Pete Morelli’s crew has been pulled from officiating Sunday night’s game between the Colts and Steelers after making several controversial calls in last week’s Cardinals-49ers game, according to Pro Football Talk.
The crew gave Arizona a first down in the fourth quarter on a roughing-the-passer flag that looked tenuous at best. Instead of facing 3rd-and-18, the Cardinals got a new set of downs and went on to score a game-winning touchdown.
Regarding the critical roughing call on Dial in #AZvsSF…
The best call would have been no call at all.
— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) November 30, 2015
In the first quarter, Morelli and company called a bogus illegal touching penalty on Cardinals receiver John Brown and seemed confused on what down it was after a San Francisco penalty, which also hurt Arizona.
That first half sequence in #AZvsSF was REALLY confusing.
— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) November 29, 2015
After the game, both sides were upset. “The officials were struggling. Mightily. They can’t count to three. Mightily,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “It was a FUBAR on their part. They can try to explain it. They’re wrong.” 49ers guard Alex Boone unleashed the following screed, as reported by ESPN.
“I’m not really too worried about getting fined,” Boone said. “I thought those refs sucked.”
“It was a terrible call. They had terrible calls all game. I don’t care what the league says, I don’t care what [NFL commissioner] Roger [Goodell] says. It’s the truth.”
This isn’t the first screw-up for Morelli’s crew.
According to Larry Brown Sports, a group with Morelli as crew chief was also responsible for the missed false start that cost the Ravens a game in Week 10 and the disappearance of 18 seconds from a game between the Steelers and Chargers in October that, luckily for the NFL, didn’t affect the outcome.
The officiating crew will be pulled from the Sunday night game but reassigned to the Patriots-Eagles game, which seems to send send an odd message: These refs aren’t competent enough for primetime, but they are fine for an early kick-time. The games count the same, don’t they?
Walt Anderson assigned MNF game before Sunday's games were ever played. Referee Pete Morelli gets Pats-Eagles in 4:25 prime window Sunday.
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) December 1, 2015
Goodell continues to win the Brady appeal. https://t.co/m07H9jF9em
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) December 1, 2015
Anyway, as refereeing increasingly becomes a hot-button issue in the NFL, the league needs to sort out the issues with this particular crew as soon as possible.