Today, the NFL is holding a conference call with all on-field game officials. This unprecedented move comes just a week after NFL officiating chief Carl Johnson acknowledged there were mistakes made on two TD calls in the Minnesota Vikings’ 28-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers last week.
The officials in last Sunday’s Vikings/Packers game this past Sunday, initially ruled that Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe had caught a touchdown pass in the end zone from Brett Favre. But after review, the officials overturned their first call, and Minnesota had to settle for a field goal.
Earlier this week, Vikings coach Brad Childress was smacked with a fine of $35,000 by the NFL. Apparently the NFL does not take kindly to public criticism of its officials. Childress said Johnson had told him that the play should have stood as a touchdown, but the league has a policy that prohibits public criticism of officiating and disclosure of confidential conversations with the head of officiating.
And it doesn’t seem to matter that Johnson confirmed that he had in fact told Childress the wrong call was made.
Then there was the controversial call in the Steelers/Dolphin game win in Miami after Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger fumbled at the goal line. Steelers fans cheered when the play was first ruled a touch down. But Dolphins coach Tony Sparano challenged the call saying that the ball broke the plane of the goal line before Roethlisberger lost it. After a replay reversal, game officials couldn’t determine who recovered the possession, so they awarded the Steelers the ball.
Giving the Steelers the ball changes the game. The Steelers, who maintained possession at about the half-yard line, in the fourth down, ended up with the field goal kick that won the game 23-22. Had the Dolphins been credited with a recovery, it would have been Dolphins ball at the 20.
It will be pretty interesting to see what the outcome of the conference call with all the NFL on-field game officials is. How will this affect future game calls? And will this leave some openings for coaches and players to voice their frustrations around bad game calls?
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