Dean Blandino, the NFL's vice president of officiating, is currently on a media tour of sorts as he tries to explain what happened in Sunday's game between the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys. The officiating in that game has become the biggest story from wild-card weekend, and Blandino has been tasked with trying to explain what went wrong on the controversial pass interference no-call.
Interestingly enough, Blandino did in fact admit that the officials missed a call on that play. It was defensive holding rather than pass interference, though.
Blandino on NBC radio: Says defensive holding "should have been" called on Hitchens after grabbing Pettigrew’s jersey.— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) January 5, 2015
Blandino doesn't necessarily think the officials made a mistake by not calling pass interference, but he personally would have gone with the original call and not picked up the flag.
VP of Officiating D. Blandino: Picking up flag was "debatable." He would have preferred sticking with penalty but was "tight judgment call."— gregg rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) January 5, 2015
Also, Blandino basically chalked up the lack of a flag on Dez Bryant, who ran onto the field to argue with the officials, as another judgment call. Again, though, it sounds like he would have thrown a flag.
Blandino would have supported penalty on Dez Bryant but officials can use discretion in that case. More to come on @AroundTheNFL.— gregg rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) January 5, 2015
As for the idea that Brandon Pettigrew should have been flagged for making contact with Anthony Hitchens' helmet, Blandino pretty much dismissed that.
Finally, Blandino said he didn’t see a penalty in Pettigrew’s contact with Hitchens’ helmet.— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) January 5, 2015
So, to recap, the officials made a clear mistake by not calling defensive holding, Blandino wouldn't have picked up the flag for pass interference and he would have supported a flag on Bryant. In other words, the officials went 0-for-3 on this play. Actually, you could really call it 0-for-4 with the communication breakdown that occurred after the play.
"Mechanically, it could have been handled much better" on picking up flag — Blandino on NBC radio. "Would have mitigated" response— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) January 5, 2015
This is basically Blandino's way of admitting that the officials screwed up without coming right out and saying it. This admission obviously does nothing for the Lions, and it's not like we can go back in time and redo this whole sequence. If nothing else, though, hopefully Blandino and the NFL as a whole will learn from this mistake and take steps to ensure that something like this never happens again.