NFL

25 NFL Officiating Errors That Changed Games

Darren - October 15, 2019
NFL

25 NFL Officiating Errors That Changed Games

Darren - October 15, 2019
Mandatory Credit: Washington Post

2. The Tuck Rule

This blatantly missed call will live on in NFL history as one of the top ways referees negatively impacted a pivotal playoff game. The Oakland Raiders came to snowy Massachusetts to take on the New England Patriots in the 2001 Divisional Round. They appeared to have the game won when they forced young, rising quarterback Tom Brady to fumble in the fourth quarter.

But for some reason, the referees ruled the fumble an incomplete pass because of the rarely-seen ‘Tuck Rule.’ Of course, the Patriots went on to keep the ball, drive down the field, and score to win the game. The result led to the launching of the greatest dynasty in NFL history, as the Patriots have won a jaw-dropping six Super Bowls since. It’s impossible to know if all of that would have happened if the correct call would have been made here.

 

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

1. Missed Pass Interference

As we mentioned, it’s incredibly difficult to find a play that trumps the ‘Tuck Rule’ as the most blatant example of referee error in the NFL. It may be a bit of recency bias, but a play from the 2019 NFC Championship game has done it. The story goes that Los Angeles Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman got away with one of the most violent instances of missed pass interference in NFL history. Late in the game, he blasted New Orleans receiver Tommylee Lewis while not even going for the ball.

But the referees missed it. The call would have set the Saints up deep in Rams’ territory and almost assuredly given them a win with a trip to the Super Bowl to follow. Instead, the Saints had to settle for a field goal and the game went to overtime. After the game, the referees admitted that they obviously missed the call. This call was so bad that the NFL instituted instant replay for pass interference the next season.

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