Dean Blandino acknowledges Cowboys got away with one


NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino isn’t trying to sugarcoat the key call that went against the Lions in Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys.

Blandino, appearing on PFT Live, told Mike Florio that Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens did get away with a penalty on the Lions’ fourth-quarter pass to Brandon Pettigrew. But Blandino said the missed call that troubled him most was not the pass interference flag that was originally thrown but later picked up.

According to Blandino, the clear penalty Hitchens got away with was defensive holding: Hitchens grabbed Pettigrew’s jersey while Pettigrew was running his route, and Blandino said that should have been called. If it had been, it would have given the Lions an automatic first down.

Blandino said the pass interference penalty that one official flagged, only to get overruled by another official, was a “close call that could have went either way.” Blandino acknowledged that the officials should have done a better job of communicating, first among themselves so that they could get the call right, and then after referee Pete Morelli turned on his microphone to announce the penalty. Morelli first announced pass interference, then later announced that the pass interference penalty would not be enforced — but that second announcement was so hasty that the FOX broadcast missed it.

Although some observers have suggested that Pettigrew also should have been flagged for facemasking Hitchens, Blandino says that’s not the case.

“I felt that was minimal contact,” Blandino said of Pettigrew’s contact with Hitchens’s facemask.

Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant ran onto the field to argue the pass interference call, and Blandino said Bryant could have been flagged for that. Blandino said running on the field to argue with an official is “not an automatic penalty,” but he added that “I certainly would have supported a call for unsportsmanlike conduct.”

Ultimately, Blandino admits, if all of the elements of that play had been called correctly, the Lions would have had a first down. Instead the Lions had a fourth down, shanked a punt, and gave up the game-winning touchdown on the subsequent drive. The Lions will be left to wonder what might have happened if that penalty on Hitchens had been called.

197 responses to “Dean Blandino acknowledges Cowboys got away with one

  1. Besides Roger, everyone in the league can get fired for poor performance. Coaches, players, assistants on down to the water boys.

    Ref’s should be no different…….

  2. Where is the disconnect among fans/media? If you think Roger Goodell has zero credibility, and you see referees employed by Goodell making bogus calls, then isn’t the logical conclusion that there is no credibility in the outcome of the game?

  3. A series of unfortunate circumstances and I’d be ticked if I were a Lions fan. But every game has calls that could be termed critical; it’s how you respond that matters.

    Feel free not to shank the punt. Or stop the Cowboys on the drive.

    It’s not like it was a fourth down non-call in the end zone on the last play of the game. The Lions still, statistically speaking, had the game in their favor. The Cowboys simply outplayed them from that point.

    On a positive note: when’s the last time the NFL all but admitted it screwed something up? Baby steps…

  4. Yeah this game was fixed. That’s why they threw the flag, made the call, and then picked it up. That way everyone knew what the NFL was up to. Hey FYI, if this was a fixed game, NO FLAG WOULD HAVE BEEN THROWN AT ALL.

  5. You guys are laying down the Cowboy hate today! If this had happened in the Colts/Bengals game it would be a side note. Get over it.

  6. Well I guess that clears it up. The refs blew it on multiple fronts. It’s a shame cause that was a great game. It would have been awesome to see the game if the correct call(s) had been made there. It may have gone to OT.

  7. What’s sickening is that there’s next to zero acknowledgement that this whole controversy even happened in the Dallas papers. It’s all about “Romo’s big throw that saved his perception as a playoff QB.”

    The whole thing is nauseating and I won’t be happy until they lose and are done for the year.

  8. got away with ONE call??? bs

    1. Defensive Holding was NOT called
    2. D-PI was NOT called
    3. helmetless player leaving the bench area NOT called

    I am not an MIT guy, but my count gives me 3 bad calls



    FUTURE: The Packers will be ‘fixed’ this weekend against Dallas – Dallas will beat GB (and I am a packer fan)

    This is TOO OBVIOUS NFL – we know what you are doing!!

    you are rewarding Jones for building his mega-complex with Taxpayer money!

  9. I’m a Lions fan, I’m trying not to let this changed call upset me too badly. We still had an opportunity to win the game and we didn’t. A lot of opportunities. At some point you just have to let it go unfortunately…

    With that said, this was a big momentum changer and things pretty much snowballed from here. Of course, as a Lions fan I was expecting to see the game end in some crazy fashion causing us to lose. It is just the Lion way.

    But, I have a lot of hope. This team went into the house of the team that had been performing at the highest level in the NFL recently. We kept them in check, played strong and just didn’t finish. I foresee this as the start to good things in the coming years in Detroi

  10. WTF! The lions are not great, but they are good. Just not good enough to beat the officials also. SMH. I love football, but this makes me hate it VERY BAD!

  11. Exactly, it should have been holding. A first down, yes, but only 5 yards closer (and not the spot PI call).

    By no means a gimme FG. The Lions would still have to move the ball, something they stopped doing after halftime.

    This would make me feel less dirty today (as a Cowboys fan).

  12. No matter where you fall on the continuum, everyone wants to see a fair game and competitive nature.

    This game is now over shadowed by what just about everyone deems a questionable call (whether you’re for it or against it).

    Regardless of who you’re rooting for you should want fairness and equity to win out.

    Now what’s Morelli’s fate aside from not calling anymore games this season?

  13. Let’s be honest here…

    Roger and Jerry cooked this one up because after all, the real goal in an NFL playoff game is to be sure the next game will sell as much beer and corn chips as possible isn’t it?

    Oh,wait… did I say that out loud?

  14. Yes minimal contact just like the penalty that Cowboys got against the kicker was an absolute joke as an understatement that led to a touchdown so let’s not all just assume it was the be all end all on the interference call

  15. Meanwhile Blandino was 3 sheets to the wind singing “the wheels on the bus go round & round.

  16. The headline and story suggests the Cowboys got away with something…kind of putting the blame in the team’s lap. But the blame resides squarely with your officials Mr. Blandino.

  17. In addition to Lion fans wondering what would have happened had the penalty stood, how about wondering what would happen on going for it on 4 and 1, game on the line? Not a very gutsy call for a very tough and capable team. The call itself was certainly not the game changer in the grand scope of things here.

