NFL: The 16 Biggest Blown Calls in League History

Tony Santorsa@@TonySantorsaSenior Writer IIJuly 13, 2011

NFL: The 16 Biggest Blown Calls in League History

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    Over the course of the NFL's history, there has been quite a share of questionable calls blown by referees.

    Some of these calls were never called, and some of them were simply blown calls.

    Many fans across the league absolutely love some of these calls, but for every fan who loves a certain call, there is going to be one fan that simply despises it, as their team was on the wrong side of the call.

    Here are the 16 biggest blown calls in NFL history.


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16. Oakland Raiders Non-Fumble Call in 1977

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    In the video posted, fast-forward to about eight-and-a-half minutes left to see the non-fumble call.

    During the 1977 AFC Championship Game, the referees blew a call, as Denver Broncos running back Rob Lytle apparently fumbled the football as he was attempting to score a touchdown. However, after a lengthy discussion, the officials ruled that it was not a fumble.

15. Illegal Snowblowing

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    During the New England Patriots' snowy battle against the Miami Dolphins in 1982, the Patriots lined up for a field goal attempt to score the first points of the game with just five minutes left.

    The field was covered in snow, and New England head coach Ron Meyer told one of the men in charge of the snowblower, Mark Henderson, to clear the area where John Smith was attempting to kick from.

    I have no idea where the officials were on this one, but they should have seen what was going on, as this is 100 percent a penalty.

14. Jay Cutler's Should-Have-Been Fumble

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    During the Denver Broncos' battle against the San Diego Chargers, something extremely strange happened.

    Jay Cutler was rolling out of the pocket and clearly lost control of the ball.

    However, the officials ruled the play an incomplete pass, even though it was an obvious fumble.

13. Brandon Stokley's Non-Reception

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    It is obvious that Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Stokley did catch the pass before it hit the ground.

    Even after a Broncos challenge, the officials somehow managed to get the call wrong.

    You be the judge.

12. Louis Murphy's Non-Touchdown

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    If you watch the video posted, it's evident that Oakland Raiders wide receiver Louis Murphy successfully caught the pass thrown from JaMarcus Russell for a touchdown, but the referees had other plans.

11. Vinny Testaverde Scores Thanks to Phil Luckett

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    Everyone in the entire world believed that Vinny Testaverde was down on his quarterback sneak attempt during the New York Jets' battle against the Seattle Seahawks in 1998.

    However, official Phil Luckett and his crew of referees thought otherwise, as they ruled Testaverde down in the end zone for a touchdown, giving the Jets the victory.

10. Mike Renfro's Non-Touchdown Reception

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    During the 1979 AFC Championship Game, it appeared that Houston Oilers wide receiver Mike Renfro had come down with a stellar touchdown reception.

    However, the officials had other plans, as they ruled the pass incomplete.

    Check out the video posted. What do you think?

    I 100 percent believe that it was a catch.

9. Bert Emanuel's Non-Reception

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    In the video posted, it's clear that Bert Emanuel did indeed catch the football; however, the officials did not believe so and ruled it incomplete.

    The St. Louis Rams went on to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 11-6.

8. Jerry Rice's Fumble Against the Green Bay Packers

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    Go to the seven-minute mark of the video posted to see how terrible this non-call was.

    It is so clear that Jerry Rice did fumble, but Rice and the San Francisco 49ers certainly had some luck on their side in their 1998 Wild Card Round win over the Green Bay Packers.

7. Brett Favre vs. the New Orleans Saints

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    During the Minnesota Vikings' loss against the New Orleans Saints in the 2009 NFC Championship Game, there was one play that the referees simply blew.

    In the video posted, it's clear that it was an illegal hit on Vikings quarterback Brett Favre, and it should have been a penalty, as the NFL came out in the days following the game and admitted its blown non-call.

6. Jerome Bettis Coin Toss

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    During the 1998 Thanksgiving matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Detroit Lions, the controversy took place right at the start of overtime.

    It is clear that Jerome Bettis called tails; however, referee Phil Luckett claims that Bettis called heads.

    The coin landed tails.

5. Immaculate Reception

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    It is unclear who actually touched the ball first, Jack Tatum or John Fuqua. Either way, the ball landed in the hands of Franco Harris, and he made a tremendous reception to score the game-winning touchdown.

    However, many Oakland Raiders fans and players will argue that it was an illegal play, as Fuqua touched the ball first, which should have been a penalty.

    The NFL rule back then stated that an offensive player could not touch the pass after another offensive player touched it until a defensive player did.

4. Super Bowl XL

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    Super Bowl XL may be one of the most controversial Super Bowls in NFL history, as the Pittsburgh Steelers took down the Seattle Seahawks with the score of 21-10.

    However, many people tend to believe that the Steelers got an enormous amount of extra help from the referees, whether it's the phantom holding call that took a potential 98-yard touchdown drive away from Seattle or Ben Roethlisberger's quarterback sneak for a touchdown.

    Just watch the video above. You tell me if any of these calls were wrong.

3. 2002 Wild Card Game: New York Giants vs. the San Francisco 49ers

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    The New York Giants simply got robbed on this blown call, as it cost them the game against the San Francisco 49ers.

    During the Giants' botched field-goal attempt, holder Matt Allen scrambled to find an open receiver. Allen let go of his pass and found guard Rich Seubert, who happened to be an eligible receiver.

    However, Seubert was wrestled to the ground, which was a clear pass interference call. But the referees did not believe so, as they called a penalty on the Giants—not the 49ers—for an illegal man downfield.

    Both penalties should have been called, which would have offset and would have given New York another chance to kick the game-winning field goal.

2. Ray "Sugar Bear" Hamilton's Phantom Roughing the Passer on Kenny Stabler

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    This is one of the most upsetting blown calls ever. I mean, we all know Raider Nation is rather large, but does anyone outside of it really want to see the Raiders win?

    New England Patriots defensive lineman Ray "Sugar Bear" Hamilton was flagged for an extremely questionable roughing the passer call on Raiders quarterback Kenny Stabler.

    After taking a look at the play, I believe that it was not roughing the passer and it was an awful call.

    Not only was the call terrible, it also cost New England the game, as it enabled Oakland to score the game-winning touchdown on its second chance.

1. Music City Miracle

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    I know, I realize that this is one of the most amazing and most well-known stunning endings to a game in NFL history, but it was a blown call.

    Titans fullback Lorenzo Neal lateraled the ball to wide receiver Kevin Dyson, which enabled him to run for a 75-yard game-winning touchdown; however, it was an illegal forward pass.

    Many believe that it was a legal lateral, but a lot of people tend to believe it was an illegal pass.

    The video of the play is posted. You be the judge.