NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino defended a controversial facemask penalty following the Green Bay Packers' walk-off win over the Detroit Lions on Thursday.
On the penultimate play of the game, Lions defensive end Devin Taylor was called for a 15-yard penalty for grabbing quarterback Aaron Rodgers’s facemask as he attempted a pass just before time expired. But Taylor's hand appeared to only graze Rodgers' facemask.
The penalty moved the Packers to their own 39-yard line, bringing Rodgers closer to the endzone and giving him one last opportunity to win the game.
After the game, Blandino tweeted that the facemask call should have been expected, though he did not state whether he believed the call was correct.
Hand up to the mask, quick grab with finger and head gets turned. At full speed official is going to make that call almost every time.— Dean Blandino (@DeanBlandino) December 4, 2015
Taylor said after the game that he didn’t believe he grabbed Rodgers’s facemask, though Rodgers insisted he did, according to ESPN.
The NFL has been criticized for a number of controversial penalty calls this season, including several mistakes in the Week 12 game between the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers that led to the reassignment of the officiating crew for this week’s Sunday night game between the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Despite the increased scrutiny, Blandino said this week that the number of missed calls this season is not out of line with the numbers from past seasons.
- Erin Flynn