Facemask Penalty That Led To Packers’ Hail Mary TD Wasn’t Actually a Facemask (Video)
Everyone today is talking about the crazy 61-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Richard Rodgers that gave the Packers a 27-23 victory over the Detroit Lions on Thursday night, but what about the previous play which led to the one final untimed down—the facemask penalty on Lions defensive end Devin Taylor?
Was it a facemask? Should a flag have been thrown? Take a look at the following clip of the play, as well as some still-frames that have been posted on Twitter:
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) December 4, 2015
That doesn’t look like much of a facemask to me.
Rule 12, Section 2, Article 14 from the NFL rulebook states the following regarding facemask penalties:
“No player shall grasp and control, twist, turn, push, or pull the facemask of an opponent in any direction. Note: If a player grasps an opponent’s facemask, he must immediately release it. If he does not immediately release it and controls his opponent, it is a foul.”
Here’s what NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino had to say about the call after the game, via the Detroit Free Press:
“It’s a close play, but even looking at the replay, the hand is up near the mask, the finger looks like it gets caught in the mask, and the head gets turned,” Dean Blandino, the NFL’s vice president of officiating, said on the NFL Network after the game. “So I’m not convinced that it wasn’t a facemask, even looking at the replay. But live, at full speed, the referee’s going to see that hand at the mask and the head turn, and he’s going to make that call every time.”
And here’s a comment from former NFL official Mike Carey:
“He got just enough to draw the flag. What you are looking for is a grab and a twist. But when it happens that fast and the head goes down, you’re gonna get a flag on that, for player safety.”
It didn’t look like Devin Taylor got a grab or a twist in there, which means there probably shouldn’t have been a flag on the play and that play should have wrapped up the game and the Lions’ 23-21 victory.
I guess this is just the latest blown call by an NFL official, although, this was certainly not an easy call to make in real-time. So maybe we should give the refs a free pass on this one. Packers fans will probably agree.
Lions fans? Not so much.