Referees may be used to taking criticism from fans, but now they can face scrutiny from executives and coaches across the NFL.
After a series of controversial calls in last week’s pivotal regular season finale between the Rams and Seahawks, several executives and coaches are calling for complete changes to the umpire selection and coaching process, according to a report by Adam ESPN’s Schefter.
Executives and coaches believe the referees missed several crucial calls during the game.
Seattle ultimately won in overtime, 19-16, ending the Detroit Lions’ playoff hopes.
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Schefter also reported that the NFL’s competition committee is aware of what a source described to ESPN as «the worst game of the year officiated.»
The calls in question seemed to benefit the Seahawks, but they didn’t do the Lions any favors. A Seattle loss would have given Detroit a chance to clinch the final wild-card berth in the NFC playoffs.
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The Lions still defeated 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 sweeping changes to how the league evaluates, hires and ultimately trains officials in an effort to prevent a repeat of what happened in the Week 18 game.
«The Lions should be furious,» a source told ESPN. «It was a horrible way for them to end their season.»
In the fourth quarter of the Seahawks-Rams game, Los Angeles defensive end Jonah Williams was flagged for colliding with Seattle punter Michael Dickson.
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NFL rules state that colliding with the kicker occurs when a defensive player «contacts the kicker’s kicking foot, even if the kicker is airborne when contact occurs,» or when a defensive player «slides under the kicker, preventing him from returning both feet to the ground».
Video replays appeared to show Williams being shoved into Dickson, negating a running-to-kicker penalty, but the refs ordered a run to the kicker, giving the Seahawks better field position and a new drive. of attempts. Seattle ended the drive with a game-tying field goal.
A league official told ESPN that they assessed that the flag-throwing umpire did not look at the proper angle and therefore did not see Williams locked on Dickson.
In the waning seconds of regulation, star defensive back Jalen Ramsey was called for unnecessary roughness for a hit on quarterback Geno Smith. Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf proceeded to put his finger inside Ramsey’s face mask.
Metcalf was not sanctioned by the referees for his performance
In overtime, Smith threw an incomplete pass that could have been considered an intentional penalty. Smith’s pass landed several yards short of the closest eligible receiver in the box, tight end Noah Fant.
Also, during overtime, Quandre Diggs intercepted a pass from quarterback Baker Mayfield. Some believed that Diggs taunted after the interception.
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The seventh-seeded Seahawks lost to the 49ers on Saturday in the wild-card round of the playoffs.