On the lingering Lions two-point controversy, the biggest question is still unanswered

The biggest lingering question from last Saturday's controversial two-point try in the Lions-Cowboys game comes from what was presented to referee Brad Allen before the game.

Appearing earlier in the week on 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit, Campbell confirmed that Allen did not attend the pre-game meeting during which the play was presented to officials.

"That’s accurate," Campbell said. "That's the norm." Campbell added that he spoke to Allen about the play on the field before the game during pregame warmups.

"This is why you go through everything," Campbell said. "So there's no confusion. And things happen. And I'm ready to move on."

I'm not, at least not until someone explains whether Campbell expressly told the officials or Allen that the play would be preceded by a shell game, with the Lions pretending that tackle Dan Skipper would be reporting as eligible while, in reality, tackle Taylor Decker (while flanked by tackle Penei Sewell) reported. As former NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino told PFT this week, “If a coach told officials that, the officials would tell them they couldn’t do it. The referee would never go along with that and would make sure the defense knew exactly who was reporting.”

It's obvious that the Lions hoped to do precisely that.

"All you're trying to do is you're gonna hope somebody's gonna fall asleep on the defense," Campbell said. "You're not worried about the officials, because you've already explained it. . . . It's the defense you're trying to confuse. They're gonna know what it is, because the number's gonna be called out over the P.A. And so you're just hoping somebody on defense falls asleep. They see Skipper run out, and they're like, 'Oh, it's the jumbo tight end again.' And they don't realize [Decker] is the one who is reported eligible."

The controversy has helped obscure another question. Should Campbell have opted to kick the extra point once the ball was moved back from the two? He got a little prickly when the hosts expressed skepticism about the decision.

"Say it like you would say it to anybody else," Campbell told the hosts. "I'm on the radio. Say it like you wanna say it."

"I thought it was a reckless decision," one of the hosts said.

"Thank you," Campbell said.

"But you don't regret it?"


No regrets. No excuses. No hesitation about seeing the Cowboys again. And no desire to admit the one thing that would clear all of this up, once and for all. Although Campbell talked to the officials about the play, he didn't talk to them about the pre-snap gamesmanship. As Blandino said, if Campbell had disclosed it, the officials would have told him he can't do it.

It was a calculated risk. It didn't work out. Instead of owning it, the Lions have spent the week blaming Brad Allen fir a situation that never would have arisen if Skipper had just run to the huddle — and if Decker and only Decker had walked to Allen and reported as eligible.