  18. Regardless of where you fall on the continuum, everyone should want a fair outcome.

    The truth of the matter is, this game is now overshadowed by a questionable call instead of a fair competition.

    Now besides not calling any more games for the remainder of season, what is Morelli’s fate?

  19. Those of you who honestly believe this game was fixed, stop talking about it and quit anything to do with the NFL. Just walk away, if you really believe that is what happened. It is the only way to really get any kind of change to happen. But you and I both know you just want another reason to complain about the Cowboys.

    If years on this site have taught be anything its you people love to hate the Cowboys and the NFL gave you a new reason on a silver platter. You can’t run your your tired old Romo Chokes or “One and Done” so now its the “NFL is fixed”. After years of thriving without a successful Cowboys team the NFL fixed a playoff game in such a manner that everyone saw it. Well, if believe that and have an ounce of conviction, it’s been nice knowing you. But that’s not the truth now is it? And you know it. It was what it was, just really poor officiating.

  20. There’s a simple way of making sure this never happens again, and that’s to allow replay review of pass interference calls. Pass interference is the biggest penalty there is and it seems like at least half the time the announcers are trying to figure out where the contact was.

  21. This guy is an idiot…the facemask lowered the helmet to cover Hitchen’s eyes and prevented him from turning around to make a play on the ball and it doesn’t warrant a penalty??? At worst it should have been offsetting.

  22. I would be shocked if the Cowboys leave Green Bay with a win. They didn’t play well at all yesterday. There’s alot they need to clean up in a week’s time.

  23. It’s nice to the see the NFL acknowledge this issue. For the first time in the history of the league a flag was picked up and a call was overturned. I’m sure the relentless articles from PFT made them see the error of their ways and there will be no more blown/overturned calls from now on. Kudos to the NFL sticking to their guns and not allowing Suh to play after being suspended! Kudos to the NFL for holding the Lions to 3 points in the second half! Kudos to the NFL for shanking a punt! Kudos to the NFL for giving the Lions TWO chances in the last two minutes to win the game. Wow.

  24. I say replay the whole thing with the penalty called correctly, like they did with George Brett and the pine-tar incident at Yankee Stadium back in the ’80s.

  25. This is as close to an apology as Detroit is likely to get from the NFL and their ‘Cowboy Party Bus’ favorite.

  26. The Lions and their fans will also be left to wonder if the outcome would had been different if they had not been outscored 24-6 in the last 2 1/2 quarters. You know, maybe played better for the other 59 minutes and 55 seconds of the game.

  27. I’m not really wondering that much. If the penalty was called, then the Lions have the lead and great field position with a fresh set of downs and about a half quarter left to play, so the answer to the wondering is a significantly better than 50% chance that they would have won the game. Since we can’t know how things would have played out, it is safer to assume the Lions win that game in the described scenario since that is what would be expected to happen the majority of the time.

    What I am wondering about is what are all the possible things the Lions can think of to maximize their odds of winning the Super Bowl in the next season, followed by my wondering about what they can do to win it the year after that, and so on…

  28. “Blandino said the pass interference penalty that one official flagged, only to get overruled by another official, was a ‘close call that could have went either way.'”

    Absurd. If that’s not pass interference then I saw hundreds of PI calls this year that should have been reversed.

    Lions got screwed, no doubt about it. (I wasn’t rooting for either team.)

  29. Come on Dean ! That’s it ?
    Dez could have been called ?

  30. Yeah we missed the call on that but on the bright side want to see my new Mercedes. LOL

  31. Game over. Cowboys won.

    Blandino frequenst various teams during the preseason, TMZ just cares about the Cowboys bc it’s news.

    Get over yourselves, Lions fans.

    50/50 call by the refs

  32. The Cowboys will reach the SB, if you think otherwsie then you have not been following the NFL lately. This is the organization that gifted a SB to the Saints because of Katrina

  33. Let’s not forget the blatant holding from the Cowboys Oline the entire second half. They were tackling guys half the time.

  34. For every call the cowboys got this year the patriots got 15.If this would had happened in foxboro to benefit the patriots you wouldn’t hear a word about it

  35. dioalice says:
    Jan 5, 2015 3:03 PM
    A series of unfortunate circumstances and I’d be ticked if I were a Lions fan. But every game has calls that could be termed critical; it’s how you respond that matters.

    Hey I’m ticked, and I’m NOT a Lions fan.

  36. “The Lions will be left to wonder what might have happened if that penalty on Hitchens had been called.”

    I can clear that one up right quick: Had the penalty been called, the Lions MIGHT have held on to win (we’ll never really know) and if so, then they would have earned the right to be pounded by the Packers next weekend.

    Anyway – lousy calls by the officials aren’t new – though this bunch was pretty stinkin’ bad. Some discipline should be in order, but I won’t hold my breath.

  37. Got a couple things for you …

    … #1 Dallas got the benefit of a severely botched call by the officials, and it helped them win the game. They won’t be so lucky in GB, as they will get thrashed.

    … #2 Detroit choked! No balls .. didn’t go for it on 4th down, shanked a punt, and then collapsed on defense. They deserve to be sitting at home this weekend.

  38. I remember how David Stern used to get so angry and defend the NBA whenever someone used to hint at the idea that his league was fixed. Seems Roger could care less.

  39. A previous poster asked “when was the last time the nfl came out and admitted a mistake?” Well, they do it all the time. The head ref from Super Bowl 40 came out and said the Seahawks got jobbed. He said it was the the worst game he ever officiated. So we feel ya lions fans. It took until last years Super Bowl win for me to over it.

  40. If it’s fixed don’t watch the games next weekend. Why would jerry just pay for a playoff win? He has already bought the Super Bowl what ppl don’t know those play off tickets he sent out before the year they featured the outcomes on them already. Next week Cowboys win 31-26. A ref will get in nelson’s way by “mistake” on 4th and goal and Carr will pick off Rodgers pass.

  41. There were a few questionable calls that weren’t good for either team.
    Ref calls 9good or bad) happen.

    Bottom line is game is over, there was a winner and a loser.

    Time to move on

  42. It’s ok.. Suh should have been suspended for the game. Cowboys would have gotten a much easier win without Suh playing. But 🐸☕️

  43. NFL – No Freaking Limit to what incompetent officials and NY suits get away with as they simply will not be reprimanded. The integrity of this league is not being compromised by the players. The league is being ruined by weak leadership in New York. There are no rules for the Suits and Goodell continues to rack up negative after negative week after week.

