Gerry Austin has confusing take on key call from Sunday


Former NFL official Gerry Austin, who worked games from 1982 through 2007, currently serves as an officiating consultant with ESPN, addressed on Monday the controversial call from Sunday’s Lions-Cowboys game during an appearance on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning.

Austin explained that the non-call was justified by the fact that tight end Brandon Pettigrew was moving away from the contact with Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens, and thus was not impeded by Hitchens.

“The one thing that I would say that makes that not a foul is that the receiver is still going away from the ball,” Austin said.  “So that makes the contact basically incidental.  I don’t think the flag should have been put on the ground.”

Austin added a key caveat.

“Once the flag was on the ground, I think it should have stayed,” Austin said.

And that makes no sense.  It’s a foul or it’s not a foul.  Throwing the flag in real time should not prevent consultation and a correction.  Indeed, the league expects that type of communication.

The problem here is that referee Pete Morelli, as the head of a mashed-up “all-star” crew, had a responsibility to properly harmonize the opinions of back judge Lee Dyer and head linesman Jerry Bergman.  Dyer thought it was interference; Bergman thought it was merely face guarding, which is legal.

Morelli should have straightened it out before announcing to the world that Hitchens had committed pass interference.  The mixed signals from Moreli created the perception of a mess — inviting conspiracy theorists and those inclined to believe based on recent off-field developments that the league makes things up as they go along to conclude that the fix was in.  Even if it wasn’t.

The game broadcast also reveals that Hitchens got away with holding, grabbing Pettigrew’s shirt.  (The hold apparently happened just before the ball was thrown.  If the hold came after the ball was thrown, it was separate evidence of interference.)

Then there’s the Dez Bryant situation. He wasn’t flagged for coming onto the field to argue the initial call.  Austin said that, if Bryant left the field quickly, the inclination would be to not penalize him.  Which meshes with the explanation from Sunday night that, in the heat of the moment, the officials gave Bryant a little leeway.

We’ll try to clear it all up later today, when NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino makes a phone call to the first ever three-hour radio edition of PFT Live.

143 responses to “Gerry Austin has confusing take on key call from Sunday

  1. What is this? Referee apologist day? The ball hit the defender in the back, dude. The receiver could not get to the ball … oh phooey, everyone knows what happened. Keep making up excuses and btw why no flag on Dez? Fixed, me believes.

  2. I don’t think the NFL is rigged, but I do believe that the NFL will gently nudge the refs on making calls that favor teams who bring in the ratings.

  3. How does a Head Linesman, who is watching for penalties along the line of scrimmage, over turn a back judge who is responsible for pass interference down the field?

    Somebody find Gerry Austin’s med’s. Another disgusting excuse

  4. It was justified because it was the Cowboys. They could find enough flags to throw on the Lions for every ticky tack thing they did.

  5. Let me clear it up for all of the Cowboys haters: the flag should’ve been picked up for the PI since it was clearly not PI. Or at the very minimum, it was offsetting PI against both players. The officials should’ve had a longer conference to make sure the call was corrected prior to making the official call over the PA. The official should have done the standard “there was no foul on the play” announcement after a correct amount of discussion.

    Bryant should’ve been flagged but he wasn’t. Move on. Every WR who gets up and complains about PI should also get flagged.

  6. None of that makes a lick of sense. What does receiver fading backwards have to do with the defender initiating the contact and never looking back for the ball?

  7. As a Pats fan I’m glad there’s an officiating blunder that actually surpasses the Tuck Rule, if only because the tuck rule was the proper enforcement of a HORRID rule that shouldn’t have even existed anymore. This stuff from the Lions game is so blatantly incompetent that it makes the conspiracy theorists look like they know what they’re talking about.

  8. I think Gerry Austin’s explanation is the best so far. If the receiver wants to get a PI penalty called on a defender who is face guarding, he has to basically come back through the defender while attempting to catch the ball. But face guarding alone (i.e. without the receiver coming back through the defender to catch the ball) should not draw a PI penalty by itself. I personally did not think that there was enough contact to warrant a PI call, and I’m not a Cowboys fan.

  9. The incidental contact theory may have been reasonable if it weren’t for the fact that the “emphasis” on interference and defensive holding essentially informs the contact on the play as being illegal, which is why the flag was thrown in the first place.

  10. As much as you try and distance it, the fix was in and the fix has always been a part of the story to sell advertisers and generate billions in revenue for the NFL.

  11. Wait Blandino is done cleaning Jerruh’s house and shinning Stephen’s car? They let him talk in the phone? Good to know he can do other duties than be the Cowboy towel boy. I’m sure his fake excuse will be fantastic.

  12. Did anybody notice that Dez didn’t celebrate at all on that last touchdown. He was right there, and other players came to celebrate and he was nowhere to be seen. What a diva loser. Of course he was shown after the game ranting and raving in the hallway. I can understand why they haven’t already paid this guy.

  13. Ah, the classic face guarding argument. Funny it was called a penalty against the Pats in the 2006 AFC Championship. The league had nothing to do with that hose job either (wink wink) making sure Peyton could get his ring.

  14. Detroit conspired to lose. The kicker was in on it with a 7 yard punt. The Defense was in on it allowing an 11 play drive for the go ahead TD. Matt Stafford was in on it by fumbling the ball away. When DeMarcus Lawrence gave it back, Stafford fumbled again for good measure. Lions should be investigated for this conspiracy.

