Obviously coaches and players had strong feelings about last night’s (latest) officiating snafu, and it was enough to make NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino tweet out that they were wrong.
Referee Walt Anderson said in the postgame pool report that because they were in the process of blowing the play dead for Richard Sherman being offsides, they didn’t think the contact on Dan Carpenter warranted an unnecessary roughness penalty.
“We were shutting the play down, that would be my call,” Anderson said. “I just didn’t feel like the actions and the contact, because we were shutting the play down, warranted a foul. . . .
“We didn’t end up having a kick, so one of the things we’re just looking for is does the player have a chance to realize that we’re shutting the play down from that standpoint and whether or not he has an opportunity to avoid any type of contact once he realizes that we’re getting the play shut down. I know it was loud out there for everybody. That’s probably what took us a little bit of time to get everything shut down. But that’s what we’re looking at. Does the contact rise to the level where we feel like it was clearly avoidable, and rose to the level of a personal foul.”
Anderson admitted that he erred in not resetting the play clock, attributing that to the switch between regular balls and kicking balls.
And during his appearance on the NFL Network postgame show, Blandino made it clear that both were errors.
“The referee didn’t think that the contact was severe enough,” Blandino said. “He felt that players were coming together and he just didn’t think it was a foul. We looked at it and it is a foul. It is no different than a defender coming offside and hitting a quarterback after the whistle blew, so it should have been unnecessary roughness. . . .
“Again, the referee in looking at it was coming in to kill the play and didn’t think the contact was enough for unnecessary roughness. Obviously when you look at the tape, that is not the case.”
And that lends credence to the notion that more plays should be able to be reviewed by Blandino or someone in his department during the play of the game. He said the sequence would be reviewed, but the league has another mess on its hands, and needs to take steps to make sure another of their prime time games isn’t remembered more for their mistakes than the play on the field.