NFL again defends punt muff non-call in Chicago-Seattle game

AP

During Sunday’s game between the Bears and Seahawks, replay review upheld a decision that a ball punted by Chicago had not touched a Seattle player. CBS rules analyst Mike Carey said during the broadcast the NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino explained that there was not clear evidence of the ball touching the Seattle player’s leg.

In the league’s weekly officiating video, Blandino again defends the decision.

After showing two angles that weren’t definitive on whether the ball strikes the player’s leg, the video includes a closer shot of the leg, with the ball clearly changing its trajectory as it passes by the leg of the player. Blandino, however, insists that the video doesn’t show the ball clearly touching the leg.

“Does this ball really jump that far to the right where we think the ball clearly hit his leg?” Blandino asks. “It’s reasonable to assume that it hit his leg. But, again, we cannot make a decision based on the ball changing direction. We have to see clear evidence that the ball absolutely touched his leg.”

That’s fine, but it does seem to be pretty clear that the ball strikes the leg. It may not look clear when played one frame at a time, but at normal speed it’s clear and obvious that the ball moves in a way that happens only if the ball strikes something.

If that’s the standard the league intends to apply to replay review, that’s fine. But we should all remember this standard moving forward, because there inevitably will be occasions when a decision is made not based on what is absolutely clear and patently obvious to the eye, but which is absolutely clear and patently obvious based on the application of common sense.

As the ball was falling and at the moment it passed the player’s leg, it moved in a way it would move only if it touched something other than air. If replay review isn’t going to correct that call, what’s the purpose of even having replay review?

48 responses to “NFL again defends punt muff non-call in Chicago-Seattle game

  1. What is the point of replay? This was as obvious as the Cobb non catch in the playoffs. Blandino needs to be fired. And Eifert scored.

  2. The NFL makes everything too complicated. Nobody can even define what a catch is and now replay can’t even be viewed without taking it down to individual frames. It makes the game maddening and tiring to watch.

  3. As a Bears fan I understand we suck. But that call was brutal. And it was our second challenge so we were out of challenges even though we won the first one and obviously should have won this one. It didn’t matter in the game but at least admit the obvious. I can’t stand Blandino. Mike Pereira was at least honest when he was in that job

  4. Florio has been on this because this is the real problem with NFL officiating is failure to admit mistakes. Dean Blandino is either a moron or thinks every NFL fan is a moron(He may be halfway right). This allows the same mistakes to come back and effect outcomes of games. That Tyler Eifert non-call TD is the exact same as Dez Bryants non-call.

    This helped the team I cheer for but can say with that change of direction of the ball it hit the calf of a Seahawk. Same thing happened when they called an interception against Seattle when they lost against the Cards last year. The ball kicked up turf pellets before a Cardinal defender caught it. NFL backs that as the correct call. See the problem yet folks?

    Tim Donaghy turned die hard fans away from NBA. NFL needs to get rid of Dean Blandino because they are losing credibility each week he puts his clown shoes on and talks to media.

  5. And the point of this post is what? So it hit an air current caused by temperature gradients. It happened almost a week ago and no one seems to want to let it rest. New games for this week started last night for cripes sake.

  6. So does that mean that the 49ers were screwed in the 2011 NFCGC (or rather that based on this absurd method of reasoning that the Giants should have gotten screwed)?

    Since the ball changing directions is what got the non-muff reversed to a muff in that case.

    Damn I miss Mike Pereira as head of officiating.

  7. “Does this ball really jump that far to the right where we think the ball clearly hit his leg?” Blandino asks. “It’s reasonable to assume that it hit his leg. But, again, we cannot make a decision based on the ball changing direction. We have to see clear evidence that the ball absolutely touched his leg.”

    This from the guy that said Dez did not make “enough” of a football move and reversed the call on the field.

  8. I really wouldn’t mind if reply reviews found their way out of the league again. But they give the league more commercial air time to generate more revenue so they are probably here to stay.

