Animated: NFL has obvious issues with officiating consistency

Josh Gordon 3

The NFL needs to get far more consistent making its own personal foul calls. When the Browns lost to the Ravens, I defended the technicality of the rules on a personal foul called on Browns receiver Josh Gordon on Ed Reed. On a technicality, Gordon was moving a bit back toward the Browns’ goal line making it seem like an illegal hit according to a strict reading of the rules.

Now this week, the Ravens converted an improbable 4th and 30 with a dump off to Ray Rice that succeeded due to a bad spot and also a very questionable blindside block by Anquan Boldin on Eric Weddle that left Weddle injured. Yet this play by Boldin went uncalled even as he was pretty much running directly toward the Ravens goal line cracking a completely unsuspecting Weddle.


The NFL is going to continue to have issues regarding player safety and also fairness if they can’t get some more consistency with regard to handing out 15 yard penalties. Remember that Josh Gordon was not only flagged for his hit on Reed, but also fined $20,000. The Ravens were awarded a first down on the measurement and went on to win the game, largely with the help of a play that should have been 15 yards according to the very rules that were used just a few weeks prior.

Referees do miss things and can’t be expected to see every single thing on every single play, but excuse me if I don’t consider this along with a little holding or facemask grab that goes unnoticed. This seems more like an inconsistency in enforcement or understanding. The NFL should investigate, continue to educate their referees and make sure they get consistent officiating their own game.

(Hat tip to frequent commenter Ezzie for emailing this tip in.)

  • Thomas Pestak

    nice post – very obvious discrepancy here.

  • imneverwrong

    I am guessing they will say the plays are not the same. Gordon’s was a reverse, he came from outside in to crack block on Reed. This is a play that is 15-20 yards from the LOS and Boldin is coming back towards the play to make a block, much like a punt return.

    I have no idea why either play should be a penalty. Gorodon’s block was a text book crack back block. The Ravens CB should be fined for not yelling “CRACK.”

  • Henry Brown

    Thank you for pointing this out, I’ve been watching the days highlights hoping someone would point this out. I can see an official in real time missing/calling this but lets see what the league does with tape in hand.

  • NoVA Buckeye

    What can we say? The league loves the Ravens and hates the Browns. Nothing to see here, move along!

  • beerf

    I don’t see how a ref could miss it because Rice was running right by Weddle as soon as he got clocked. However, the only ref I see in the gif is at the 50 yard line and his view is blocked by a couple players. Still the refs should be erring on the side of caution for player safety. Penalty. 4th and 44. Try it again Ravens.

  • beerf

    Watching ESPN and the talking heads are shying away from mentioning the block. I’m watching Around the Horn and all 5 of the pundits failed to mention the block. They talked about it being a bad ball spot, but didn’t mention a personal foul on Boldin once. Something smells here. It’s fishy.

  • Dominic Kerchner

    The Boldin block wasn’t illegal because it was shoulder to shoulder:

    The NFL must have thought Gordon hit Reed in the head. A blindside hit is only illegal if you hit the player with your head or you hit them in the head. I couldn’t find an angle to support that. To me it looked like a clean hit even in realtime. Sometimes I think the NFL hands out these fines just to show support for the refs’ calls.