  44. If I were a Lions fan, I’d be furious. Forget all the “well, if the Lions had just done this…” statements.
    Detroit got boned.

    Now, imagine if it happened to your team.

  45. At some point, someone needs to ask the NFL the hard question as to whether that call was the least bit influenced by the fact that Blandino was on the Cowboy party bus?

    Did the Cowboys take pictures inside the party bus? Was it known to Blandino that the Cowboys are holding those pictures in strict confidence? Do those pictures meet the legal definition of blackmail?

    Let the sunshine of truth flood this awful incident so we can truly understand it. Don’t let it go the way of the Patriots tapes which were destroyed under very suspicious circumstances.

  46. As a Lions fan, I’m actually satisfied by Blandino coming out and admitting they screwed up. Game’s over. That’s the best we can hope to get at this point.

    Both teams had to play with the same officials. It’s just a game. It’s just entertainment. Stuff happens.

    The debate should turn to why playoff games aren’t officiated by the best “crew” of officials, rather than an all-star group of officials who didn’t work together all season.

  47. A common theme I find with these games where a poor call is blamed for the result is that they are close games, even though poor calls are evident in almost every game. It is just that either the team that benefited from a poor call still lost, or the margin of victory was out of reach for the poor call to make a difference.

    I recall Belichick’s response after last year’s loss to Carolina when Keuchly held Gronkowski in the end zone and the holding flag was picked up. Belichick stated that his team should have scored more points before the final play of the game so it would have not mattered in the first place. Perhaps teams should put up a enough points to cover the human error factor. I’d say six points in three quarters is not going to do it.

  48. dallas winning meant more money for NFL hence the calls. NFL controls the outcome of games with the refs calls. It’s pretty obvious.

  49. WHAT!? The NFL has been fixed all this time and my Cowboys are just now getting their second playoff win since 1995?

    Fire Goodell – he can’t even rig games right. It was our turn to go to the Super Bowl about five seasons ago!

  50. For you Time Machine fans:

    Assume we could go back and change the call, and give the Lions a first down. Something else would have happened that resulted in them losing the game.

    Perhaps Stafford fumbles as he did twice in the final series.
    Perhaps they miss a field goal.
    Perhaps another interception is thrown.
    Perhaps Stafford is sacked and they’re still forced to punt.

    Regardless, the Lions lost. You can’t go back to change it. Even if you could time travel, changing the play out only impact that play, and the Lions would still lose because the loss influenced your decision to go back.

  51. Of all the wasted time I spent this year watching crappy pass interference calls or what seemed like hundreds of defensive holding calls this was the one you had to talk over and get wrong? I am neither a Lions fan nor a Cowboys fan and we don’t know if that horrific call would have changed the outcome, but, I just want to say this to Goodell and the rules committee, I WANT ALL THAT TIME BACK FROM ALL THE BS CALLS THAT SLOWED DOWN THE DAMN GAMES AND WERE COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS!

  52. The Lion’s DIN NOT lose the game because of that call. Enough with the crybaby excuses!!!

    They got away with one, so what? It didn’t cost them the game like Stafford’s strip sack on 3rd and 1 with a minute left…..

    Cowboys won far and square…Move on!

    Hyzer’s tears of failure will sting for a while, but you’ll get over it!

  53. Get over it. Cowboys won. And they’re headed to Green Bay, then Seattle, and then Arizona.


  54. So the real rule this year should have read, “New emphasis on illegal contact in the secondary… Except when the calls are going against the team that will get the better ratings in the playoffs.”

  55. The game is over. Lions lost, Cowboys won. Nothing you can do anymore. Move on everyone.


    A disappointed Detroit Lions Fan

  56. How about the fact that Suh was not even supposed to play in this game…yet that was REVERSED?

    Believe me, this would’ve been a totally different game had Suh not been able to play, as he got to Romo more than a few times. I’m sure Dallas would’ve fared a lot better offensively if Suh’s suspension was not reversed.

    I still don’t think his suspension should’ve been overturned on appeal, yet it was, giving the Lions a very good chance to win. It is what it is.

    Let’s not forget there have been a lot of bad calls in playoff games…Tuck Rule, anyone?

  57. Oh My Good God, I am so sick of the BS about this one call. I have no dog in the fight but anyone watching that game knows that were TONS of awful and ALL of them benefitted the Lions in the first 3 quarters!!!
    Running into the kicker, which both teams did (Detroit more flagrant) and ONLY Dallas was called for it, leading to a huge momentum shift and points for Detroit. The PHANTOM OPI call on Terrence Williams that Mike P. admitted was terrible on the Fox broadcast.
    Detroit LOST. To the Dallas Cowboys. In a great game.
    GET. OVER. IT.

  58. Why hasn’t no one commented on the fact that Pettigrew grabbed the face mask of the defender and yanked down on it and yet somehow the officals never saw that when clearly the replayed showed that he did.

  59. And honestly, if this game was so fixed, then they never would’ve let Suh back in it after his suspension was overturned on appeal. They would’ve kept him out, ensuring Dallas’ victory.

  60. The league wants Romo to be in the conversation with the top Qbs.
    The call changed the whole game at least the last eight minutes. Why do they show jerry jones on television all the time. Can anyone explain this? The refs failed and the whole crew should be fired. The NFL to some extent is fixed. The only way to change the momentum was to make a piss poor decision. I think Goodell needs to go, new refs need to be employed, and a governing board needs to be implemented, the league lost a lot of fans yesterday CONSPIRACY ABSOLUTLY

  61. Either Blandino and/or Morelli should be fired for this. It is unacceptable and a great tarnish to the shield.

    Morelli will never work a Lions home game ever again. He is a marked man in Detroit.



  62. I can’t really bash people for questioning fixes and what not, at the moment.

    Everyone makes mistakes, and it is quite possible that this guy just kicked the crap out of this call, because he’s a dunce. If he would have attempted ANY form of explanation of picking up the flag, it would be a slightly smaller train wreck than it is today. He didn’t which compounds his mistake even more, because nobody knows what the hell is going through his mind when he decided to overturn the call.

