5 ridiculous refereeing errors in NFL playoffs ft. Tom Brady

Tom Brady and the 'Tuck rule' game
Tom Brady and the 'Tuck rule' game
Matthew Wear

The NFL playoffs are the most critical time on the footballing calendar, and the biggest games should have the best officials the league has to offer.

While this is the case the majority of the time, there have been many instances across the league's history where referees have made blunders that have cost teams a chance at a Super Bowl crown. Here are five of the worst examples of errors made by referees costing teams in the NFL playoffs.

NFL playoffs: the most noteworthy refereeing errors

#5 - Nickell Robey-Coleman’s pass interference

Nickell Robey-Coleman Pass Interference - NFL Playoffs Refereeing Errors
Nickell Robey-Coleman Pass Interference - NFL Playoffs Refereeing Errors

The 2019 NFC Championship game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints should be remembered for young head coach Sean McVay leading his team to the Super Bowl but is instead remembered for a blatant missed pass interference call by refs by Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman on Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis.

The game was tied in the fourth quarter, and the Saints were looking to chew the clock and kick a field goal, but the missed call by the officials forced them to kick the FG with enough time for the Rams to score their own field goal to take the game to overtime, where they eventually won.

After the game, Saints head coach Sean Peyton said:

“I don’t know if there was ever a more obvious pass-interference call than that.”

We would agree with him!

The Lions have signed corner Nickell Robey-Coleman per @RapSheet. Most will remember him from this infamous no call against the Saints.

#4 - Don Chandler’s missed kick

Don Chandler of the Green Bay Packers - NFL Playoffs Refereeing Errors
Don Chandler of the Green Bay Packers - NFL Playoffs Refereeing Errors

Green Bay Packers' Don Chandler will go down as one of the best kickers in the history of the team. Against the Baltimore Colts in 1965, luck was on his side.

He badly shanked a field goal, but back judge Jim Tunney signaled it was good, much to the dismay of the Colts. Chandler's body language suggested he knew he missed too, making a mistake all the more confusing. This tied the game up 10-10, and the Packers would win in overtime, which sent them to the NFL Championship game.

They would win that game, too, in the last year before the Super Bowl era began. None of this would have been possible if Tunney had done his job correctly that day.

NFL playoffs: the most noteworthy refereeing errors

#3 - Tyler Boyd’s touchdown

Joe Burrow - NFL Playoffs Refereeing Errors
Joe Burrow - NFL Playoffs Refereeing Errors

The 2021 season was a historic one for the Cincinnati Bengals. The team made their first Super Bowl appearance since 1988, and star quarterback Joe Burrow won NFL Comeback Player of the Year after winning the AFC North. In their first playoff win since 1990, the referees were on their side too.

During the second quarter of their playoff bout against the Las Vegas Raiders, Burrow headed out of bounds but threw a dart into wide receiver Tyler Boyd’s hands in the end zone to put the Bengals up 20-6. The only problem was that officials thought Burrow was out of bounds before the throw, so they blew their whistles. Upon review, though, he was still in bounds, so the touchdown had to stand. The Raiders argued they stopped after the whistle, but there wasn’t anything the referees could do about it!

The Raiders did not convert in the redzone which is why they lost BUT the NFL officiating in the Raiders vs. Bengals game should go under review....@NFLOfficiating should review the Tyler Boyd TD. If players can be suspended (without pay) so should officials.

#2 - Did Dez Catch it?

Dez Bryant - NFL Playoffs Refereeing Errors
Dez Bryant - NFL Playoffs Refereeing Errors

Dez Bryant’s catch, or non-catch, will go down as one of the most controversial refereeing calls in NFL history. In the Dallas Cowboys’ 2015 NFC Divisional playoff matchup against the Green Bay Packers, Dallas was down five points in the fourth quarter and went for it on the fourth down, and Dez Bryant caught Tony Romo’s pass, or did he?

Bryant jumps to catch the ball, and as he’s going down, he attempts to reach the goal line in the same motion. He didn’t reach the goal line getting to the one-yard line, but Bryant lost his grip on the ball, so the play was challenged by Green Bay and overturned, much to the dismay of the Cowboys as they lost the game much to the confusion of NFL fans across the globe.

#1 - The "Tuck Rule"

Tom Brady and the Tuck - NFL Playoffs Refereeing Errors
Tom Brady and the Tuck - NFL Playoffs Refereeing Errors

The "Tuck rule" will forever be associated with Tom Brady. In a 2001 playoff game between the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders, Brady’s first-ever playoff game, the Patriots had the ball but were losing 13-10 with less than two minutes left on the clock. That was when Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson blitzed TB12 and forced him to fumble, a fumble that Oakland recovered. However, after a review, the officials called it an incomplete pass, as Brady’s arm was moving forward.

The ruling on the field was changed due to the little-known "Tuck Rule," which states: "When a player is holding the ball to pass it forward, any intentional forward movement of his arm starts a forward pass, even if the player loses possession of the ball as he is attempting to tuck it back towards his body. Also, if the player has tucked the ball into his body and then loses possession, it is a fumble.”

Brady kept hold of the football down the field as Adam Vinatieri kicked a final second field goal to send the game into overtime before repeating the trick in OT to win the game. The Patriots would win Super Bowl XXXV against the St. Louis Rams, which kickstarted their dynasty.

The Tuck Rule 30 for 30 Trailer (February 6)

Brady knew how vital that call was, saying:

"I'm probably the backup quarterback going into 2002. I'm not the starter if we lose that game.”

Despite this, the jury is still out on whether the right call was made by the officials that day, and had they called it differently, the entire history of the NFL could have been altered.

live poll LIVE POLL

Q. Was the "Tuck" a fumble?



41 votes so far

Edited by Piyush Bisht


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