  15. We don’t need an article about every retired ref’s opinion from each network… You said this in the article, but people are upset at how late the flag was picked up, not weather or not it was thrown.

    What I have a problem with is this is playoff, big boy football. When they picked that flag up, I thought the refs were going to “let them play.” The next drive, however, the refs threw two questionable defensive holding flags on Detroit, BOTH of which came on failed third downs. That was way more egregious, to me, than picking up that original PI flag.

    I really miss back in the day when players decided the game and yellow laundry didn’t fly for everything.

  16. We can sit here all day an argue whether that was a good or bad call, but the fact is that “IT WAS A CALL”, period. Morelli saying that he didn’t communicate with the officials and rushed to make the call is just an excuse. Worst case scenarion the facemask and the PI offset and teams play the down again, but refs cannot make a call, and after the call pick the flag, that violates the integrity of the game.

  17. Even the game broadcasters were bias. Why is Troy Aikman, a former Cowboy quarterback doing the color? BTW. Calling him the colorman is a joke as he is colorless and tells us absolutely nothing to the game (Phil Simms must be his model).

  18. You cant reward the Lions with a PI when its a poorly thrown ball by Stafford. And face guarding is legal. Just because the defender is running and the poor pass hits the defender without his head turned does not make it a PI. He in now way illegally prevented pettigrew from trying to catch the pass.

  19. Like I’ve been saying, PI is when the defender impedes the receiver’s path to the ball or interferes with his ability to catch the ball, as the ball is in flight.

    Forgetting for one second that the pass was right into the defender’s back and virtually uncatchable, you’re not impeding the receiver’s path to the ball simply by being existing the receiver and the ball. The defender has the right to occupy space.

    The Lions played like kittens in the second half. That’s why they lost.

    Lions 20
    Cowboys 24

    The game is over.

  20. It’s not complicated. A Cowboys win is more valuable to the league than a Lions win. So the officials just provided a helpful nudge here and there to maximize profits for the league.
    I’m sure gooddell and most of the owners are pleased. Priorities.

  21. As a 45 year, proud Lions fan, I can only accept it as a team loss. This is keeping me sane. But damn, that was a lot more clear then the Zapruter film.

  22. In what world does the receiver moving away from the ball give free reign to commit pass-interference without it being called??? That makes absolutely no sense

  23. “The mixed signals from Moreli created the perception of a mess — inviting conspiracy theorists and those inclined to believe based on recent off-field developments that the league makes things up as they go along to conclude that the fix was in. Even if it wasn’t.

    The game broadcast also reveals that Hitchens got away with holding, grabbing Pettigrew’s shirt. (The hold apparently happened just before the ball was thrown. If the hold came after the ball was thrown, it was separate evidence of interference.)

    Then there’s the Dez Bryant situation. He wasn’t flagged for coming onto the field to argue the initial call.”


    The Cowboys had one playoff win in 18 years, something the media and other fans make sure is widely known.
    The Cowboys missed the playoffs for four straight years (2010-2013 seasons; 6-10, 8-8, 8-8, 8-8) and were known as the epitome of mediocre, something again, made very clear by the media and other fans.
    Now, once they win (for once), it’s a national conspiracy?

    To address the latter part of the story, they point out plenty of what Hitchens did, but Pettigrew clearly grabbed Hitchens’ facemask as well. If anything it should have been offsetting penalties.

    As for Dez coming onto the field and arguing, you will not receive an argument here, nor from many Cowboys fans. That’s a penalty that should have been called. Sideline warning at the minimum.

    But remember this, the Lions were given a fresh set of downs after Lawrence fumbled after he picked the ball up and was recovered by Detroit. They had a chance to put the game away until Stafford was sacked and fumbled on the ensuing drive.

    I’ll say it again, I thought this was a good game that was extremely hard fought by both Detroit and Dallas. Detroit commanded the first half, Dallas the second. Stuff happens, bad calls are abound in today’s NFL, a larger issue under Roger Goodell that needs to be examined from the top down. Bad calls are a product of a bad system.

  24. Chris Carter -HOF Receiver – had the same take – that it was NOT PI. GET OVER IT. Romo threw for 195 yards and 2 TDs on 3rd and 4th down – 0 turnovers. Detriot could’ve ended the game essentially on the 4th and 6. Make that play and the game is over. That play DID NOT even win the game for the Cowboys… Boo hoo hoo – insert picture of Suh

  25. RomoisGod

    Most Cowboys fans can’t name 3 players on their own team. So I’ll pass on your explanation of the rules.

    Your boyz stole one. Plain and simple. It happens.
    Enjoy. And learn the name of a 4th player.

  26. Also, if you’re going to flag every player that steps onto the field without his helmet between plays, you’re going to have to call it in every game because it happens in every game. You’re not gonna get the call as a dead ball foul unless it’s a celebratory thing, like after a TD or a good play.

  27. Once again this is being discussed with zero mention of the facts that the 2nd replay angle clearly showed the Lions receiver grab Hitchens face mask both preventing him from turning his head to look for the ball, and then the receiver pulling him into contact by the face mask.

    It was offensive PI if anything.

  28. That call really STOMPED the Lions hopes.

    The Lions should appeal the call. Maybe it can get reversed.