    Like I said, everyone makes mistakes, some times they cost people their jobs, as much as it stinks to see someone lose their job, they usually deserve it. The league needs to distance themselves from this guy, just like they did with AP and Rice.

  63. armchairqb says:
    Jan 5, 2015 3:05 PM

    What’s sickening is that there’s next to zero acknowledgement that this whole controversy even happened in the Dallas papers. It’s all about “Romo’s big throw that saved his perception as a playoff QB.”

    The whole thing is nauseating and I won’t be happy until they lose and are done for the year.


    I wouldn’t worry, as clear as it was yesterday, it did take a “hand” from the refs for Dallas to squeak out a win and at home, no less.

    These same Dallas newspapers will be the ones headlining for Romo’s head when they lose next week and the whole “How bout them Cowboys” will be an afterthought.

  64. The Dallas secondary and LB corps better not breathe on a Packer receiver this week or they’ll set the record for penalties enforced. Book it.

  65. Apparently they just picked up the holding penalty on Sean Locklear in super bowl XL. Seahawks are granted with the trophy.

  66. Got away with one? Defensive holding, pass interference and unsportsmanlike conduct is getting away with three, not one.
    The first two are open to interpretation, but a player running onto the field with no helmet to argue a call is pretty cut and dried….15 yards and a first down. If it’s not a penalty, then why not have the coach and the entire offense run onto the field after every call?

  67. For all you Cowboy fans and Lion haters out there who say, “so what it was a bad call you should have played better the rest of the game and not left it up to the refs” what if Ihedigbo had tripped or held Whitten on the 4th and 6 play and the refs threw a flag and then picked it up and no call was made and the ball was turned over? Would you be over it and saying “oh well, we got a bad call against us time to move on”. Hell no you wouldn’t. I lived in north TX and grown men would be crying in the streets for months. People would be going to the bar to get drunk and talk about it in July 2015. Overall it’s just sad that such a good game turned on such an awful call and that the NFL is so incompetent.

  68. people are a bunch of whiners on here today.

    human error has always been part of the game and will always be part of the game. it can hurt you and it can help you. we do not know what would have happened if it had been called or not. maybe the lions score, but maybe Stafford throws a pick six on the very next play.

    heck, you can look at any play over again and probably find a penalty on ever single one of them. IMO, the league is admitting to nothing here.

    maybe the Lions should have gone for it on 4th and 1 and played to win the game instead of not to lose. maybe the Lions should have scored more than 3 2nd half points. maybe the Lions should have not committed defensive penalties down the stretch like they did.

    I see how the Lions screwed the Lions, not how the refs screwed the Lions. 60 minutes of football and the Lions’ fans are blaming a flag that got picked up because most of the officials on the field DIDN’T THINK IT WAS A PENALTY!

  69. Quit complaining the Lions got away with a running into the punter 2 back to back hands to face tons of offensive and defensive pass interference so why do you pay attention to the whole game before trying to act like you know what your talking about.

  70. At least one of you media guys finally mentioned the face mask which seemed pretty blatant to me.

    That said the hold earlier in the play that Blandino referred to has regularly been called as PI this season and the last couple, so it should have been called.

    But that mistake did not cost the Lions the game. They blew the punt play. Their supposedly great D could not stop the Dallas offense. The Lions still had the game in hand and could easily have still won it.

  71. I knew it was PI and I was surprised when the flag was picked up. I agree that it may have had an impact on the overall final score of the game and it would have been better for everyone if the play was handled correctly, so we could have seen what the real result would have ended up being.
    However, based on the shanked punt, fumble(s) and lack of Offense in the second half, I think the Lion’s didn’t do enough to show that they would have won the game, anyway.

    Personally, I was hoping that Detroit would come to Seattle so the top two defensive teams could play and for all to get a chance to see Golden Tate play……….It didn’t work out; so it goes…….

  72. Lions fans are pizzed, Cowboy fans are elated, football fans are disgusted with that call Dean.

  73. @gator- please don’t talk about that running into the punter if you watch the replay not only did he not make contact with his legs but his contact was tiny, he was blocked into that slight bump and the Cowboy blocker committed hands to the face. Watch the replay.

  74. He is just placating the Cowboys haters. Go back and watch the tape. There was clearly offensive PI and a questionable defensive PI. This cannot be disputed as there is clear, video evidence of what took place. You would have to be a clear, blinded hater to think otherwise.

    Dez should be penalized and someone should tell him to calm down and stop acting like Rob Gronkowski. It’s only OK to act like an idiot on the field if you play for the Patriots.

  75. So they pick that one flag up, forget the holding completely and ignore the Dez helmetless melt down but the Lions get two borderline penalties when the Boys are on 4th down on their final drive.

    Either they let them play or they don’t. That is what’s wrong here. You can turn a blind eye for one team and call everything for the other.

  76. I can’t believe people are so stupid as to believe there is some conspiracy. Don’t you think if Dallas could have bought a game (or whatever you THINK they did) they would’ve done it sometime in the last 17 years?

    What would you have the league do…postpone the rest of the playoffs and replay the game? Fire the refs for their mistakes? Some of you are alluding to bringing physical harm to this guy if they go to Detroit? Disgusting.

    The Lions had more than enough chances to win this game before and after that incident. They didn’t. Game over.

    I see so many people crying about penalties; get your Lion’s tinted glasses off. The Dallas D-line was held every play. The Dallas receivers were mugged beyond 5 yards, held and interfered with many times and it wasn’t called. The game was full of penalties on both sides.

    That said, PI should become reviewable and holding should have been called on that play. Make changes moving forward for a better game and just stop crying. That one call didn’t lose the game for the Lions. Their lack of execution on offense for THREE QUARTERS did that.

  77. “Blandino said running on the field to argue with an official is ‘not an automatic penalty,'”

    Then that rule needs to change. No one other than the head coach and players involved in the previous play should be permitted to talk to the officials. No room for discretion. No gray area. If the team has an objection to a call, the way to do it is through the head coach, not with one of the hundred-plus other people standing on the sideline.

  78. What would of happened is the Lions would probably have scored with momentum their way. That call deflated everything Detroit and energized the cowgirls. After Detroit would have theoretically scored, Romo would be doing his usual chokefest media appearance after losing a playoff game once again at home. Thats what would have happened had the call been made!
    No worries. What comes around goes around. Girls time to cry next week.
    Go Pack!

