Should Devin Taylor’s facemask penalty on Aaron Rodgers be a reviewable play? (Shutdown Corner)

Yahoo’s own Dan Wetzel covered every angle  of the Miracle in Motown — a Hail Mary that will become the stuff of legend in Green Bay — but folks in Detroit will remember the play prior to Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ 61-yard bomb to Richard Rodgers Jr. with no time left on the clock. Lions defensive end Devin Taylor was whistled for a face mask penalty that — upon further review — didn’t appear to be a face mask penalty at all. Taylor’s thumb brushed Rodgers’ facemask before his paw took the reigning NFL MVP to the ground. Yet, what would’ve been a game-ending tackle instead became a first-and-10 at Green Bay’s 39-yard line with zeroes on the clock — but time enough for one play. Lions tight end Eric Ebron offered photographic evidence on Twitter of Taylor’s innocence. ……. http://pic.twitter.com/BfLVmwdUcb — Eric Ebron (@Ebron85) December 4, 2015 In real time, though, it’s hard not to make the facemask call. In a fraction of a second, Taylor’s hand hits Rodger’s helmet, the quarterback’s head whips to the right and he’s down with his chinstrap awry. The NFL has its share of officiating controversies this season, but it’s hard not to agree with the league’s vice president of officiating on this matter — “at full speed” that gets called “almost every time.” Hand up to the mask, quick grab with finger and head gets turned. At full speed official is going to make that call almost every time. — Dean Blandino (@DeanBlandino) December 4, 2015 All of this begs the question: Should penalties be reviewable? Obviously, this is a slippery slope that could  extend the length of games even further. After all, a review of any play probably turns up a holding call, at the very least. But perhaps officials could review plays in certain situations. For example when a game — and Detroit’s last prayer for a playoff spot — hangs in the balance. And maybe only some penalties could be overturned — obvious ones, like whether somebody grabbed another guy’s facemask or not. Here’s an idea: Certain penalties — not including holding — fall under the same guidelines as other reviewable plays. In the last two minutes, officials automatically review those penalties. Throughout the game, coaches have the same number of challenges, but can now throw the flag on those penalties, too, except they have to cite specifically what they’re looking for, so nobody’s challenging calls willy-nilly. Of course, officials are bound to make mistakes, even under these circumstances. Upon further review, there’s a chance a referee still views the thumb to the facemask as a penalty, even though the rulebook allows for incidental contact of the helmet. Maybe an official even deems that roughing the passer: “In covering the passer position, Referees will be particularly alert to fouls in which defenders impermissibly use the helmet and/or facemask to hit the passer, or use hands, arms, or other parts of the body to hit the passer forcibly in the head or neck area.” I’m not saying that’s what happened. I’m just saying officials can interpret every rule a number of ways. But making some penalties reviewable, at least from a Lions perspective, might prevent this prayer … – – – – – – – Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Ball Don’t Lie and Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach

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