NFL VP of officiating says Cowboys’ non-PI call was ‘debatable’

The controversial flag thrown — and then picked up — for defensive pass interference in the Lions-Cowboys NFC wild-card game Sunday continues to be a hot talking point on Monday.

After referee Pete Morelli defended the call to overturn the flag on Sunday night, NFL VP of officiating Dean Blandino noted it was "debatable" and would have preferred for the crew to stick with the original call.

"I think it’s debatable," Blandino told NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal. "There was a left hand on (Brandon Pettigrew’s) shoulder, but does that significantly hinder the receiver’s ability to make the catch? Looking at all the angles, we’re not convinced it is or it isn’t. I think had the flag not been thrown, I think we still would have debated it."

"I certainly could have supported it if they left the flag down. I would have supported the foul. But I think it’s a close judgement call where you have two officials with differing opinions on it."

Blandino, who had held his position since Feb. 2013, declared that he wished the entire crew would be certain before announcing anything on the field.

"I’d prefer that they kept it down, having the flag down," Blandino said. "But like I said it’s a tight judgement call that could have went either way."

Blandino, according to the report, also said that he would’ve supported flagging Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant for entering the playing field without a helmet to argue the call. That call, though, is not automatic and referees can use their discretion.