The NFL recently instructed coaches not to disclose information about private communications with the league office regarding officiating errors. And on Wednesday a Browns player disclosed information about private communications with the league office regarding officiating errors.
Via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, Browns cornerback Tramon Williams said Wednesday that the NFL admitted officials incorrectly flagged him for being offside on a 39-yard field goal try by Chargers kicker Josh Lambo. The attempt went wide right, the Chargers got another chance from five yards closer, and Lambo made the kick.
“The coaches sent in the tape questioning it, because it was close and I thought I got a good jump,” Williams said. “It was time to do or die at the end of the game. I had gathered all the information throughout the game, and I was like, ‘This is my time.’ And sure enough, I got a good jump on it.”
He definitely did. One of the two All-22 film angles from the NFL’s Game Rewind feature shows Williams getting a perfect jump on the snap — a jump so perfect that from the other angle he appeared to be offside.
Even though the blunder gave the Chargers another chance to win the game, Williams doesn’t seem to be all that upset.
“I just move so much faster than everybody else,” Williams said. “I can see where the referees would miss that. . . . Guys make mistakes. At the end of the day you just hope that we can get judgment at the end of the game, maybe review or whatever it may be.”
The real question (apart from whether rulings of this nature will be added to the replay review rules) is whether the league will be upset with the Browns. Although the memo sent last month to teams regarding the disclosure of private communications with the league office was directed at coaches, executives, and owners, the league office likely won’t react well to coaches giving that information to players and players then sharing it publicly.
Regardless, the Browns claim that the same kind of mistake that caused the Lions to lose to the Seahawks caused the Browns to lose to the Chargers. And the Browns seem to be accurate. And it would have been a much bigger deal if the game had been played in prime time.
UPDATE 10:34 a.m. ET: The NFL has denied making that concession to the Browns. The NFL contends that the video evidence is inconclusive.