Bob Wojnowski, John Niyo and Justin Rogers discuss the Lions' loss, Golden Tate's touchdown that wasn't, and the upcoming game at Minnesota. Detroit News
Allen Park – There’s a perception of persecution that has proliferated through the Detroit Lions fan base for many years and a string of unusual officiating blunders and rule applications the past several seasons have given credence to the notion.
But don’t expect coach Jim Caldwell to validate your paranoia. He doesn’t believe his team is officiated any differently than the Green Bay Packers or the New England Patriots.
“I don’t worry about explaining because I don’t have that woe-is-me attitude,” Caldwell said. “Labels get put on people for whatever reasons they are, and you can take them, and live with them, make excuses for why you’re not successful, blame whoever for your mistakes and problems, or you can attack the situation, go win ballgames and forgot about all that other stuff.
“That’s what we got to do – we just got to win,” Caldwell said. “That other stuff doesn’t really matter, there’s no magic about it. There’s no hocus-pocus. Good teams can win consistently and they don’t need calls by the official to go their way in order to win. They make a difference, so that’s the way we’d like to approach that.”
With the most recent example, the reversed touchdown and 10-second runoff in a loss to the Falcons, the Lions had a number of opportunities to put the game away. Quarterback Matthew Stafford could have fired an accurate pass to Theo Riddick on first-and-goal. Rookie wide receiver Kenny Golladay could have ran a better route on second down. And there were a number of breakdowns on third down that led the play to come up inches short. Do a little bit better on any play and we’re not having this discussion.
And the irony of it is the Lions were bailed out by the officials a few plays earlier, when facing first-and-30 a defensive holding call away from the play gave the team a fresh set of downs.
Caldwell’s point is if you’re good enough, officials shouldn’t matter. The Lions have a knack for teetering on the edge, desperate rallying late in games where the margin of error is razor thin. Coaching and execution will always save the Lions more than the refs will hurt them.