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NFL VP Of Officiating Weighs In On Controversial Field Goal Block In Steelers Game Against Packers


NFL Vice President of Officiating, Dean Blandino, has now weighed in on the controversial field goal block that took place Sunday in the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers, and made sure to clarify that the possession of the football on the play was not reviewable action.

Blandino starts off by saying that because the ball never crossed the line of scrimmage, the Packers could have recovered and advanced it.

“The ball never crosses the line of scrimmage, it stays behind the line of scrimmage,” said Blandino. “It’s never touched behind the line by Pittsburgh, so that’s important to remember. Green Bay can actually legally recover this ball and advance it for a touchdown if they recover it behind the line of scrimmage.”

Blandino went on to talk about the potential recovery of the football by Steelers safety Ryan Clark on the play.

“It’s important to remember that this is not reviewable,” said Blandino. “The ruling on the field of whether Clark possessed it or not is not a reviewable aspect and that’s something that the competition committee has looked at in the past and I’m sure that they’ll continue to look at.”

Blandino admits while watching the replay that it looks as if Clark recovers the football and throws a backwards pass to cornerback William Gay.

“Had this been reviewable, I think we could’ve overturned this, but again, not reviewable,” started Blandino. “The officials are looking at that action at full speed, live, very difficult to tell at full speed. I think if we had the ability to go to review, we would’ve been able to overturn it. Pittsburgh would’ve kept the football and we would’ve enforced the foul from the spot the bat and they would’ve kept the ball.”

Blandino isn’t really telling Steelers fans anything that they don’t already know, unfortunately. Being as Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is on the competition committee, however, you can bet this will be up for discussion again at the league meetings during the offseason.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • RMSteeler

    If Clark would have just held the ball, it would have gone over on downs. Even these refs would have seen that? At least the Steelers won and maybe we can see a rules change come out of it because of this play.

  • treeher

    More than once it’s been said “They’ve looked at it in the past (reviewing possession)”. Why on God’s earth have they not made possession reviewable before?

  • george

    hard to tell at full speed? there were three refs within 20 yards!!!

  • Madi

    My thing is… don’t they “review possession” every time they take a look at a completed pass? They are so obsessed with “reviewing possession” that you now instead of needing two feet down and control of the ball for a catch, you need 5 feet down, your entire body, and 4 to 6 seconds to go by.
    The entire replay system has been terrible since they put it in. Just make every play reviewable (except judgment calls like holding and interference), and have one extra ref in the booth do all the work. You could cut the whole process down to 30 seconds per review, and actually make the game better and more fair in the process.
    Oh, wait, there’d be fewer commercials that way. Never mind.

  • treeher

    NFL is exploring centralized review process like is done in NHL. That would at least improve consistency.

  • Intropy

    And he conveniently doesn’t even mention the apparent in-game rewriting of the touchback rules five plays earlier. “If a player of the kicking team touches the goal line with any part of his body while touching the ball, the ball is dead, and the result of the play is a touchback… unless you really, really want the kicking team to score, in which case just place the ball on the one yard line and then ignore the rules of possession for the next five minutes.”

  • Dan

    At any given point possession must be deemed to be with one team or the other. After a missed try on 4th down, they must admit that possession would be with the Steelers. What if a helmet had come off while their was a scramble for the ball and the play was blown dead? Of course possession would be with the Steelers. And illegal batting should not come with a yardage penalty and a loss of possession. Complete BS. Blandino always finds some way to side with his guys. ESPN and Fox have better officiating analysis. At least it is unbiased.

  • Rick M

    His first line should have been ‘we blew the call’, but of course it isn’t. If you actually think the NFL doesn’t still plan to penalize the Steelers in the draft, re-read this guy’s statement. He does everything he possibly can do to avoid saying we made a definite mistake.

    Blandino and the entire NFL Head Office is totally biased against the Steelers. So much so that they can’t admit THEY BLEW what could have been a very critical call to the Steelers’ playoff chances.

    But hey, they can’t admit that; they haven’t issued their additional punishment to the Steelers yet for a silly sideline infraction. And if they admit how inept the officials were on this critical play, they would look even more two-faced when they issue that punishment.

  • alevin16

    reminds me of the playoff game against the Colts with Troy intercepting but “somehow” he really didn’t so the Colts keep the ball. The refs only admitted they “maybe” did not get that one right only after the Steelers won.

  • alevin16

    Why is it we, at home, can see a play 5 or 6 times before the next snap but the refs need “hours” for review? I say make EVERY play reviewable, even holding since that could wipe out a TD. Maybe still keep only 3 reviews though per team.

  • Don

    No kidding. And the “full speed, live” part is just a bunch of bull anyway. Did anyone honestly have any doubt whatsoever that Clark picked it up on the first viewing of the play? Was there any question that he gained possession and tried to lateral?

