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NFL Referees Admit Mistakes Were Made In Bears-Steelers Game

In retrospect, the referees admit they screwed over the Bears on Monday Night Football.
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Feb 5, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell during Super Bowl XLVI between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants at Lucas Oil Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE

Feb 5, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell during Super Bowl XLVI between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE

You're likely well aware that the Bears' Monday night loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers was a giant mess thanks to the officiating. The referees had multiple missed calls, specifically on Justin Fields, and threw multiple flags that made little to no sense. As the week progressed, the NFL announced they were fully supporting the referees' decisions and non-decisions. The league also doubled down in their stance on the taunting call and fined LB Cassius Marsh.

The calls greatly changed the outcome of the game, as they shouldn't, and the Bears got screwed over because of them. Now, however, the NFL referees admit mistakes were made on Monday Night Football, according to Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport.

The Official Report

Pelissero and Rapoport released a collaborative (yuck) piece very early Sunday morning describing several officiating members' acknowledgment of the errors. Their work can be found here and I suggest you read it because it's very eye-opening. The gist of the news is this: the officials made critical errors with no-calls against the Steelers. They also made critical mistakes with ridiculous calls against the Bears. The NFL referees admit mistakes behind closed doors and likely without the consent of the league. Obviously, Roger Goodell won't be too fond of this revelation.

Bears Cassius Marsh Taunting Penalty Fine

Photo: Mark J. Rebilas/USA-TODAY

The most egregious call the referees screwed up (outside of the taunting) was the low-block on James Daniels. It literally negated a touchdown throw by Fields to Jimmy Graham and greatly affected the game. The Bears were down 14-3 and held to a mere field goal to make the score 14-6. If that touchdown stood, the game would have become different for the rest of the second half.

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Another potential game-changing call or no-call was the field goal attempt by Cairo Santos. His kick fell short by several yards, but according to the officiating department, the Steelers were offside! That should have been called and the Bears should have moved up five yards for another attempt. It's hard to tell from this angle, but look at it for yourself:

So now here we are. Almost a week has passed and the NFL protects its own interests and referees. However, privately is where the real discussion takes place, as expected in these cases.

The officiating department realizes that Tony Corrente and his crew made serious mistakes on national television. They discuss these kinds of things and then the information slowly leaks out like a tire with a nail in it. Are we just supposed to accept the fact that other officials acknowledge the mistakes made by one specific crew? Absolutely not! I have a better idea for you though NFL:


This is insane that we actually have to talk about this. How many more ridiculous calls are going to change the outcome of a game before something is done? How many more young and mobile quarterbacks are going to have the crap beat out of them just because they're new to the league and athletic enough to avoid taking hits? Cam Newton, Lamar Jackson, and now Justin Fields won't get the calls they deserve. This is becoming a safety issue for players and a watchable issue for fans.

The NFL needs to institute a 'Sky Judge' as it's been called before. Some kind of overbearing and tyrannical leadership group that can jump into a referees headset and say:

Hey, you guys screwed that up. Unnecessary roughness on No. 96 for a late hit on the quarterback.

This NFL product really sucks to watch sometimes when the referees are 'flag happy' and it's going drastically one way. It's obviously terrible for us Chicago Bears fans because our team and potentially our upset victory was the direct victim of the officiating crew. The wrath of Tony Corrente and his unbearable to watch booty-bump on Marsh will forever stain the memory of Justin Fields' first primetime showcase of what, hopefully, waits in the future for us Chicago Bears fans.