    I think if the Lions played Dallas again, they would STOMP the Cowboys.

    And I think the Lions would STOMP the Packers next week as well.

    I especially think Suh would STOMP the Packers O-Line and especially Rodgers.

  29. As a Raiders fan, that penalty is called 100% of the time on us. Not complaining, just showing grounds for my opinion. He never looked back and put his hand on the receiver. There shouldn’t have been any reason to pick up the flag.

    Even if it was offsetting due to the receiver putting his hand on the defender’s facemask, it still would have been 3rd down over again instead of 4th.

    Bad form Refs

  30. Soooo…. If you’re going to commit pass interference, hit him hard enough to push him away from the ball and its a clean play??

    I mean that is the logic I see from his statement.

  31. The NFL is the laughing stock of professional sports. This latest incident only solidifies their status.

  32. If we want to get technical about it, looked like Pettigrew could have been flagged for a facemask too. Denver receivers (D. Thomas and E. Sanders) have been called for two of those in the last two games, though I’m not sure I’ve seen another team’s WRs getting called for it all year.

  33. Shame on FOX for not getting the announcement of picking up the flag. Joe Buck was too busy showing his anti-Dallas sentiment and going to the guy who USED to be head of officiating. Flags get picked up all the time, non story.

  34. Lions got hosed, plain and simple. Darn right the NFL wants that Cowboys Packers game in Lambeau. There is a catch no one has mentioned.

    As of this posting there is a National Weather Advisory for Green Bay, Wisconsin. Current temperature is -8 with wind chills to -35.

    It IS expected to be warmer in Green Bay Sunday, that forecast is still a bit out, but for planning purposes… Jerry better bring a coat.

    The Pack has the Lions back.

  35. I have been n NFL fan since the first time I watched it on television … the 1958 Championship Game. I officiated Division 1 BBall in the NCAA for a good number of years.

    All I gotta say is I have NEVER EVER seen officiating as bad as it has been in the NFL for the past few years and yesterday’s Boys/Lions game was an abomination.

    I find myself watching fewer and fewer NFL games for one reason … the officiating decides the games WAY too often.

    The NFL has got to do something about this. And I don’t mean a point of emphasis. I mean you don’t do your job well and you lose your job. Period.

    This is insanity. But, just because people are rich does not mean that they are either intelligent or have any idea what they are doing.

  36. If any football fan would take there mine off there favorit team. Be it your home team or your bet. Just watch the game and don’t care who wins you will see how the Refs play there game some times they win and some times they don’t BUT THEY AFFECT THE OUT COME.

  37. If you watch a lot of NFL, you know that if the defender doesn’t turn his head and makes ANY contact (look at left hand pushing right shoulder, limiting ability to come back for the ball), it is an automatic flag. Grabbing the jersey has been the most consistently called penalty all season, yet they missed this too. And Dez running out on the field without a helmet–are you kidding me? They missed 3 clear Dallas penalties on one play! And if you look at the 3rd down play with the Levy penalty (rightly called), you can’t help but see the Parnell (Dallas RT) both holding and giving hands to the face of the pass rusher. Utter incompetence leads to conspiracy theories.

  38. Let me clear it up for all of the Cowboys haters: the flag should’ve been picked up for the PI since it was clearly not PI. Or at the very minimum, it was offsetting PI against both players. The officials should’ve had a longer conference to make sure the call was corrected prior to making the official call over the PA. The official should have done the standard “there was no foul on the play” announcement after a correct amount of discussion.

    Bryant should’ve been flagged but he wasn’t. Move on. Every WR who gets up and complains about PI should also get flagged.


    You leave out a few important parts.. first the call was announced to the crowd then was never explained. This leads to the confusion for the fans, I’ve never seen a foul announced to the crowd THEN picked up with no explanation. Second it was a correct call initially… the defender had his back to the ball, never turned to make a play, and contacted the receiver. That’s PI every time. There should have been offsetting calls (Face mask on Pettigrew) but that still would have given DET another shot at 3rd and 1 so still a huge game changer. Third Dez on the field was not the same as a receiver looking for a flag… Dez was on the sideline and not in any way involved in the play, you can’t enter the field of play to argue a call. Should have been flagged but as the article says… he got a pass this time.

    Not a Lions fan or a Cowboy hater… I defend Romo every time I talk about him.. but facts are facts.

  39. Cowboys season is tainted and gets an asterisk moving forward.

    I feel bad for the Lions and their fans. They got hosed big time.

    Dallas won but it was not fair.

  40. If you’re really sitting here and moaning about one call while staying quiet about the missed hands to the face on Pettigrew, the missed running into the kicker, the fair catch collision, and the OPI on Terrance Williams when he was blocked into the defender then idk what we’re doing here…

  41. Here’s what’s starting to concern me even more than the outcome of this game: Does it seem like a lot of these really outlandish penalty / referee situations are happening in the most important games?

    – The tuck rule (which might be okay, since it was written stupidly)

    – The overturn of the Troy Polamalu interception of Peyton Manning which left everyone completely baffled, both by the overturn and the subsequent explanations?

    – The barrage of calls that went against the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL (and I’m a Steelers fan)

    – Now this, where none of the explanations make any sense.

    All playoff games. And that’s just from my memory, there might be other major ones that I’m leaving out.

    I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist, but the pattern seems bothersome.

