Jan 4, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell on the sideline against the Dallas Cowboys during the second quarter in the NFC Wild Card Playoff Game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Of course, all you are probably reading, hearing and talking about is the pass interference call that wasn’t.
It’s a shame that a game that was so entertaining will have the stain of a referee’s involvement being such a focal point.
Let’s look at the play in its entirety and break down the call:
This is the first part of the play that some believe should have been called holding on linebacker Anthony Hitchens.
They play starts at the Cowboys 46-yard line. You can clearly see that Hitchens lets go of tight end at about the 40-yard line.
Yes, the rule is no contact after five yards but most officials will let that go up until about seven yards.
This was a correct non-call.
The second part of the play clearly shows tight end Brandon Pettigrew with a hand full of Hitchens face mask for at minimum three yards.
This should have been a penalty for grabbing the face mask.
That would have been a 15-yard personal foul which is huge to remember for just a bit later.
Lastly, here is the foul on Hitchens.
Here you see that Hitchens clearly has his left hand on Pettigrew’s shoulder.
The key component here is whether or not there is enough evidence to warrant a pass interference call.
I believe that there is not, however I do believe that Hitchens should have been called for illegal contact as this was beyond five yards.
As for the other penalty that some are suggesting Bryant should have been called for in regard to being on the field without his helmet, that’s laughable at best.
The rule about players removing the helmets in the field of play is related to those actually on the field, not those coming from the bench onto the field.
The only way that a flag would have been warranted in this instance would be if Bryant engaged the referee in a way that could have been construed as unsportsmanlike.