Detroit Lions linebacker Tahir Whitehead said an apology from the NFL over the blown pass interference call in the first round of the playoffs against the Dallas Cowboys "would mean nothing."
"Because at this point, we're out of the tournament and we can't do anything about it. So I wouldn't want to hear any apologies at this point, because it wouldn't mean anything to me," Whitehead said, according to NFL.com.
It's not even a debate anymore; the refs blew the pass interference call against the Dallas Cowboys and should not have picked up their flag after initially calling pass interference.
With eight minutes left in the game, the Lions had the ball in a third-and-one situation on the Dallas 46-yard-line.
Instead of running the ball like they had all game, the Lions decided to pass, got a one-one-one matchup with linebacker Anthony Hitchens and tight end Brandon Pettigrew, and then Matthew Stafford let it fly. What happened after was a penalty.
As you know, the refs threw a flag, called pass interference, giving the Lions a first down, and then rescinded the penalty.
The Lions were forced to punt, and in the scramble of weirdness, Detroit's punter Sam Martin shanked a ten-yard punt out of bounds.
The Cowboys scored the go-ahead touchdown on that drive.
While on NBC Sports Radio's "Pro Football Talk Live," Vice President of NFL officiating Dean Blandino admitted the play should have at least resulted in defensive holding, which would have given the Lions a first down, according to an ESPN report.
Who knows what would have happened after that point in the game? It could have gone either way, but it's obvious that was a distinct turning point in the game and gave the Cowboys a ton of momentum.
Kudos to Whitehead and the Lions for standing up to the league and not accepting a league apology, if one were to come. The refs blew that particular call that changed the game in a major way.
Instead of blaming the refs, Lions head coach Jim Caldwell took a different approach and used the incident as a new forum to discuss expanded instant replay. Caldwell also didn't want to make any excuses for the loss or his team's play, but he also referenced taking the "human factor out of key situations," according to NFL.com.
I guess there's always next year for the Lions, but that was a terrible, terrible call/non-call.
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