What Head Official Clete Blakeman Had to Say About the Tracy Walker and Trey Flowers' Penalties

John Maakaron

Following the Lions stunning 23-22 loss to the Packers on Monday Night Football, head official Clete Blakeman addressed questions regarding controversial penalty calls:

Tracy Walker Penalty

Question: On the helmet-to-helmet contact with Tracy Walker, it appeared he was going for the ball. Does the defensive back have the right to go for the ball? Does that offset any incidental helmet-to-helmet contact?

Blakeman: "That's a good question, but the reality is, it is strict liability for a defensive player. In this case, he may be going for the ball and not intending to hit the helmet, but when there's helmet contact, it is a foul in that situation."

Question: Even if he had come up with the interception, that doesn't change the ruling in any way?

Blakeman: "Even if he did impact the helmet and then intercepted the ball, it would still have been a foul."

Trey Flowers' Penalties

Question: On the two hands-to-the-face penalties on Detroit defensive end Trey Flowers, I don't know if you were the one who actually threw the flag there, but when discussing with the crew, what did you guys see on those calls?

Blakeman: "The umpire threw both of them. The last one was really the only one I've discussed with him. Basically, it's for illegal use of the hands, hands-to-the-face foul. To be a foul, we basically need some forceful contact that's prolonged to the head and neck area of the defender. So, in his mind he had him pinned back, it was prolonged, and that's what created the foul. 

Question: You said head or neck area?

Blakeman: "Head or neck area, yes."

More: Lions-Packers Recap

Comments (16)
No. 1-14
Dunner
Dunner

Blakeman needs to be fired! He is losing fans for the NFL. Illegal hands to the face and/or “neck area”? What a joke.

arancano
arancano

The Trey penalties are easy enough to settle. Does the rulebook include "contact to the neck area" in addition to "contact to the face". If it does, and "contact to the face" is used by the refs as shorthand, then there is no argument. Where is the rulebook?

arancano
arancano

On the roughing penalty, the defender was clearly going for the ball but it seems to me to be common sense that the means, however unintended, (helmet to helmet contact) do not justify the end (an interception). There may be some exceptions, but for the most part officials are not in a position (unless it is glaring) to determine intent. Reverse the roles and it might be clearer. A receiver cannot rough a defender on the way to a catch.

arancano
arancano

The two penalties "hands to the face" are easy enough to settle. What does the rulebook say? "Hands to the face" may be shorthand but if the rulebook includes "or the next area" there is no argument. Does someone know what the rulebook says?

DanTheMan11
DanTheMan11

Blakeman needs to resign now

mg22
mg22

The part of the rule that mentions "a standard of strict liability" refers to a defender who initiates contact. The defender in this case did not initiate contact... at all.

Presumably the official decided that the defender was guilty of "forcibly hitting the defenseless player’s head or neck area with the helmet, facemask, forearm, or shoulder." Problem is, the defender didn't forcibly hit the receiver: the receiver smashed his own helmet into the helmet of a defender who was not even attempting to hit the receiver. You really have to twist the common-sense meaning of "forcibly hitting the defenseless player's head or neck area" to defend that awful call.

radar67
radar67

Blakeman's comments illustrate why he should NOT be an NFL official...making excuses rather than accepting deserved blame!

radar67
radar67

This was a Lion win stolen by terrible officiating in the fourth quarter. Blakeman's crew throws a LOT of flags (bad for NFL) but those two phantom calls that bailed the Pack out of 4th downs TWICE in the last quarter doomed the Lions. I am a Bear fan, so except for wanting Stafford's wife to see a win after her comeback from cancer I really don't root for either team. But Holy Peter Rozelle, can we actually have unbiased and competent officials please?

wmvarney
wmvarney

After last nights Lions game am done with the NFL. Totally burned out on the refs hosing the lions. No more. byebye.

Budphyte
Budphyte

Actually the receiver made the helmet contact by running into the defender who wasn't even moving.

Cjones12
Cjones12

NFL referee suck

lionsaregood
lionsaregood

I agree this man is an enemy of the country

Hatedbymost
Hatedbymost

He need to be fined and fired

Maver
Maver

Foul.."hands to the neck".......


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