur of missteps and poor PR decisions.

    Fresh off the wave of Black Monday firings from teams last week, the NFL has some serious house cleaning of its own to do this offseason.

  63. Considering the integrity of the league is at issue. When that Blandino story first broke back in August about the partying on the Jones bus. It should have been investigated and if proven true. Blandino should have been FIRED!!! It lead to the controversy today. His argument about Tate has no merit. It was earlier in the game and replays clearly showed Tate clearly had made the 1st down. There is no guarantee the Cowboys would have lost if that pass int call had stood. Detroit may have kicked just a FG and Cowboys would have maybe still won 24-23. The owners need to get a clue and replace Roger Goodell. This is all happening under his watch.

    What about Dez Bryant running on field to protest that call without his helmet on. That is a 15 yard personal foul penalty. People are angry about this call because everyone knows how freaking desperate Jerry Jones is to prove he can win without Jimmy Johnson. don’t think their is a conspiracy but I do think the refs were intimidated by the atmosphere and they were not a crew that worked together all year.

    YES I will still watch. But I bought that directv package which is becoming a rip off with the black out local rules and all the national games. So I am done buying that directv package. I bought the online package and the internet connection has issues.

  64. This entire thing stinks. What part of: “Protect the Shield ” am I not getting here ? For all the packer fans and “Dallas haters” don’t take this Zebra/Jerry Jones/Dallas Cowboy love fest lightly. You are probably going to see the small market packers get to see zebra/Jerry $ ,power up close and personal. Stay frosty,I’m not putting anything past the NFL at this point.

  65. This game is all about wagering.
    Fantasy, on-line gambling sites etc.

    Officials can control the flow of a game as well as influencing points scored.
    It’s all about the Vegas Line, where the money is.

    If you’re the Head Official, you give the appearance of compliance by accepting events sponsored by a team owner Dean.

    It’s called a conflict of interest.

    Yesterday’s game wasn’t so much about screwing Detroit, it provided the advantage to alter the Vegas Line.

  66. Just the fact he felt pointing out that he blew an earlier call gives him some cred does the exact opposite. Maybe he can sign autographs with Pete Rose at the CES as they pretty much have the same excuse

  67. It probably didn’t have anything to do with it, but it’s still grossly inappropriate for the guy in charge of officiating is partying with a bunch of hookers in an owner’s bus.

  68. Refs are told to help certain teams. Thats called corruption. They dont wanna make it to obvious so they will throw in some meaningless penalties to try and make it look fair.

  69. The bad non-call(s) or whatever you want to call that play was bad and shifted momentum, but that alone was not enough to beat the Lions. No that took a bunch of defensive holding and PI calls on 3rd downs against Detroit on the final drive, along with zero offensive holding calls against Dallas when they were holding almost every play on that last drive. Players and fans deserve a level playing field, and they didn’t get one. I don’t really care why it happened, but whatever anyone says, it did happen.

  70. Sure, Blandino, nothing to see here. After all, whatever business could a couple of guys named Blandino and Morelli possibly have to do with sports books and men with bent noses?


    The NFL has to fire this guy.
    This guy’s job consist of two main tasks.
    1) Enforce the rules of the game of NFL football to the best of his ability.
    2) Provide indisputable evidence of a perception of absolute impartiality by yourself and your employees.

    There is NO POSSIBLE way to argue that Dean Blandino, the Head of NFL Officials being on a DALLAS COWBOYS PARTY BUS that traveled to various bars, restaurants, and strip clubs with a dozen or so STRIPPERS and HOOKERS, one of the OWNERS of the Dallas Cowboys and other members of the Dallas Cowboys executive staff on board, all of which was provided by the Dallas Cowboys football organization is not a grievous violation of that perceived impartiality.

    Dean Blandino needs to be fired. If this were a video of one of the crew members they would have been terminated immediately and this is their BOSS.


  72. This business is run by lawyers. Any first-year law student (or anyone with any common sense at all) could tell you that being on Dallas’ party bus gives the appearance of impropriety.

    And the Golden Tate play was yet another example of the poor, but very one-way, officiating. Why was such an obvious error made in the first place? An overturn on that call hardly makes him, or them, look unbiased.

  73. you are an IDIOT, Blandino! 3 steps and a lunge after the catch with clear possession and the ground causing a fumble on a slow-motion replay? Who are you kidding?

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