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Brad Allen’s crew faces increased scrutiny after a pair of missed pass interference calls

Although people like Cowboys owner Jerry Jones believe bad calls are just part of doing business in the NFL, bad calls have consequences.

Via Adam Schefter of, referee Brad Allen’s crew is under increased scrutiny after a pair of missed pass interference calls in consecutive weeks.

The first came in the Week 12 game between the Falcons and Saints. In the second quarter, Atlanta linebacker Kaden Elliss made contact with Saints running back Alvin Kamara before the ball arrived. Kamara did not catch it. No flag was thrown. The drive ended in a field goal, and the Saints lost the game, 24-15.

The second came in the Sunday night game during Week 13. Chiefs receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling was wiped out by Packers cornerback Carrington Valentine near the end of the game, with Kansas City driving and Green Bay leading by eight points.

Schefter makes the obvious point that officials are graded by the league for every call made and not made. Performance during a given regular season determines postseason assignments, or lack thereof. Enough bad calls can result in an official no longer being an official, even if officials aren’t fired with the same degree of publicity that players and coaches are. Officials just fade away without fanfare, replaced by someone else when the next season begins.

There’s another potentially interesting story behind this story. Why and how did this specific issue become the subject of a Sunday Splash! report? Did Schefter notice on his own that both calls involved the same crew? Or did someone point it out to him?

If so, who? Is someone with one of the impacted teams trying to get Allen’s crew under greater scrutiny? Or is someone from the league office trying to take a little heat out of a currently hot kitchen by making it clear that these calls are indeed the result of incompetence and not design?

Remember what Commissioner Roger Goodell said, back when the NFL fiercely opposed gambling: “If gambling is permitted freely on sporting events, normal incidents of the game such as bad snaps, dropped passes, turnovers, penalties, and play calling inevitably will fuel speculation, distrust and accusations of point-shaving or game-fixing.” By pointing a finger at those responsible for “normal incidents of the game” like bad calls, the NFL can push back on the speculation, distrust, and accusations of point-shaving or game-fixing that Goodell feared.

That’s what this specific report seems to be. An effort to provide an explanation for a couple of bad calls that would otherwise bring to fruition the fears that the league routinely cited before gambling shifted from bogeyman to cash cow.