Worst NFL Officiating Crew Ever? Fingers Pointing, Tempers Flaring After What Notorious Ref Did

Worst NFL Officiating Crew Ever? Fingers Pointing, Tempers Flaring After What Notorious Ref Did

Just to get this out of the way: The visiting Detroit Lions did not lose to the Dallas Cowboys by a lonely point on Saturday night because of a referee blunder — no matter how egregious that mistake appears to be.

The Lions lost 20-19 Saturday night due in no small part to their head coach’s stubborn insistence that his team would be playing for the win instead of for overtime (the 92-yard touchdown strike the Lions defense gave up to squander the lead just a few plays earlier also played some role).

After the Lions responded with a touchdown of their own, they opted to go for two instead of one. However, as soon as a penalty wiped out his team’s two-point conversion, Lions head coach Dan Campbell should’ve pivoted to kicking the PAT and going into overtime. The fact that his team had largely been outplaying the Cowboys the entire night (the Lions would finish with more first downs, more total plays, more total yards, and more than double the rushing yards compared to the Cowboys) should’ve made that an easy decision.

With that all being said, about that penalty that wiped out the originally successful two-point conversion…

It’s bad.

Add in the fact that this blunder came at the hands of a well-documented repeat offender? This is a much bigger problem than the NFL would ever care to admit.

First, the specifics of this bizarre game of “he said, he said”: The aforementioned two-point conversion failed because Lions offensive lineman Taylor Decker (who caught the scoring pass) was ruled an ineligible receiver because he did not report to the officials on the play.

The officials claimed that backup offensive lineman Dan Skipper had reported instead.

The Lions vehemently disagree with that, and insisted that Decker had reported and that the referee had given them some sort of acknowledgement. Post-game, Campbell even went so far as to claim that he specifically spoke to the referees before the game about the very trick play the team used, so they would know what to expect when/if they should use it, according to ESPN.

You can watch the interaction in question in the video below (Decker is No. 68):

Here’s what head referee Brad Allen (keep this name in mind) had to say following the game:

“On this particular play, number 70 [Skipper], who had reported during the game a couple of times, reported to me as eligible,” Allen explained about the penalty when a reporter asked him about it after the game. “Then he lined up at the tackle position. So he actually didn’t have to report at all.

“Number 68 [Decker], who ended up going downfield and touching the pass, did not report. Therefore, he is an ineligible touching a pass that goes beyond the line, which makes it a foul. So, the issue is, number 70 did report, number 68 did not.”

If you watch that first X video again and stop it right around 30 seconds, you can clearly see that Skipper is still yards away when the conversation between the ref and the players breaks up.

Subsequently, a zoomed-in video that began going viral clearly shows Allen nodding his head in the direction of Decker (No. 58 is Lions offensive lineman Penei Sewell).

The controversial finish, which had significant playoff implications for both teams involved, is the latest in a long line of highly questionable plays from Allen and his crew this season.

Here’s a horrifically missed (and significant) pass interference call from a Dec. 3 tilt between the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers:

There was a Nov. 26 game between the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons that featured another missed pass interference call that Allen’s crew oversaw, and before that, Allen’s crew reffed an Oct. 22 game between the Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles that curiously saw the home team get zero penalties called on them (compared to a whopping 10 against the road team).

It’s bad enough that Adam Schefter, an NFL reporter whose livelihood depends on the health of the league, is piling onto Allen.

Schefter similarly echoed disbelief that it’s specifically Allen who keeps finding himself in these compromising positions:

“This same officiating crew tonight,” Schefter posted to X on Sunday. “Again.”

Look, this writer doesn’t think that there’s some grand conspiracy or something particularly nefarious going on. This just genuinely seems like raw human incompetence.


But this could be a major migraine for the league for the simple reason that habitually poor officiating erodes trust in the league. Eroded trust leads to integrity being questioned.

And that’s an especially massive problem for a sports league that has jumped feet-first into the sports gambling pool.

Again: This is not to even begin to suggest that Brad Allen and his crew are somehow “on the take” at all. They just really seem bad at their jobs, simple as that. It’s far more likely Allen had a mental mishap than that he intentionally lied about who reported to him.

But given the league’s newfound proximity to gambling, even letting those types of suspicions creep into the minds of fans could be a death knell in the way that anthem protests never quite were for the league.

Sports fans can forgive a number of things.

But if NFL fans start to believe their favorite league has slowly morphed into some crooked, twisted version of professional wrestling, the sport is flirting with disaster.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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