Former NFL ref Jim Daopoulos hopes we avoid a problem in the Super Bowl

"It was an egregious mistake on their part"

The Morning Show w/ John & Hugh
January 22, 2019 - 12:10 pm
Tommylee Lewis - Nickell Robey-Coleman - NFC Championship Game

© Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

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Unfortunately for the NFL, their Championship Weekend is clouded in controversy because of several questionable no-calls and calls made by the officials.

On Tuesday's Morning Show, John Fricke and Hugh Douglas got the chance to speak with a longtime NFL official who also had experience as the league's supervisor of officials, and for him - Jim Daopoulos - it was a great afternoon for the league office.

When asked about the non-call heard around the world involving the Rams' Nickell Robey-Coleman hitting Saints WR Tommylee Lewis well before the pass reached him, Daopoulos said, “They just didn’t want to pull the trigger.  Inexperience, or the fact they didn't want to control the game.  You have to step and give that game-changing call.  You want the players to determine the outcome, yes.  But when someone has a distinct advantage like there was in New Orleans...you have to step up and make that call.  I don’t understand why they missed.  You had three guys who could have made the call.  It’s an egregious mistake on their part.  It’s just a bad situation right now.  There will be repercussion for this.”

The Saints/Rams game wasn't the only game with controversy, as the Chiefs/Patriots game also found itself clouded with mistakes by the officiating crew.  Answering a question on whether Kansas City coach Andy Reid has a legitimate gripe regarding the call on offside call on Dee Ford, Daopoulos told the hosts, “If it’s the first period or early in the game and the defensive players or defensive end are encroaching on the line of scrimmage, then you (referee) backs in and tells them to move back.  There’s nothing in the rule book that says you have to give them a warning.”

Having served 23 years himself as an official (11 on the field, and 12 as the league's supervisor of officials), Daopoulos understands that  while the quality of officials have dropped off because of retirements and other types of departures, the NFL still has the best of the business right now.  "You watch the game and you try to determine if they're trying to keep the game on an even keel.  Do they make mistakes…absolutely, they do.  It's a very difficult game to officiate.  In my opinion, they have the very best officials out there.  One thing you have to understand is that they have a lot of first-year referees or less than five years of experience.  It wasn’t their best year officiating-wise."

Will all that being said, could we see a problem in the Super Bowl?  “As a fan, I watch games and I'm worried," he added.  "When I watch the game, I watch the officials and I hold my breath.  They have a very good crew working this game.  There's a lot preparation going on and you have confidence in the guys, you just hope they step up and rise to the occasion.”