NFL vice president of officiating Mike Pereira said Wednesday that Cardinals CB Michael Adams grabbing the facemask of Packers QB Aaron Rodgers on the final play of last weekend’s NFC wild-card playoff game was incidental.
Adams sacked Rodgers during overtime of Sunday’s game and knocked the ball free, allowing Cardinals LB Karlos Dansby to catch the ball in mid-air and race 17 yards for a touchdown that gave Arizona a 51-45 victory. Adams was shown on replay with his finger stuck on Rodgers’ facemask, but Pereira defended referee Scott Green‘s non-call after NFL Total Access host Rich Eisen raised the issue.
“He’s got a finger hooked on the mask,” Pereira said. “It’s a tough play, but it really is one of those you don’t get the big look you got on the other facemasks (in that game) of the clear and obvious pull or the clear and obvious twist.”
But what about other calls? The Packers were whistled for an illegal blow to the head on Cardinals QB Kurt Warner following his 11-yard touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald. That question wasn’t asked. Nor was the obvious helmet-to-helmet contact on the previous play addressed.
Pereira did admit that he was glad the ball never touched the ground on the final play, instead caroming off Rodgers’ foot and into Dansby’s waiting hands. Pereira said if the ball hit the ground, it could have been ruled a “tuck play.” But Pereira figured that whatever was called on the field would have stood.
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