  9. Even as a Seattle fan, that was a really obvious call. Like blatantly obvious. The reason it’s not getting more attention is because Bears fans have given up on the season and don’t even care.

  10. “But, again, we cannot make a decision based on the ball changing direction. We have to see clear evidence that the ball absolutely touched his leg.””

    Yup that’s the NFL. First they were science deniers.

    Now their logical thought deniers.

    I was half expecting Blandino to follow that comment with “It might have just bounced off the air somehow, or perhaps it was just the wind, we’ll never know.”

    This also falls back into science denying. Its a physical impossibility for a ball to just randomly change directions like that without hitting something.

    But hey, why would the league worry about telling another lie, they’ve told so many in the last few years.

  11. nels1959 says:

    I can’t stand Blandino. Mike Pereira was at least honest when he was in that job
    ———————————————————-
    “Baghdad Bob” Pereira was not honest. See Super Bowl XL.

    Personally, I think the Ideal Gas Law caused the ball to change direction naturally.

  12. As the ball was falling and at the moment it passed the player’s leg, it moved in a way it would move only if it touched something other than air. If replay review isn’t going to correct that call, what’s the purpose of even having replay review?

    ****

    I’m a Hawks fan I agree. I thought it hit him in realtime, & replay confirmed it for me. Sorry Bears fans. I don’t think it would’ve changed the outcome but stranger things have happened.

    Time to clean house on Park Ave.

  13. I was watching the game and the ball clearly hit the players leg. It could of helped us out at the time but we would have lost the game anyway. One true tell that the ball struck the Seahawks player was that he sprinted to the ball as the Bear player recovered that fumble. They should ask him if the ball did in fact hit his right leg.

  14. The real time call and the replay were both clearly blown. The Bears stink but that’s no reason to job them on calls.

  15. Can’t stand Blandino but its not like the call changed the game or anything.

    No sense crying over spilled milk.

    As a Seattle fan I’ve been on the both sides of this issue…in much more critical times. Vinny Testaverde and the Pittsburgh Super Bowl come to mind as examples

  16. It’s the old “magic bullet” theory. All sorts of things randomly change direction in midair. I doubt it would have changed the outcome of the game, but the purpose of replay is to get it right.

  17. As a Seattle fan living in Colorado, work hindered my abilities to see the game. If what was described above is accurate, to me, it touched the leg, no question.

  18. Hell…. the week before that they completely ignored an obvious facemask call when Cutler’s head was spun around like Linda Blair in The Exorcist and another when he took a helmet to helmet hit with no flag thrown.

    It all depends on who you are.

  19. A few years ago in the AFL (Aussie Rules) Grand Final ( which happens to be today) a Geelong player had a shot at goal and clearly hit the post (1 point). The goal umpire didn’t see and gave a goal (6 points). Geelong won by less than 1 goal. The AFL brought in video reviews to eliminate these howlers but inevitably every decision is now reviewed minutely. There is almost never conclusive evidence to overturn a decision so by & large its a frustrating waste of time.

    Here’s what I would do. Give each coach one and one only appeal against ANY officiating decision. The video booth gets say 10 seconds to make a decision. That’s ample time to pick up a howler. If the appeal is upheld the team keeps the right to another appeal.

    Coaches and players would have to go back to accepting the umpire’s decision. Mistakes will be made but so what. That’s part of the game. No amount of video can get everything 100% correct all the time so lets accept the umpire’s decision and get on with it

  20. Not sure how they defend a call which was obvious to the naked eye when it ocurred live. The replay also showed the ball changing direction. What is this, the Warren Commission and a magic ball.

  21. “Does this ball really jump that far to the right where we think the ball clearly hit his leg?” Blandino asks. “It’s reasonable to assume that it hit his leg. But, again, we cannot make a decision based on the ball changing direction. We have to see clear evidence that the ball absolutely touched his leg.”

    ——————–

    The irony here is that this is exactly how Blandino got his job.

    “We don’t have a definitive proof that he knows what he is doing. Sure, he got some right, but they almost looked like guesses. We should wait for clear evidence that he knows what he is doing……..HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I’m just messing with you guys. Of course he has the job. He agrees with Roger on everything.”

