Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell finally got clarification on the missed delay-of-game penalty in his team’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens last week and it was not much clarification at all.
Campbell said he did not turn that play in to the league for a written review but did phone the NFL office to get feedback on the call.
“It’s really a subjective call is really what it came down to,” Campbell said Friday. “So I think they’re kind of split on it. Some are — it’s just, you guys have heard the procedure of it and I’ll be honest with you, I don’t even, I’m so over it now. I’m not even (thinking about it).”
Officials did not call a delay-of-game penalty on a second-and-10 play just before Justin Tucker’s game-winning 66-yard field goal, when Lamar Jackson took a snap about 1.8 seconds after the play clock expired.
Officials typically allow a brief grace period once the play clock hits zero before stopping play, about the length of time it takes to look from the play clock to the center to make sure the ball is being snapped.
Referee Scott Novak offered little explanation for the no-call in a pool report after the game, explaining the mechanics of how the penalty is enforced but insisting he had not reviewed the play to determine whether a penalty should have been enforced.
Had a delay-of-game penalty been called, the Ravens would have had to try a 71-yard field goal or more likely heave a Hail Mary towards the end zone.
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The play clock on the CBS broadcast was in sync with the play clock at Ford Field.
Campbell said he did not turn any officiating calls into the league for review this week and typically only asks for clarification on decisions that can help him as a coach going forward.
“The ones where it’s like, ‘Should this have been holding?’ Well, I know I’m going to get the yes, it should have been holding, but that goes both ways,” Campbell said. “Each team will turn those in and it’s like, look, that’s not worth it. It’s those ones where, ‘Why would you pump the play clock here? Why would that have been done?’ Like I don’t understand that, and then when you get clarification one way or another then at least that helps you moving down the road.
“I want to use it like not so much, like, ‘I told you, you were wrong.’ I want it, moving forward is there something that I missed or something that can help us down the road, more than anything.”
The Lions have a long history of being on the wrong end of controversial officiating decisions, from Calvin Johnson’s “process of the catch” game against the Chicago Bears in 2010, to the Golden Tate clock run off in 2017.
Campbell said he understands why some would prefer him to badger the league on the organization’s behalf, but said, “That’s not my place.”
“And look, I came from a place (with the New Orleans Saints) where we didn’t have some great calls go our way either and we won a lot of games,” he said. “I don’t use that as an excuse. Man, you make your own luck and we’ll find our luck, cause we’ll earn it and make it happen.”