The NFL is coming under fire after a series of very questionable calls allowed the Green Bay Packers to escape Monday Night Football with a win over the Detroit Lions, with fans taking to social media to call the ending “rigged.”
The Detroit Lions took a 22-13 lead with 12:17 left in the fourth quarter, but the Packers were able to come back thanks to two hands-to-the-face calls on the Lions that both allowed the Packers to extend drives and score points. The last came on what would be the game-winning drive, as the Packers drove and allowed Mason Crosby to kick a 23-yard field goal as time expired.
Replays showed that neither call appeared to be correct, and in fact, the replay shared on Twitter by Fox Sports‘ Daniel Beyer showed that the Green Bay Packers tackle David Bakhtiari actually had his hands in the facemask of Detroit Lions defensive end Trey Flowers, who was the one called for the penalty.
The incorrect penalties, both coming at a critical time for the Packers, led to massive backlash online. Many fans took to social media to complain about the outcome, noting that the Packers have often been the recipients of questionable calls that allowed them to win games.
— Daniel Beyer (@danbeyeronfox) October 15, 2019
The loss was a major setback for the Detroit Lions, who fell to 2-2-1 as the Packers improved to 5-1 and remained atop the NFC North division.
Well @Lions, way to unofficially beat the Packers at Lambeau. Get hosed by 2 ridiculous calls on Trey Flowers. One makes a 4th down a 1st, leading to a TD, and at the end of the game again. Get it right NFL, Make it reviewable. Oh yea, you didn’t miss a big pass int. either ????????
— Matt Shoemaker (@MattShoe52) October 15, 2019
Thank God college football isn’t rigged, unlike the NFL. What a joke in this Lions Packers game ????
— Barstool Blue (@BarstoolUofM) October 15, 2019
This is not the first time that the Packers have defeated the Lions thanks to a questionable call. Back in 2015, referees called a facemask penalty on Lions defensive end Devin Taylor on what appeared to be a game-ending sack of Aaron Rodgers. Instead of time expiring, the Packers had time for one more play and Rodgers delivered one of the most famous passes of his career, a Hail Mary that was caught by Richard Rodgers for a touchdown to give the Packers the win.
The Lions were also the recipients of a play so controversial, there is now a rule named after it. In Week 1 of the 2010 season, the Lions appeared to notch a last-second win over the Chicago Bears when receiver Calvin Johnson caught a touchdown, but referees ruled that he did not maintain control of the ball because he dropped it as he was getting up to celebrate. The incident would later play heavily into the league clarifying the rules about what is or is not a catch, with observers calling it the “Calvin Johnson Rule.”
There’s no word yet on whether the controversial ending to Monday Night Football will spur any rule changes or catchy nicknames.