There is no hotter topic of discussion in the National Football League (NFL) right now than that of its incredibly controversial officiating. Each Sunday seemingly brings another episode where the officials affect the outcome of a pivotal match.
Fans and teams see obvious calls that were somehow missed blindly. Other instances feature plays where a penalty was undoubtedly deserved but not called. Regardless, it’s led many to criticize a sport that is otherwise an incredibly popular product. Whispers online are growing that the NFL is tainted because of the officiating blunders that mar each slate of games.
The missed and/or egregious calls are many, and the new pass interference challenge rule doesn’t seem to be doing much if anything. Various bad calls aside, there are specific referee mistakes that will go down in NFL history. And it’s certainly not for good reasons. Referees have affected a handful of high-profile games in negative ways so much that they’re cemented in NFL history. Check out the worst refereeing mistakes in NFL history in our list below.
15. Phantom Hands To The Face – 2019 Regular Season:
The most recent instance of referees possibly costing a team a game is a blatant one. The Detroit Lions certainly deserve a large amount of blame for settling for five field goals against their rival Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football in Week 6 of the 2019 regular season. But the fact remains they were outright jobbed by the referees that night. Many are calling for some kind of officiating overhaul, yet the NFL is unlikely to actually do anything substantial.
In an important NFC North match-up, Detroit pass rusher Trey Flowers was called not once, but twice for illegal hands to the face in the fourth quarter. Video clearly showed that Flowers was holding onto the inside of the shoulder pads of Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari. It allowed Green Bay to extend their drive and score a touchdown. They later won the game on a last-second field goal. It’s just a terrible look for the NFL as a whole and the talk of the sports world in October 2019. The NFL has a legitimate problem on their hands, and they don’t seem in too much of a hurry to change it.