Blog Entry

Coughlin upset by 2 calls vs. GB, NFL explains

Posted on: January 16, 2012 7:43 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 11:19 pm
Tom Coughlin is oh-fer on his last eight challenges. (

By Ryan Wilson

NFL fans are familiar with Bill Leavy. He was the official in Super Bowl XL, often referred to as "that game where the Steelers were gifted the Lombardi Trophy over the Seahawks." After two controversial calls in Sunday's Giants-Packers game, Leavy is back, again for the wrong reasons.

First, there was what appeared to be a Greg Jennings fumble in which he was initially ruled down by contact. The Giants challenged, replays showed that Jennings had in fact fumbled, and all that was left was for Leavy to emerge from under the hood and announce that it was New York's ball. Except that didn't happen. Instead, inexplicably, he declared that "the ruling on the field stands."

(We went into this in great detail in Monday's Pick-6 Podcast, as well if the NFL should go to full-time officials. Spoiler alert: No. Either way, you can listen below.)

On Monday, the league explained Leavy's decision (via PFT).

“Rule 7, Section 2, Article 1 of the NFL Rule Book (page 35) states: ‘An official shall declare the ball dead and the down ended: (a) when a runner is contacted by a defensive player and touches the ground with any part of his body other than his hands or feet,’” the league said in a statement emailed to PFT by NFL spokesman Greg Aiello. “So by rule, if Jennings’ calf was on the ground prior to the ball coming loose, he is down by contact. Contrary to what was suggested during the game, there is no need for the runner’s knee to be on the ground.”

Uh-huh. We suppose you could look at this replay and say that maybe Jennings' shin (really, the shin?) was down before the ball came out. But you could also argue that Jennings lost possession before his shin contacted the turf.

Jennings sure looked like he fumbled.

In general, we don't like to whinge about the officiating because by the end of the season, it usually evens out for everybody. And credit to New York. Despite two atrocious calls (the other was when Osi Umenyiora was flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Aaron Rodgers even though no part of his helmet came close to Rodgers' head), they won by 37-20.

A day later, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin remained confused by the two calls. He was asked Monday if there was anything on film that made the Jennings' non-fumble clearer. “There is but I won’t get into it,’’ he said.

And Umenyiora's roughing-the-passer penalty?

“Aggressive football play,’’ Coughlin said via the New York Post. “The quarterback is following through as he releases the ball. The hit is from the side. There’s not helmet involved. It’s from the shoulders to waist. We’ll coach that one forever.’’

Now all that's left if for Leavy to apologize to the Giants and their fans. That generally takes about four years.

Here's what he told the media in August 2010, unprompted:

"It was a tough thing for me. I kicked two calls in the fourth quarter [of Super Bowl XL between the Steelers and Seahawsk] and I impacted the game and as an official you never want to do that. It left me with a lot of sleepless nights and I think about it constantly. I'll go to my grave wishing that I'd been better. I know that I did my best at that time, but it wasn't good enough. When we make mistakes, you got to step up and own them. It's something that all officials have to deal with, but unfortunately when you have to deal with it in the Super Bowl it's difficult."

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Since: Aug 19, 2011
Posted on: January 20, 2012 10:32 am

Coughlin upset by 2 calls vs. GB, NFL explains

Montweet, FYI: whinge is a word.
How do you like that? Whinge is a word. I guess you learn something new every day.  --Montweet, in reply to Andy Benoit
Hey, Andy, I think that Montweet just impugned your manhood, in a trollish sort of way. Or, to be fair, maybe he's just contemptuous of all that book larnin' and such. -- Jack_Sprat

Come on, can't we all stop whinging and just get along?

(PS - Andy, is that an appropriate use of the word "whinge"?. I'm not sure, having just learned it the other day)

Since: Nov 28, 2006
Posted on: January 18, 2012 3:44 pm

Coughlin upset by 2 calls vs. GB, NFL explains

I would be more apt to accept the possibility of the refs simply "having a bad game" as someone put it if even 1 bad call had been made against the Packers rather than ALL against the Giants, especially with the garbage explanation on the fumble call.

Since: Aug 20, 2007
Posted on: January 18, 2012 1:03 pm

Coughlin upset by 2 calls vs. GB, NFL explains

I pretty much agree with everyone - mistakes were made by Leavy; it's not the first time he's done this; he's probably not fit to referee any more NFL games.

I say any more game, rather than playoff games, because what if he makes more bad calls in a regular season game, and a team misses the playoffs by one game because of his ineptitude?   I think that if his bad calls had cost the Giants the game, the NFL would have no choice but to release him; I would hate to think he's going to stick around with his track record, however.

I think they should make turnovers automatically reviewed, and tell the officials to keep their whistles out of their mouths - all it takes is one official with a skin in the game to blow a whistle from across the field and it wipes out a big return.  If there's a whistle, even when it's obvious there was a turnover, the team that took the ball away can only get it where it was turned over, regardless of what they did after the fumble or INT.

