Why do Certain Teams Get All the Calls from the Refs and the NFL, but Joe Philbin Never Will?

We all know that New England gets all the calls.  I hesitate to state that this is a fact, but at the very least, it is an opinion that is backed up by many many facts.

The Tuck Rule was an obscure technicality before Tom Brady fumbled the ball in the playoffs and the Raiders recovered…only to have the refs give the ball right back to Brady because of a rule no one understood or ever cited previously.

Who’s old enough to remember the Snow Plow Game?

How about this year, when the Patriots illegally had eight guys on one side of the line of scrimmage and three on the other.  Every single ref decided to look the other way.  See obvious proof below, courtesy of a photo submitted by our reader PhinsUp.

On a field goal, the defending team MUST, by rule, have 6 men on one side of the ball and five on the other.   Unless you're New England.
On a field goal, the defending team MUST, by rule, have 6 men on one side of the ball and five on the other. Unless you’re New England.

The Steelers were handed a free Super Bowl a few years ago against the Seahawks due to some of the most obviously biased referees in sports history.  After New England, the Steelers are the team who benefit from the refs the most.

And finally, we have the Cowboys, who also seem to get all the calls, especially at home.  Yesterday’s call vs. Detroit was controversial.  It’s questionable if the Cowboy defender committed pass interference.  He did, but let’s just say it’s questionable.

What is not questionable is when the ref came out and announced the penalty.  The foul was announced.  It was a done deal.  But…

Dez Bryant, a Cowboy offensive player, then illegally ran onto the field to argue.  That’s a 15-yard penalty right there, but the refs decided to forget the rules.

They also forgot that Bryant ran onto the field without his helmet, which is ANOTHER, separate 15-yard penalty.  The refs decided to look the other way there too.

So after Dez Bryant argued, the refs decided to un-see the original penalty.  A linesman from 35 yards away apparently had a better look than the ref who was 4 yards away.  Only in the NFL !

The Cowboys thus got away with 3 penalties on one play.  Detroit should have been award 30+ yards, but they got zilch.

As a quick side note, the NFL must adopt the way the referees work in the National Hockey League.  In hockey, when the refs see a penalty, they raise that hand and immediately escort the culprit to the penalty box.

That hand immediately goes up, and the penalty is called.  Period.

NHL refs do not consult with each other.  They do not un-see the penalty they just saw,  They don’t let a ref on the other side of the rink overrule what they just saw two feet in front of them.  They do not allow players to illegally skate on to the ice and argue with them.  And if a player did skate onto the ice illegally and argue with them, they do not say, “Okay, you’re right.  I will remove your teammate from the penalty box.”

NONE of that nonsense happens in the NHL, and the NFL could take a lesson there.

I still say some of the NFL’s bad calls are due to intimidation.  No ref wants to face the wrath of a Bill Belichick or a Jerry Jones or the powerful Rooney family in Pittsburgh.  So the refs tend to look the other way.  That’s why the Miami Dolphins never get any calls.  The league has little respect for Stephen Ross, it appears, and even less respect for Joe Philbin.

Philbin does nothing to help his own cause either.   The referees know basic Football 101 strategy as well as the players do.  When the refs see Joe Philbin make mistake after mistake, the refs tend to question Philbin as much as Philbin’s own players do.

For example, when the Dolphins were about to win the Packers game, Clueless Joe Philbin called a timeout instead.  Fans were stunned.  The Dolphin players were angry.  And the referees must have been scratching their heads.

The game was about to be be over, and the refs were ready to head home.  but then Slow Joe prolonged the game by giving the Pack a charity timeout. And a free gift victory.  Do you think that ref crew will ever see Joe Philbin the same way again?

In Week 13, the first-place Bengals were facing the last-place Buccaneers.  The Bucs were poised for the upset of the Century.

The Bengals clung to a one-point lead late in the game.   But then the Bucs completed a pass to the Bengal 20 yard line with only 12 seconds left in the game.  All they needed was a field goal now for the win, and they were well within field goal range.   Tampa prepared to spike the ball.

But then a funny thing happened.

