We have thrown the NFL Postseason Power Rankings out there. You'd better read them before we pick 'em up ...
Yes, everyone's still talking about Sunday's flag fiasco in Dallas. The Lions got jobbed, at least in the eyes of many, in a game as hotly contested as the Chiefs-Colts wild-card bout one year ago. For details on the play, please read the Lions blurb below. I, too, thought Detroit deserved better, but my reasoning's different than what you've heard elsewhere.
Now, if we really want to talk about playoff pass interference ...
Well, then ... Apparently, I wasn't alone in recalling that infamous non-call, which ironically occurred almost 20 years ago to the day. Need a jog down memory lane? Take a look:
Yes, that "Prime Time" arm bar impacted the outcome of the 1994 NFC Championship Game -- and the Cowboys' shot at an unprecedented threepeat. With Dallas down 38-28 and half the fourth quarter to play, a touchdown would have pulled the Cowboys within three. Instead Deion Sanders' obvious PI on Michael Irvin -- committed inside the 5-yard line, by the way -- was never called. (Hey, at least it wasn't called and then picked up, right?)
That controversial Sanders-Irvin play was impactful, but it did not decide the day. No, three Cowboy turnovers in the first few minutes of the game accomplished that. Similarly, Sunday's controversial call/non-call didn't bury Detroit. The Lions still had the lead, and they still had eight minutes with which to go win that game.
How does everyone else stack up? Well, you'll have to take a look below. And as you'll see, we're only ranking the teams that made the postseason tourney. Like the league, the Power Rankings whittle down the participant pool in the new year. As always, feel free to share your take on our take: @HarrisonNFL is the place.
Let the dissension commence!
As for the subject of the picked-up-flag fiasco, I watched the entire play about 10 times Sunday night. Here's my humble opinion on what happened: Anthony Hitchens held Brandon Pettigrew. Foul. Then Pettigrew interfered with Hitchens, tugging on his face mask as the ball left Matthew Stafford's hand. Foul. Hitchens did grab Pettigrew's arm, but it was in an attempt to regain balance after taking a hand to the face. The call should have been offsetting penalties, replay third down -- not defensive pass interference. Dez Bryant absolutely could've been called for unsportsmanlike conduct, but as NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino explained Monday, that is at the official's discretion. In summation, the Lions did get the short end of the stick -- instead of fourth-and-1, at the very least it should have been third-and-1, replay the down.