NFL referee Brad Allen in the 2023 preseason. Aug 26, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; NFL referee Brad Allen (122) calls a personal foul penalty against the Los Angeles Rams during the first quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not just NFL fans who weigh in on the performance of officials. The league has its own officiating staff that reviews each play of each game and assigns grades to each official, impacting playoff assignments. And as Adam Schefter notes in an piece, referee Brad Allen’s crew (working the Houston Texans-New York Jets game Sunday) may be under a particular microscope following two missed pass interference calls in back-to-back weeks:

As that piece notes, two non-calls in particular from Allen’s crew have drawn a lot of attention. The most recent one was on Sunday Night Football this past week in the final minute of the Kansas City Chiefs-Green Bay Packers game, where Packers defensive back Carrington Valentine seemed to go over Chiefs wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s back before a pass arrived. NBC rules analyst and former referee Terry McAulay said “This is defensive pass interference” on the broadcast, endorsing analyst Cris Collinsworth’s “That’s gotta be a foul”:

That non-call took a lot of criticism this week, including with Fox Sports rules analyst (and former NFL VP of officiating) Dean Blandino saying it was the most obvious missed call he’d seen since the controversial Rams-Saints NFC Championship Game in 2018. And it came just a week after a similar play Allen’s crew didn’t call in the New Orleans Saints-Atlanta Falcons game. There, linebacker Kaden Elliss never turned around to defend the ball on a Derek Carr pass to Alvin Kamara, but wasn’t flagged. So the combination here has even more focus on the Allen crew this week, as Schefter writes:

Allen’s crew will be under increased scrutiny when they officiate Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium between the Texans and Jets. Many, including the NFL, will be watching to see if there’s another decision by Allen’s crew that draws the ire of teams the way it did the past two weeks.

We’ll see if that one winds up having a controversial pass interference moment of its own.


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.