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