NFL now says Cody Ford block that drew big flag in playoff game was legal

Buffalo Bills v Cleveland Browns
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In overtime of a playoff loss in January of 2020, Bills lineman Cody Ford was hit with a huge penalty for an illegal blindside block that knocked Buffalo out of field goal range. At the time, rules experts said it was a bad call, but the NFL insisted it was the correct call, even fining Ford for it.

Now? Not.

The NFL is now saying Ford’s block was legal, even using it as an example of a legal block in an officiating video released on Friday. In the video, NFL Senior VP of Officiating Training and Development Walt Anderson says Ford’s block didn’t meet the “forcible” standard that is required for a flag to be thrown.

“Back towards his own end line, and again just makes really more of a nudge block,” Anderson says as Ford’s block is shown. “Not the type of forcible contact threshold that has to be met for a blindside block rule.”

No explanation is given for why the NFL is now using Ford’s block as an example of a legal block if it was worthy of a 15-yard penalty and fine in last year’s postseason.

The call was a big one: If it hadn’t been called, the Bills would have been able to try a 56-yard field goal to win the game. Instead they were pushed out of field goal range, punted, and the Texans won the game with a field goal on the ensuing possession.

61 responses to “NFL now says Cody Ford block that drew big flag in playoff game was legal

  1. I’m guessing hes already lost or missed the chance to appeal his fine otherwise it would be a slam dunk case for him now.

  2. Didn’t like it at the time and then fining him reeked of a cover up
    and now this!

  3. Doubt Hauschka would have made a 56 yarder anyway but you never know. Now if we could have Tyler Bass take the kick…whole different story! Chip shot for him!

  4. All Bills fans knew the block was legal. Blame Tony Corrente-a true “homer”referee. Houston ran 66 offensive plays without one holding penalty. The way the Bills defense attacked Deshaun Watson in that game there’s no way there wasn’t holding. At lease Bill O Brien was soon exposed as the horrible coach and GM he was.

  5. The NFL has become all about Quarterbacks.

    Most other players have become window dressing.

    It used to be great blocks, pancake blocks, road grading drive blocks were celebrated by folks like John Madden, Summerall, etc. Now they are slowly becoming overly officiated out of existence. And that’s just the blocking aspect of football.

    Tackling has been degrading even worse each year, particularly when it involves the oh-so precious QB – god forbid he gets dirt on his uniform. Someday soon that could cover up the all- important advertising that will eventually adorn his uniform.

    Now only QBs win or lose games, with 10 other players seemingly just along for the ride with the glamour queen Quarterback.

    In too many ways the business of football is perverting the GAME of football.

  6. Typical. Another example of referees influencing the outcome of a (playoff) game. Are they going to refund Ford’s fine? Will they apologize to the Bills for removing any chance at a playoff victory? Doubt it.
    It was far more “advantageous” to have the bigger name Watson and Texans in the playoffs than Allen and the Bills. Ironically, it might be Watson’s last appearance!
    With joke calls like this one, I have a really hard time believing the refereeing is fair and equitable. TO now use the gaff as a training exercise is insult to injury.

  7. The NFL looked the other way when Seattle defensive backs were mugging receivers at the line of scrimmage. They also penalized a Frisco linebacker on a quarterback hit that was perfectly legal, giving New Orleans a victory and denying Frisco the number 1 seed in the playoffs. Bummer.

  8. They also said Dez Caught it but it didn’t help the Cowboys advance and neither does this.

  9. There are thousands of plays every year, and they’re going to get a handful wrong, even with the best officials in the world on the field. If you can’t live with that, insist on using the available technology to officiate games. That doesn’t seem like it’s something the NFL wants, so take a couple deep breaths, and find something else to worry about. The NFL, for some reason, doesn’t want the players deciding the outcomes of the games and point spreads. Everyone has their own theory about that. The opposition to the current system doesn’t have any organization, so nothing will change anytime soon.