  22. Not that it really mattered in the game, but that momentum could’ve bought Chicago about 2 minutes of… “WOOHOO.”

    Test THIS guy for smokin’ doobs. That ball hit the Seahawks player’s leg.

    Sit back, Blindino. Have a bottle of some vintage, then look at it again:

    You and your crew failed once again. But, HEY! GREAT JOB calling every single penalty “you” see.

  23. I’m always surprised by these are chair officials and their sorry a$$ complaints. Instant replay is the NFL attempt to LIMIT human error. It is not the NFL ‘S attempt to ELIMINATE HUMAN ERROR..

    Making every play reviewable and or overturning many judgement calls say PI WOULD RUIN football.. The game is long enough and no sport is meant to be automated.. Not even baseball where you really don’t even need an umpire when their is a K zone and they could easily put a tracker in the ball to identify fair foul home run and safe.

    Football for the most part is a collective group of extremely attentive officials who do their humanly best to make correct calls. I like instant replay but many of you lack perspective. Some of the best plays of all time could be disected into nauseum over a missed hold or hands to the face or pass interference or any number of minor non calls.

    The refs aren’t ruining football it’s you couch referees!!

  24. I’m always surprised by these are chair officials and their sorry and stupid complaints. Instant replay is the NFLs attempt to LIMIT human error. It is not the NFL ‘S attempt to ELIMINATE HUMAN ERROR all together..

    Making every play reviewable and or overturning many judgement calls say PI or holding WOULD RUIN football.. The game is long enough and no sport is meant to be automated.. Not even baseball where you really don’t even need an umpire when their is a K zone and they could easily put a tracker in the ball to identify fair foul home run and safe.

    Football for the most part is a collective group of extremely attentive officials who do their humanly best to make correct calls. I like instant replay but many of you lack perspective. Some of the best plays of all time could be disected into nauseum over a missed hold or hands to the face or pass interference or any number of minor non calls.

    The refs aren’t ruining football it’s you couch referees!!

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  25. This particular play has had some pretty good media and fan coverage/discussion.

    However it seems odd to me that ALL of the attention has been thrown toward The “Officials” and The “NFL”.
    It’s more than obvious that the majority of people seem to believe that it was “OBVIOUS” that ball hit the players leg.

    Yet, I have not seen/heard even ONE analyst, sports writer nor fan (as far as comments sections go, anyway.) place or raise any question of responsibility of THE PLAYER. It’s a good story, it has meat on it, and by using it as a way to generate an EXCITING story by creating the idea of controversy by means of throwing all the blame and/or criticism toward The “Officials” and The “NFL” with no suggestion that The Player has any responsibility here seems just as Irresponsible as the Player not standing up with tact and/or class and saying that the Ball hit his leg.

    I haven’t seen the play itself. I have read about it A LOT. and there is definitely more than a majority with the belief and the certainty that the Ball hit the Players Leg, and the Officals got this call wrong. Is it really fair to blow all the blame wind toward the Officials and the NFL without calling for the responsibility of a Player to step up also?

  26. Oh, so with this, ‘reasonably assume’ isn’t good enough, but for Brady, ‘generally aware’ is. Got it. Way to have double standards.

  27. Hawks fan here: it hit his leg, call was wrong. Blandino drives me nuts I hate his blatant defense of all officials. Pereira would admit, on a weekly basis, when calls were wrong. Blandino defends every call, no matter how bad.

  28. I doubt this call would have changed the outcome of the game, but it would have made it interesting. The fact that they didn’t overturn this call blows my mind, it was obvious. I get that though. Sometimes people make really stupid mistakes. But you gotta own up to it. The league can’t just come out every week and say they officiated every game perfectly. They need to take some responsibility.