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis threw the red challenge flag.  This was illegal for several reasons.  It was inside of 2-minutes, so coaches are not allowed to challenge the previous play.  Also, the Bengals were out of timeouts, so that too made it illegal for them to challenge.

It was a hectic scene.  Tampa Bay was lining up to win the game while the refs were trying to figure out what to do about Marvin Lewis illegally tossing his red challenge flag.

Out of nowhere, the previous play was now going to be reviewed.

Much later on, after all the dust had settled on this controversy, the league and the refs scrambled to come up with a convoluted excuse.  They lied and said that the previous play was going to be reviewed anyway, so Marvin Lewis’s red flag didn’t matter.   It’s important to note that the refs came up with this excuse much much later, AFTER the game had ended.

Dolphins Truth watched and re-watched that series of events.  The refs were NOT about to review the play.  They were allowing Tampa to line up for the spike.   The refs on the field saw nothing to review, and the video officials upstairs so no cause for review.  They simply saw no reason to review the previous play.

But Marvin Lewis DID see a reason for a review.  Tampa had 12 men on the field on that previous catch.  The refs simply missed it.  Desperate, he had to do something to get the refs’ attention. but there was nothing he could do about it (again, he could do nothing because it was inside of 2 minutes AND he had no time outs left).

But being a smart head coach, he invented something to do about it.  He threw the red flag.  He knew this would be an automatic penalty against him, but with nothing to lose, he threw it anyway.

He threw the flag just to buy some time for his men.  His flag caused the refs to stop play and prevented Tampa from going ahead with the spike they were about to execute.  While all that was sorted out, suddenly a booth official decided to review it.

Long story short, that extra time that Lewis bought by illegally tossing his flag worked out.  The refs went back and took the previous catch away from Tampa (and again, they didn’t do this on their own but were prodded by Lewis).

It was an absolutely brilliant move by a fantastic head coach.   He purposely committed a penalty in order to stop the clock, and in that borrowed time, the refs decided to reverse the previous play, AND they decided not to do anything about Lewis throwing the flag.  It was an outstanding strategy, and it worked.

It got us thinking, what if Joe Philbin were coaching the Bengals that day?

First of all, Philbin would not have seen Tampa’s 12th man because he doesn’t notice things like that.  He has no concept of what to challenge and what not to.

Secondly, Joe would not have thrown the flag.  He knows he can’t challenge inside of 2 minutes, and that was that.  (Although Marv Lewis also knew that but smartly challenged anyway).

The point here is that sometimes coaches have to adopt desperate measures to win a ball game.  Rex Ryan knew when to call a fake punt.  Marvin Lewis knew when to illegally throw a challenge flag.  John Harbaugh knew when to go for it on 4th-and-inches.    Joe Philbin knows none of these things.

In his entire tenure with the Dolphins, has Joe Philbin ever done one single thing that makes you think of him as a smart, strategic coach?  The type of coach who will get all the calls from the NFL instead of being the refs’ doormat?

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  1. I’m sorry but I lost all respect for your opinion when you called Marvin Lewis both Brilliant and a Fantastic head coach.

    1. Author

      Jonathan, all I can say to defend my position is that Marvin Lewis competes in the toughest division in the NFL, and he makes the playoffs every single year. I know he is not champion and he can’t seem to win a playoff game, but compared to our Joe Philbin, and Marvin is soooo much better!

  2. Players come out on the field all the time. That negates your argument about Dez Bryant. Players and coaches argue calls all the time. That further negates your Dez Bryant argument. The no helmet rule only applies to players currently in the game. That completely and totally negates your Dez Bryant argument. Yikes.

    1. Author

      John, when was the last time you saw an offensive player run into the middle of the field to argue a call against his team’s defense? That never happens, but you claim this occurs “all the time?”
      Dez Bryant was not innocently standing out of bounds on the sidelines and made a comment to a passing Ref. No, he ran out onto the middle of the playing field when he had no business doing so. Players and coaches do argue calls, but it’s always the players who are already in the game, not a player who runs from his team’s bench. That was a penalty.
      You re right about the no-helmet rule only applying to players in the game…and the moment Dez Bryant ran onto the field, he was thus in the game. That was a penalty.
      Anything else you want to be corrected about?

