Leslie Frazier: League called to discuss officiating in Baltimore
Leslie Frazier said he received a call from the NFL on Monday about the officiating in Baltimore.
By BRIAN HALLFS North
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Leslie Frazier was back at the Minnesota Vikings' team headquarters on Monday following Sunday's crazy finish and 29-26 loss at Baltimore.
Frazier said after the game he was "bewildered" with a couple of officiating calls in the loss, including several key calls that might have helped determine the outcome. Monday he received a call from the league, unsolicited and unlike some of the typical Monday calls coaches will make in regard to refereeing.
Frazier wouldn't say the league apologized to him for the calls in Sunday's game, but the point of the call was made clear.
"It was a good conversation," Frazier said Monday. "When we got off the phone, I said if I were asked the question you just asked, I would reference any comments to the league office. But the fact that they called should give you an indication of how they felt about things on that day. Without any provocation from me, so that was encouraging that they wanted to talk about that game from yesterday."
Two officiating decisions, in particular, might have changed the game on Sunday. In the first quarter on Sunday, Minnesota running back Toby Gerhart lost the ball on a carry up the middle; it was ruled a fumble and recovered by Baltimore.
Reviews showed Gerhart's knee was down before the ball popped loose, but referee Peter Morelli stuck with the original call on the field of a fumble, later stating to a pool reporter that he didn't see enough evidence to overturn the call on the field. The Ravens scored a touchdown four players later to open the scoring.
"Said it wasn't conclusive enough to overturn," Frazier said of the explanation on Gerhart's fumble. "That's what I was told on the field."
Frazier said Sunday's call from the league was broad and not just about the Gerhart fumble, but they did talk about that play. Frazier wouldn't add specifics on what the discussion was about or if the league apologized for the error. He said he received a similar call from the league earlier this year, but wouldn't divulge the reasons for that particular call either.
On Baltimore's game-winning drive on Sunday, Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway was called for a pass interference penalty on Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta. Greenway did make contact with Pitta, who fell on the play, but it was questionable whether he interfered. The penalty negated an Andrew Sendejo interception, which would have allowed Minnesota to run out the clock and win the game.
"It was difficult," Frazier said of dealing with the officiating. "But every team deals with it and just got to try to find a way to overcome some of the things that happen during the course of a ballgame, the adversity that occurs."
Frazier hit by snowball: MVP running back Adrian Peterson, who was out with a sprained foot in the fourth quarter, took to Twitter on Sunday to blast the officiating and Baltimore fans for throwing snowballs on Sunday.
When asked if he had seen the snowballs fly towards his team, Frazier said: "No, I felt a snowball on my back, too. I felt it, too. It was not specific to anyone, anyone wearing purple. It's not what the league wants, not what anybody wants."
Frazier said he didn't talk with the league or personnel in Baltimore about the incident.
"It's something we'll talk about," Frazier said. "I didn't talk about it after the game. But I did see snowballs coming. Didn't address it right after the game, there were so many things on my mind, obviously, at that time. But it's definitely something we'll have to talk with our security about and make our league aware of as well."
Fullback Jerome Felton said, "They were throwing snowballs at our bench. I didn't pay too much attention. Obviously, it's annoying. It's not very classy. But that's their prerogative."
No decision on quarterback: Frazier wouldn't commit to a starting quarterback on Monday for next week's home game against Philadelphia.
Frazier said Christian Ponder passed his concussion testing after being out all last week.
"I did find out this morning, he did pass everything," Frazier said. "So he's cleared now. We'll sit down today as a staff and talk about how we want to go forward at the quarterback position."
The Vikings have been officially eliminated from the playoffs and Frazier will have to decide between Ponder, who entered the year as the starter, Cassel, who started last week's game, and Josh Freeman, who the team signed in October to see if he could be the long-term answer at the position.
Frazier complimented Cassel for Sunday's performance in which he went 17-of-38 passing for 265 yards and two touchdowns.
"I thought he did some good things, protected the ball, avoided sacks, got us in some good plays," Frazier said. "Really got us going there in the fourth quarter. We were struggling to stay on field in third down throughout most of the game and then in the fourth quarter we started hitting our stride a little bit. So I thought he played a pretty solid game."
Stuck in Baltimore: Minnesota ended up getting stuck in Baltimore after the team's plane was hit by a catering truck at the airport. The Vikings ended up staying in the locker room for a few hours before heading to the airport. The team returned to Minnesota after midnight
"Probably about three hours," Felton said of the delay. "It was pretty miserable, but things happen I guess. I don't know how exactly that happens, but I'm sure some heads are rolling on that one."