- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
One of the primary reasons NFL officiating has been so clunky, time-consuming, and wrong this season is the apparent need for officials on the field to confer with the head office in New York City, VP of Officiating Walt Anderson, and Anderson’s cadre of officials who are supposed to help out. This turned into a fiasco in Saturday’s Bengals-Raiders game, when line judge Mark Steinkerchner blew an erroneous whistle on Joe Burrow’s touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd, referee Jerome Boger called it a touchdown anyway, and Anderson basically lied about it after the fact.
HQ confirmed with Boger on the play, and decided that everything was perfectly okay. So, it’s entirely possible that when referee Alex Kemp and his crew had to litigate the end of the 49ers-Cowboys game, they decided it was best to go it alone.
As you know, here was the situation. With the 49ers up 23-17 and 14 seconds left in the game from the San Francisco 41-yard line, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott ran a draw right up the middle of the field for 14 yards to the San Francisco 24-yard line. Prescott thought he would have enough time to clock the ball and have one more play, but he appeared to forget that before a center can snap the ball, the umpire has to spot it. Which left no time on the clock, and the game over,
After the game, Prescott was quite unhappy with the officials, though it was Prescott who should have had the presence of mind to get the ball to the umpire as quickly as possible. Umpire Ramon George did the best he could to get there on time, but George was several yards away, and things are what they are at that point.
Dak Prescott asked about fans throwing debris after game. When thought fans throwing things at Cowboys and struck Demarcus Lawrence, he expressed disappointment. Then he was told fans threw trash at officials.
“Credit to them then,” Dak said. pic.twitter.com/Ir3jmlKCkn
— Ed Werder (@WerderEdESPN) January 17, 2022
Again, not the officials’ fault. It was a truly spectacular example of play-calling hubris, and the Cowboys got what they deserved with the result.
That said, it won’t make Prescott or anybody with the Cowboys feel better that after the game, in a pool report interview with ESPN’s Todd Archer, Kemp said that he did not confer with New York before calling the game over.
“We’re trailing the play, keeping proper distance so that we can identify fouls, if there are any,” Kemp said. “Once the play is over, the umpire immediately goes to spot the ball and that’s what he did.”
Kemp also said that George was a proper distance from the ball — in other words, he wasn’t far enough away to affect the timing of the snap in a negative sense. The Cowboys organization will obviously disagree with that, but the officials weren’t the ones who called a quarterback draw down seven points with 14 seconds left in the game.
Kemp was asked if this was something he would confer with New York about.
“That’s the end of the game, once we confirmed it with the officials on the field.”
But if New York was involved, could that constitute a replay review?
“That could trigger a replay review, yes, exactly. And that wasn’t the case here, of course.”
And that, as they say, was that.