      1. Running onto the field to protest a call isn’t automatically a penalty, it is left up to the officials to decide whether or not a penalty is warranted based on the player or coach’s actions. In Bryant’s case, they decided it wasn’t. Also, the no-helmet rule only applies to players who are ACTIVELY participating in the game at the time (which Bryant was not), not just to players who are on the field.

        Anything else YOU would like to be corrected about, Mr. Admin?

        1. Author

          RULE 13, Section 1, Article 2.
          Quote: “Representatives of either team are prohibited from entering the field unless they are incoming substitutes.”

          Dez Bryant entered the field and he was not a defensive substitute.

          Don’t get me wrong, I am glad the Lions lost. Dolphin fans have no hatred for the Cowboys, and we love the way Jason Garrett coaches his men. We’re jealous and wish he coached our team instead of Slow Joe Philbin

          1. You can’t cherrypick penalties that are NEVER enforced.

            1. John, it’s funny you mention penalties that are never enforced. Admin started his article with that. So while they may never be called, 2001 showed us at they CAN be called at anytime, especially if it benefits a team they are looking out for. Why would they look out for the upstart Pats who had no history prior to that call, though, is a good question. Great article Admin, fellow Fins fan here who is also fed up with Philbin. I think the only reason Ross kept him is because he is to cheap to pay him for firing him for that final contract year. Shame.

              1. Us fans can handle a cheap owner. But we can’t stand a stupid owner.

      2. I’ve been watching football for roughly 22 of my 28 years alive. I have seen players and/or coaches on the field arguing with the refs hundreds if not thousands of times. Don’t ignore reality to try and prove a point.

        1. Wow, John. I’m sure the Cowboys welcome such delusional fans like you. First you whine and claim that Dez Bryant entering the field is legal. So then the Administrator proves you wrong. Then all of a sudden you change your argument and say “yes, it’s illegal, but they never call it.”
          By the way, still waiting for you to show us ONE example of an offensive player running on to the field without his helmet to argue a call against his team’s defense. If it happens “all the time” as you say, then you can easily point out many many examples, right?

    2. john, you are way off base. Bryant wasn’t involved in the play and had no right to argue it.

        1. Yes, it’s in the rules. The Admin even cited the exact Rule and quoted it above.

    3. John, you are a complete idiot if you don’t think that was a penalty.

      1. Or I’m a realist and realize that that type of thing happens 15 times a game and is entirely based on the ref’s opinion as to whether it warrants a penalty or not.

        1. No, you are a Cowboys fan, it’s cool though. We get it.

        2. LOL…so now you’re saying that a player races from the bench onto the field to argue a penalty with no helmet on…you’re saying that happens 15 times a game? Are you sure you’re not a Jet fan. You are really too stupid to be a Cowboys fan

  3. I just wanted to clarify – the NE formation does NOT look illegal.
    6 men can be on the line of scrimmage (LoS) on either side – No More than six. And the 7th man on that side is OFF the line (at least one yard back). And you mentioned before a D player cannot be over the snapper – that is only if the D player is on the LoS – seems legal to me, NE and Miami coaches and all the line judges.

  4. While I agree that the Tuck Rule was a terrible call, I have trouble believing it was due to Belichick. You have to remember that, at the time, he was a sub-.500 career coach with one playoff win 7 years earlier in Cleveland.

    1. It was because of 9/11. They wanted the patriots to win to boost patriotism. I shit you not.

  5. two things that prove the true lack of football knowledge by the writer. First, you cannot “stack penalties against a team in the NFL. The Detroit Lions (Lions vs. Cowboys) could have had 20 calls against the Cowboys but they can only choose ONE to enforce. Usually a team will accept the penalty with the most yardage. So there was no “30+” yards in penalties that they should have received. Second, calling a possible Bucs win against the Bengals an “upset of the century” is pretty stupid considering the Bengals record and recent history. It would have barely warranted a second glance by most of the NFL fans out there because the Bengals are not a perennial powerhouse. After these two errors, I’m sorry to say, I have respect for any of your other “opinions” based on ur blatant and obvious football stupidity. Stop watching the NHL and watch a real sport like NFL football for ten years, then start writing columns like this!

