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#pounditWednesday, May 29, 2024

Report reveals NFL’s stance on controversial Lions penalty

Dan Campbell on the sideline

Aug 28, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell watches the third quarter action against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Acrisure Stadium. The Steelers won 19-9. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The officiating crew from Saturday night’s game between the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys has faced a lot of criticism over a late call that impacted the outcome, but the NFL is reportedly not planning to do anything about it.

Detroit scored a touchdown with 23 seconds left to cut the Cowboys’ lead to 20-19. Lions head coach Dan Campbell decided to go for two and the win, and it initially looked like the call paid off. Offensive lineman Taylor Decker caught a pass in the back of the end zone off of a play-action fake from Jared Goff.

However, the 2-point conversion was negated after the officiating crew ruled that Decker did not report as eligible. The Lions tried the 2-point attempt again and failed to convert, which eventually led to them losing 20-19. You can see the sequence here.

Replays showed that Lions offensive tackle Dan Skipper ran toward official Brad Allen prior to the play. Decker and Penei Sewell also approached Allen at the same time. It seemed like the Lions were intentionally trying to confuse the Cowboys by having multiple linemen run over to the official, that way Dallas might not know which lineman was reporting as eligible.

The result was that Allen thought Skipper reported as eligible and did not realize the Lions wanted to make Decker eligible. According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the NFL “views the situation as an effort by the Lions to engage in deception and gamesmanship that backfired.” That is why the league has no intention of changing the procedure for players reporting as eligible.

What made the Lions’ approach even more risky is that they had no timeouts remaining. Even if they realized that the wrong lineman had been declared eligible, there was nothing they could have done about it.

Allen even said after the game that Skipper had reported eligible “a couple of times prior.” That was all part of the plan for Detroit but, again, they managed to confuse Allen when the goal was to confuse the Cowboys.

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