Brad Allen denies admission of missed facemask call

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Usually, the question of whether the league admits to an officiating error comes up after a game. On Saturday night, it happened during the game.

Sideline reporter Michele Tafoya said after halftime of the NBC broadcast that Lions coach Jim Caldwell said the officials acknowledged “they got it wrong” by not flagging Seahawks receiver Paul Richardson for grabbing the facemask of Lions safety Tavon Wilson with one hand while making one of the best catches of the year with the other.

After the game, referee Brad Allen disputed Caldwell’s claim.

“I did not tell Coach Caldwell that,” Allen told a pool reporter. “I’m not aware that any on-field game official told Coach Caldwell that.”

Allen perhaps should have stopped there, because the rest of the explanation got a little confusing and blame-shifting.

“First of all, that’s not my coverage, because my responsibility obviously is in the backfield with the quarterback,” Allen said. “There were covering officials there who did not rule that there was a facemask on the play. They did rule defensive pass interference, but every play is subject to review by the league.”

Yes, every play is subject to review by the league. But that comes after the fact, when grading the performance of the officials. Whether defensive pass interference occurred or whether Richardson grabbed Wilson’s facemask is not subject to replay review.

Regardless of whether either circumstance should fall within the confines of full-blown replay review, the obvious failure of the officials to spot the clear mistake in real time underscores the need for a video official who is a member of the officiating crew and who operates from booth level with the ability in real time to communicate with the referee and tell him, for example, that there was a blatant facemask foul that the officials on the field missed.

If implemented and executed properly, it would have no greater impact on the flow of the game than a post-play conference among officials regarding what they did or didn’t see — without the benefit of the various TV angles that the video official would be able to watch and re-watch in an effort to get the calls right.

Ultimately, that’s all that should matter. If the integrity of the game is something more than an excuse for imposing discipline against the teams and players that the league chooses to target, these readily available technologies should be embraced and incorporated into the game.

They want us to tolerate human error. When it’s avoidable, we shouldn’t. And neither should they.

76 responses to “Brad Allen denies admission of missed facemask call

  1. One more reason that any play should be review able. Take replays out of the hands of the officials and five it to someone in the booth or in the league office. Most plays could be corrected in less than 30 seconds. Fans watching on TV usually know the right call before the ref heads under the hood.It would make for a more fair game and probably smoother and faster.

  2. The league wanted Seattle to win, and I’m sure the refs had special instructions to that order. (Seattle would have won anyways, so the refs had little affect on the outcome, maybe just the score)

    My big question… is how did they settle who gets the calls in the giants/pack game. We all know Mara has his pedophile little hand up goodells rear end. But GB isn’t far behind in the “good graces” section of the nfl.

  3. The league doesn’t want integrity in games. Otherwise their most influential owners would lose more games than they are handed.

  4. Because, Integrity.

    No dog in this race as an AFC guy but that was so obvious, so blatant it forces you to wonder if we’ve been duped all along.

    The OPI against Houston in the Raider game was another example. Defender grabs the receivers arm which makes it look like a push while he’s trying to pull free.

    Incompetence or inside job? You decide.

  5. Another Seattle TD (4th quarter) should have been nullified for delay of game. At the 3:43 mark the ball is clearly not snapped and the play clock is at :00. I thought so live, and confirmed on

  6. There goes another invite to the summer picnic.
    Lion fans must wonder which is more fun for the refs, the Seattle team picnic or Jerry’s party bus.

  7. Offsetting penalties, redo the play.
    The Seahawks still win, easily.
    From opening kickoff that game wasn’t close.

  8. Sick of this. I don’t have a dog in this fight but I would like to watch a football game that inst screwed up by poor officiating. The lions got jobbed.

  9. Well looks like the cowboys will be one and done we got either the giants or packers next week the officials r gonna kill us with penalties

  10. The colors/styles of cleats and TD dances are more important than flagrant missed on-the-field calls.

  11. The league has never felt more rigged. As much as I love football, I hope Mark Cuban ends up being right.

  12. You knew this was going to be a badly officiated game when the first flag of the game took 5 minutes for them to figure out who the flag was on, and then moved the ball twice because they had it on the wrong spot. And the league is still wondering why viewership is down? How about crappy officiating which gets you a crappy product on the field. I changed the channel after realizing the fix was in.

