The NFL finally released the pool reporter interview with referee Pete Morelli regarding the fourth quarter pass interference call in the Detroit-Dallas game that wasn’t, after it initially was.
Todd Archer: Can you talk about the decision to overturn the call and why you overturned the call?
Pete Morelli: The back judge threw his flag for defensive pass interference. We got other information from another official from a different angle that thought the contact was minimal and didn’t warrant pass interference. He thought it was face-guarding.
Archer: Which official?
Morelli: The head linesman.
Archer: What did you see?
Morelli: It’s not my responsibility. I’m a hundred miles away.
Archer: Face-guarding is not a foul?
Morelli: Face-guarding is not a foul. It is a penalty in college but not in professional football.
Archer: What is the process you go through after you announce the call? Should you have waited before you announced the call?
Morelli: Probably, yes. The information came and then the officials got together a little bit later, after it was given to me, the first information. It would have probably been smoother if we got together.
Archer: Do you remember this type of player happening before?
Morelli: No, not particularly.
Archer: So one more time on who the person was that had a better view?
Morelli: The better view was from the head linesman.
At this point, while plenty of conspiracy theories will be referenced, the bigger issue is that the NFL goes with crews in the playoffs who do not necessarily work together during the regular season, grading each individual official to determine their playoff standing. The crew didn’t get together to confer, and it’s possible that two officials that didn’t have a feel for one another disagreed, with the head linesman winning out in his view of the play.