Detroit Lions: Officiating Sunday simply unjustifiable and horrendous

Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports
Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports /

NFL officials continue to disrespect the Detroit Lions.

Even after Sunday’s officiating debacle, referee Adrian Hill defended his decision to throw a flag on Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker.

As the Detroit Lions hosted their NFC North rival Minnesota Vikings in the final week of the regular season, the NFL officials once again added to their awful history of atrocious calls against the Detroit Lions.

Typically when this happens, it’s a game between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers.  The league is fixated on protecting quarterbacks around the league.  Remember the phantom Trey Flowers hands to the face on back-to-back plays?

The league isn’t stupid; they know where their money is; it’s in players like Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, and so on.  Notice I didn’t put Matthew Stafford in there?  I’m trying not to be biased, but Stafford doesn’t seem to generate the same calls those other quarterbacks get on a weekly basis.

You will notice that I didn’t mention Kirk Cousins on this list, but he got one of those Tom Brady-type calls Sunday at Detroit’s expense.

Here is the play;

As you can see, this call came at a vital time in the ball game.  Walker made the play, and as you watch the replay, Walker didn’t put his entire body weight on Cousins; he clearly tries to roll off. Unfortunately, that’s not how Adrian Hill saw it.

In an article published by the Detroit Free Press, Hill defends his call.

"Question: On the roughing the passer penalty called on Detroit’s Tracy Walker early in the fourth quarter, what made that a roughing the passer penalty?Hill: “By rule, one of the categories for roughing the passer is full body weight, where the tackler lands with his full body weight on the quarterback. That’s the category this play fell into.”Question: It kind of looked like the defender grabbed the quarterback and his momentum rolled him off, but is that not what you saw?Hill: “The momentum doesn’t play a role and the rolling off afterwards does not play a role. It’s that initial contact to the ground. If you roll off afterwards, that doesn’t eliminate the foul.”Question: So it was a clear-cut penalty to you?Hill: “Yes, it was. The initial force was full body weight.”"

Even after reading Hill’s explanation, I can’t entirely agree with it.  And for the record, it was Hill who threw the flag on the play, so he’s not trying to protect a member of his crew.  It was an atrocious call, maybe the worst ever, and listening to Hill try to defend it just makes me nauseous.  Hill had a chance to own it, stand up there and say he botched the call.  Not every official is Jim Joyce, who famously botched Armando Galarraga’s bid for a perfect game.  At the conclusion of the game, a teary-eyed Joyce owned up to his mistake; Hill did not.

That wasn’t the only awful call in the game.  The officials overturned a Marvin Jones catch claiming the ball touched the ground, and Jones was unable to maintain possession.  We are very familiar with the ‘catch’ rule.

Calvin Johnson did everything but light up a smoke and hand the ball to the official and still had a touchdown called back.

Next. Sunday is likely Matthew Stafford’s final act. dark

The problem with this Jones’ touchdown reception was that it was called a touchdown on the field, and after reviewing the play, officials still opted to overturn the call on the field.