Dan Reeves, rarely known for his sense of humor, sent Jessie Tuggle out for the coin flip at the Atlanta Falcons-St. Louis Rams game Sunday with a sign marked "Heads," a little dig at the coin flip controversy at the start of overtime in Detroit on Thanksgiving.
And Ron Blum, the referee at the Washington-Oakland game, said to the Redskins' Darrell Green after he called heads: "You sure?"
Yes, even a ref is having a little fun at the expense of the zebras.
Maybe fun is what it takes.
Because far too often this season, the officials, rather than the players, have decided games.
Go back two weeks.
Arizona, trying for its first playoff berth since 1982, was driving for the tying touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys. On the final play of regulation, Jake Plummer tossed a fade pattern to Rob Moore, who appeared to be mugged in the end zone.
Cowboys win 35-28.
Fast forward to Minnesota a week later. Brett Favre drives the Packers down the field to come within six points of the Vikings despite five illegal procedure calls on the drive. At one point, Favre goes to referee Phil Luckett, the same man involved in the Pittsburgh-Detroit coin toss flap, and asked him to quiet the crowd, as the rules allow.
"Go ahead and play," Luckett is said to have told him. "You can hear."
| This play in Week 11 was not pass interference. Or was it? (AP) |
Now to Sunday in Foxboro and a marvelous shootout between rew Bledsoe and Doug Flutie.
First it's Flutie, driving the Bills 67 yards for the go-ahead TD. The drive takes 8 minutes, 28 seconds, in part because there were eight flags thrown -- four on each team.
Now it's Bledsoe, in his second desperation drive in six days.
On a fourth-and-10, he finds Shawn Jefferson on the sideline -- sort of. Replays show two things: that Jefferson's feet may well have been out of bounds and that he may have come up short of the first-down marker.
The first item is debated, the second isn't even considered.
Now there's time for one last play.
Bledsoe hurls the ball high toward the end zone, Terry Glenn goes up and juggles it, then it drops to the ground.
Yellow flag. Pass interference on the Bills' Henry Jones.
On the next play, Bledsoe finds Ben Coates from a yard out for the winning TD.
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