  42. Let the NFL spin machine earn their money! They will not admit is was a mistake. They will not admit their incompetence to make correct call! They will not admit that Blandino has a shady relationship with Jerry Jones (those girls on that bus weren’t cheerleaders…..hookers????) which makes this even more ridiculous. They won’t admit that the call shifted the momentum and screwed Detroit.


    MLB was once top dog too but greed and corruption helped topple them. Goodell will go down as the commissioner that brings the fall! BOOK IT!

  43. What??? Moving away from the ball?? Unless the WR is running back towards the QB, the WR is ALWAYS moving away from the ball when making a catch. If this guys explanation is valid, that means 99% of pass interference calls int he history of the league are invalid because the WR was moving “away from the ball”. The more these people try to explain the call, the worse it looks.

  44. This certainly has been entertaining seeing the Internet exPLODE over this. I guess people forget this does NOT necessarily mean Cowboys would have lost. None of us r in any place whatsoever to predict that so calm down. What also happened to the hating on Sue suspension being lifted cause “it was too cold to tel between leg and the ground” everyone can be this ignorant to pick and choose plays to bash

  45. As fans, we need to just stop watching….

    You want to make a stand, and tell the NFL to “stick it” and that your sick of goodell…. Then don’t watch the games next weekend… Don’t turn the tv on, nothing… Watch espn, or something else. Get your highlights there…

    Maybe if they lose some tv revenue for once, they will all get the hint.

  46. The referee pete Morelli should be suspended for a week. If a referee or an officiating crew could be suspended for a week it should happen.

  47. I’m still trying to figure out how the writer of this article or anyone in this world is so sure the “fix” is not in. It can and has happened in the past in pro sports.

  48. If the NFL truly wanted ratings, wouldn’t the Cowboys be in the playoffs every year instead of 4 times over the last decade?

    And wouldn’t they want them to advance instead of being one and done?

    And what about the no call on touching the Cowboys punter in the first half?

    Or the bogus offensive PI call on Terrance Williams where the Detroit defender pushed him into the other Detroit defender?

    Or the bogus holding call on Witten that nullified a Touchdown?

    Or the fact that Suh’s suspension ridiculously got overturned? Lions had no chance without Suh. That’s where the NFL is fixed. When they allowed Ted to overturn what should have been a suspension.

    Boo hoo cry me a river.

    On to the next one.

  49. Okay. I accept Austin’s explanation and I understand that Morelli screwed up the process….that he should have pulled the crew together before he made fial judgement.
    But this onle confirms Bellichek is right ….that all plays should be reviewable

  50. I’m neither a fan of Dallas or Detroit, but watching the whole call/non-call occur was IMO BS, not withstanding Dez charging on the field without a helmet to argue the call !!!

    Detroit should call 911 as they were just robbed by the officiating team.

    Joke !

  51. This call has taken something I love, the NFL, and made it a bit less entertaining. The NFL will do everything and anything to protect themselves, even defend this horrible call. All I’ll remember regarding this game was that call.

  52. I’m sorry but I’ve seen this play a stupid amount of times now and all I see is either a no call or offsetting penalties.

    To me it’s very obvious that the TE used multiple pushes and a facemask grab in the movement of the play and the defender pushed lightly at the end with a small grab in the beginning and never turned his head.

    I just don’t see how one player did something so much worse than the other that it could be anything other than offsetting.

    The actions of the ref crew are unfortunate but I think it’s just as arguable that leaving the penalty in tact would have been just as unfair. Should have been offset.

  53. WWF is less fixed.

    This is what the owners have been wanting for 50 years. This is where they make their REAL money. Don’t think for a second that they don’t bet on games themselves. The Rooneys and Maras come from bookmaking backgrounds. Go look it up if you don’t believe me.

    Memo to teams that aren’t NYG (my team), DAL, GB, NE… you better win your game by halftime because if it’s close late, chances are, you’ll be Blandino-ed.

  54. Clearly not pass interference. Now if the receiver had pushed the defender down, that would be… no, not pass interference, either. How ’bout them Cowboys!

    – Drew Pearson

  55. All you Idiots claiming there was “a fix” and that the nfl wants the cowboys to win answer me this: if that’s the case why haven’t they done anything to help the cowboys out the past 18 years? They schedule them on the road in December for 3 out of 4 games every year and 90% of the time on the road for the finale. They dont need Dallas to make money. Since 1996 when Dallas last won the SB the League has blown up and made more money than ever.

    Its also funny how no one talks about all the missed calls on Detroit. Mike Perera even agreed there were two missed no calls on the running into the kicker and offensive interference called on Dallas in the first half.

  56. What I find amusing is that what I assumed is true that NFL refs don’t know the rules. Every channel has a referee analyst now and every referee analyst has a different take on similar plays. The rules need to be condensed.

  57. Are we still talking about this? Really? Move on people, I think the real conspiracy here is all these Dallas cowboy haters making excuses for Dallas winning in the post season. I know it’s hard to believe but Dallas did earn their win. Get over it and move on.

  58. I heard Austin’s conversation and find it laughable. It’s just another layer of the league attempting to cover-up this disgraceful episode.

    The Cowboys were gift-wrapped an “opportunity” and they took advantage of it. But the referees got it wrong and deserve to be shown the same door as former replacement officials….. This is a worse call than the “Fail Mary” in Seattle.

