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.
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.