  29. As a Hawk fan it hit our guys leg no doubt. The NFL is consistent at screwing teams ( unless your the Patriots) and that’s about all I can say. If your going to waste the time and review the play then get it correct. Further more why are some plays review able and some not yet they can be just as critical in a game, like a hit on a QB that’s called a personal foul but on replay we see it was clean. Or a PI call that on replay shows it wasn’t. Too much confusion going on and no plausible guidelines.

  30. aussiedawg says:
    Oct 2, 2015 8:32 PM

    A few years ago in the AFL (Aussie Rules) Grand Final ( which happens to be today) a Geelong player had a shot at goal and clearly hit the post (1 point). The goal umpire didn’t see and gave a goal (6 points). Geelong won by less than 1 goal. The AFL brought in video reviews to eliminate these howlers but inevitably every decision is now reviewed minutely. There is almost never conclusive evidence to overturn a decision so by & large its a frustrating waste of time.

    Here’s what I would do. Give each coach one and one only appeal against ANY officiating decision. The video booth gets say 10 seconds to make a decision. That’s ample time to pick up a howler. If the appeal is upheld the team keeps the right to another appeal.

    Coaches and players would have to go back to accepting the umpire’s decision. Mistakes will be made but so what. That’s part of the game. No amount of video can get everything 100% correct all the time so lets accept the umpire’s decision and get on with it
    ==================================
    “It’s part of the game”…and part of the game is putting up with DUMB comments like that…..
    It goes back to officials and getting it right the first time…These clowns are PART TIME officials…HOW stupid!!!!! They need to be full time and TRAIN and go over things in the offseason so they are on the TOP of their game. It’s a JOKE that the NFL depends on these part time fools to ACTUALLY get it right!!
    Blandino is an idiot……and it all goes to the NOT credibility that the NFL is turning into!! PRETTY pathetic…BUT considering Badell is the head of it…NFSmell!!

  31. What harrisonhits2 said is right on. This is more evidence that the league is willfully ignorant about the laws of physics. I mean, Newton’s laws of motion were known before Clapeyron’s grandparents even met and the premiere sports league on the planet isn’t even up to speed on them? This isn’t something vague and conceptual like a gas law; this is a freaking law of motion. ugh

  32. The fact is these officials have many views on instant replay AND still make whatever calls fit their agenda. Like getting Green Bay into the NFC Champ game last year amd the playoffs the year before. Remember Clete Blakeman at Soldier field? Or the Detriot and Dallaa games lest year??

  33. This call was ridiculous. And Roethlisberger wasn’t using a cellphone.

    NFL HQ lies and cheats more than any of the teams and players.

  34. In the Matrix, does anything ever really touch us? Football or otherwise? You all thought you saw the ball hit his leg, but in the Matrix, nothing is real.

    The NFL knows this. They weren’t supposed to let out the secret!

    Blandino is Agent Smith! Reboot the Matrix! No one is safe!!!

  35. I predicted this would happen as soon as they allowed the use of drones. The balls trajectory changed when it was hit by a tiny blast of air fired from one of those NFL drones. Goodell the Narcissist is behind this. Fire him now.

  36. All I know IMHO the officiating is horrid so far this year. To me its obvious the refs will just call a play and don’t care what the call is knowing it will be reviewed and the correct call will be made.
    I mean a guy is standing two feet from the action and signals a touch down when its clear it was not a touch down. not even close and the replay reveals it. So are these guys even trying to get it right? Do they even git a sh_T

  37. I didn’t know if it would be overturned; though it appeared to hit the guy, he didn’t react and the angle was poor.

    Having said that, other than a possible FG and avoiding a shut out it didn’t really matter.

  38. We are more probably than not generally aware that the football may or may not have changed direction upon possibly or possibly not coming in contact with an object that may or may not have been a leg….it will be impossible to come to a conclusion without an eight month long, 5 million dollar report by an independent investigator who happens to be on our staff. Once we come up with a conclusion we will go to court to have that decision upheld and immediately appeal the decision after the judge inevitably totally embarrasses us; we will then do random checks to see if the object in question is, in fact, a leg or whether it might be some other unknown object dangling from the body of random players…..thank you for playing our game.

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