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The 10 most questionable calls in the 2023 NFL season

The 10 most questionable calls in the 2023 NFL season

1. Taylor Decker: “Ineligible”

At the end of the Detroit Lions/Dallas Cowboys game in week 16, the Lions found themselves going for 2 at the end of the game to try and win. Normal, right? Well, the Lions ran the play and was caught by the Lions left tackle, Taylor Decker, to win them the game. Or so they thought. There was a flag called that Decker was ineligible, and the Lions ended up losing. Even though there was video evidence of the play, the call still stood. This is one of the worst calls of the season as it had messed up seeding for the playoffs.

 

2. Sauce Gardener: “Hold”

The New York Jets had just gotten an interception to potentially tie the game against the Kansas City Chiefs, but after the play was over, a late flag came in the fourth quarter. Sauce Gardener got caught “holding” Marquez Valdes Scantling giving the Chiefs the first down and would run out the clock. Gardener was interviewed after the game and had said that the referees had been letting them play up until this moment.

 

3. Taron Johnson: “No Call” 

At the end of the Buffalo Bills/New York Giants Sunday game during week 6, there was a blatant holding call in the endzone that would have set the Giants up at 1st and goal at the 1 and likely score. But there was no holding call, and the Giants lost 9-14.

 

4. Kenny Pickett: “First Down” 

It was a 4th and 1. The Pittsburgh Steelers were up 24-17, 2:18 left in the fourth quarter of week 7. Kenny Pickett ran a QB sneak and was clearly short, but was called ahead of the line to gain. This play wasn’t your typical QB sneak where the QB was under everyone. He got stuffed, body showing that he was clearly short and the refs ruled it a 1st down, and the Steelers would run the clock out winning the game 24-17. 

 

5. Uncatchable Ball Called Pass Interference

It was week 7. The Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Browns had 38 seconds left in the game. PJ Walker overthrew James Proche II with minimal contact, but was called for Pass Interference, which set the Browns up to score a touchdown and win the game, 39-38. If the ball is uncatchable and minimal contact is involved it shouldn’t be pass interference. This basically gave the game to the Browns. Not a good look on the refs nor the NFL.

 

6. Marquez Valdes Scantling Tackled, No Pass Interference Called 

Towards the end of the Green Bay Packers/Kansas City Chiefs game, the score was 27-19. The Packers had 40 seconds left in the game, and Chiefs’ QB Patrick Mahomes threw a deep ball towards the end zone to Chiefs’ receiver Marquez Valdes Scantling, who got tackled before the ball even got to him, and no pass interference was called. The final score would be 27-19, in favor of the Packers. This was blatantly Pass Interference. Scantling was tackled before the ball got there, the most obvious pass interference in the book. The referees obviously missed this call in a crucial moment, and if called, would’ve set the Chiefs up to score from 1st and Goal. 

 

7. Pass Interference Can’t Be Called on Hail Marys 

On the final play of the game in week 8 between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Buffalo Bills, Buccaneers QB Baker Mayfield launched up the ball, and it fell incomplete. It was a controversial play as Bills players Taylor Rapp and Christian Benford had blocked Tampa Bay TE Cade Otton from advancing towards the end zone to attempt a game winning catch. The Buccaneers would lose 24-18. Throughout the NFL history, no pass interferences have ever been called on a Hail Mary. That should’ve changed in this game. The Bills’ players sandwiched Cade Otton preventing him from attempting the catch in the endzone. 

 

8. Romeo Doubs’ “Catch”

In the Week 15 game between the Carolina Panthers and Green Bay Packers, Romeo Doubs made a crucial catch on 3rd and 10, but it wasn’t really a catch. By the time he had had control of the ball, he was out of bounds. This should have been 4th and 10, and the Panthers would have had the ball back in the 4th quarter, 2:00 left and down 33-30 which would have affected the outcome of the game and possibly playoff seeding. 

 

9. AFC Championship missed Personal Interference

During the 4th quarter of the AFC Championship game, Odell Beckham Jr. got held on an attempt to the endzone to tie the game at 17. This was controversial because it was clear that OBJ got held and no flag was called. If the flag had been thrown, then it could have given the Baltimore Ravens momentum and could have given them a spark to possibly win the AFC championship. 

 

10. A Clean, Good Timing Hit is Unnecessary Roughness 

During week 6, the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers matched up on the final drive. Tashaun Gibson got an unnecessary roughness call on 4th and 10 on Elijah Moore, giving the Browns first down and ending up winning 19-17. Even former NFL official Gene Steratore said that it was a clean hit and timed right and would have given the 49ers the win. 

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About the Contributor
Logan Betyak, Staff Writer
I am a sophomore at the Talon News as a staff writer and play baseball for Colonial Forge. When I am not playing baseball or writing, I am playing video games especially Madden or MLB The Show.
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