I can't, in good conscience, sit here and tell you that I wouldn't be livid had the Saints faced the same circumstances that the Detroit Lions faced yesterday. On the surface, the myriad of calls that went the Cowboys way in such a short time span looked suspicious, at best. If it happened to the Saints I would probably be picketing outside the NFL offices as speak (most likely just making empty threats on the internet). Those that know me know I am the farthest thing from a Cowboys apologist or supporter. However, I also don't think it's fair to call in the conspiracy theorists quite yet.
The call most are focusing on is the pass interference call against the Dallas Cowboys that was inexplicably reversed after about 5 minutes and change. If that was your issue you most certainly have a point. Bad calls happen every game. Sometimes they get overturned once the officials have a meeting of the minds. Generally that doesn't, or shouldn't, occur after the ball has been re-spotted and damn near 120 seconds have passed. In my opinion, that's the only thing that the officials did wrong. Was it pass interference? Well, maybe. Upon first glance I thought it was a bad call. Yeah, face guarding is a penalty, but with such a minimal amount of contact I would have preferred they kept their flags in their pocket to begin with. It really was about as borderline as it gets in terms of pass interference. Call me old school, but I don't like to reward the offensive team when the ball is thrown into the swell of the defenders back and the receiver has little to no play on the ball regardless if the defender was facing the QB or not. Still, if they wanted to pick up the flag, or were even considering it, could you do it in a timely manner for me one time stripes?
The two defensive holding calls that happened mere minutes after FlagGate only exacerbated an already skeptical viewing audience. Can you really say any of those calls were blatantly wrong though?The Lions corner back was essentially humping Cole Beasley's leg seconds before the ball was even near him, and Lance Dunbar was tackled exiting the backfield for a screen pass on a crucial third down play. The biggest mistake the officials made was not a blown call, but more so a lack of professionalism and urgency, and that's far more than you can say for most NFL games.
Regardless of the legitimacy of the officiating. The Lions have no one to point fingers at but their team and their coaches. This is a team that scored six measly points after the 2 minute mark of the first quarter. A team that boasts a formidable 1-2 punch in the back field in Joique Bell and Reggie Bush. A team that lays claim to far and away the best wide receiver in football in Calvin Johnson, and a breakout star in Golden Tate. A team whose quarterback, who they drafted first overall, should be far enough along in his career to put up more than a couple field goals in over 3 quarters of play. To place blame, first and foremost, on the officiating crew would be to ignore the blatantly obvious. The Lions are an underachieving team that didn't deserve to win yesterday. Could you make the argument that the Cowboys didn't either? Absolutely. However, while the officials certainly didn't do Detroit any favors, 3 second half turnovers and an anemic offensive performance were for more responsible for the Lions' early offseason.
If I'm a Lions fan I am much more pissed at the regression in Matthew Stafford. If that fat face could throw an accurate ball, we're not talking about this today. We're not worried a play where he nailed a defender in between the numbers on his back instead of giving him a legitimate play on the ball. Fact is, despite the questionable ruling by the officials, the refs weren't the ones that failed to put the nail in the coffin of the Cowboys season after being spotted a 14 point lead.