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Denver Phantom Push-Off

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Denver wide receiver Brandon Marshall had caught a career-long 77-yard touchdown when he turned around in the end zone and saw a dreaded yellow flag on the ground. The touchdown and pending extra point would have given the Broncos a one-point lead against Miami, but side judge Allen Baynes ruled offensive pass interference.

The call with a minute left in the third quarter so infuriated Jay Cutler that he threw his towel in the direction of Baynes, who luckily for the Broncos quarterback had his back turned. The home crowd at Invesco Field was frustrated too, and with just cause. There certainly was contact on the play, but it did not appear flagrant enough to warrant offensive pass interference.

"It's a physical game. I mean, the refs did a great job today," Marshall told reporters.

It wasn't exactly the most sincere evaluation of the officiating, but at least it won't get Marshall fined. Remember, Marshall served a one-game suspension at the beginning of the season for violating the league's personal conduct policy, so he needs to be extra careful with his actions and comments.

Even cornerback Jason Allen, who was the beneficiary of the call, had to smirk when asked about the play.

"Of course it was a good call," a grinning Allen said.

Pass interference is the most debated call in professional football. One official's interpretation of incidental contact is another's clear infraction. Normally it's the cornerback arguing with the official, but in this instance, Marshall was left to defend himself

"There was definitely some contact, but this type of game, this type of environment, you've got to let us play," he said.

Marshall is right. Calling touch fouls doesn't improve the quality of the game; it simply slows it down. Officials should allow a reasonable degree of physicality between a wide receiver and a cornerback, or else the sport runs the risk of becoming too restrictive for its own good.

By Gene Wang  |  November 3, 2008; 10:34 AM ET  | Category:  NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Comments

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Wang is absolutely right. Some of the NFL refs act like they're calling basketball games.

Posted by: OBXer | November 7, 2008 12:40 AM

After watching this phantom PI on the highlights, I don't want to hear from everyone talking about how the Broncos got a break on the Chargers game. The NFL just made things even now. They got 1 and they were robbed 1.

Posted by: Dsmac | November 10, 2008 12:03 PM

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