Two major officiating controversies arose out of Monday night’s Bills-Patriots game. NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino addressed one of them after the game.
Blandino said on NFL Network that the official who blew a play dead on a pass from Tom Brady to Danny Amendola didn’t realize where the ball was and blew his whistle when he shouldn’t have.
“The line judge lost track of the football and he blew his whistle inadvertently. So, that’s a mistake and we shouldn’t have blown the whistle,” Blandino.
It got worse from there, however: Even after recognizing their first mistake by blowing the play dead too early, the officials made another mistake by concluding that the whistle had blown while Amendola had the ball.
“They’re going to look at where was the football when the whistle was blown, and they determined that Amendola had the football when the whistle was blown,” Blandino said.
But that’s not what happened. Video and audio of the play clearly show that the ball was in the air — not in Amendola’s possession — when the official blew the whistle. So not only was there an inadvertent whistle, but there was an incorrect enforcement of what to do about the inadvertent whistle call.
Patriots fans have complained that the inadvertent whistle cost Amendola a touchdown, and Amendola did run upfield and have a clear path to the end zone after he caught it, but Bills cornerback Ronald Darby slowed down as soon as the whistle was blown with the ball in the air, so there’s no way to know what would have happened if the play hadn’t been blown dead.
The other major officiating mistake happened at the end of the game, when the officials wrongly ruled that Bills receiver Sammy Watkins voluntarily gave himself up in the field of play, allowing the clock to run out. In reality, Watkins fell backwards out of bounds to stop the clock, and photos clearly show that Watkins went out with two seconds left. Buffalo should have been given time to run a Hail Mary.
Blandino did not address that mistake in his appearance on NFL Network. Perhaps because nothing he could say would satisfy fans who are tired of seeing weekly officiating mistakes.