    1. Author

      Jon, dead ball fouls are all called separately, and so you can “stack” them and keep getting yardage.
      For example, if the defense is offsides and the cornerback commits pass interference 20 yards down the field, then you’re right. The offense gets to choose one penalty, and they always take the 20-yarder. But then if the CB whips off his helmet to argue with the ref, that is a dead ball personal foul, and the offense gets 15 more yards. Once that penalty is enforced, a linebacker might come over and curse at the referee also. Guess what? Another 15 yards.
      The Bucs and Bengals “upset of the century” was a bit of an exaggeration, I’ll grant you. 🙂 I only said that because last year, the Bucs were 0-8 when the Dolphins came to town. Miami was ill-prepared and we lost that game to a winless team.

    2. Maybe not upset of the century, but certainly woulda been a great upset for my Bucs!

  6. https://vine.co/v/OdD5hWMBK2q … watch Pettigrew grab the Cowboys player face mask during the play! Watch the TD run by Bush and you’ll see holding at the 5 yard line… Lions were holding on every play the first half. Stop whining over one play and watch the whole half including how they penalized Dallas for running into a punter, but they didn’t call it on Detroit for the same thing! The truth shall set you free!!!

    1. Author

      A picture is worth a thousand words, and the facemasking is clearly there. Thanks for pointing that out, Chris. Not sure about the Bush TD run and that particular holding is iffy. But no doubt about the facemask.

  7. Very interesting. The basic premise of the article seems to be entirely wrong. If New England gets all the calls then why were they the most penalized team in the NFL in 2014? And even missing 4 games to suspension Brandon Browner was the most penalized corner in the NFL. How does this fit with them getting all the breaks? Seems like divisional sour grapes against the only AFC East team with a real QB by another team in the division without one. Now on to Pittsburgh who must have been so bad for the last four years that even as the “team who most benefited from the referees after New England” they could not turn that advantage into a playoff appearance until this year?

    Fact is that the tuck rule, while obscure and strange, was the rule in the book and even after his team was on the short end of that stick AL Davis did not vote to change it in the subsequent winter meetings. The strange review that Marvin Lewis made happen this year was due to a rule change that happened prior to this season that all teams were apprised of and apparently only Marvin Lewis paid attention to.

    The pass interference against Dallas should have been called and that was a blown call. Also the person a foul against Dez Bryant should have been called. That was bad officiating. It happens. As long as officials are all human beings and the game is not officiated by computers we will have some human error. In the big picture this all evens out for most teams. There are some teams that make their own bad luck, suck as those that spend boku bucks to sign guys like Jay Cutler to be a “star QB” or Eric Decker to be a #1 receiver….

    1. Author

      New England has a way of getting the calls when they count, i.e., late in the season. You are correct about N.E. being penalized the most. But the regular season is behind us now. Let’s keep an eye on what happens Saturday.

  8. Some teams make their own bad luck too by thinking Daunte Culpepper is a better quarterback to sign than Drew Brees. Imagine how the last eight years would be in the AFC East if Brady and the Pats had to face Brees and the Phins? It could have happened if Miami chose wisely. Instead they created their own misery and losing environment.

    1. Author

      Bobby, we think of that every day. We played against Drew Brees twice in those 8 years, and he lit us up both times and never let us forget how wrong we were.

    2. I’m sick of every know it all saying if we had gotten Breese blah blah blah blah – NO, THINGS WOULD BE THE SAME AND WE WOULD HAVE NEVER WON A SB!!! First off, Drew doesn’t play well outdoors and benefits greatly from playing 9 games a year in a dome. When he has had to play in weather conditions such as the cold or win he has play horrible and how do you think he would fair playing in NE and NY or Buffalo late in the season or even the strong winds that do kick up at Sunlife Stadium aka Joe Robbie Stadium near the endzones? ANSWER – NOT FUCKING GOOD!!

