NFL reassigns Lions-Seahawks back judge away from Sunday Night Football

AP

The one-week suspension with pay of Rob Vernatchi, the side judge responsible for the most recent Monday night officiating blunder, isn’t the only unusual move made by the NFL in advance of Week Six.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the back judge who blew the illegal bat call at the conclusion of the Week Four Lions-Seahawks game has been shifted away from the high-profile Sunday night game at Indianapolis between the Patriots and Colts.

According to the source, Greg Wilson, the back judge on referee Tony Corrente’s crew, has been reassigned to the Dolphins-Titans game. While not disciplinary, the move keeps Wilson out of the bright lights of prime time, where it inevitably would have been mentioned by the NBC broadcast crew that Wilson is the one who failed to throw a flag when Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright slapped a loose ball out of the end zone.

The league previously defended Wilson’s decision, describing the question of whether Wright was deliberately batting the ball a judgment call. Even if judgment is involved, most believe that it’s clear Wright knocked the football out of the end zone in order to take advantage of the rule that gives possession to the defense at its own 20 if a fumble by the offense bounces into, and out of, the end zone.

Regardless, the league has opted to keep Wilson off the higher stage of prime time, at least for now.

The NFL has not yet responded to a request from PFT for comment. The NFL Referees Association likewise has not responded to a request for comment.

65 responses to “NFL reassigns Lions-Seahawks back judge away from Sunday Night Football

  1. The NFL supports the non-call only because they don’t actively try to do what they can to keep teams like the Lions in football games.

    The bat has been correctly called to help ensure a Patriots’ win, and called a half dozen other times or so correctly. But this one? Nah not for the Lions versus Seattle. Oh heck no. Can’t have that. That rule is “open for interpretation”- like when we want to interpret another win for our pre-chosen teams.

    I’m sure the NFL will now “review” the call and make it the “right call” after the fact, like they did with the Calvin Johnson process of the catch rule. You know – the rule that has messed up so many games since then that they are reconsidering it now that it’s actually hurt some of the favored teams that they want to see succeed.

  2. So if you might know something about under inflated footballs, it’s a 5 million dollar investigation and a 4 game suspension and a million dollar fine and the loss of a couple of draft picks. But if you screw up on nation tv and working for the NFL, you get a PAID week off while the honest refs still have to work that week to get paid and the other ref just gets to ref a game that no one will be watching. Thanks Roger Dodger for clearing up this integrity of the game for me.

  3. Patriots* fan let it go, not everything comes back to deflate gate.

    NFL you Eff up a wet dream.

    Seahawks fan never again can you cry about refs now that you’ve been gifted 2 games on national tv. Should be 1-4.

  4. “Watched by a million people…..?” That’s just in New Hampshire. Try 200 million people. At least.

  5. Quick Rodger, start talking about LA relocation or a team in London, anything to take the focus off the terrible officiating.

    You did a great job last off season with deflate gate. Hardly anyone talked about the two awful calls in the playoffs with Dallas

    Nope it was all integrity of the game and generally aware. Great stuff. Way to distract the public from the elephant in the room.

    The fact is that the league is filled with executives and officials that are either corrupt or incompetent or both.

  6. isphet71 says:
    Oct 14, 2015 11:38 PM
    The NFL supports the non-call only because they don’t actively try to do what they can to keep teams like the Lions in football games.

    The bat has been correctly called to help ensure a Patriots’ win, and called a half dozen other times or so correctly. But this one? Nah not for the Lions versus Seattle. Oh heck no. Can’t have that. That rule is “open for interpretation”- like when we want to interpret another win for our pre-chosen teams.

    I’m sure the NFL will now “review” the call and make it the “right call” after the fact, like they did with the Calvin Johnson process of the catch rule. You know – the rule that has messed up so many games since then that they are reconsidering it now that it’s actually hurt some of the favored teams that they want to see succeed.
    ——————————————-

    I don’t agree with your last paragraph because the catch rule has been called consistently and correctly in each instance. It’s really a matter of casual fans not understanding the rule (or understanding it but wanting to be intellectually dishonest about the difference between a guy taking two steps and a guy stumbling to the ground off balance). But your first two paragraphs are spot on. It’s just uncanny how rules are correctly interpreted when the favored teams are involved while teams like the Lions become the guinea pigs.

  7. How about reassigning Dean Blandino as well. He was watching it on the TV and had the opportunity to inform the error but didn’t.
    Errors can be made and it was a pretty obtuse rule not known by many. However, it is really interesting to see VP Blandino just passing the blame onto the side judge and not taking any accountability himself.

  8. So, at least if he screws up again, it will be less embarrassing for the league because fewer people will see it. Way to really protect the integrity of the shield there, fellas!

  9. isphet71 says:
    Oct 14, 2015 11:38 PM
    The NFL supports the non-call only because they don’t actively try to do what they can to keep teams like the Lions in football games.