  10. Walt Anderson and Tony Corrente still negatively influnencing the game. Don’t get me wrong I’m an old geezer but these two old geezers need to retire. Glasses aren’t going to help them.

  11. It’s not even admitting that they’re wrong – we all knew this. It’s the shameless way in which they just bring it back up and casually go “oh yeah, this was actually a good block”. They don’t even care about keeping up appearances anymore. And it’s only going to get worse as more and more money comes into the game (gambling!). No way these refs are making all these decisions without some sort of directive to take the game a certain way.

    At least return the money the man paid for the fine. It’s the least they could do.

  12. Give the man his money back. This just shows how awful NFL officiating is in critical moments of a game. Further leads to speculation that this is just the WWE on a bigger scale.

  13. Refund his fine immediately and acknowledge the error. But the NFL won’t do that and will continue to act without integrity or transparency. #AsExpected

  14. The Bills got jobbed on the opening kick of second half too. Guy caught the ball, took 3-4 steps and dropped it… no whistle. Bills jumped on it and the ref signaled touchdown. Then the black-coated goon squad somehow managed to reverse it from the sideline. After those 3-4 steps the receiver could have easily hit the gas and run it out. Another terrible call!

  15. Walt Anderson called the Tuck Rule correctly and people still don’t want to admit it. Go Pat’s!

  16. You can literally say this about any close game the Patriots have won in the last 10 years.

  17. I hate the cowboys with a passion but Dez Bryant no catch call against Green Bay should have been ruled a catch and a touchdown and the hit that Kansas city Dan Sorenson did against the Cleveland wide receiver at the one yard line in last year’s playoff game should have been a helmet to helmet personal foul unsportsmanlike penalty called,,,
    For the record I still hate the cowboys!!!
    We want Dallas!!!

  18. They also acquiesced on the phantom PI called on Green Bay, but when you’re the LOAT you get calls like that.

  19. I think the biggest problem in the NFL with officiating is there are just too many rules. You can’t over-think football games.
    I think what is needed — but we’ll never see in the NFL — is common sense in the rules.
    For example, nothing drives me more crazy with penalties than a “block-in-the-back” penalty on a kick off or punt, when the block is completely away from the ball carrier. I mean, if a guy is on the opposite side of the field and he happens to hit a guy in the back, should that be called? My answer is “no”! All it does is slow down the game and take away from the action on the field.
    There are many rules which are in the books which are never called. For example, when is the last time you saw a helmet-to-helmet hit called on a RB? They all lower their helmets when they are about to plow into someone, but it’s never called on them. So why even bother having it as a rule?
    If the NFL really wants to lower the amount of controversial penalties, change the rules to make it easier for the players and officials to understand them.

  20. The money bet on games decides the outcomes now. Let’s not fool ourselves into believing the games are legitimate. The changing for the worse.

  21. Yeah never mind
    It was 4th down and Hauschka was our kicker.
    No chance, we would have punted or went for it.

  22. Mikeyb Josh Jacobs was called for lowering his helmet in a game this year, forget which game but only one I saw called in last 2 years. The league has always played favorites and the teams with the name QBs seem to come out on the top more often than not. As a fan I have to remind myself that football is an “Entertainment Product” and not an actual sporting competition.

  23. I’ll be happy if ( providing we make the playoffs), they call something extra ( of the same magnitude, obviously) in our favor to make up for that awful call…Go Bills…!!

  24. I like how Pats fans never miss even the slightest opportunity to bring up how they think the NFL makes bad calls against them, while fans of every other team in the league know the Pats with Brady got preferential treatment from the refs like no other team in history.

  25. I warned the Chiefs fans that if they played the same kind of “sticky” defense against the Buccaneers that they used against Buffalo in AFCCG; Brady would walk up and down the field on them with DPI’s and holding calls.

    The day after the SB the top comment by Chiefs fans was complaining about holding and defensive pass interference calls.