  • 2443scott

    yeah yeah yeah nfl offical we all know that but you had all those refs on field they make calls 50 yards away from a play and ball was where when kicked so that means all those refs were in a bunch and none them saw any thing so much for refs who are suppose too see every thing …it didnt have to be replayed was a ref not 10 feet away and he was blinded to it but they saw the bat away

  • DoctorNoah

    Poor call on the field with no recourse to change it. Sounds like it should either be revisited by Competition or else we should burn the Jumbotron and TV cameras so that no one ever knows

  • Aric Brown

    I think you are confusing possesion with the defenseless receiver rule

  • Chris92021

    Poor Blandino. He has the unenviable task of trying to spin all of this so the league can maintain some semblance of credibility. Much like how he could not convince anyone of the Gronkowski PI against the Panthers, it’s not working. I understand you can’t throw your officials under the bus but that whole sequence was SNAFUed. The league needs to fix this “non-reviewable” crap in the offseason.

  • ND_Steel

    Blah, blah blah…BS….

  • Rick

    They absolutely need to review pass interference. It has too big of an out come for it to not be reviewed. A Super Bowl was won last year because if a non PI call.

  • Nolrog

    Let’s be clear here. What he’s saying is that the refs totally blew the call and incorrectly gave Green Bay the ball back.

  • Nolrog

    I think they are pretty consistent now treeher. They screw things up on a remarkably consistent basis.

  • bonairsfavoriteson

    The new york clowns will never be straightened out until the owners get rid of GOODELL.

  • Madi

    Possession. Possessing the ball. It applies to more than one situation.

  • Madi

    But then you could review every single play. I’d support changing it to a 10 or 15 yard penalty, instead of a 50 yard penalty. Last year’s Super Bowl was won/lost because of the entire officiating scheme (intentionally allowing a variety of penalties go uncalled, for the sake of appearing ineffectual in the outcome). The non-PI call was the least of the problems.

  • Robert Alaniz

    This is comical. When you hold a high position and you can’t even be honest about what everyone else see’s, you have a strike against you with me.

    Pointing out that its not reviewable is another incompetent way to justify a ridiculous rule.

    It was a missed call period. Trying to tell me what my eyes saw and then by “reason” try and change my view of common sense is comical also. How about being a straight shooter and admitting when you’re in the wrong? What a novel idea.

  • Curtis

    I like how they defend the ref’s to the fullest, but quick to fine players for something they do. Make these crews split a fine of $100,000 per game for the bad calls they make. That’s only fair, cant defend one but not the other, especially if the others are making the horribly wrong calls.

  • Curtis

    For Green Bay fans to say that it was a bad call by the officials and that NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino shows a lot about his character, and he should be put on review.

  • westcoasteeler

    Why not allow a coach to challenge ‘anything’ or allow every aspect of the game reviewable? How does that hurt the game, as a coach only has a few to use?

  • steeltown

    Dumb… its “not reviewable” but if it was it “could’ve been overturned” seems like the committee needs to look at this area of the rule book again

  • westcoasteeler

    I came to this convo late, but this is my exact sentiment. How the NFL still maintains rules that keeps certain plays hostage from review is so mentally, socially and technologically antiquated.

  • CrazyTerry

    Forget the review part. Is he telling us not even one ref on the field saw Ryan Clark get possession when it was so obvious?

    Besides I think the rule itself should be changed. The only way a team that has its FG attempt blocked get the ball back is if the kicker is roughed up or the other team fumbles it back. And if the Steelers never had possession according to the ref, than having a penalty of batting the ball forward makes no sense because why would a player bat the ball forward intentionally out of bounds if they never had possession? If the other team kept possession, how does batting the ball forward get you any advantage in field position?

  • stairman

    the refs were “obviously” confused, they should be able to review a confusing play in order to get it right, just on their own call. They had no idea what was going on.oh and i like the reasoning of how could Hood of batted it forward when Steelers didn’t have possession. Wouldn’t that have been batting it backwards then?

  • Steeler Wheeler

    Somehow, after a diving one-handed interception, rolling over and jumping to your feet to run is not a football move if you wear black and gold.

  • Steeler Wheeler

    Correct, it’s either a post possession play, the Steelers ball and a five yard penalty for batting the ball forward, or the Packers ball was batted backwards…it’s still alive and can be returned but the Pack can get the ball at that point if they don’t (or if it goes OOB), so, no penalty and fifth down where Hood hit it, i.e, Steelers ball taking over on downs.

  • alevin16

    No, of course not because Troy would then have to have run 50 yards and struck the Heisman pose…the way he did it it was just too close to call :D.But if it was the Cheatroits all they would have to do is have Tom Brady demand the other team turn it over and the refs would just award the Cheatrioits the ball.

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