  13. Wealthiest league in North America (and perhaps world) that owes a large part of its popularity to its association with gambling (direct/fantasy) uses part-time officials.

    Let that sink in.

  14. Maybe he grabbed the defender’s mask, but the important thing is that the ball was properly inflated.
    So the integrity of the game was not compromised in any way.

  15. In real time, there was no way to see he grabbed the face mask. It was only when they replayed it was that seen.
    That said, it was a bad call because both guys were grabbing each other so either it should have not been called at all or it should have been off-setting penalties.
    But those who are saying these penalties should be reviewable are wrong. There are too many stoppages of play already and enough is enough. Let the officials call the game and move on. Over time, bad calls even out in spite of what delusional fans say.
    Besides, the Lions had no shot to win that game anyway, so what did it matter?

  16. Totally agree about needing a ref in the booth. Won’t delay the game any longer and would help refs get their calls right.

    If the league wants a team to win, like the Seahawks over the Lions, then it’s not going to help much.

  17. Two additional things annoy the crap out of me:

    Seattle consistently holds and uses illegal downfield contact to prevent separation the whole game. The refs don’t call it ever. They put their hands in their pockets.

    I think three one-handed catches in a game is excessive. You never saw them before gloves. Gloves gotta go!!

  18. Pretty clear Richardson took his Adderall before the game, now only if the refs could have. It would have been nice to see at least a playoff game called correctly even if the outcome wouldn’t have changed.

  19. Why is it the referee is the only official interviewed? Because the league does not admit to mistakes. His job is to cover those up During their always scintillating presser.

    The ref interview is a waste of time.

  20. I knew the moment I saw that play and the Seahawks TD stay on the board that the league had pre-determined Seattle would win the game.

    It was so blatant and clear on the replay that no competent official would have missed it.

    Corruption runs deep in Roger Goodell’s National Integrity League

  21. Too much oversight and accuracy will take away their ability to effect the outcome of games. It will never happen.

  22. The trouble with this type of call is that the league is so intent on helping the offense that in cases like this the official is “looking” for the defender to commit an infraction, so the bias is automatically in favor of the receiver. The proper mindset of the official should be to simply look at two guys competing for a ball and judge accordingly, but of course that’s not what they do, so as soon as there is some physicality the referee is already leaning towards DPI. This was a terrible call, but of course the league will find a way to spin it.

  23. nother Seattle TD (4th quarter) should have been nullified for delay of game. At the 3:43 mark the ball is clearly not snapped and the play clock is at :00. I thought so live, and confirmed on

    Not true, you are lying. Watched the at myself, hiked at exactly :00. The Hawks have been getting jobbed by officials for many years, had a SB win stolen from us. So we don’t care….Detroit would never have one the game anyway….Glad we are hated and in everyone’s head. Enjoy watching the show. Go Hawks!

  24. As a NFC north fan and rooting for the lions, yeh they got hosed on that play but you can’t start reviewing every aspect of a play past tense.
    Where do yo draw the line? We going to watch the tape to see if any lineman held, chop blocked or hands to the face on that play?
    What about the plays before it? Shouldn’t they be just as important? Like the Lions long play down the sideline. The right tackle jumped before the ball was snapped and the refs didnt catch it. Are we going to review that after the play as well?
    Like I said, it was a bad no call but you can’t review for penalties after the fact, it would kill the game. Because every play is important and would need to be replayed looking for missed calls.
    Since the dallas line holds on almost every play I dont think you will ever get jerrah to agree that plays should be reviewed for missed calls.

  25. Richardson GOT facemasked on his 2nd catch too, and it was even worse. Refs also missed that one. It evens out.

    This thread reads like a lot of trolls are worried about the Seahawks.

    You should be.

