Referee Brad Allen embarrassed the NFL on Sunday night, and nothing will be done about it

Brad Allen


Two things can be true.  The Green Bay Packers deserved to beat the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football.  Referee Brad Allen and his crew made such a mess of things in that game, we’ll never know who really won.

The call (or no-call) everyone’s talking about in the Packers’ 27-19 win was the missed obvious pass interference call on Packers cornerback Carrington Valentine with 50 seconds left in the game, and it was BAD. Valentine so obviously impeded receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s ability to play the ball, there was no other call to make.

It absolutely should have been pass interference, the Chiefs should have had the ball inside the Green Bay 10-yard line, and from there? You never know what will happen.  And we will never know what would have happened. We also have the two-hand shove given to Travis Kelce by Packers safety Jonathan Owens on this Hail Mary pass at the end of the game. Yes, officials let a lot of contact go on those types of throws, but this was, again, obvious.

Not that the Chiefs were the only team hosed near the end of the game. It’s hard to top the unnecessary roughness penalty given to Owens on this hit of Patrick Mahomes with 1:05 left in the game. This really started the rodeo.

There was also Allen not letting the clock run when Valdes-Scantling was pushed out of bounds with 24 seconds left in the game. Because Valdes-Scantling was pushed backward, and his forward progress had stopped, the game clock should have kept running. But it didn’t.

After the game, Allen “explained” himself in a pool report.

The “covering officials” should be fined and suspended for missing such an obvious call (set of calls, really), but as far as we know, that will not happen. The NFL does not make discipline of officials public, nor does it make the reviews of officials public. If an official is downgraded for a game like this, we don’t know about it, and if a downgraded official somehow gets a postseason assignment, we don’t know that, either. Which really isn’t a good look for the NFL.

There is no one way to fix an officiating problem that has become the league’s top story without question this season, but some level of transparency would help. If the media wants to speak to an official after a game, that official should be made available, and the interview should be made available to the public. NFL senior V.P. of officiating Walt Anderson should have a weekly press conference — also made available to the public — in which he can explain any calls or no-calls media may have questions about.

And in the case of this particular debacle, the “covering officials” should not be able to slink away anonymously. They should also be made available to answer questions. That level of accountability might bring a fraction of change to a profession that is clearly in need of quite a bit more than that.

But, that will not happen. Certainly not before the Competition Committee meets at the league meetings next March. Until then, there will be more bad officiating, more games altered in ways they shouldn’t be, and more fan frustration because the fans are asked to lap the product up without question.  That’s hardly the American way, at least in theory, but it is certainly the NFL way.


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