  79. Dallas fans are and always have been delusional about their favorite son status. I hope the Packers wipe the field with them this weekend and they crawl back under their rock . And to the NFL refs a big raspberry !

  80. Of the entire debacle, the precedent that will string the NFL the most is the non-flag on Dez Bryant. Players will start running off the bench to argue calls, and if/when they get flagged, players will complain that “Dez didn’t get flagged” and it will perfectly illustrate the inconsistency in penalty calls by the refs — it’ll be difficult to disagree with the players given this precedent.

  81. I hope the Packers wipe the field with them this weekend and they crawl back under their rock.

    I hate the Packers with the burning passion of a thousand suns, but after the screw-job on the DPI and the classless response from the Dallas fans, I think I’m switching my insurance to State Farm.

  82. There’s only one team the NFL loves more than the Cowboys and that’s the Packers so Cowboy fans please no crying next week when the Packers get those home town calls !!

  83. Two teams with horseshoes won yesterday. The Colts with horseshoes on their helmets, and the Cowboys with horseshoes up their butts.

    I don’t buy the NFL is fixed. The leaders of the league aren’t smart enough. I do think officiating has gotten so bad, the only way to endure poor officiating isn’t confused with fixing games is to follow the suggestion that says everything is reviewable. No better way to punish the officials then embarrassing them in real time with reviews that are overturned and the corresponding on-air criticism they get from the talking heads.

    How sad it is that players of the league are cut after minor mistakes and the moment someone slightly better comes along, but the leadership of the league and its officials are given countless opportunities to screw up, impact games, and try again.

  84. FIX THIS.

    Restart the damn game from the exact moment of the penalty.

    All this crap about the bad punt or Detroit’s bad defense (in reality penalties on Detroit marched Dallas down the field) on the last drive is irrelevant because NONE OF THAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF THE PENALTY WAS CALLED CORRECTLY.

    Could they still have lost some other way? Sure, but there would be much less of a chance after Detroit has first and 10 at the 15 yard line! There’s only one fair way to find out….restart the game from the moment of the penalty!

  85. Hopefully this officiating crew is put to rest for the rest of the playoffs and far beyond,Dallas wont be able rely on the refs generosity towards them next week at Lambeau because the Packers are not a team to settle in at a mere 20 points,they will pour it on and challenge the Cowboys to keep up with them on offense which will not happen. Pack 42 -17.

  86. Despite the “explanation” Dean Blandino, you still got caught with your hand in the cookie jar (or rather, on the party bus) and it’s still the National Fixed League…

  87. Hopefully Green Bay will allow Favre on the sidelines as the designated “run onto the field to argue every penalty call” position since it’s apparently legal.

  88. Saying that a penalty should have been called on one play is irresponsible without reviewing every player on every play to make sure other called where not missed or called incorrectly.

  89. armchairqb says:
    Jan 5, 2015 3:05 PM

    What’s sickening is that there’s next to zero acknowledgement that this whole controversy even happened in the Dallas papers. It’s all about “Romo’s big throw that saved his perception as a playoff QB.”

    The whole thing is nauseating and I won’t be happy until they lose and are done for the year.


    Be sick all you want.
    Tony Romo had a decent game and it deserves it’s praise.

    Why don’t you just admit it, you can’t believe he won and is now 5-0 in December-January? It flops what you’ve been sold by the media right on it’s head and you don’t like it.

    The whining is becoming extremely pathetic and beyond any type of reason at this point. The amount of hatred towards the Cowboys is simply astounding for them being a mediocre team every year.

  90. My question – where is this New York Ref Hotline to make sure all plays are called right?

    Here’s the right call:
    “There were multiple fouls on the play.
    Holding: defense #57…
    Holding: offense #87…
    Those penalties will offset.
    After the play, unsportsmanlike conduct #88 Dallas. Leaving the bench area without a helmet, entering the field of play with the intent to argue with an official. 15 yards from the spot of the foul. The result of the play is 1st down Detroit.”

    In a case like this where its a game changing outcome because of the bad call the officiating crew should face some kind of fine and/or suspension too.

  91. dynalee10 says: Jan 5, 2015 3:50 PM

    Dallas fans are and always have been delusional about their favorite son status. I hope the Packers wipe the field with them this weekend and they crawl back under their rock . And to the NFL refs a big raspberry !

    2007: Dallas committed 104 penalties, eighth most in the league.

    2008: Dallas committed 119 penalties, most in the league.

    2009: Dallas committed 115 penalties, fifth most in the league.

    2010: Dallas committed 109 penalties, sixth most in the league.

    2011: Dallas committed 114 penalties, fifth most in the league.

    2012: Dallas committed 112 penalties, third most in the league behind St. Louis and Baltimore.

    All verifiable. Please do some research, and on your way, throw your “favorite son” comment out the window.

  92. In picking up the flag, it is clear the NFL’s ‘Adjustment Bureau’ came in and changed history to fit the ‘Chairman’s plan’.

  93. I’ve refed football and the first rule I was taught was ‘Call what you see and stand by that call’ and ‘Don’t call what you think you saw.’

    Made $20 a game.

    These guys make tons more and if they can’t follow the above two rules they need to be fired.

  94. The problem with Dez is that there isn’t a specific example in the rule book about an uninvolved player leaving the bench to argue a call. Logic says you can’t allow it, otherwise the game would turn into a bit of a circus.

    If you got super nerdy with the rules I suppose you could flag him for being outside the bench area. Players and staff not in the game are supposed to stay between the 32 yard lines on each side of the field.

    There was also a taunting foul on Dez that wasn’t enforced or explained. It came after a TD that was called back, and seems like it should be a dead ball foul enforced on top of the hold. On a normal play both fouls would be enforced, but the rule book doesn’t explain this scenario that I can see.

  95. This is getting soooooooooo old. The same comments over and over and over and over. I know let’s just replay every game in the history of the NFL that has had a controversial call in it. Then everyone will be happy and the world will be a better place…

  96. Fans really didnt see much of a difference between these supposedly regular refs and the fill in refs when the Packers got stiffed real good in Seattle by those imposters.

  97. NFL fans really didnt see much of a difference between these supposedly regular refs and the fill in refs when the Packers got stiffed real good in Seattle by those imposters.