    The bat has been correctly called to help ensure a Patriots’ win, and called a half dozen other times or so correctly. But this one? Nah not for the Lions versus Seattle. Oh heck no. Can’t have that. That rule is “open for interpretation”- like when we want to interpret another win for our pre-chosen teams.

    I’m sure the NFL will now “review” the call and make it the “right call” after the fact, like they did with the Calvin Johnson process of the catch rule. You know – the rule that has messed up so many games since then that they are reconsidering it now that it’s actually hurt some of the favored teams that they want to see succeed.

    16 10

    I don’t mind the rule, it takes skill to catch a ball by the rule as it is written, it doesn’t take away from the skill of legally catching a pass. Larry Donnell had a great catch to win the Giants game and you could tell he was very careful with the ball while going to the ground. If a player forgets about this rule then it is their own fault. Dez and Calvin should have caught the ball like Larry Donnell did.

  10. The same crybabies that want Goodell fired, are the ones who loved Goodell, for trying to suspend Brady. Too bad haters, Goodell is here to stay. Hope he stays a long time. Integrity

  11. What’s lost and a shame in this whole debacle, is Kam making an AMAZING play seconds and inche’s before Detroit was about to score a more than likely game winning score.

    But, why focus on the positives when we have a society that feeds off of negativity.

  12. This Is So Wrong.

    Another “Black Eye.” for the N.F.L.

    What about the thousands of fans, and family of Back Judge “Greg Wilson” who have already purchased flights, hotel rooms, and game tickets to see him perform in Indianapolis?

  13. Mike Florio
    Oct 14, 2015, 11:46 PM EDT
    Yes. Plenty of times.
    __________________________________

    I’m assuming their response was a photocopied picture of someone’s middle finger.

  14. This is to Mike Florio, the NFL is awful at officiating games why do the owners resist changes in replay that will make the outcome of games correct? Is it pressure from the networks to keep the games moving for tv purposes? That seems ridiculous since there is usually nothing on worth watching after the games anyways. Oh and tell Rodney I agree with his opinion about overpaid QBs who play at a poor level and still get to start. Stafford is making me sick to my stomach and when the fans want a change to Orlosky that better put Matt on alert that his days are numbered in detroit.

  15. I doubt it, mainly because at the rate they censor posts here, it would only get twisted.

  16. You know whats TRULY SAD? The NFL can spend 5 million, because not a SINGLE NFL executive ever took a science class, or even put air in their tires when cold weather comes, and understands that air temp affects contained air/gas. Yet their officials screw up TWO weeks in a ROW…on National Broadcast and they give them a PAID week off….HELL I would screw up 2-3 times a season!!!
    RG lacks character, and moral courage. If he had made ONE (just one call) to oh,,,MIT or someplace unknown to the NFL and asked a “SHELDON COOPER”, he could have saved MILLIONS and years of embarressment. To have your VP (Vincent),,”Yo,,I din know dat air pressure is diffen in winter dan summer”
    You know what….I’m done with the NFL,,,when owners can’t do the right thing, call a meeting a fire this idiot!!

  17. Took NFL a little while on this. The side judge must’ve been keeping time for Blandino on this one!

  18. “…most believe it’s clear Wright [deliberately] knocked the ball out …”. Most? Who doesn’t believe that? No one. That’s who. Other than the NFL which continues to bury it’s head in the sand.

  19. I appreciate “judgement call” is common parlance, and not just in sports, but really all calls by judges are “judgement calls” – they judge each play and call it how they see it. How about “interpretation call”, “subjective call” or just “screw-up”?

  20. Not to be lost in all of this,
    The entire framegate episode began when the Ravens couldn’t locate a K ball which we now know was stolen by a league official who was selling these for personal gain. The guy has not been seen or heard from since. Many would like to forget that this was the original reason for the call from MD to IA warning them that something funny was going on with K balls. In their lust to find any way to damage the pats the Despicable Duo of Kensil & Grigson manufactured framegate by virtue of an illegal act, altering the air pressure of game balls on the sideline.

    Only the Patriots have been penalized for this illegal act.

  21. Ah, memories. I remember the Jags-Titans Thursday nighter last year. Name me ONE official who worked that game. Just one. I bet you can’t do it.

  22. The Patriots had to point out the rule the ref. The Lions HC wasn’t sharp enough. So take your pats hate and go cry to tour mother

  23. Nothing says integrity Goodell like reassigning refs. The NFL is becoming nothing but a made for TV PR campaign with lack of ethics.

    Love how goodell says hes protecting the integrity of the game yet his actions and words and those actions & words out of the League office screams liars, scam artists, & corruption

  24. As a Lions fan, this was the closure I needed. No longer will I think of what could have been for this season had that call been executed correctly, because I will go to bed in comfort knowing that the imbecile who made it will no longer be on Sunday night football.

    What. A. JOKE!

  25. seems pretty silly to only punish the side judge and the back judge. isn’t it the head referee’s responsibility to make sure the right call is made overall? which is why we often see the ref’s conferring on the field. seems like they should be punished as well.
    will the tool who stole a time-out from the giants be punished? it really was clear that eli was not calling time-out. i’m not just being a homer but that had the potential of changing the outcome of the game and the ref clearly got it wrong.