      Second, New Orleans runs a QB friendly spread offense, and of course playing in doors on turf is a clear advantage for the offense and Drew, so he excels. Saban didn’t run a spread, Cameron didn’t run a spread and Sporano sure as hell didn’t run a spread, and neither did Philbin until this season, which is a lose interpretation of a spread offense. The point is, Drew has excelled in extremely ideal conditions which are the offense he plays in, playing 9 games a year in doors and he also benefits from having big athletic targets. Take all that away and we will see Drew look more like his Charger days then seeing him as a Saint (HA, did you see what I did there?). So just let it go already! Breese would NOT have won squat had he gone to Miami.

      And logically put yourself in the front offices shoes, your medical staff just told you that a prospect you are looking at, his shoulder injury was significant and likely won’t hold up and that prospect happens to play a position where all he will do is throw and get hit, especially behind your putrid o-line. Now, be honest and use common sense or just plain ol logic, would you take the guy with a bad knee to play QB or take the guy with a bad shoulder to play QB? Be honest with yourselves ..and remember hindsight is 20/20

  9. Wow. Just wow. None of your antidotes are facts . Head of officiating said that Bryant’s situation was just a judgement call. Petigrew face masked Hitchens . At worst penalties offset and Detroit get to redo 3rd down., They were not moving the ball so I wish they would have just let them redo the 3rd down. I watched all sorts of no calls on Detroit thoughout the game , i guess those don’t matter ? And as far as the Bengals thing yes they should have been punished for the challenge flag but in the end the refs got the call right because the Bucs had too many men on the field and that was the first and worse penalty. Your dribble is very sad. The Dolphins are one of the most storied and beloved teams in all of sports , they have just been terrible and under bad ownership the last couple of decades. Not the NFL’s fault. Detroit had a player on the field that should have never been allowed to play in the first place. They got what they deserved.
    You are a good writer but this crap you are writing about is just crap and you are wrong..

    1. Author

      Well, the thing you are most correct about is that Suh should not have been allowed to play. I mean, suspend him or don’t suspend him, but don’t keep announcing different verdicts. That must have made it really hard for Dallas to prepare for him or not.

    2. Rodney – NO, just NO. Miami is probably the most disliked in the NFL. Probably because the 72 team celebrates every year when the last undefeated team falls. Every time you see highlights on the NFL Network of a player, you will always see said player or team do something against Miami, even if it was a season or more ago. The media always talks about how dismal things are in Miami and blah blah bully scandal blah blah blah and Miami is not a good team blah blah blah. Yet Miami last season was in the playoff hunt until the end and this season if not robbed by BAD officiating in the Baltimore game probably would have won the last wildcard spot. The Vikings had that big scandal on the yacht years ago, after that season it was barely mentioned again. And the dysfunction in the Jets locker room when they had Tebow, barely mentioned after that season. And you don’t hear anymore about Bountygate do you?

      Miami is HATED and revered by the league, and it spills out onto Sundays with all the BS non calls and calls that have inexplicably gone against Miami going as far back as the Sporano era that in some games even the TV analysts are saying calls should have been made or what were the refs thinking making those calls – and those are neutral analysts.

      Are the Miami Dolphins a storied franchises? Without a doubt! Are they beloved by the NFL and sports fans everywhere? Not even by most their fans!

      1. Author

        Rod, you make some excellent points that we never really thought about before. Each week, TV announcers always bring up the same old negatives about the Dolphins, usually involving the “bullying scandal,” which was well over a year ago. (And, by the way, it wasn’t really a scandal at all…it was a couple of grown men and best friends teasing each other).
        You brought up the Vikings, and that is a perfect example. When the Dolphins played the Vikings, they didn’t bring up the yacht orgy. They didn’t discuss Adrian Peterson beating his kid. They didn’t mention Korey Stringer dying on the practice field from heat stroke and dehydration. All of those are major negatives about the Minnesota organization, but nothing is said.
        We also play New England twice a year. The bullying scandal is mentioned 47 times per game, but the announcers forget to mention Aaron Hernandez (who, by the way, committed an act a little bit worse than teasing a pal). The announcers never seem to mention Bill Belichick spying on opponents. And they certainly never mention Bill Belichick’s son getting arrested on drug charges. There’s just something about the Miami Dolphins that makes announcers and journalists mention our negatives all the time.
        That carries over to the refs on Sundays. The refs read the sports section, and they know how inept Philbin is. They don’t give us any calls because they know they don’t have to. The refs can’t get away with that crap when they ref a New England game.
        I think a winning season or two would shut them up, but until Ross gets rid of Philbin, it won’t happen. Mr. Ross has made the Dolphins an easy target, because Ross himself adds to the dysfunction by keeping Joe Philbin around and taking away our home games in order to go play in Europe.
        That too is part of the problem. The media knows that Philbin is inept. And if you hire an inept man, what does that make you?
        The media shows us a lack of respect, but it’s somewhat justified by the way Mr. Ross runs his organization. Until he changes that…

