A terrific piece by Jason Wilde, now with ESPN Milwaukee, on the game yesterday and the missed facemask call at the end. As Wilde notes, the non-call has been the subject of a rather intense national debate — from posts at PFT to discussions on several ESPN shows and talk radio.
It is certainly the case that the Packers did a lot to lose. And I’m certainly sympathetic to the argument that it doesn’t do much good to dwell on blown calls. But it’s also indisputable that several questionable calls affected the outcome of the game — two potential offensive pass interference calls on Larry Fitzgerald on plays that resulted in touchdowns, a horrendous roughing the passer called on Cullen Jenkins and, on the last drive, the missed helmet-to-helmet hit by Bertrand Berry and the facemask on Michael Adams. And it’s worth spending a moment on the last one.
Wilde quotes former NFL referee Bill Carollo, who now heads officiating for the Big Ten — a job that requires him to review and evaluate refs for a living. Carollo was interviewed by Steve The Homer True.
“Certainly (Adams) made contact, dislodged the ball, and continued and hit the quarterback. He did get him in the facemask; you can’t hit him above the shoulders with anything,” said Carollo, who watched the game on television. “In this case, probably a personal foul could’ve been called on that play. (Green) didn’t necessarily rule that it was a pass, so it couldn’t be roughing the passer, but he could have an unnecessary roughness on that play for grabbing the facemask…
“If a penalty was called on that play, you’d have to throw the flag, and then determined, when did the foul occur? That makes a big difference in this case because it’s really close,” Carollo explained. “In this case, though, when the facemask was grabbed, the ball was still loose, which means it was still in the Packers’ possession. So they have not lost possession. The foul happened before the ball was recovered in the air. If the foul happened after the fact, and the Arizona player had the ball, then Arizona would keep the ball with the penalty assessed from that spot.
“In this case, I believe the penalty occurred before Arizona recovered the ball in the air, so it would be a previous-spot foul: 15 yards from the previous spot.”
That means the Packers would have had the ball first-and-10 at their own 39-yard line.
Most interesting, though, were the comments that Aaron Rodgers made. He told reporters that he didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about the non-call on the last play.
I get paid to play. There’s always going to be one or two plays in the game where you wonder if there should have been a call or should not have been a call, but those are out of my control. The things I worry about are things I can control. I made some mistakes in the game, those are the ones I’m thinking about, not a potential facemask.
The one play I was thinking about laying in bed last night was the first play of overtime. Unfortunately, (I) just missed Greg on that one. That could have ended the game, potentially.
I’m glad he thought about that one and didn’t go whining publicly about the blown call. But I hope he forgets it quickly, too.