Referees are likely used to tolerating criticism from fans, but now they may be under scrutiny from NFL executives and coaches.
After a series of controversial calls in last week’s pivotal regular-season finale between the Rams and Seahawks, multiple executives and coaches are calling for wholesale changes to the referee selection and training process, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.
Managers and coaches believe the officials missed some important calls during the game.
Seattle eventually won in overtime, 19-16, ending the Detroit Lions’ playoff hopes.
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Schefter also revealed that the NFL’s competition committee is aware of what one source told ESPN “was the worst officiating game of the year.”
The calls in question seemed to benefit the Seahawks, but did the Lions no favors. A Seattle loss would give Detroit a chance to clinch the NFC’s final playoff spot.
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The Lions still went on to beat the Packers on Sunday night, even though the team already knew they were out of the postseason.
ESPN has learned that some are calling for a complete overhaul of how the league screens, hires and ultimately trains officials in an effort to avoid a repeat of what happened in the Week 18 game.
“The Lions have to be furious,” a source told ESPN. “It was a terrible way for them to end the season.”
In the fourth quarter of the Seahawks-Rams game, Los Angeles defensive end Jonah Williams flagged down Seattle’s Michael Dixon.
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NFL rules state that a tackle occurs when a defensive player “makes contact with the kicker’s foot, even if the kicker is in the air when the contact occurs,” or when the defensive player “slides under the kicker, preventing give him back both. feet on the ground”.
Video replays showed Williams pushing on Dixon, which negated the kicking penalty, but the officials called a run on the hit, giving the Seahawks better field position and more downs. Seattle ended the drive with a game-tying field goal.
A league official told ESPN that they assessed that the referee who threw the flag did not look at the proper angle and therefore did not see that Williams was blocked into Dixon.
In the final seconds of regulation, star quarterback Jalen Ramsey was flagged for unnecessary roughness for a hit on linebacker Geno Smith. Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf proceeded to put his finger in Ramsey’s face mask.
Metcalfe was not penalized by the referees for his actions
In overtime, Smith threw an incomplete pass that probably could have been ruled an intentional grounder. Smith’s pass was a few yards short of the closest eligible passer in the area, Noah Fant.
Additionally, in overtime, Quandre Diggs intercepted a pass by quarterback Baker Mayfield. Some thought Diggs was joking after the interception.
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The seventh-seeded Seahawks lost to the 49ers in the wild-cart round of the playoffs on Saturday.