Former NFL referee Jim Daopoulos on M&M: ‘It should have been a foul’
|01.20.14 at 2:01 pm ET|
Former NFL referee Jim Daopoulos spoke with Mut & Merloni on Monday to discuss the Wes Welker-Aqib Talib collision during Sunday’s AFC championship game. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
“Clearly in my opinion the contact was prior to the ball being touched by Demaryius Thomas,” Daopoulos said. “It should have been a foul.”
“The way I looked at it was when Welker went across the middle he made contact with Talib prior to the ball going to the receiver.”
According to Daopoulos, Welker initiated contact with Talib and restricted him from playing defense.
“He just basically committed an illegal act where he picked Talib off and actually committed a foul by restricting Talib’s opportunity to play defense,” Daopoulos said.
“You have to have contact. You can pick all you want in the NFL. Picks are not illegal. What makes them illegal is the contact. If you pick the guy, it’s OK, but you cannot initiate the contact.”
Daopoulos, who spent 12 years as an NFL supervisor of officials after 11 years on the field. noted that the referees called the Patriots for a pick later in the half.
“Clearly, Welker’s contact gave Denver an advantage, and that’s what you’ve got to rule,” Daopoulos said. “The timing is so tremendous with these athletes, and it’s all timing out there.
“The only issue I have, we saw one earlier right at the end of the first half with New England, No. 47, with [Michael Hoomanawanui]. Same exact situation. All I think the people want, whether it’s coach [Bill] Belichick or players, coaches, anyone, is they want consistency out there. If you’re going to call it one minute against one team, then be consistent and call it against the other team and do it consistently throughout the game. You can’t call it against one team and let it go against the other.”
Despite what Belichick expressed on Monday, Daopoulos does not think it was a dirty hit, nor should it warrant a fine from the NFL.
“I can almost assure you that it wasn’t a deliberate attempt to injure Talib,” Daopoulos said. “I think Welker was just running his pattern, he was doing exactly what he was trying to do, he was trying to get that hesitancy in Talib’s coverage so if he hesitates that just instance that let’s his man gets open.”
“I’ve looked at the play many many times and there’s nothing that will draw a fine. All it was was an illegal pick and it should have been a foul for offensive pass interference.”
Daopolous concedes that the game was a hard one to call.
“You can stop-frame this game, this game was so difficult to officiate,” Daopoulos said. “As an official, what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to determine is someone getting an advantage by doing something illegal. There’s a lot of illegal activities that go in a football game, but as officials what you’re looking for is someone gaining an advantage by committing a foul.”