5 times the Detroit Lions were screwed the hardest by NFL officials


The Detroit Lions fought tooth-and-nail to come back against the defending NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons Sunday afternoon. Trailing by as many as 14, Stafford & Co. worked their way back into the game (something former Lion teams would not do) and had a chance to win the game in the final minutes.

Despite a non-existent holding call and an offensive pass interference call on their final drive, the Lions still got to the goal line with seconds to play. We all know what happened next… Touchdown! Wait… no touchdown. Even worse… run the clock and end the game. Falcons 30, Lions 26.

The Lions getting screwed by the referees is nothing new to us fans, so let’s take a painful trip down memory lane, shall we? Here are the last five times the Detroit Lions were screwed by the NFL.

5Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears, Sept. 12th, 2010 (The Calvin Johnson touchdown rule)

This one has stayed with us forever and makes as little sense today as it did in 2010. One foot down, two feet down, knee down, butt down… no catch. Okay NFL.

4Detroit Lions @ Dallas Cowboys, Jan. 4th, 2015 

We all know the Lions playoff record of 1-9 heading into this playoff game against Dallas. But with that one win coming against the Cowboys in 1991, we were hoping history would repeat itself, and it looked like our hopes were not just a mere fantasy. With just over eight minutes to play and the Lions leading 20-17, Stafford & Co. were looking to seal the win with a touchdown-scoring drive. On third down, a pass interference call against Cowboys’ linebacker Anthony Hitchens in Cowboy territory seemed to set the Lions up perfectly, until…

I am 35 years old, have watched football for as long as I can remember, and while I’m used to the Lions getting screwed, to this day I cannot remember another time in a regular season game, let alone a PLAYOFF game where a referee picks up a flag after announcing to the audience what said flag was for. Anyway, we all know what happened, Sam Martin shanked the ensuing punt for 10 yards, the Lions got a couple defensive penalties on the drive and Dallas won the game 24-20.

3Detroit Lions @ Seattle Seahawks, Oct. 5th, 2015 

The calendar year of 2015 was a BAD year for the Lions as they had three different mishaps involving referees. The first is mentioned above against Dallas, and the third will follow this one. But in the middle of their terrible year, the Lions were 0-4 and looking to steal a win against the defending NFC Champions on their home turf. Trailing 13-10 with under two minutes to play. The Lions were marching toward an upset when Stafford hit Megatron on a 3rd-and-1 pass that CJ took in stride at the 10-yard line as he motored toward the end zone. A touchdown is a foregone conclusion, except…

A couple of thoughts here: A. Calvin needs to hold onto that ball. B. CALVIN NEEDS TO HOLD ONTO THAT DAMN BALL!

But he doesn’t, Kam Chancellor punches it out just before the goal line, it’s bouncing around in the end zone, and Seahawks’ linebacker KJ Wright hits it out of the end zone. I don’t blame Wright. He thought what most of us thought: it’s a touchback and Seattle gets the ball. We all know now that is not true and the refs missed badly on this one.

2Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions, Dec. 3rd, 2015

Like I said, 2015 was a BAD year for the Detroit Lions. The screw up in the playoffs against the Cowboys in January, the batted-ball BS against Seattle in October, and the phantom-facemask-turned-hail-mary against the Packers to end the year. This one really hurts for a couple of reasons: It’s the Packers who we barely ever beat, it’s Gods-gift-to-football Aaron Rodgers, and the Lions had this one in the bag. There were less than 10 seconds left, the Packers were on the 20-yard line and they were basically out of options. Their only hope came in the form of a whole bunch of hook-and-laterals, it was over! Until it wasn’t…

While the “facemask” was crap, the Lions still had a chance to win this game. All they had to do was stop a hail mary pass, which they failed to do. Another mix of disappontment in the team and anger at the referees. But we, the Lions’ faithful, are used to both.

And finally this past weekend. No explanations necessary, just watch, as if you don’t know it by heart.

1Atlanta Falcons @ Detroit Lions, September 25, 2017 

Sorry Lions, the NFL hates you.