The NFL has heard the cries of fans who are furious about referee Brad Allen's game-changing muffed call during the Week 17 game between the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys. And in response, the NFL is doing what it does best: giving its fans more of what they don't want.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Allen and his crew have been assigned to officiate Saturday's game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, which is being aired nationally on ABC/ESPN. Just one week after an officiating mess that possibly cost the Lions a win, Allen is being given a national TV assignment.
The play that Allen muffed happened in the final minute of Lions-Cowboys in Week 17. The Lions, down 20-19, initially appeared to get a 2-point conversion to put them ahead 21-20. But it got called back when the refs flagged Taylor Decker (who caught the pass to convert the 2-point conversion) as an ineligible receiver and Dan Skipper for an illegal formation.
The Lions get the 2-point conversion but gets called back because Taylor Decker didn't report as eligible 😳pic.twitter.com/lwm23tCYTi
— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) December 31, 2023
Decker says he reported as eligible to Allen, while Skipper says he didn't speak to Allen at all. In his extensive breakdown of the play, Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson noted that video evidence supports Decker's explanation, meaning that Allen appeared to blow the call. But in his explanation of the penalties, Allen denied that.
This isn't the first time Allen and his crew have been involved in an officiating controversy this season. They missed a key pass interference call against the Green Bay Packers in Week 13, which allowed them to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs.
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) December 4, 2023
Schefter reported Sunday that Allen and his crew were being "downgraded" for the playoffs due to the recent mistakes, which is why it's interesting that Allen and company are being given a national assignment just one week after such a consequential misstep. With Pittsburgh fighting for a playoff spot, everyone should buckle up.