On the Facemask and Aaron Rodgers


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.

10 Responses to “On the Facemask and Aaron Rodgers”

  1. Jonathan Gibbs Says:

    I am not a crushed as I expected. Pack made tons of improvements this year, and played tough. I’m ready for the 2010 season then they make there real run for the Lombardi. They’re better than the 93 Packers, maybe not quite the 94 Packers yet. But, just like those teams they are on their way to the big one in either 2010 or 2011.

  2. Dan Says:

    Okay. So now that you found that piece of “evidence” is something for Packer fans to continue to cling on to. Maybe we should have Green Bay fly their team down to New Orleans and replay the down against Arizona and pickup the overtime from there. The the winner can start the game against WhoDat Saints.

    • PackerBelle Says:

      You are acting like Packer fans and media are the only ones discussing it. Yet, it’s been commented on in a number of national media outlets.

      Nor is it the only thing that has been discussed here and other Packer sites regarding why we lost. Capers’ defensive scheme, Lee and Finley running the same route on the interception in the first quarter, Rogers missing Jennings on the first pass in OT, etc. But the officials made a questionable call and it affected the game. It bears discussion. Especially given that we won’t be having much Packer news for awhile.

  3. Doug in Sandpoint Says:

    The debates over the blown calls will be fun to dwell on in the off season but the fact is that we have an unbelievably classy and gifted quarterback. He will lead this team to some great places in the future. I would want to play for a guy like we have.

  4. joshywoshybigfatposhy Says:

    woodson won d-player of the year.

  5. sfhayes Says:

    I didn’t find that piece of evidence, it was broadcast on national television to a record-setting audience. And I’m not suggesting that anyone “cling to” it. Indeed, I wrote: “I’m certainly sympathetic to the argument that it doesn’t do much good to dwell on blown calls” and not that it was worth “a moment” to discuss it. Finally, the headline of the post makes clear it’s also about Aaron Rodgers and the future of the Packers, and I introduced that section by calling his comments “most interesting.”

    We love a good debate, but I often find it’s more productive when commenters read posts before criticizing them.

  6. mark Says:

    i dont even care about this- what worries me is that because we got to the play-offs- i fear we wont address the things that need to be fixed- i fear the next 4 years are going to be a waste doing the same then Rodgers will be getting to the end of a career. i feel hes good enough to give us multiple superbowls but he needs a massive o-line and we need some D fixes-till that happens no SB period.

  7. Dave in Tucson Says:

    “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.

    File this under “Facts in evidence”: this picture shows the hands-to-the-face happening while the ball is still in the air, clearly before the Cardinals got posession.


  8. Bob the Outsider Says:

    Yes, there may have been some blown calls, but this is the price you pay for not having home field advantage. There is no place on earth where there are more “Homer” ref calls than at Lambeau Field. Sunday’s departures only put a dent into that ratio.
    Maybe give the edge to the Kohl center in Madison as evidenced by the Badgers horrific “away” record over the last ten years.
    I think sportswriter M. Hunt jinxed you in his article criticizing Kurt Warner’s age. Bad mistake.
    Hello !! Who was the octagenarian that just left GB short while ago?
    I frankly can’t understand the moaning. You have young QB that 30 other teams would die for, who produced under the worst possible “acts to follow” scenario of all time. The free agency, lack of loyalty, and non-contract years for the big stars, all play a role in parity that will never allow a run as in the golden years. Relax and drink a Pabst

  9. dreampipe Says:

    guys! IM WORRIED ABOUT AN UNCAPPED 2010 and the possibility for NO FOOTBALL AT ALL IN 2011!!!! this could really cut into the Pack’s SB potential as presently constituted… seriously, can we compete in an uncapped season?@!?@
    Rodg is sick, SICK I SAY!, but his window is not huge considering he needs the weapons he currently has, and we need a resurgent D to win it all in a few years. Can this be done with the CBA upheaval we should expect this offseason and nexT???

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