        1. In fairness to Joe, he was coming from a winning program where he helped shape (IMO) the best QB in the league so there was reason for great optimism when it was announced he would succeed Tony Sporano – though I was hoping the job would go to Todd Bowles . But, also IMO, his first strike with me was hiring Mike Sherman as OC.

          Sherman was always master of the screen when he was in GB. And while Sherman didn’t reclaim his title in the NFL as master of the screen, he took up the mantle that Dan Henning left behind, bland and predictable play calling. The reason I’m mentioning all this because for all his on the field fumbles, Joe’s biggest show of ineptitude is his unwavering loyalty to his staff. Ross forced him to get rid of Sherman last season otherwise Sherm would still be a Dolphin. The same has to be done with Coyle because Phil won’t fire him to hire someone who is a consistently good DC. As long as Coyle remains DC, I can’t see us going anywhere to or in the post season, and that is Phil’s biggest showing of ineptitude.

          1. Author

            Rod, I disagree about how much Philbin shaped Aaron Rodgers. According to almost all the Packers, Philbin’s role there was to organize offensive meetings and to be like a wise old teacher. He didn’t get involved in the mechanics of Aaron Rodgers’ release and all that. The QB coach and Aaron’s natural abilities get all the credit.
            Of course, Rodgers says nice things about Philbin and praises him, but come on, everyone does that when they talk about their former teachers. Doesn’t mean it’s true. I bet Rodgers learned more about grit and determination in 5 minutes with Mike McCarthy than he did in years and years with Joey P.

            1. I know, but I said HELPED SHAPE* He was there during his development. Although Mccarthy called the plays, Phil ran practices and meetings. QBs receive instruction in meetings and in practices, which Philbin was no doubt a part of, therefore helping shape Rodgers development.

              1. Author

                Yes, okay. And in that regard, we could have hired Philbin as an assistant line coach or an assistant QB coach. Hell, even if we hired him as a full-fledged Offensive Coordinator and let him call plays…even then he would do less damage than he does now. If he were our OC, he wouldn’t be allowed to call timeouts on defense. He wouldn’t be able to decide to punt on 4th-and-one or to try a 54-yard field goal on 4th-inches. The only possible position where Joe Philbin can hurt the Dolphins is as head coach, and that is exactly what Ross stuck us with.

  10. Idiot from Tampa is implieing that Tannehill isn’t a real NFL qb. Thanks for letting all the real football fans here know how little you know about the sport.

  11. “…because of a rule no one understood or ever cited previously.”

    That is simply not true. That wasn’t the first time the rule was called. It was called *against* the Patriots in a game against the Jets THAT VERY SAME SEASON.

    Anyway, you’re writing is pure crap and full of lies and hyperbole passed off as “facts.” In short: you sound like a crybaby. You should be ashamed … if you actually had any shame.

    Go Packers!!!

    1. Author

      LOL….. it’s funny how no Dolphin fans ever stick up for Slow Joe Philbin, but Packer fans love the guy. That is because Slow Joe gave the Pack a free victory this season. Enjoy it.

  12. Why are fans of other teams on here trolling. If you don’t like the article go somewhere else this is a dolphins fan site. No reason to post comments bashing the writer, this is why I hate the internet. A bunch of keyboard bullies spewing hate all over my favorite dolphin site

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