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Facemask Non-Call Redemption for Lions

The Lions escaped yesterday’s game with a win, but of course a Lions’ win wouldn’t be complete without negative media attention to follow.  The Facemask Heard Round the World is receiving plenty of media attention and more derision towards the Lions, as if it is their fault the officials missed the facemask.  However, in all the years the Lions lost games due to blown calls, nobody in the national media ever sided with them.

It’s fitting that this missed call, that may play a huge role in ending the Lions’ playoff draught, came against the Vikings because the Vikings had a bad call go in their favor against the Lions that had historical ramifications.

In Week 6 in 2008 the Lions were playing the Vikings in the Metrodome desperately searching for their first win.  The 3-3 Vikings were looking to get above .500 and join the NFC playoff race.  This game will forever be known for Dan Orlovsky’s unwitting safety, but it should be better known for the atrocious call that robbed the Lions of their best chance of victory in what would be an 0-16 season.

The Lions had a 10-9 lead when the Vikings took possession with 4:41 remaining in the 4th quarter.  The Vikings faced 1st and 10 from their own 42 with 2:59 left, less than 30 yards from being within field goal range and the Metrodome was buzzing with excitement.  1st down, the Vikings threw a swing pass to Adrian Peterson and Peterson gets caught behind the line for a loss of 5.  2nd and 15, false start on the offense.

The crowd falls silent as the Vikings are now backed up to 2nd and 20 at their own 32.  The Vikings had struggled in long yardage situations all day and were completely unable to move the ball all game except for a 86 yard touchdown to Bernard Berrian on a busted coverage by the Lions.  The Vikings couldn’t move the ball in the 4th quarter as their two drives in the 4th yielded a blocked field goal and a three and out.

2nd and 20, the Vikings take a shot down field to Aundrae Allison who had beaten Leigh Bodden down the right sideline.  To make matters worse, Bodden fell down two yards behind Allison.  Luckily for the Lions the pass sailed far out of bounds and Allison had no hope of catching it.  Then the FOX broadcast displayed the graphic that Lions fans know all to well, the penalty flag indicator.

Pass interference on the Lions, # 28 Leigh Bodden 42 yard penalty and automatic 1st down.  Pass interference on a defensive back who got beaten so badly that he fell down trying to catch back up.  Pass interference on a ball that landed well outside the white sideline that couldn’t have been caught with Go Go Gadget Arms.  Pass interference that gave the Vikings the ball already in field goal range and the Lions only had one timeout left.  The announcers did their best to cover their disdain for the call, saying it was ticky tack at best.  But nothing would change it and everybody knewwhat would happen next.

The Vikings predictably ate clock, kicked the field goal with 12 seconds left and got a 12-10 win.

That game was the only game that the Lions legitimately had control of with an opportunity to win and it had been robbed from them, they would go winless for the season.

The Vikings however, reaped an even larger benefit.  The Vikings would go on to win 10 games and the division that year.  However, minus that free win, the Vikings would have finished 9-7 and tied the Bears for the division lead.  The Vikings would have lost the tiebreaker to the Bears with a 3-3 divisional record to the Bears 4-2 record and missed the playoffs.

Now, after informing people of this 2008 matchup,  many people have said to me, “How do you know the Vikings still wouldn’t have scored without the pass interference?”  That’s a valid question, one to which I responded with, “Why is everybody assuming the Lions would have lost yesterday with the facemask called?”


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2 Responses to “Facemask Non-Call Redemption for Lions”

  1. Jon says:

    This is the best example ever. Everyone always says well there was a blown call we would have won. Well remember On June 2, 2010, Galarraga pitched 8? perfect innings, but lost the perfect game on the 27th batter after what was ruled an infield hit. Rookie Jason Donald hit a ground ball to first baseman Miguel Cabrera, who tossed to Galarraga—who was covering first base—but first base umpire Jim Joyce incorrectly called Donald safe on a close play, ending the perfect game and no-hitter. Completing the one-hitter, Galarraga threw 88 pitches, 67 of them for strikes. If he had completed the perfect game (83 pitches), it would have been the lowest number of pitches thrown since Addie Joss’ 74 in 1908, and the shortest game since Sandy Koufax’s perfect game in 1965. It would have been the second perfect game in the Major Leagues in just four days, Roy Halladay having thrown his on May 29, the fourth no hitter of the season, as well as the third perfect game in 24 days.
    Joyce later issued a direct apology to Galarraga, saying that the call was incorrect.[10][11][12] Galarraga accepted the mistake gracefully, saying later, “Nobody’s perfect.”[13] Observers pointed to the handling of the situation as an example of good sportsmanship on both sides.[14] He was presented with a “Medal of Reasonableness” for his reasoned response to Joyce’s call at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.[15]

    Yea there is another thing for Detroit fans that wasn’t just historically changing for a team but for one person. Blown calls happen all the time people just have to learn they need to get over them. This just has to be one of the worst ever!

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