Referee Brad Allen has stood by his game-changing call that snatched victory from the Detroit Lions on Saturday night but video on social media has cast doubt on his claims Taylor Decker didn’t report to him before the play.
Allen ruled offensive lineman Decker wasn’t an eligible receiver when he caught a 2-point conversion pass that would have given Detroit a one-point lead over Dallas Cowboys with 23 seconds remaining.
According to NBC Sports, Allen claimed Decker had to report to him to make himself eligible but did not do so, adding that only Dan Skipper had done so.
The Lions, however, insist that Decker did and video on X does appear to show Decker approaching Allen, as well as quarterback Jared Goff seeming to send him over to Allen.
Lions coach Dan Campbell, visibly furious after the game, also said he told the officiating crew about the play in a pregame meeting.
Referee Brad Allen has opened up on his controversial call at the end of Lions vs. Cowboys
Social media footage appears to show Taylor Decker reporting to him before the late play
‘So, we had a situation where if you were going to have an ineligible number occupy an eligible position, you have to report that to the referee,’ Allen explained.
‘On this particular play, No 70, who had reported during the game a couple of times, reported to me as eligible. Then he lined up at the tackle position. So, actually, he didn’t have to report at all.
‘No 68, who ended up going downfield and touching the pass, did not report. Therefore, he is an ineligible touching a pass that goes beyond the line, which makes it a foul. So, the issue is, No 70 did report; No 68 did not.’
ESPN footage via an overhead camera appeared to show Decker reporting to Allen before the play.
‘That conversation is where number 70 reports to me, and I then go to the defensive team, and I say to them ‘No 70 has reported as an eligible receiver,’ so they will be aware of who has reported, and then I return to my position,’ Allen said. ‘That was the conversation with the defensive line.’
A furious Campbell said after the game: ‘I don’t want to talk about it.
‘I explain everything pregame to a tee, OK? I did that. 70 reported (according to Allen), 68 didn’t. We threw it to 68. That was the explanation.’
Decker also insisted that in that overhead camera footage from ESPN, he was reporting to Allen.
Lions coach Dan Campbell was absolutely furious at Allen’s decision making late in the game
Decker took the catch for a two-point conversion that would have seen the Lions lead Cowboys
‘All I really want to say on it, just so I don’t get myself into trouble, I did exactly what coach told me to do,’ the Lions man said.
‘I went to the ref and said, ‘Report.’ It’s my understanding, too, that Dan (Campbell) brings up the possibility of those sorts of plays pregame.
‘I did what I was told to do and did it how we did it in practice all week. That’s all I want to touch on with that.’
Quarterback Goff pleaded Detroit’s case as officials discussed what they were going to call.
‘Very confused,’ Goff said. ‘What I do know, and I don´t know if I´ll get fined for this, but I do know that Decker reported. I do know that Dan Skipper did not. I do know that they said that Dan Skipper did.’
The Lions are now 11-5 with one regular season game remaining against the Vikings on January 7.
The Cowboys, who held on to beat the Lions 20-19, finish with the Commanders.