NFL pulls Pete Morelli’s officiating crew from game after mistakes
NFL official Pete Morelli and his crew have been pulled from Sunday night’s game between the Colts and Steelers due to several errors they made during the Cardinals’ win over the 49ers last weekend.
Pro Football talk reports that the crew has been assigned to a different Sunday game.
A number of questionable calls from Sunday have resulted in intense criticism from Arizona and San Francisco. The most controversial call came in the fourth quarter, when Niners defensive lineman Quinton Dial was called for roughing the passer in a 13-13 game on 2nd-and-10 from the Arizona 32-yard line. Dial’s helmet made contact with Palmer’s chin, but it looked very mild.
Instead of facing 3rd-and-18 from their own 24, the Cardinals were awarded a first down at midfield. They went on to score a touchdown and win the game.
Even more embarrassing than the roughing the passer call was when Morelli’s crew lost track of what down it was in the first quarter. Palmer completed a four-yard pass to Larry Fitzgerald on 3rd-and-4, and the Cardinals rushed to the line to snap the ball because they felt they had gotten a favorable spot. They then ran a rushing play that gained two yards, and the 49ers were flagged for having too many men on the field. After a long discussion, Morelli and his crew assessed the penalty after the two-yard gain.
Since the Cardinals accepted the penalty, the down should not have counted. It should have been 1st-and-5 after the five-yard penalty against San Francisco — not 2nd-and-3. Arizona failed to gain another yard after the incorrect call and settled for a field goal.
“That’s not what we accepted, and that was the whole problem,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said after the game. “It was a FUBAR on their part. They can try to explain it; they’re wrong.”
The disturbing part is that this is becoming a trend for games Morelli works. He was the crew chief during the Steelers-Chargers game last month when we had that incredibly bizarre incident with the game clock. And in Week 10, Morelli’s crew missed a penalty on a field goal attempt that literally cost the Ravens a win.
Mistakes are going to happen, but Morelli’s crew has made far too many of them. When your job performance is that bad, there should be consequences.