  59. Also, did Dez Bryant scare Morelli that much to the point where he didn’t throw a flag for a helmet-less player being on the field??

    Suspend Morelli!!! He deserves it.

  60. Personally, I think there shouldn’t have been a flag. In real time, it really did not look like pass interference to me. It just didn’t seem like a catchable ball with the receiver already going away. That said, I get the Lions fans POV on this. Calls like that have been made elsewhere.

    Consistency in rulings is hard to achieve because things are so subjective to perspective. I get that. To me, the bigger issue is the thorough incompetence that arises from these all-star crews. To be quite honest, I blame it less on the all-star crews and more on the Morelli/ref. Specifically, I find it hard to believe that there isn’t some sort of process in place where the referee would actually, you know, be told to talk to all the people before making an announcement. Furthermore, I find it hard to believe the NFL wouldn’t, you know, tell everyone before the game, hey, work together, talk to each other, communicate.

    There’s an air of incompetence here that could’ve been cleared up if Morelli had simply talked to everyone first, and the NFL should be embarrassed and remind every damn referee that for the rest of the playoffs, to, you know, talk to everyone before making a judgment.

  61. Austin needs to be mothballed back to the nursing home. The game has passed him by. He and Carey on CBS are awful. They used to go to him for an opinion before a ruling on the field. Now they do it afterward and his hindsight is 20/20. You can’t even hear Austin when he speaks. And Blandino is a used car salesman. Can’t wait to hear what he says today on the show.

  62. When I saw the headline read ‘confusing call’, I assumed you meant the cowardly Lions not going for it on 4th and 1.

    Didn’t know we were hung up on a call that was pretty pointless given how the Lions wet the bed with a game they held in their hands at halftime.

  63. Nothing to do with the fact the Lions weren’t doing anything the second half period! That call decided the whole game! An as for you big football fans what part of that play is DPI?! Face guarding is legal! He was also falling away from the ball that was thrown low to begin with! Get over it with the NFL and Dallas being on the fix its old! The lions won the first half an Dallas won when it mattered! Funny that weak Dallas team beat the top 2 defenses in the league an the fix is on

  64. this was a good non-call.

    the only reason the receiver swatted the defenders arm was because the receiver grabbed his face mask.

    the receiver was back pedaling and any contact did not impede the receiver from catching the ball.

    if the receiver would have tried to come back to the ball through the defender, then it would have been interference. the receiver did not do this.

    what you have is minimal incidental contact that did not impede the receiver from making a play on the ball and a poorly thrown ball hit the defender in the back.

    3 points in the ENTIRE second half, not ONE phantom pass interference call is why the Lions lost. I’m not a fan of either team.

  65. I am sure Goodell had a goon in the electrical room with a hand on the light switch if his centrally managed officials (upstairs) concept of control fell through.

    …and yes, I am being satirical.

  66. “I’m not a Lion’s fan, but…” = I’m a Dallas hater or really a Lions fan. either way STOP CRYING over one call/non call, game was one by the better team that day.

  67. The overall issue is that there is absolutely no uniformity with the rules.

    In one game it’s PI, in another it’s not. Look at the tuck rule game, that hadn’t been called in generations, but Walt Coleman dug it up.

    In one of the games this past weekend, I saw the exact same thing happen, but this time it was merely a sack.

    This is the root of the problem, no uniformity, unless they fix the game altogether.

  68. This the same head of NFL officiating Dean Blandino that was partying on the Cowboy bus ?

    Get the hip waders out, this interview will be some all time spin.

  69. EXCELLENT non-call by the Refs. A Green Bay – Cowboys matchup will produce much more TV $$$$$$$$$$ for the NFL. Who wants to see the Lions anyways. To those idiots that keep lumping the Patriots with the unfair calls, get a life. Guess Bryant only came ran out to warns the Refs about making a stupid call!

  70. I’ve got news for the conspiracy buffs. People are going to watch this round of the playoffs REGARDLESS of who is playing.

    GB gets good ratings all the time. Fans of teams who are out still watch the upcoming round and the championship games BECAUSE IT’S PRO FOOTBALL.

    The numbers don’t lie.

  71. Let’s face it the NFL wanted the Cowboys & Ravens to win and it happened. They had to have Colts – Bronco’s, so the refs looked the other way all game in favor of the Ravens. The Ravens criminal element makes them the bad guys vs. NFL lover in Tom Brady. The NFL had to have Boys-Packers for ratings. The NFL is one big marketing package… I am about to be done with it all. Why invest when Goodell’s goons make this crap happen?

  72. In fairness to the rest of the league, maybe you should ask the head of officiating what kind of hookers and blow he likes, so that all of the other teams can have their party buses appropriately stocked this summer.

  73. So by Gerry’s logic, next time Pettigrew should just stop short, jump into the guy covering him and the morons will throw a flag.

    To me this is stupid. For years the rule of thumb is that if you don’t turn for the ball, and there is the least bit contact it’s a flag. Week after week, year after year this has been hammered into the brains of NFL fans.

    One other comment is that the NFL now seems to be letting a lot of downfield contact go despite all the posturing before the season. They still call a fraction of a second jersey grab at the line of scrimmage, but downfield you have some slow poke burned and he seems to have free reign to grab the jersey for several seconds, provided the ball is not in the air. Likewise, you have guys getting shoved OB, or out of the back of the end zone while the QB is still in the pocket. The refs can manage to throw their hat, but seemingly ignore the contact.

