Do refs show the Patriots favoritism? NFL rules analyst Dean Blandino responds
Colin Cowherd, Jason Whitlock, Tony Gonzalez and Dean Blandino discuss whether or not the overturned touchdown call against the New York Jets was because referees show the New England Patriots favoritism.
- Yeah, yeah, because the refs don't want a New York team to win. No, they don't show them--
- Yes, they do.
- No, you know what happens? Well-run businesses always seem to get the breaks because they're ready to go. By the way, did you watch the New England Patriot players on this? They all spotted it immediately because they were alert, and they're looking at stuff like that.
JASON WHITLOCK: Because they're desperate.
- No, because they know the rules.
- It's because they're-- look, man, this is another-- why do the Patriots keep getting all the bogus calls, from the Tuck Rule to you touched Tom Brady in the pocket. Now we changed the rules there. And, again, I'm in favor of those rules. But, again, this is a superstar-driven league, and so now with Tom Brady--
- So why would they root for New England?
- Tom Brady, Tom Brady is the most protected athlete in the history of the NFL.
- He gets ev-- Tom Brady is the most protected-- it's-- look, do basketball superstars get calls? Do Major League Baseball hitting stars or pitching stars get balls and strikes favor to them because it's in the ref's mind who they're out there refereeing? That's what goes on with the New England Patriots. It's been going on for years.
- You're basically saying they're colluding.
- Here he is. Let's see [INAUDIBLE].
- I spent a long time in the officiating part. And I can tell you unequivocally there's no bias-- direct bias for a team against a team. We actually ran numbers. We had the whole deal with Cam, right. Cam was complaining he wasn't getting calls, and Colin mentioned he goes outside the pocket a lot.
So we looked at all the roughing the passer calls from 2013 to 2016. Tom Brady wasn't even in the top 10. Tom Brady was in between 10 to 15 in terms of getting calls. So referees don't look at quarterbacks or players differently. They're just trying to get it right because they're being evaluated, and their jobs are on the line.
COLIN COWHERD: Bonuses are tied to those calls.
- Postseason assignments, so I know there's a perception. But, again, you can make that argument. Look, the Cowboys are a big television draw. Why aren't the Cowboys getting all the calls?
- Why am I still getting tweets about Dez Bryant? That's-- No kidding.
- But did you ever feel-- when you were on the field, what was your feeling about officials?
- I definitely wanted the calls. But if you're talking about if there's a questionable call, which way is the ref going to lean, usually-- and I think it goes probably even subconscious; they're not even thinking about it-- they're going to lean towards the star player.
JASON WHITLOCK: Thank you.
- [INAUDIBLE] I think that's psychologically speaking.
- And I would agree. Subconsciously--
JASON WHITLOCK: Thank you.
- And we don't know, and I certainly can't sit here and say that-- but I think there's something to that, that maybe there is. But there's also something to saying that, if I'm on the Chiefs sideline, and the call happens, and they're all yelling in my ear, am I going to be impacted by that? So we study all of that.
- I've been on both sides of the coin, where we've gotten a call, where I'm like, man, we got lucky there. That was a fumble. Or that wasn't a catch, but they gave it to us. I've had a catch during a game just a little bit late.
And you know, obviously, the camera and the angles now picks up everything. But earlier in my career, I've had catches where I know the ball-- I didn't catch that ball, but they counted it anyway. So you're going to win some. You're going to-- you're going to win some.
You're going to lose some. You're going to be on that winning side. You're going to be on the losing side sometimes. Obviously, it does look like New England maybe because it's magnified. The Tuck Rule, specifically-
COLIN COWHERD: By the way--
- It just-- because it's a playoff situation so it's magnified.
- Peyton Manning and Brett Favre lost a lot of playoff games. Those were stars. They were bigger stars than Brady.
Brett Favre was the most popular guy in the sport. Peyton Manning was. You know how many close playoff losses those guys had?
- I'm talking about the Patriots and Tom Brady. Did you see this call earlier-- do we have the call-- the pass interference that handed the Patriots their first touchdown?
- [INAUDIBLE] Gronkowski.
- Yeah, this is the thing that drives me crazy because there's a ref right there. Hold on, show the other angle. You can see a ref that's in position to make the call.
- That's interference.
- That doesn't. No, it's not. That doesn't make the call. That's not. If Gronkowski puts his hand in his face.
- That looks like face-guarding to me.
- Oh, come on, that's interference.
- He's looking back for the ball. They put it on the one yard. That's a bogus call.
- I didn't like that call. I thought it-- what, in officiating terms, we would consider a good no call. Both guys are-- both guys are playing the ball. Both guys are hand fighting and survival of the fittest.
- The problem with it was there was a ref that was on the spot that made no call, and the guy from across the field made the call. That's what drives me crazy.
- But real quick, and then you get it-- but that's Gronkowski. This just goes to my point from science. Science tells this in psychology.
I was a psych major at Berkeley. I didn't graduate, though. But it tells you that subconsciously you're always going to give the call to the superstars. It's just how it goes.
COLIN COWHERD: Did you have-- honest question. Did you have any money on the game?
JASON WHITLOCK: No, that game, no.
- OK, secondly, can we bring this out? Your conspiracy theory-- let's bring this out.
- Your tinfoil hat.
- Thank you. Thank you. I appreciate that.
COLIN COWHERD: So you believe, Tinfoil Hat Guy, that the league is out to help stars.
- Tom Brady and stars, yeah, it happens in the NBA. It happens in Major League Baseball. Of course, it happens in football.