  26. Do you mean to tell me some networks that broadcast NFL games will actually report on subject matters that may put the NFL leadership in a bad light?

    Shocking…

  27. It was the right call. Totally irrelevant move by the player that had exactly zero effect on the outcome of the play. If I were a Lions fan I’d be embarrassed to try and whine about that little technicality.

  28. patriottony says:
    Oct 15, 2015 6:07 AM
    You know whats TRULY SAD? The NFL can spend 5 million, because not a SINGLE NFL executive ever took a science class, or even put air in their tires when cold weather comes, and understands that air temp affects contained air/gas. Yet their officials screw up TWO weeks in a ROW…on National Broadcast and they give them a PAID week off….HELL I would screw up 2-3 times a season!!!
    RG lacks character, and moral courage. If he had made ONE (just one call) to oh,,,MIT or someplace unknown to the NFL and asked a “SHELDON COOPER”, he could have saved MILLIONS and years of embarressment. To have your VP (Vincent),,”Yo,,I din know dat air pressure is diffen in winter dan summer”
    You know what….I’m done with the NFL,,,when owners can’t do the right thing, call a meeting a fire this idiot!!

    WAAAAAAAA!

  29. If a pass is thrown out of reach of the receiver and the defense commits interference it is generally a no-call type of situation.
    How is this different than that situation? No lion player would ever had recovered that ball in play.
    Sure… it is against the rules… no problem with that.
    It had zero effect on the actual play.

  30. When the back judge asked for a reason why he had been reassigned, he was told it was a judgement call and subject to personal interpretation.

  31. brucetrimble says:
    Oct 14, 2015 11:34 PM
    Rearranging the deck chairs…

    ——————————————————————-

    Why the comment? Do you think the NFL is a “sinking ship”?

    Why are so many “fans” these days so anti-NFL? (which apparently, sometimes, includes the owner of this site?) It seems like some fans are actively rooting for the death and destruction of the NFL.

    I hate Roger Goodell, too, but I LOVE the NFL. I just don’t get it

  32. This isn’t some obscure rule unless the game of football itself is obscure to you. One would hope the semi-professional officials the league employs wouldn’t find the game they’re officiating to be obscure.

  33. Refs should wear body cams so we can see exactly what they do and rate them accordingly. Also, Irsay, because that would be hilarious.

  34. These are all operations issues. The failure to monitor proper clock operation and properly train officials is on operations. Whomever is in charge of operations is the person that should be “reassigned”. As we have all learned over the past 10 months the procedures followed by officials and the training of officials is a laughable embarrassment for the NFL. How the operations group of the league has been spared sanction over the last 10 months is a complete mystery.

  35. nflexecutivesconstantlylie says:

    These are all operations issues. The failure to monitor proper clock operation and properly train officials is on operations. Whomever is in charge of operations is the person that should be “reassigned”. As we have all learned over the past 10 months the procedures followed by officials and the training of officials is a laughable embarrassment for the NFL. How the operations group of the league has been spared sanction over the last 10 months is a complete mystery.
    ————————————–
    Because all of my actions are my parents fault.

  36. Goodell – “We accept incompetence, and will do our best to continue it, just a little less obviously.”

  37. These guys should be fired. I’m sure there’s a whole reservoir of talented REPLACEMENTS for these guys, aren’t there? Oh, just a few years ago we got a flavor of the next tier of talent of referees?

    Yikes.

    Maybe if we just add a few inches of rules to the rule book, we’ll fix this.

    Football, as we know/knew it, is doomed.

  38. In all seriousness the NFL needs to hire an independent investigator for this. If I’m the owner of the Titans or Dolphins I’m bending ears in the league office right now.

    As a fan of the Panthers I see sub-par officiating (and broadcasting and producing btw) nearly every week. The fact that the marquis games get the best crews every week is creating and perpetuating a competitive imbalance in the league.

  39. Quick point on the earlier comment: the bat was once correctly called in a Patriots win (for NE’s benefit), but New England was also victimized by a missed illegal bat call in 2011 against Pittsburgh, a game they lost.

    The point isn’t that the NFL favors some teams and not others. The point is the NFL screwed this up massively.

  40. Cameron Heyward was fined by the NFL for writing “Ironhead” on his eye black, during cancer awareness month, in honor of his late father, who died from cancer. A ref cost a team a win, which will ultimately cost coaches their jobs, and he is only reassigned. Another ref could have cost a team a win and is only suspended with pay. NFL integrity at its finest!!

  41. Proposition: Make everything reviewable and give teams the same amount of challenges like Bill Bell suggested. The time spent would be the same as now. (Except of course, add that teams must wait 5 minutes on the sideline at the end of a game so NYC can review calls that the entire stadium and TV crew missed.)

    We waste too much cyber space on this mess when it can be fixed.

  42. Demoted to a game were the teams have a similar record to the last team he put their season on ice.

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