The Problem With Not Blowing The Whistle

Especially at the goal line, how often do plays end in a pile of bodies? All the time, right? Enough that whatever the refs call on the field is likely to stand on replay, cause there won’t be enough evidence to overturn it. If I’m Patricia, I’m telling our guys to go after the ball even if the guy looks to be down at the goal line. The refs will just let it play out and maybe we’ll get a free TD.

I would also contend that oftentimes when a RB is stopped at the goal line he’s still laying on top of plenty of bodies, but his forward progress has been stuffed. There may not technically be any part of his body touching the ground, he’s just squashed in a mass of humanity and unable to move. How long will they wait then to blow the whistle then? It’s pandora’s box.

The refs just need to call the best game they can, same as they’ve been doing the past 60 years. They’re going to get some of the close ones wrong, so be it. I’d rather that than the mess we have now.


I agree. One thing I’d add is that often times the hardest thing to teach is how to think. And in particular I feel like the team needs to have risk vs. reward reasoning reinforced. I understand that it’s too a large extent an instinctive game but both the KJ reach and the TJ hurdle we’re both quite lacking from a risk/reward standpoint.

There two of our franchise cornerstones though. Good players, good/smart kids, etc. I’m confident that they will learn from it.

They’re bending over backwards to react to the play against the Chargers the week before, the scoop-and-score that didn’t happen because of the whistle.

But isn’t this just as harmful to the Lions as that play was to the Chargers? Does Breeland deserve a TD – a 14-point swing that cost the Lions the game – on a play where everybody “felt” it was over.

I can hear some of you now. “Just play to the whistle.” That’s an insufficient answer. Because I see and hear plays all the time where the whistle comes late, but everybody is still reacting as though the play is over. More often than not, if your player is tackling somebody else after the play is “over,” the ref isn’t going to go, “You’re right; the whistle was a little late there.” The ref is going to call that player for unnecessary roughness.

Oh, and if you want to call what Kerryon did a fumble, there was a KC player clearly down there inside the one, who had the ball in his possession, and was being touched by a Lion.

Since changes of possession get a booth review, how in the hell was that not seen?

Shouldn’t this thread be merged into the whistleblower thread on the OTT?? Jussss sayin’

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My biggest problem with blowing the whistle vs not blowing the whistle is that it just seems no matter what the refs do it always works against the Lions

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I agree, and how long do you think it is until someone gets hurt running back one these plays that should have obviously been blown dead? What happens if Golladay grabs Breeland and they both tumble into the ref? Then the blowback will swing the other way and the refs will be instructed to blow it down earlier.

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You can totally see that people are afraid to get called for roughing. It’s better to get a roughing call than give up points - Light them up, men!

Willing to bet they blow the whistle if that was KC and us on D…


This is a dilemma but not as perplexing as it first seems. The refs are now letting plays run their course especially on the goal line stands due to blowing the whistle early being costly early. Unfortunately we are on the opposite end of the spectrum and show what can happen if a play is allowed to continue if even for a few seconds more.
By letting the goal line stand play out, a mistake was made, and the dynamic of the game was changed.
Forward progress was stopped yes, but how many times had we seen runners “stopped” only to get a first down or TD with a final push. The refs are allowing the possibility of the final push to take place especially by the goal line because as we’d seen last Sunday anything can happen. I’d wager they’d be adding a mental 2-4 count before they blow the whistle in the future. A non whistled play can always be brought back, a play whistled dead cannot.
The lessons to pull away from this is easy. The first is to hold the ball tight when in the pile. When it’s one or two defenders a reach attempt has a higher percentage chance of working out but while on your back, in the middle of a pile that’s really no different than the mass of bodies during a fumble recovery, then the odds go down exponentially. IF KJ had simply held the ball to his chest the refs would eventually call forward progress and replay would back that up. But because he kept the ball moving, it was still live and replay shows this. The refs and review got the call correct in this case unfortunately for us.
The other lesson is on Golladay. MP stated to play through the whistle and there is a certain wisdom in that, especially near the goal line. KG’s “tag , your it routine” also cost us 6 points after the fact. A player on the field may not hear the whistle especially at that moment with 50,000+ fans screaming at the top of their lungs and if someone is running away with the ball, take them out. Better to get a roughing penalty than allow 6 points by the opponent.


The rules of the game are pretty basic and don’t change from Pop Warner up. When forward progress stops the play is over.
That said, you play until you hear the whistle.
Did the refs screw the pooch? Yes!
Did the Lions players screw the pooch? Yes, they did!

And if Golladay had grabbed Breeland and the two had tumbled in to that ref that was running in from the sideline and someone got hurt? What kind of debacle would the league have on its head then?

But the NFL keeps changing the rules.

If you don’t hear a whistle, it’s game on. That never changes.
Yeah, the refs should have blown the whistle. They didn’t.
Keep playing!
As for the ref running on the field? I hate NFL refs. As should every Lion (owner, management, coach, player, fan). Run his ass over!

Now the rules are play to the whistle unless:

  • The QB is beginning to slide.
  • The QB has just released the ball.
  • The player is ‘defenseless’.
  • The player would rather step out of bounds instead.
  • The tackle is too violent.

Etc., etc…

We’re talking apples and oranges.

The risk/reward you just talked about is part of “learning how to win.” Sometimes teams have to grow together and learn these things over time. And other times you’ve got vets and great coaching that can speed up the timeline and download the information into the kids brains so they know better.

From what I understand, Bill Belichick does a film study with his guys each week that involves OTHER teams games and what to learn from each situation. It would be in that film session that he would show a play like what KJ did and remind his guys not to do that. Now, I just happen to remember (okay, I’m a dork) that Belichick already has addressed this kind of stuff with his team. For instance you won’t have to worry about a Patriots player extended the ball over the pylon, losing it, and the defense getting the ball. Why? Because he tells his guys its forbidden and they’ll be benched if they do it:

“Belichick has a policy within the team that players aren’t allowed to extend the football at the pylon while falling across the goal line”

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Don’t forget the new one they created against Jarrad Davis vs Philly.

*The linebacker cannot tackle a guy who is a shrimp, even though he is inbounds, and is facing the defender and in no way defenseless.

Playing to the whistle has been gone for a good decade in the NFL. They have their own rules that are made up as the game progresses.

My issue is the inconsistent nature of this situation. Raise your hand if you think that would have been ruled a TD IF KJ had reached out and broken the plane? As that is the logical consequence of a play being elongated after the runner is stopped. To me the video replay would have shown his momentum stopped and the play dead and no TD would have been allowed. Which does not work with the idea of the play being extended.

OR…say Kenny G. tackles the Chief player with the football in the end zone…that would have to be ruled a safety. Anyone really believe the league would have allowed a safety after a play like that with the player’s momentum stopped?

I think that was a fumble and I am not crying. But I am talking about my belief that if he crossed the plane the league would not have allowed a TD as momentum was stopped. I could be wrong there but as a Lions fan my skepticism keeps getting fed by this league.

Or how about this…say Kenny tackles the guy in the end zone hard. To me that would have resulted in a roughing penalty on the Lions with no safety allowed either. I just have almost no faith that the league gets these kinds of plays right at this point. Should a player play through a whistle? Yes…except for when he shouldn’t, right?!

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It’s not just the whistle, it’s the cues the players are taking from the positioning of the refs. Golladay looked at the back judge and seen his hands spread out, then turns and bumps into another ref that is aligned with where the ball was presumably down. Everything he knows about football tells him the play is over.