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.
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?