One of the most important free agent additions of the NFL’s offseason didn’t play a down on Sunday, but paid major dividends anyway.
Dean Blandino stepped down from his post as the NFL’s Senior Vice President of Officiating during the offseason to take a job with FOX Sports as a rules analyst. Blandino’s expertise was needed during Sunday’s game between the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints when the league’s replay officials overturned a Zach Miller touchdown reception. The 25-yard strike from Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky was ruled a touchdown on the field, but replay officials changed the ruling to an incomplete pass, causing the Bears to settle for a Connor Barth field goal.
“He had control of the football in his left arm, went to the ground, suffered an injury. As he rolled over, he let the ball go after he completely rolled over. The key is did he maintain control of the ball when he hit the ground. The process of the catch lasts until he maintains control all the way to the ground. It looked like to us that he maintained control, he rolled over, and then as a result of the injury, he let the ball go. It was overturned in replay, and we didn’t think that was the correct call.”
The FOX television crew of Justin Kutcher and Chris Speilman believed it was a touchdown. That duo even had Blandino chime in during the game, concurring with the play-by-play team that Miller’s touchdown should not have been overturned by replay officials.
As for Miller, he was diagnosed with a dislocated knee and was taken to a local hospital for further observation. It sounds like he’ll stay in New Orleans while the team returns to Chicago.
The ruling on the field upon further review left fans angry, disheartened, and confused. While Blandino’s explanation won’t put any points on the board, at least it’s something.