  26. Boldin shoving people on the sideline, this face mask only got replayed a quarter later, uncatchable balls… Lions fans are pretty sad looking for excuses. Maybe dumb players shouldn’t be pushing people just standing there? I’m just glad you guys are getting worked by the media’s attempt to rile you up and read more articles, so easy nowadays because people love an excuse like officiating. Lions will never go anywhere, Detroit is worse than Cleveland.

  27. I guess Ed Werder leak the league desired NFCN conference game, an they will do what they can to get that match up.

  28. longtimefanh8tr says:

    Packer fan here. Lions got hosed on that call. How could they miss it???
    Easy. It happened so fast nobody even noticed it until the 3rd or 4th super slo-mo replay. Plus refs are doing things like watching to see if he caught it and maintained possession.

    Also, how did they miss PRich GETTING face masked on his 2nd catch? Refs must have wanted the Lions to win.

  29. losers always whine after losing…Matthew the great now 2-27 on the road vs teams with winning records…0-3 in the playoffs…but whine away…perhaps it will keep you warm and toasty during this winter…

  30. I noticed every time he was announcing a penalty on Detroit he had this smug little smirk on his face, like he was really enjoying calling those penalties.

  31. This game was a joke! First of all yes the Lions couldn’t stop the run, however there were 5-6 major penalties called or not called that aided the Seahawks on every scoring drive and buried the Lions in terms of field position and or yielding points. First the illegal block in the back call on our Gunner? What?! That is not a block! Your trying to get to the ball carrier! Cost the Lions almost 30 yards in field position and bailed out the Seahawks offense. Second the no face mask call! The block in the back on Russel Wilson that spring Rawls for a 15 yard gain. The two missed intentional groundings on Wilson that would have made them 3 and 20 plus forcing most likely punts or field goals instead of two touchdowns. The no call PI on the Seahawks deeming the ball was not catchable when the ball was in the frame. That would have given the Lions the ball inside the Seattle 35 only down by 6 late in the third. Lastly the BS unnecessary roughness calls on the Lions hurt three drives and all were for one extracurricular shove. That’s it! Brad Allen has hosed us before 2 offensive TD’s called back in week two because of offensive PI and a phantom hold! On back to back plays! Enough NFL! Do not speak about integrity and accountability when you have none! One call doesn’t cause you to lose a game. Multiple missed calls or blown calls all in the favor of your opponent become a major factor for sure.

  32. nyneal says:
    Jan 8, 2017 10:21 AM
    In real time, there was no way to see he grabbed the face mask. It was only when they replayed it was that seen.
    That said, it was a bad call because both guys were grabbing each other so either it should have not been called at all or it should have been off-setting penalties.
    But those who are saying these penalties should be reviewable are wrong. There are too many stoppages of play already and enough is enough. Let the officials call the game and move on. Over time, bad calls even out in spite of what delusional fans say.
    Besides, the Lions had no shot to win that game anyway, so what did it matter?

    This is a perfect example of the worst type of rationalizing. You’re OK with crap calls since they even out? Problem is that’s not true at all. Getting a bunch of calls late in a loss looks great on the post game stats but consider how Brutus viewed such situations.

    “There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life. Is bound in shallows and in miseries.” In other words when a penalty is called is aas or more important than the penalty itself.

    You are right about both guys making contact but clearly to anyone with no agenda, the face mask call should have been the one if there was only going to be one flag.

  33. The compelling ascension of who you know as opposed to what you know has not yet out worn its welcome .
    In those corners where the decisive men , and women , and the color of their nose being determined by what ever that mighty , earth shaking , figure of a man (who could that be ?) had for dinner .
    As mere paying consumers of a product where it has been proven to the lords of all we see that no contradiction is too great for the credulity of the endless outrage generated by the one iota over the line subtly ,
    “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men , even when they exercise influence and not authority ; still more when you add the tendency of the certainty of corruption by authority. ”
    Apologies to Lord Acton …

  34. The two missed intentional groundings on Wilson that would have made them 3 and 20 plus forcing most likely punts or field goals instead of two touchdowns.