  98. I hate to agree with the “this is fixed” comments, but this is a classic case. The entire first half seemed stack against the Cowboys. That was part of the fix arrangement. When someone questions the game, the defenders will point at the first half as proof that it wasn’t fixed.

    The rest is a simple matter of obvious missed or made calls in the opposite direction. It is impossible to look at that second half and not determine that there was bias to get to a Dallas vs. Green Bay game.

  99. I will be looking forward to all the whining from the Dallas fans next week when GB gets some of those bad calls. Maybe I’ll just use their own quotes to respond? Even that won’t be as fun as when the Cowboys fans realize what a horrid cap situation their team is in with both Murray and Dez as UFA. So they’ll have to pick one or the other, or maybe neither or screw themselves completely if they give them big backloaded contracts. It’s coming Dallas believe it. Tough times ahead.

  100. You can clearly see when Detroit receiver grabbed the facemask the helmet came down over Church’s eyes…but it was just a love tap…incidental…and no matter that it happened before Dez went on the field to call BS.

    That aside, there was 8 minutes left. 4th and 1 at midfield. The punter shanks a kick. They allow a 4th and 6. They fumble at midfield with a minute left.

    Clearly the fix was in…its been happening since 57

  101. Fact: Many knowledgeable fans believe the officiating to be incompetent and suspect. Unfortunate reality: Florio serves up softball questions to a smirking Blandino, and there is never any real scrutiny or change.

  102. That play, should have been King’s X, and play over the moment the Dallas Defensive player held the receiver by holding the receiver by having a hand full of his jersey. Since when is that not blatant defensive holding?

    Anything that happened on that play between the receiver and defensive player became irrelevant after that jersey hold.

    Which came first? There’s your penalty.

  103. Cowboys Punt penalty- defender, unblocked, runs into punter plant leg knee while planted. Punter tumbles over defender after being hit.The very definition of player safety. 100% textbook call.

    Lions Punt non-penalty- defender Winn is contacted by blocker and re=routed (slightly) into teh punter. Winn holds up and contacts punter chest to chest after punt. No one falls or is knocked hard. classic no call on contact and no call because of blocker contact-rerouting.

    Cowboy slappies even with video evidence can’t see truth, This or the damn PI play that the NFL now says was a blown play on BOTH the holding AND Dez Bryant’s 15 yard dead ball foul (which would be tacked on) AND says the facemask was not a foul, while the PI was 50/50 at the very least. AT WORST that is 2 fouls, 20 yards (since one was a dead ball after the play), first down on the 30 or so yard line of Dallas. No shank punt to the 40. At least another minute and half, probably more run off the clock before at worst a punt from the 35 or so. Most likely, more yardage for Detroit ( as they drove that ball from deep in their zone to teh 50 before the PI play).more time and by the odds, at least 3 points. Completely changed the game and is just plain unacceptable. Blandino and Morelli should be sanctioned or fired, as well as the head linesman who said it was no contact.

  104. Should we go through the game film and figure out all the missed calls in the whole game? I’m sure there will be holding on almost every play that was missed.

    This is just one call. Detroit still shanked the punt, couldn’t stop Dallas, got the ball back and blew a 2 min drive to win the game, despite getting a free first down off a double fumble.

    There is certainly no guarantee that Detroit would have won the game if they got that call.

  105. Its now clear that none of the NFL games are clean and equal games won by the best team.

    Forget Spygate and Bountygate, Corruptgate is the real issue here where we now know that the NFL does not have any clean games where the best performing team win, but the team who wins is the one the corrupt refs are instructed to ensure wins.

    The Billion Dollar NFL industry is just one of smoke and mirrors where they sell a game, but every outcome and winner is designated by the NFL with the refs doing the dirty work.

    How can anyone bet or play fantasy football or even root for a team when we all know that these games are fixed and the refs work out in the open to make sure the designated winner is the winner?

  106. I consider it karma for unsuspending “the dirtiest player in the game” Suh in the first place.

  107. Detroit got 3 points in the second half. If you asked anyone before the game what would happen if Detroit got 3 points in the second half, I assume they all would say Detroit would lose.

    All they needed was 10 and the game was wrapped up. Don’t blame one play for the loss.

  108. For all the conspiracy theorists, which seem to grow like mushrooms. If the fix was in, why not make it complete and ask why Suh was reinstated?
    Also ask why the Lions only scored 3 points in the second half or why their coach didn’t go for it on 4th and one in a playoff game.

  109. For the record. Regarding all the posts that say Detroit “got away” with running into the Dallas kicker and a face mask penalty. Do yourself a favor and look at the replays.

    On the punt, the Lion player was being engaged by a Cowboy player and he was pushed into the kicker. It wasn’t a huge push, but it was a push nonetheless, and clearly not a penalty.

    As far as the face mask goes, the penalty is for grabbing the face mask, not touching it. Again clearly not a penalty.

    But carry on if it makes you happy to make up fake penalties so you can ignore 2 obvious ones. And Dez, an offensive player running onto the field to argue with an official about a play against his defense, is actually the easier call of the two. How is that not immediately flagged as unsportsman-like conduct?

    Oh, if only the football gods had made the exact same situation be against the Cowboys and they lost the game. I’m sure there would not be a single complaint from the holier-than-thou Dallas fans. Give me a break.

  110. Between this, the Ray Rice fiasco, the Adrian Peterson travesty, the almost complete lack of competitive national TV games all season long, and three out of four of this weekend’s playoff games being total snoozers, this has been a really super great year for Roger’s NFL. #thefatpiggetsslaughtered #MarkCubanforNFLCommissioner

  111. Not the 1st bad/missed call in the playoffs… Won’t be the last… But of course everyone on this thread is perfect and never made a mistake therefore can hold everyone to that high standard.

  112. Two non-calls (Def Holding & Unsportsmanlike Conduct) = 20 yds which would have been automatic for Prater !!

    A shame to have to tell a city … sorry we got it wrong !

    Waiting on consequences for this officiating crew. Maybe they should take out a full page ad in Detroit dailies.