  26. @pummer

    Rogers, Wilson, Mahomes, Rothlesberger, and others all get preferential treatment from the refs. To say only Brady got it just shows your jealousy and envy of a team that probably kicked your butts time after time!
    You don’t have to be a Pats fan to appreciate what Brady has done over the past 20 years, most likely we won’t see it again.

  27. Agree on this block that it was legal but Anderson was one of the 3 worst referees in NFL so putting him in this supervisory role is just absurd.

  28. It’s humanly impossible to officiate football games without using real time video assistance. I don’t care if the league makes a perfect explanation of a missed call, or if they issue the greatest apology in the history of mankind. Once the games are in the books, they’re in the books. No use complaining about it after the fact. It’s been obvious for years that the NFL doesn’t want the players determining the outcomes of the games and point spreads. They’ve had the technology to get every call correct without causes any delays to games. They just refuse. I’m ok with that. I’m still watching.

  29. I know it’s too late to change the call, but are they at least going to give him his money back?

  30. The NFL made up for it by not throwing any for pass interference against KC’s defensive backs in the AFC Championship game.

  31. Tucking that into the slowest month to get them clicks. They knew they were wrong the next morning.

  32. pummer says:
    April 10, 2021 at 1:06 pm
    I like how Pats fans never miss even the slightest opportunity to bring up how they think the NFL makes bad calls against them, while fans of every other team in the league know the Pats with Brady got preferential treatment from the refs like no other team in history. The real history says otherwise.

  33. How does a 10 billion dollar industry, that delivers a competitive product, continuously keeps having wrong calls that inaccurately decide winning teams and/or organizational releases months later saying the calls were wrong? makes absolutely no sense this product they are delivering.

  34. The Texans were in the post season at 4-12 last year? Are they in the NFC East too? Is the writer in a state where MJ is legal?
    Or was the writer harkening back to the old Dallas Texans days before anyone on this site was born?
    IPar for the course

  35. Let’s all remember about these calls, it’s not about who wins the game, it’s all about beating the spread.

  36. smokeybear says:
    April 10, 2021 at 8:10 pm
    The Texans were in the post season at 4-12 last year? Are they in the NFC East too? Is the writer in a state where MJ is legal?
    Or was the writer harkening back to the old Dallas Texans days before anyone on this site was born?
    IPar for the course

    January 4, 2020. It was the playoffs for the 2019 season. They were 4-12 last year, but made the playoffs in 2019.

  37. myusernameissteve says:

    April 10, 2021 at 10:00 am

    Walt Anderson called the Tuck Rule correctly and people still don’t want to admit it. Go Pat’s!

    32 64 Rate This


    Outside of the New England area and Randy CrossDresser, pretty much NO ONE thinks the Tuck Rule was correct.

  38. We all know the NFL is fixed and we’re all hoping someone else says it out loud.
    We spend tons of our time making our wives mad and ignoring our kids, while watching a game where fake calls decide games.
    Here’s the scoop:
    1. Famous QBs always get the call ( think Brady roughing in the Chiefs AFCCG where he got hit on the shoulder to get the call )
    2. Big market teams get the call.
    3. Good team de jour gets the call.
    4. Home team gets the call
    5. Team that needs the victory to keep story line ( think road Vikings get 8 calls at Lambeau to salvage 1-6 start so us dopes watch more )

    It’s obvious, it’s open, we all know it, and I’m sure Mike making millions may someday expose it because it’s a sick con on us stupid people.

  39. Everyone at my house watching the game sat there with their mouths hanging open asking what was the penalty??? Don’t you love it when zebras are killed on the Discovery Channel?

  40. It’s what we Buffalo fans expect. “just give it to ‘em’ by the refs against the Pats years ago. “No goal”. Flyers goal through the outside of the net . Off the top of my head. It’s our lot in life.

  41. Bills should sue NFL for incompetence etc a la Al Davis style. And keep the league in litigation for years

  42. Just before the hit the D man was looking at Cody and turned his head just as he was about to get hit.

  43. Well, Saints fans can no longer cry that they were the only ones robbed because of a bad call/non-call….

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