  74. Penalty was called. Head referee announces it to stadium. Yardage is marched off. Head linesman who watches linesman says he didn’t think it was pass interference. Morelli picks up flag and blows a kiss in the general direction of Jerry Jones.

  75. “The play” took what, 5 seconds? So, the Lions had 59 minutes and 55 seconds to score more points than the Cowboys and prevent the Cowboys from scoring more than they did. They were not able to accomplish that. Get over it, it’s over.

  76. Really – I have no idea how the Cowboys won the game because of the terrible officiating.

    A. Chris Jones was ran into and not penalty.
    B. Terrance Williams was pushed into the Lion DB and offensive pass interference was called on Williams negating a Witten first down – even though Williams went 76 yards on the next play it doesn’t matter.
    C. Pettigrew grabbed his facemask and no call.

    I can continue if you want but I think my point was made. Crazy how the Cowboys won that game.

  77. I could really care less who won this game but that was 100% of the time pass interference.

    If the defender can simply run over the receiver every time without looking for the ball then why don’t they? Because you can’t.

    Not saying the Lions should have won, but they should have had 1st down right there. The refs know it. We know it.

    Cowboys lose next weekend anyway.

  78. the nfl will throw as many liars as they can to get you to believe that they didn’t rig the game. just like roger goodell saw the tape of ray rice but is lying now . boycott the nfl . watching the game when they are already pre ordained on who is going to win is not entertainment . screw the nfl

  79. I understand team fans defending the call. But I’m amazed at how many, I thought were knowledgeable football people saying the pickup was ok. NFL must have called is some “you know who’s paying your bills” on many of the media. It was an obvious PI, and I hate the Lions.
    PS, even with the call Detroit could have screwed it up. But there was no doubt if you have integrity it was a bad call.

  80. Didn’t matter to me who won the game…However, that additional explanation sounds ridiculous and doesn’t make sense. The refs need to stop trying to explain themselves because they simply messed up. It’s getting to the point where I think the refs should be fined for not properly enforcing the rules just as the players are fined for not playing within the rules.

  81. Dez was given a pass huh? And Pettigew comitted a foul also? ok lets look at that…

    I know he is a jackass and all, but if Suh ran onto the field to argue with an official from the sideline you best believe that flag would have been out so fast it would be a blur.

    So you say Pettigrew committed a foul? ok …. so the penalties offset if the game is officiated correctly.

    And for those who say it didn’t affect the game, lets say for sake or argument the lions were awarded the PI call and the unsportsmanlike on dez, that would have given the lions first down at the Dallas 14.5 yard line.

    If they called PI, and a call on pettigrew, they offset, replay 3rd down. 3 and 1 relayed, with the wall bell was running all day, you can also reasonably conclude with that lions have a good shot at getting the first down. play continues.

    they call the offset, and call dez, the lions get 15 yards and a first down, taking them to the dallas 34, also within field goal range. I think you can also reasonably assume that the lions have a good shot at taking at least a 3 in this situation.

    So the lions make a FG, lets say Dallas still scores on the ensuing drive. The gives them a 1 pt lead and FG beaqts them. This forces them to have to guard the whole field, and not play prevent since they now can’t allow the lions to take chunks of underneath yards and get within field goal range. This greatly increases the chances of tate or calvin making a big play, or getting enough yardage to get within range of a legitimate game winning field goal.

    To say that play didn’t have dramatic outcome on the game is absurd.

  82. Actually Austin is wrong. His body was still moving backwards, but it was decelerating, and you can see his UPPER BODY trying to start the momentum switch back to going forwards.

    It was the contact that prevented that.

  83. OK it was PI we all understand that. But did that bad call actually cost the lions the game? So they get an automatic 1st down at the spot of the foul. Unless you are a physic how can you say for sure that the lions would go on to score a TD? They had only scored 3 points up until then in the 2nd half and had only scored 2 TDs since the 1st quarter. So let’s just go on how the offense had been preforming since the 1st quarter and say they come away with just 3 points. Odds are that is what would have happened. But I am not admitting that I am physic just going with the odds. So the final score would have ended up 24-23 and the Cowboys still win. What we do know is that the Cowboys did have a 4th and 6. And we also know that Detroit had a chance to end the game right there and didn’t. The refs didn’t fake out the lions db Witten did. The refs didn’t extend the play and throw the winning TD. Romo did. The bad no call didn’t happen on the last play of the game, it happened at a time in the game that still gave the lions plenty of time to win. Only problem is that they didn’t take advantage of it. The Cowboys did and that’s why they won. One bad call should never stop a good team from winning if given the chance unless it is on the last play of the game.

  84. If it weren’t for them ignoring what Bryant and his helmet-less head did, we might even be able to swallow the “honest mistake” line. But not even the apologists want to address this one.

    Gee Gerry, maybe Pettigrew was “moving away” because he was getting pushed in that direction? Duh.

    Austin is confused because there IS no good explanation for this one. It’s maybe the worst handling of a call we’ve ever seen.

  85. You know what? The fix really is in. All of you fanboys should back up your opinions by never watching an NFL game ever again because if the fix is in HERE, it’s in everywhere.

    I think we all learned the truth with that whole Spygate thing that was swept under the NFL table so fast.