  113. I thought I’d never say this being a life long Lions fan: Go Packers. I so want Rodgers and company to absolutely destroy the Cowboys. Beyond getting yet another surprise gift from the refereeing crew (remember CJ’s non-catch vs. the Bears, eg.), I am sick of the Cowboys fans sense of entitlement and even sicker of listening to all the “analysts” gushing over Romo, Bryant, Murray and that team during all the sports news. Maybe a couple of hours in the tundra will return the karma.

  114. From, the league’s own website, unsportsmanlike conduct should be called under Section 3, Article 1 h):

    “Removal of his helmet by a player in the field of play during a celebration or during a confrontation with a game official or any other player”.

    Dez Bryant did not have his helmet on. He confronted an official. How is that NOT unsportsmanlike conduct ad where in the rule book does it say the official can decide not to call it? I get that some penalties call for some level of discretion, like pass interference, but this rule is cut and dry. It either happened or didn’t happen.

    I have no horse in this race and I could care less this might have cost the Lions the game (I still remember them winning an OT game on a missed coin flip against the Steelers) but I do care when Blandino tries to pass this off as no big deal.

  115. All this game showed me is how these officials aren’t any better than the Replacement Officials that were extensively criticized.

    They (the media) would have definitelty told us how much of a travesty that call was (if made by replacement officials)….. And how they would have had no control of the game (because of what Dez Bryant was able to get away with).

    And save me your “these officials are human” excuse!— Nobody let me use it when the replacements were working the games.

  116. For the help he gave the Cowboys with the obvious non-calls, one wonders if Jerry gave Blandino a game ball.

  117. One of the worst calls I have ever seen considering the circumstances. Cowboy fans know it.

  118. I love all the hater’s comments on here about the non-penalty on the Lions when the Cowboys punted, because the player was blocked into him. But no mention of Terrance Williams being flagged for offensive PI when he was blocked into the defender.
    Selective memories or sour grapes?
    Lions one and done. Stafford 0-2 in the postseason. Stafford 0-18 on the road against winning teams. Suh likely gone. Teryl Austin likely gone to a HC job. Enjoy your offseason…

  119. It wasn’t the refs who shanked a 10-yard punt after that play. It wasn’t the refs who failed to cover Jason Witten on a fourth and six. It wasn’t the refs who shut down the Lions offense, allowing only six points after a 14-point outburst to start the game. We could go on and on. So if your point is that a call that should have been offsetting penalties was the thing that made the Lions lose, well, I guess you just weren’t watching the game.

  120. The officials really screwed up that call. Even if PI on the defense and the face mask grab on the offense offset, Baby Dez should’ve been flagged for his unsportsmanlike behavior (so what else is new?). The Lions should’ve had a first down. The game was far from over at that point to be sure, but at least no one could say Dallas got a favorable call. I’ve become the biggest Packer fan outside Wisconsin as of yesterday. Go get ’em Aaron. I want to see a sour look on Jerry’s face. That would really be a happy new year!

  121. I would have LOVED for the penalty to stick;
    Cowboys were UP by 4 already,
    and Lions needed a TD. (not gonna happen)
    Plus: Cowboys were gonna get the ball back with
    Plenty of time to score again.

    Secondly: My opinion of the “penalty”…
    1: It was Offensive Holding, to begin with

    2: Defensive player did not Stop the receiver from catching the ball
    3: The Ball was Uncatch-able; It hit the Defender in the back
    4: The Receiver PULLED the Defender down
    5: Refs don’t need to tell the spectators why they picked up the flag
    (It’s rare when they make explanations; that kind of stuff is done
    by referees that Want to give one, but it’s not Mandatory)
    6: If the Defender HAD turned-around, it would have been an INTERCEPTION
    7: It was a GREAT “good-call” for Dallas.

  122. Ahhhh.. Ssshutup…maybe the lions would of won the game if they scored, not gave up so many turnovers, and run out the clock. Instead they made plenty bad decisions and left the game up to the refs… And i get mad when i hear the truth, too. Oh well in my book they did not get robbed… ITS CALLED “THEY CHOKED”

  123. Refs are human. That’s why they call the games. Its called human error. If the call had been against Detroit, and then changed then Dallas fans would be crying. Every team has been in that situation and it sucks. But better Detroit than my Boys. Besides, Lions only scored 3 points in the second half.

  124. Sorry Dean, but you’re wrong. And given your current role, it highlights the poor state of officiating in the NFL and the ridiculous subjective nature of the often complex rules.
    Current and former VP’s of officiating, coaches, players and so-called media experts have all weighed in on this with a wide range of differing opinions. All this does is highlight how many grey areas there are within the rules, and each game is impacted by officials having to use their own judgment too often.
    Hitchens should have been flagged for holding. But Pettigrew should have been flagged for illegal hands to the face. If you watch the slow-mo video from over Pettigrew’s shoulder it’s clear he pulls Hitchens’ face mask down. The contact from Hitchens starts when he tries to bat Pettigrew’s hand off his face mask. The end result should have been offsetting penalties and a replay of third down.
    Instead a great game has been overshadowed by yet another officiating gaffe. It should not have been an automatic first down for the Lions, nor should it have been 4th and 1. It should have been a replay of 3rd and 1.
    This was not an isolated incident. The Cowboys got away with a couple of offensive holding calls, and where was the running into the kicker penalty on the Lions for the same level of contact the Cowboys got flagged for. A very poor show from the ‘all star’ officiating team.
    As an aside, if 275 pound Pettigrew falls over with such minimal contact, he’s a bigger wuss than I have him credit for. And if Caldwell had the balls to go for it on 4th and 1, this may all have been a moot point.

  125. dirtdawg54 says: Jan 5, 2015 5:16 PM

    From, the league’s own website, unsportsmanlike conduct should be called under Section 3, Article 1 h):

    “Removal of his helmet by a player in the field of play during a celebration or during a confrontation with a game official or any other player”.

    Dez Bryant did not have his helmet on. He confronted an official. How is that NOT unsportsmanlike conduct ad where in the rule book does it say the official can decide not to call it? I get that some penalties call for some level of discretion, like pass interference, but this rule is cut and dry. It either happened or didn’t happen.


    Sorry dirtdawg54 but the answer is in the detail. Dez Bryant did not remove his helmet – he was on the sideline already with his helmet off and came onto the field to protest the call. As per the wording of the rules, this was not a cut and dried offence.