    Even my wife, who just started watching 2 years ago, couldn’t understand why the was no IG call. Clear grounding.

  35. “What was that ref doing patrolling Detroit’s sideline all game? I think his name is Anderson. Never seen something like that before.”

    Don’t you mean Seattle’s? Walt Anderson was following Pete at the hip with a jacket on and a white NFL ref hat. I didn’t see one doing that on Detroit’s sideline.

  36. Why does everyone hate the idea of reviewing penalties?? It would change really nothing at all. You still 2 challenges 3 if your right twice. I don’t see why it’s not review able. Getting it right as much as possible is the goal. The Hawks would have won either way but Detroit still got hosed though not as bad as that mockery in Dallas in a couple years ago. That was a huge joke.

  37. Does anyone believe that play decided the game? At the most there would have been fouls on both teams and they would have replayed the down….Detroit got handled…move on.

  38. A video official? Really? Wouldn’t you then need 22 video officials? One for each player? How would the 1 video official be able to watch the entire game? Are you suggesting the only thing of import on the field is where the ball is?

  39. “golforepar says:
    Jan 8, 2017 9:36 AM
    Soooo which ref got Seattles MVP?”

    The ref that told Detroit to give up 161 yards to Thomas Rawls or the ref that told Detroit to drop passes (two on 3rd down) or it could be the ref that instructed Seattle’s defense to only give up 34 yards on 11 carries by Zach Zenner — which in reality is 17 yards on 10 carries with another 17 on 1 carry.

    We are still voting.

  40. obviously a Seahawk fan BUT why does everybody think the refs should have caught the facemask penalty when the entire nation, media, fans, nonfans, etc., did not catch it immediately either? it was several minutes or more before Al and Chris mentioned it and replayed it in slow motion. with all of the Seattle haters out there, especially Chris up in the booth, if it should have been called, ya’ll, Chris included, would have pointed it out. they replayed it MANY time to point out the catch yet not once in the moments after did facemask get mentioned.

  41. “Why does everyone hate the idea of reviewing penalties??”

    Because Belichick was the first one to suggest doing so and has several times made that point.

    If one of Roger’s little darlings like John Mara or the defenders of domestic abusers in Baltimore wanted the change it would happen overnight.

  42. Hey Lemmy: Go take a walk and get off of the Raiders.

    Your obsession with everything Silver and Black is bordering on ridiculous.

    Pump the brakes.

    Raider Nation

  43. It’s even worse that he didn’t admit it.

    Hopefully he admitted to the pass interference call that went against the Lions when it was “uncatchable” … of course it was uncatchable because the Lion dude was interfered with …

  44. Ever notice every time Seattle wins that people are always saying there are bad calls? There are penalties on every play in the NFL. It’s almost like the networks are looking to point out any penalty against the Hawks that is missed but not the other way around.

    Fact: Seattle opponents have been called for the LEAST amount of penalties 2 of the 3 last years. That’s a fact and you can look it up.

  45. Cards fan here who knows that the Seahawks in Seattle are beatable and the way to do that is to outplay them on their own terms…no excuses, or blaming the refs, just ground and pound, smart football. Sometimes you’ll win and sometimes you’ll get hosed….which is not on the Hawks but on you.
    I love playing Seattle twice a year as I know we will come away a better team for the experience (and bad calls are going to be a part of it on both sides of the equation). Whiners gonna whine…get over it and learn, hopefully, you’ll find your dignity as part of the journey.

  46. If the Hawks faced the Lions in a wildcard game in 2017, who would win?

    I’m not sure, the refs ruined it, so I’m not sure the Seahawks would have won it.

    I think they would have since they were at home and were healthier than the Lions, but I’m not sure, since it doesn’t feel like the game was really played. What I saw felt like more of an act.

  47. Two terrible calls in that game that could have changed the outcome. The face mask and the pass interference that was waived off because the ball was uncatchable … all and all a pretty poor performance by that crew which I assume was not deemed good enough to ref the next two rounds of the playoffs. Have to make pass interference calls reviewable. They have way too much effect on the outcome of a game.

