Buccaneers' Bruce Arians Vents on Officiating: Referees Aren't Held Accountable

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 28, 2019

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - OCTOBER 06:  Head coach Bruce Arians of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks on during a NFL game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on October 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians called for a higher level of accountability for NFL referees after his team was the victim of an officiating mistake in Sunday's 27-23 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

The Titans attempted a fake field goal in the fourth quarter. Devin White tackled the holder, Brett Kern, and forced a fumble, which Andrew Adams was poised to recover and return for a go-ahead touchdown. However, the referees blew the whistle on the tackle, thus ruling the play dead. 


The @Buccaneers were all over that fake field goal. #GoBucs #TBvsTEN 📺: FOX 📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app Watch free on mobile: https://t.co/a16R5wPShJ https://t.co/lNCaD0Tp7q

That play remained a source of frustration for Arians on Monday, per ESPN's Jenna Laine:

"It was more than just one play. Everybody except for one guy saw the ball out. [He] blew a quick whistle. My biggest thing is, referees aren't held accountable. Coaches get fired. General managers get fired. Players get cut. Referees aren't accountable. And it's a shame. It's been that way for 40 years, and now that we've got a new agreement, it'll be that way for 40 more years."

A similar play happened in the Los Angeles Rams' Week 2 win over the New Orleans Saints. Cameron Jordan had a sure fumble-recovery touchdown taken away when the officiating crew ruled Jared Goff had thrown an incomplete pass. The Saints successfully challenged the play and gained possession but were denied six points.

Poor officiating has been an issue throughout the season, most notably in one area that was supposed to address a problem from last year. The NFL opened the door for coaches to challenge pass interference calls, but referees are effectively making the rule change useless by almost never overturning the decision on the field.

The NFL fined Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin $25,000 last year when he criticized the referees in his team's win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Arians could potentially face similar consequences, even if he said what many of his NFL colleagues and players are thinking too.