    Or maybe we learned it when the Redskins and Cowboys were fined salary cap space for breaking rules that don’t exist.

    Maybe we learned it when the 49ers got Deion Sanders for a song, and Tagliabue said he signed cheap because the 49ers are a high profile team… and then cautioned teams that contracts offered to Sanders that didn’t meet his arbitrary popinions on what constitutes fair compensation would be heavily scrutinized… then threatened to dock the Cowboys draft picks for signing Sanders to a contract that violated no existing salary cap rules.

    Or maybe we learned it when Michael Irvin was suspended for 5 games instead of the usual 4 because Paul Tagliabue said he was a “high profile player”.

    Or maybe it was the “tuck rule”.

    Fanboys, LOL

  86. We all agree (at least non-Cowboy fans) that the refs blew both calls. I appreciate that refereeing an NFL game is difficult, but there has to be some level of accountability for bad calls. But the NFL, which thinks it is above having to explain itself, will never fix this problem. By the way, Green Bay will win next week, whether they played Dallas or Detroit, so the biggest losers are the Lions players that missed out on a playoff payday.

  87. hard to turn around and play the ball when your facemask is being tugged.

    all you haters tears taste delicious!

    guess which teams have the most playoff victories in the history of the NFL.


  88. Right call, wrong call. I’m not going to speculate.

    But you don’t pick up a flag with explanation!

    Such an act should, at the very least, merit a suspension for an NFL referee.

  89. Althought it WAS defensive pass interference against Hitchens & there should have been an unsportsman like penalty against Bryant none of it really matters because whether it was Detroit or Dallas…either one was simply gonna be “one and done”!
    The Cowboys now get to go to G.B. to get smacked aroung by Rodgers and Co.!

  90. how about the missed hands to the face or face mask call on Pettigrew on Hitchens? The very same play? It’s a wash IMO. Lions are just bitter because they came out on the loosing end. Refs were horrible all game, plenty of bad calls or no calls both ways. Dont like it, play better football!

    The fact remains, the Lions only scored 6 points in 3 quarters of Football and turned the ball over 3 times in the final 30 min of play. You cant win games when you cant score.

    1 call/no call does not change the outcome of an entire game. I will not lions or lions fans ruin my Cowboys victory for me! We won, you lost, get over it. Next time score more points!!

  91. The NFL should fix this by changing the score and giving Detroit the FG they most likely would’ve gotten on the drive anyway. 24-23 Dallas either way moves on.

  92. When Luke bearhugged Gronk in the endzone last year everyone scoffed at the idea that he should have worked back to the ball and Brady should have made a better throw. But now the refs our falling on that as an excuse for picking up the flag. oooooookkkkkk

  93. This mistake will be a black eye in this years playoffs. This week Dallas will go to Green Bay and get calls against them to make up for calls for them against the lions. The league is digging themselves a deeper hole defending this mess, it was pass interference, and dez should’ve had 15 yards against him no questions asked. This cowboys team has gotten to where they are with alot of help from the zebras since week one.

  94. Guess inviting the head of NFL officiating onto Dallas’ stripper party bus pays off pretty quickly.

  95. Wow… What I can’t believe the whiners on here! I thought this sight was populated by guys not teenagers talking about it’s not fair….

    We can all play the hypothetical and what if games all we want it gets non of us anywhere. What if bailey hits the FG early in the 3rd. What happens then? Oh ya none of us know….

    Here are the facts. This play happened with more than 6 minutes to go in the game. No matter if your a Cowboy or Lions fan… 6+ minutes to go in the game.

    Does Caldwell have the stones to win the game… No he punts. We know how that turns out.

    Lions D had multiple 3rd down and a 4th down opportunities to stop the Cowboys on Defense. Did they… No! Garrett does opposite of Caldwell and goes and tries to win the game.

    Lions had over two minutes to go on the clock, the 2 minute warning, 3 time outs, the ball, and Megatron and did they score NO..

    The Lions were even given a gift and a second chance by a Cowboys on a fumble… Did they score???? No they fumbled the game away again.

    Bottom line, the Lions were given plenty of opportunities to win the game and they didn’t.

    The Cowboys almost didn’t do enough to win the game either so to that I say the Cowboys got lucky… YES THEY DID TO ALL COWBOY FANS! But as many have said, you have to be a little lucky if you want to win it all.

  96. tmcb7 says:
    Jan 5, 2015 11:19 AM

    Just shut up…

    the defender made NO ATTEMPT at the ball.
    PERIOD. It was and should have stayed DPI.
    Just curious if you saw that Pettigrew held the facemask of Hitchens. To me it would be difficult to turn around yet alone make an attempt at the ball if the WR is holding his facemask.

    Furthermore, how would the defender know the ball was thrown to make an attempt? The WR is continuing to run his route grabbing the defenders facemask. To me that was a good non call. However, grabbing of the jersey and grabbing of the facemask should have been called and it would have given the Lions the down over.

  97. The NFL has noted that there are three nominees for the Jim Tunney award – an award given to the worst Referee in the NFL – named for the worst Referee ever in professional sports.

    Ed Hochuli, Jeff Triplette, and now Morelli. Considering how awful the first two are, it is unlikely Morelli has a chance this year, but the die is cast – Morelli is an idiot and he’s a front runner for the 2015 season award – assuming that the two other clowns don’t have career seasons of boneheadedness – which is entirely possible.