  48. mullman76 says:
    Jan 8, 2017 11:55 AM
    Hey Lemmy: Go take a walk and get off of the Raiders.

    Your obsession with everything Silver and Black is bordering on ridiculous.

    Pump the brakes.

    Raider Nation

    Don’t be like that. My obsession is with accuracy. Sorry if that offends. Even the broadcast team had to swallow hard when they realized it was a bad call.

  49. Lions got hosed again. Remember the Dallas playoff game a couple years back? Teams like the Lions and Bengals will never win playoff games against favored teams like Seattle, Dallas, Pittsburgh, New York and GB. The league has their favorites and that’s why we see the same teams standing at the end of every season. Parity? 8 teams have won 72% of all the Super Bowls in league history, while 8 teams haven’t even been to a Super Bowl.

  50. They didn’t get hosed on that play. The WR committed his hands to catching the ball and the DB turned his facemask into him. Cause and effect, there would be no facemask without the PI. Anyone who played WR before would know this.

  51. God help us if they ever give the HC the ability to challenge everything. There are penalties on every play. No touchdown would stand.

  52. If the story of this past election year was the role and incompetence the media played in shaping the election, the story of this NFL season is the role and incompetence its refs were in showing how much of a joke the NFL has become.

  53. As a 49ers fan, I see this far more than anyone else… This is nothing new.

    -The PI no call against Atlanta.
    -The 2 PI no calls against Buffalo (including the last play of the game).
    -The PI no call against Detroit.
    -Russell Wilson commits intentional grounding at least 3 times a game on scrambles and has only been called for it twice all year.
    -The stupid luck with games like Miami and Arizona where open TDs were dropped/ EASY field goals were missed that would have sealed the game for the opponent.

    I keep trying to tell people that Seattle is crazy overrated, but because I am a 49ers fan, I just get labeled as a hater. They are simply not that good this year. Yes, last night was an easy win at home, but that’s because the Lions have no run defense and because Stafford was playing with a broken o-Line and was injured in his throwing hand, which has been a problem for 3 weeks now.

    Let’s see what Seattle gets away with on the road in a rematch against Atlanta with all eyes on the officials this time…

  54. No dog in this fight but, at what point did Seattle become favored by the NFL, per the comments on this board?

    They’re not a marquee name like the Packers, Giants, Pats, or Cowboys. Are you posters saying they are now?

  55. Hawks fan, so disclaimer – – but when we all watched that TD play in real time we all saw the same thing, a classic defensive PI and a crazy highlight catch. It wasn’t until much later that the facemask was even noticed. And I didn’t see anyone on the Detroit side (including the DB) complaining.

    And where are the 5-6 gamechanging calls people are talking about? I think the only miss was on Shead’s PI (called non-catchable) – agree that should have been a call.

    But we had a back rush for 161, and won the yards battle 387-231 and the TOP 37:00-23:00. Det only scores were both on 50+ yd FG’s. I don’t recall them being in the red zone once all game.

    We’ve been a uneven team this year and I’m far from overconfident – but we had control of this game.

  56. Listen to the whiners claiming bias when the same Refs missed the face mask call against Richardson on the sideline catch near the 40. Not a peep from 1 of you about that missed foul, why, because it doesn’t suit your nutty narrative.

    Fact was there were 7 refs from 7 different crews chosen to officiate that game. Cry to NFL officiating for not keeping crews together in the playoffs.

    We in Seattle are on to Atlanta. Have some cheese with your whine…

  57. Kenny Knodt says:
    Jan 8, 2017 1:41 PM

    As a 49ers fan, I see this far more than anyone else… This is nothing new.
    You must have missed the memo. As a result of another abysmal season, read 2-14 is downright embarrassing, 9’ers fans are penalized from watching and or commenting on football for the remainder of 2017.

  58. To be fair Caldwell is a clueless bum, he was probably talking to a Cheerleader thinking it was an official

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