Inside the NFL made a bizarre edit to the final Falcons offensive play in Sunday’s loss at Seattle, removing receiver Julio Jones’ slap to the head of cornerback Richard Sherman and replacing it with video of Jones getting a free release from the line of scrimmage.
Sherman believes the change to the highlight was no accident.
“100 percent intentional,” Sherman told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s just how the league is. It’s an offensive league, they don’t want to help the defense in the least.”
Sherman explained that the blow to the head from Jones, missed by the officials, impacted his ability to defend the play.
“It’s difficult to recover when you almost fall at the start of the play, you get pushed in the face,” Sherman said. “If I pushed a receiver in the face, I guarantee you it would be the highlight of every SportsCenter, everything, if it was fourth quarter, the last play, and I pushed him in the face.”
He’s right. Most didn’t notice or didn’t care about the maneuver by Jones that allowed him to shake free from Sherman at the line of scrimmage, possibly because Jones doesn’t have a reputation for that kind of play. It’s amazing, frankly, that Sherman was even in position to make a play when the ball arrived, given the extent to which the blow to the head knocked him off track.
Bottom line? Both fouls were missed. Whether with the use of replay review or without it, the NFL must do a better job of calling these fouls in key moments. All too often, flags get shoved deeper into the pockets of the officials’ pants because no one wants to be the person who potentially decides the outcome of a game by calling a penalty.