Since: Jun 16, 2010
Posted on: January 18, 2012 12:02 pm

Coughlin upset by 2 calls vs. GB, NFL explains

I dont think the calls are any worse then most other games. But in the playoffs every game means so much more, and you have the whole nation watching one or two games so its on a much larger scale. I'm a giants fan so obviously I'm biased. it seems though that the refs are holding their flags alot more than they've done in the regular season. In all games i see countless plays were lineman are holding or DBs are holding etc, etc. These things typically get called often in the regular season. Maybe the refs don't want to get crushed in the media if they make a bad call. But doesn't not throwing a flag impact the game just as much as mistakenly throwing one? For instance i think New orleans had maybe one penalty goin into the fourth quarter and last week Atlanta had very few also. It seems a little odd to go nearly a whole game with almost no penalties. Personally, I'd just like to see a well officiated game for both teams.

Since: Sep 27, 2011
Posted on: January 18, 2012 11:01 am

Coughlin upset by 2 calls vs. GB, NFL explains

is it  naive to say the refs had a bad game? is it a conspiracy theory to say that the ref was making those calls on purpose?  Lets examine. 1st there were 3 bad calls as some posters pointed out there was the spotting of Ware's 3rd down run marked short of a 1st down as well. the fumble...originally called a fumble on the field by the closest official when fox was going to break we thought the Packers were going to challenge when they came back suddenly it was the Giants who had to challenge. That means SOMEONE else decided it was down by contact after the play. the NFL says the shin was down and we are supposes to belive someone saw that and if it's true why didn't Leavy just say the runners shin hit the ground therefore the call stands, refs are explaining calls all the time (example Gronks TD against the Broncos)  The late hit on Mr discout double check was even worse. This time Leavy does give an explanation "blow to the head"  not late hit not helmet to helmet but blow to the head. It was clear that Osi did not hit the QB in the head but in the side.     Now bring up Leavy's past (Super Bowl XL) and you really have to question if Leavy just can't handle the big games or if there is something else going on here.  If he can't so be it don't have him ref big games if not what else is going on here. Is he just bad at doing what we think some refs do and favor one team over the other and if so does that not mean that the NFL is trying to manipulate the outcome of games to see the results they want...i.e Pack vs Pats Super bowl. I think we can all agree that Leavy should not referee another playoff game......unless of course you are a Steeler or Packer fan

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: January 18, 2012 10:40 am

Coughlin upset by 2 calls vs. GB, NFL explains

Its not that you made the mistakes, Bill.  Its that you reinforced your mistakes when you should have fixed them.  Not everybody has the chance to go back and fix their mistakes and when you refuse to do so, that is unacceptable.  He should be fined several thousand dollars for his complete one sided calls through the game.  Either the Packers had dirt on him or he had money on them. 

Since: Oct 26, 2011
Posted on: January 18, 2012 10:24 am

Coughlin upset by 2 calls vs. GB, NFL explains

The calls keep getting worse and to make it worse the NFL does nothing about it but give the public a bunch of BS for an explanantion. Furthermore these penalties for blows to the head are out of control. If they are going to error on the side of caution then they need to be reviewable. I have seen these calls made in error and it completely changes the outcome of the game. I can't even bet the NFL anymore becuase the dam zebras are to much of a wild card. It's crazy with all the technology they have that they can't get calls right, but everyone at home can.

Since: Jan 7, 2007
Posted on: January 18, 2012 10:02 am

Coughlin upset by 2 calls vs. GB, NFL explains

The only other thing I'll say about it is if you know anything about Troy Aikman as a commentator, he HATES the Giants- never has anything but negative things to say about them, and even he said those were terrible-not bad, terrible calls.

Agreed..  I watch without sound because he is so negative with regard to the Jints and Eli..  I was shocked when I turned the sound up and heard him disagreeing with the call.  I just chalked it up to kissing up for next years playoff commentator.  Give the Jints credit, they kept focused and were not going to be denied.   Monster game..   The only team that scared me is gone (New Orleans) so I think we go (Super Bowl) and beat New England and win our fourth Super Bowl..  Go Giants !!!

Since: Nov 28, 2006
Posted on: January 18, 2012 9:22 am

Coughlin upset by 2 calls vs. GB, NFL explains

The only other thing I'll say about it is if you know anything about Troy Aikman as a commentator, he HATES the Giants- never has anything but negative things to say about them, and even he said those were terrible-not bad, terrible calls.

Since: Nov 28, 2006
Posted on: January 18, 2012 9:20 am

Coughlin upset by 2 calls vs. GB, NFL explains

That's not even all of it- what about the 1st down by Ware on a 3rd down conversion that got marked a yard short?

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