Referee communication a problem as flag on Texans is picked up


In a bizarre moment in the first quarter of tonight’s game in Houston, a penalty on the Texans was initially called, then waved off without explanation.

Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph clearly committed an illegal contact penalty on a Colts third down incompletion, which should have given the Colts an automatic first down. Referee Terry McAulay announced the penalty, and the Colts’ offense huddled up for the next play.

Then, McAulay told Colts coach Chuck Pagano that there was no penalty after all. There was no apparent explanation given. Former NFL referee Mike Carey said on the CBS broadcast that the penalty was waved off because Colts quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was outside the pocket when he threw the pass. However, it still looked like Joseph could have been flagged for defensive holding.

More importantly, even if Joseph hadn’t committed a penalty, McAulay did a poor job of communicating what had happened. The referee shouldn’t announce a penalty until he has conferred with his fellow officials to ensure that they’re all on the same page. And in a rare occasion when the referee does change a call after announcing it, he needs to make sure he explains the change to both teams, and to the fans. That’s why referees have microphones.

The call was reminiscent of last year’s Lions-Cowboys playoff game, when a pass interference penalty on the Cowboys was picked up after it had been announced. NFL referees need to get better at communicating about why flags are thrown, and why they’re picked up.

After the flag was picked up, Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri made a field goal to give Indianapolis an early lead.

18 responses to “Referee communication a problem as flag on Texans is picked up

  1. OMG, they must be trying to keep the game close….freaking 40 yr old Hasslebeck his carving them up…..what happened to Houston defense??? Is Watt on the field????

  2. Nationally televised game is a good time to have Mike Carey chiming in that picking up flags will be a normal occurrence now. As always the Lions are the guinea pig for a new game altering rule.

    National Fixed League.

  3. The refs must have been ordered by the NFL to make this game exciting for more television ratings. Quite pathetic.

  4. Flag on every other play, as usual. I can’t believe the NFL thinks this is good for the product. Pathetic. Absurd roughing the passer call on Watt. NFL referees really are despicable.

  5. Refs are horrible this year. Just dropped a flag on Texans Olineman for chop block and he hit the guy in the waist area. Same miss call was made Sunday in the Buffalo game. It’s simply unacceptable anymore the refs. Too many game changing penalties and now coaches and owners are not permitted to speak about it? That kind of challenges their right to free speech The sooner Goodell is gone the better. It’s any persons constitutional right to express their opinion. Evidently the NFL knows how really bad their officials are. If I was an owner dam straight I would complain.

  6. NFL officiating is a complete joke, and it’s getting worse every season. I’m pretty much done with football. I’ll watch the Bills (until I get tired of Rex Ryans BS), but that’s pretty much it.

    More time to play guitar.

  7. Enter Dean Blandino to let everyone know we’re all stupid and that there’s a perfectly sound reason the ref’s did what they did but he’ll educate them so we can understand it better in the future.

  8. It seams that the refs are getting worse every year. And the NFL isn’t doing anything about it. In fact it seems that they issue a statement every week justifying the horrible/wrong/missed calls.

  9. It’s sad when the refs have a bigger effect on the outcome of a game than the players. I’m not talking about this game in particular, but the NFL as a whole. The refs and Goodell are taking the excitement out of the games and dragging games out. It’s gotten to the point where it seems like every other play there is a flag thrown.

  10. I was at the game last night & though the game itself sucked (these teams are terrible) the refs blew call after call after call (both sides of the ball)! The refs last night were TERRIBLE! #FireRemeo #FireRickSmith

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