  98. Gerry Austen pulled the same crap last year on the Luke Kuechly/Rob Gronkowski play. He came up with a completely bogus explanation that never addressed what actually happened. The only thing clear with Gerry Austen is that he sees it as his mission to protect the league at all times. Getting Gerry Austen to comment is really a waste of time.

  99. Troy Aikman is slightly less biased than Dez Bryant – maybe.

    Was Troy a homer or what? That was annoying for me as a Ravens fan, it must have been terrible for a Lions fan.

    What does that tell you? The network doesnt’ care if Lion’s fans get upset. They only care if Dallas fans get upset.

    The Ravens have been living with these homers for years.

  100. What did we learn and why did this happen?

    The Cowboys, the networks and their announcers haven’t had a lot of practice in nationally televised playoff games. They need to handle it like the Patriots and their networks, and their announcers.

    Just watch the Patriot phantom illegal contact calls.
    The networks won’t even call the number of the guy who got called for the penalty. They won’t show you a video. They move immediately to…Brady is on yet another amazing march to Q4 comeback.

  101. Pettigrew had ahold of Hitchen’s facemask… That makes it a bit hard to turn and find the ball.

  102. You gotta play better than the refs! Don’t leave it up to a bad call. (i.e. Golden Tate catch vs Packers). Either way Go Hawks! Wish Tate was returning punts for us still.

  103. The bottom line is if you’re not one of the favored teams you better win in a blowout.

    The NFL will nudge the game towards television if they can – and they did.

    That is PI 100% of the time.

    Similar to the refs screwing Seattle vs Pittsburgh when TV wanted the Bus to get a ring in his hometown of Detroit.

    I also have no doubt that Seattle would have lost to Denver with the help of questionable calls in the SB had it been close.

  104. Stay calm. Picking up that flag doesn’t point to some kind of conspiracy. Come on, you people act like the Jones took the NFL VP of officials on a party bus with booze and women or something.
    Oh wait….

  105. Everyone that wants to cry that the receiver had hold of the face mask of the defender —- your delusional not to realize that the defender first had his hands up face-guarding while slamming into the receiver !
    I want to hear how Dez gets away with running well onto the field without a hemet screaming into the refs face —- AND STILL NO CALL ?

  106. Actually, IMO Pettigrew was trying to stop and get the underthrown ball. Thats why the defender ran him over.

  107. justintuck- And add Carroll Rosenbloom to the list who was always estatic when his teams made the playoffs because of tickets he could scalp .

  108. The NFL clearly has an objective of who they want to win games & is executing that objective through Ref direction. Calling one team for fouls left & right while ignoring blatant fouls by the opposing teams. Every game in the Wild Card Weekend was being directed by Refs.

  109. Hitchens contacts Pettitgrew; flag picked up.
    Leber is 2 feet away from NO tight end in the 2009 NFFCCG; PI called.

    The net effect is the team that the league wanted to win, won. The referees make holding calls to help teams, and DON’T call holding to help teams.

    That is the true sign that the league is corupt; the same calls happen both ways to help the marquee teams and players.

    Look for a call that hurts the marquee team; it doesn’t happen from Drew Pearson, to Tom Brady Tuck, to Polamalu, to Bill Leavy in the Seahawk Steeler SB.

    For you tuck rule Patriot fans, watch Danny White in the 1981 NFCCG against the 49ers; he fumbles the ball with the arm going forward and it is ruled a fumble, rightly so.

    The NFL is like an abusive parent; love the game, hate the money and league that is abusing it’s integrity for money. These idiots would be wealthy without this fixing and cheating, but they think it will add a few more bucks to the billions they already steal.

  110. Okay, to give the Cowboy-haters the benefit of the doubt, the Lions get the penalty and 1st down. They weren’t going to get a touchdown. So maybe (big “if” maybe) they get a field goal, and then Dallas gets the ball, with about 5 minutes left.

    Romo and the ‘Boys then march down and get a TD anyway, with hardly any time left on the clock. Lions weren’t going to stop Dallas from scoring the TD. You’re delusional if you think otherwise.

    Final score: 24-23, and still a win for the ‘Boys.

    Next …..

  111. Nobody is talking about the Cincy game because they didn’t watch or bc of the final score….but the one sided Colts refs were much worse than this one one poorly handled call.

  112. Lord Mr. Ford, look what’s been done !

    William Clay Ford would roll over in his grave if he were alive to see this travesty ! The Lions outplayed the Cowboys, just like they did the last two times they met. The only difference is that the officials we aloof and indifferent when it came to caring whether they got the calls right. They took a helmet-less Dez gently by the arm and walked him off the field. It looked as though they were consoling him. As it turned out they didn’t need to. He and his team mates were given the biggest gift in NFL history! In a playoff game no less ! I know the majority of you also watched the Lions game at Ford field last year, when Dez threw his little temper tantrum. Witten had to restrain him because he wanted to go after Romo on the sidelines. The refs were afraid to flag him for unsportsmanlike conduct, after all they were playing in front of thousands of rabid Dallas fans.
    Romo finally has his first (and probably last, at least this year) playoff win. Suh got tackled and sat on during the 4th and 6 play. It may not have been a fix, but I would be ashamed to say I officiated during this game. What was the greatest game in American sports has become a big joke !

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