Here is a transcript of what NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino had to say tonight about the ruling on K.J. Wright's bat of Calvin Johnson's fumble.
Here is a transcript from the NFL on what NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino had to say Monday night on NFL Network Total Access Monday night on the controversy regarding the Calvin Johnson fumble and the K.J. Wright bat of the ball through the end zone:
Spero Dedes (host): Take us through this play in terms of the rule, are you allowed to bat the football out once you are in the end zone as we saw from KJ Wright?
Dean Blandino: So you can’t bat the ball in any direction in the end zone, in either end zone. KJ Wright batted the football. That is a foul for an illegal bat. The back judge was on the play. In his judgement he didn’t feel it was an overt act, so he didn’t throw the flag. In looking at the replays, it did look like a bat, so the enforcement would be, basically we would go back to the spot of the fumble, and Detroit would keep the football.
Brian Baldinger: So the ball would be back at the one-yard line then, Dean?
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Blandino: Yes, it would go back to the spot of the fumble. You would enforce the foul half the distance from that spot had we called an illegal bat on the field. It is not reviewable in replay. That is specific in the replay rule. You can’t rule on an illegal bat in replay because again, it is a judgment call, it is an intentional act, and you can’t rule on that intent, so that is something that has to be called on the field.
Dedes: Dean, just hearing it in your voice, you’ve seen this video I’m sure a couple of times already, in your opinion, was it enough to warrant the penalty? Should the flag have been thrown?
Blandino: Yes, in looking at the replays, it looks like a bat. It looks like he does take his right hand and he bats it intentionally. Again, judgment call on the field. The back judge felt it wasn’t overt and that’s why he didn’t throw the flag.
Dedes: What can you say at this point to Detroit? Obviously it’s a great ending, it’s exciting, people are riveted at the end of the game, and this obviously is not the way you want to see the night end in terms of your officials, right?
Blandino: Absolutely not. We certainly want the game to be decided on the field. You know you can make a case, did that really have an effect, was that ball going out of bounds anyway, but still, it’s a foul, we have to make that call, and the enforcement would have given the ball back to Detroit.
Baldinger: Dean, you’re saying that the back judge didn’t feel like it was an overt act, so is it a subjective rule then?
Blandino: It is.
Baldinger: Is it really effecting the play? Does that come into play with it?
Blandino: The rule itself, a bat is an intentional act, so there is subjectivity to it. The official has to see it and then he has to rule whether it was intentional. It could be a muff, it could just hit the player and bounce out of bounds, so he has to make all of those decisions in that split second that he has on the field and he felt it wasn’t an intentional, overt act, and that’s why he didn’t throw the flag, so it certainly is subjective.
Dedes: Dean, this is such a crazy play, one that I have never seen before, I can’t speak for the guys, but this goes to the argument that there are certain plays that when they affect the outcome of the game at the end that should be reviewable that maybe aren’t at this point, is a play like this looking forward something that will be looked at, plays at the end that affect games should be reviewable?
Blandino: Sure, we look at all of these situations at the end of a game and decided whether it is reviewable or not. So this will be something that the Competition Committee takes a look at. Again, we try to stay away from subjective fouls, and this being one of them, similar to pass interference or offensive holding, so that’s why it hasn’t been reviewable, so I think it’s fair to say that the committee will look at this just like we look at other situations that occur throughout the year and decide if we need to add it to the list of reviewable plays.
Dedes: What’s the protocol now that something like this happens? Do you speak to both teams? Do you speak to Detroit? What’s the protocol in terms of talking to your own officials that were involved in the play?
Blandino: Sure, we’ll talk to the crew and we’ll get their input, certainly talk to the back judge, and then communicate with the teams, and give them the rundown of what happened and what we think should have happened and go from there.