  126. joebloh says: Jan 5, 2015 11:13 PM

    I would have LOVED for the penalty to stick;
    Cowboys were UP by 4 already,
    and Lions needed a TD. (not gonna happen)
    Plus: Cowboys were gonna get the ball back with
    Plenty of time to score again.


    I hate to tell you this joebloh, but the Lions were up by 3 when this happened and were close to getting into field goal range.

    Having said that, if the Lions had run off some more time and kicked a field goal to lead by 6 it still would have left plenty of time for the Cowboys to drive for the winning TD with no time left for the Lions to come back.

  127. The Cowboys were NOT winning by four when this travesty occurred. They were trailing by three with around seven minutes remaining in the game.

    The blatant holding going on in crunch time by the Cowboys OL was “somehow” missed even though it was right out in the open on at least two occasions. The refs also missed a clear illegal procedure violation(on the TE) along with a mugging by the Cowboys RT on the play in which the Lions were flagged for defensive holding(which it was…no argument there) which game the Cowboys a HUGE first down on third and six.

    There were a series of blatant things going on during crunch time(but not one time flagged) which make you go “hmmmmm”.

    The Cowboys fans can spin it any way they want but the Lions clearly got hosed. Another black eye for a league in need of a makeover….and it begins at the top.

  128. This whole thing is ridiculous.

    On that particular play, judging from everything I have seen and read, there were perhaps four different penalties on at least three different players. I personally don’t think the Officials acted any differently than they have throughout the season or in seasons past, they typically make bad calls or miss calls routinely — they are human and it is sometimes painfully evident.

    My father told me a long time ago that there is holding on virtually every play in every game. Some players are good at it, some get caught.

    I find it ironic that Detroit is the victim of this apparent confusion in a strange case of KARMA. Oh, and BTW, take a look at the picture that runs with this story and tell me what that Detroit player’s left arm is doing and if that should be an infraction!!

  129. Ah, but doesn’t ‘t this guy work for the control freak Goodell who lied and lied and lied about the Ray Rice and the manager of the domestic violence issues… many issues.

    What do we expect Blandino to do or say. Probably Goodell told him to go and lie and deceive because they have the power and are backed by the dictators to the fans that are the owners in New England, Pittsburgh and Dallas.

    Say whatever because the fans want to be lied to by great men like us, you know like Goodell, Kraft, Jones and the rest.

    Unbelievable that he did not take this chance to say. OH, that was a mistake and we will not tolerate it and this Morelli turd, this incompetent fool and perhaps even a crook with a bet or two in Vegas, is not working any more playoffs. But would not be surprised if he is at the Super Bowl working it. And here we criticized FIFA for being an abomination… what about the NFL.

  130. Think about all the calls that favor the Patriots.
    Tuck Rule

    Then those that are created in a reaction to the Patriots THINKING they got cheated –
    Higher Goal posts

    Then those that the Patriots got away with that caused a rule change – chucking Rams Receivers all the way down the field. Ironically, it was that Super Bowl that created all the confusion with “what is illegal contact”. Formal definition is below.

    Illegal contact is a penalty that can be thrown, (or as we have now seen be picked up) to have the Officials help the NFL Darlings to win the game. The losers will be left discussing what they could’ve/should’ve. However, that is irrelevant, because if the Refs are going to throw the game, they will throw the game.

  131. What is done is done.

    But Cowpie fans have shown a profound ignorance.

    At no time did the “missed face mask” ever alter the swivel of the head. The Cowpie NEVER MADE AN ATTEMPT to look for the ball – not once – never.

    Had the face mask penalty been called, it would have at best for the Cowboys caused offsetting penalties for the missed defensive holding call. The third down would have been replayed.

    It is laughable to suggest that a player who is not on defense can come onto the field without a helmet. That is a penalty – that is a point of emphasis.

    The Pass Interference call which generated the penalty flag (that was picked up) was genuine – the first part of the rule requires the defensive player to play the ball – now unless the Cowpie defender had eyes in the back of his head (that were obscured by the helmet that did not have a face mask) then it was impossible for him to have ever SEEN THE BALL. And since that is the first test of pass interference – both players playing the ball – it is worthless to discuss any other part of pass interference – the penalty had already been triggered.

    Yes, the Cowpies got away with a bunch in this game – offsetting penalties at the worst PLUS a post play unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Bryant which would have cost the Cowpies 15 yards and an automatic first down.

    Cowpie fans can’t handle the truth. And hopefully the Karma payback on this delivers interest as well as a butt whooping and embarrassment before a national audience. Perhaps Romo will experience the crush of defeat and never come back from it.

  132. To quote Blandino: “… a close call that could have went either way”.

    Could have went either way????? It’s “could have gone either way”, you nitwit!

    But Blandino is right — Morelli blew it and the Cowboys caught a break they should not have caught.

    As for him saying running on the field to argue is not a penalty, running on the field without your helmet on is. Dez Bryant should have been flagged 15 yards for that.

    Let’s face it. Morelli and his crew had a bad day all the way around.

    And so did the Lions, because in spite of that horrendously stupid thing Morelli did, the Lions have no one to blame but themselves for losing that game. They couldn’t hold two big leads.

    And they have to be wondering if Matthew Stafford is the guy they want to move forward with, or should they be looking to draft a QB this year. Because you don’t get to be 0 for 19 against winning teams on the road in your career without earning it.

  133. First of all, the ball was uncatchable, it hit Hitchens in the back. Yes he grabbed the jersey
    and yes Hitchens had his face mask pulled.
    Offsetting penalties.

    The play should simply have been offsetting and 3rd down replayed. End of story.

    Now lets look at the two punts. There was an academy award performance by Detroit, when the Dallas player was rolled into him Detroit gets the ball back.

    Later, there is obvious running into the kicker when Dallas punted. No call, which should have given the ball back to Dallas.

  134. The game is fixed gentlemen, how do we forget the seattle – packer FAIL MARY game?

    How about Patriots cheating vs Eagles and Rams? Kurt Warner should have 2 rings. Plus I agree with an earlier comment, i also stopped watching the NBA after the fixed Laker-Sacramento games. I want to point out that Miami vs Dallas in 2006 finals was fixed. FIXED. Dirk should have 2 rings, not one.

    I need to start watching ping pong or frog hopping or something, because i cannot take it anymore.

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