IFWT_Hitchens Pettigrew 2

The talk of the weekend that will likely flow into next weekend, is the blown call during the Dallas Cowboys-Detroit Lions Wild Card game on Sunday.  On third and one, Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens appeared to interfere with Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew.  The flag was thrown, the foul was called, then what felt like minutes later, the ref picked up the flag and took away the call.  Instead of getting the crucial first down, the Lions ended up at 4th and 1, then received a delay of game 5-yard penalty and it all went down hill from there.  The Cowboys went on to win the game 24-20, moving them to the Divisional Round against the Green Bay Packers and eliminating the Lions from the playoffs.  The crucial non-call had the sports world buzzing especially since no explanation was given during the game but Pete Morelli explained later.

Shay Marie

via ProFootballTalk:

“The back judge threw his flag for defensive pass interference,” Morelli told pool reporter Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com.  “We got information from another official from a different angle that thought the contact was minimal and didn’t warrant pass interference.  He thought it was face guarding.”

Who thought it was face guarding?

“The head lineman,” Morelli said.

Asked what Morelli saw, he said, “It’s not my responsibility.  I’m a hundred miles away.”

Morelli pointed out that face guarding, which happens when a defender uses his arms to deliberately obstruct the receiver’s ability to see the ball, isn’t a foul in the NFL.

“It is a penalty in college but not professional football,” Morelli said.

The explanation doesn’t come close to settling the issue on such a crucial practically game deciding call.  But what’s done is done and the Cowboys are moving on.  And while I’m extremely disappointed in the officiating, I will say the Lions had a chance to win anyways but didn’t pull through.

Here’s the play:

And here’s former head of officiating Mike Pereria explaining why the refs got it wrong.