I was amused when I saw the ‘curious’ call in the Dallas – Detroit NFL playoff game that has garnered so much attention.
It seems to me faceguarding a player is one of the standard pass interference calls to be made, and this looked like a textbook example. So it was odd that even after the flag is thrown and the penalty is announced, the call gets reversed.
This article has a good recap of the events in case you missed it. This play seemed to me the biggest playoff robbery since the mysterious interception that was overturned in the 2006 Pittsburgh – Indianapolis playoff game. Interestingly enough, both of these legendary calls were made by Referee Pete Morelli. This from 2006:
The league acknowledged Monday that referee Pete Morelli erred when he overturned on replay Polamalu’s interception of a Peyton Manning pass Sunday in the playoff game between Pittsburgh and Indianapolis.
That puts it mildly – that 2006 reversal was the worst call reversal I have ever seen. So it interesting that Pete Morelli and his officiating crew is in this latest controversy. Its not like his calls have gone unnoticed over the years. I stumbled across this article by a fan who did a review back in 2006 of games that Morelli has officiated, and the results weren’t flattering.
This excerpt from the 2006 review of Morelli’s crew:
Based on my grades this crew got two lukewarm passes and a failure. If I was a coach preparing for this crew, I would expect an even game called on the offensive line, I wouldn’t expect to be able to get a cheap pass interference call on a deep ball, I would expect some type of replay screwup, and I would be wary of having a penalty called on my team at a critical fourth quarter moment.
This officiating crew is not the best the NFL has. So why does the NFL continue to choose this crew for playoff games? Perhaps they are taking a queue from Reality TV. Fans of reality TV know that the shows are edited to build the best story line and build characters – they are not edited to provide a even handed journal of events. The NFL is at the height of its popularity, so the NFL must be doing something right. And the Dallas Cowboys – America’s Team – is headed to the next round of the playoffs.