NFL Referee Boss Admits Major Mistake in Bills-Vikings That Could Have Determined Outcome

The 2022 Week 10 Buffalo Bills vs. Minnesota Vikings game was an instant classic that is definitely the game of the season thus far and may be the game of the last few years. It was back and forth with comebacks, clutch plays, and incredible moments that won’t soon be forgotten. One of these jaw-dropping plays came at the end of regulation when Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis made a fantastic diving catch to keep his team’s game-tying field goal drive alive. The only problem was the head of NFL referees, Walt Anderson, admitted it wasn’t a catch.

NFL exec says NFL referees should have reversed Gabriel Davis catch in Bills-Vikings games 

Patrick Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings tackles Gabe Davis of the Buffalo Bills. The NFL referee boss admitted officials missed a call on Davis late in the Bills-Vikings game.
Patrick Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings tackles Gabe Davis of the Buffalo Bills | Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images

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The Bills-Vikings game was the best game of the 2022 NFL season as far as drama, excitement, and unexpected plays. One of those dramatic sequences was when Bills quarterback Josh Allen drove his team down the field for a game-tying field goal with 0:35 left on the clock.

On 2nd-and-2 at his own 40-yard line, Allen threw a laser to Gabe Davis on the sideline, and the WR made a diving catch for a 20-yard gain.

The Bills hurried up to the line, ran the next play, and eventually forced overtime. However, replays showed Davis bobbling the ball as he was going to the ground, and, on TV, it certainly didn’t look like a catch.

After the game, NFL Senior VP of Officiating Walt Anderson told NFL pool reporter Lindsay Jones of The Ringer that fans who questioned the Davis catch were right.

Jones asked why there was no review initiated by the replay official, and Anderson responded that “we should stop the play and ensure it is a catch” in these types of late-game situations.

When asked about the mechanics of the catch itself, Anderson said, “We were able — several plays after — to look at all the angles. It would have been reversed to an incomplete pass because he did not maintain control of the ball after he hit the ground, and the ball touched the ground out of bounds.”

In the end, the Vikings won the game, so this is just a mea culpa from the head NFL referee. However, if the game had gone the other way and the Bills won, the reaction from Vikings fans would have been deafening.

The NFL referees are having a tough season in 2022.

Roughing the passer has been the most significant issue thus far. A call on an Atlanta Falcons defender against Tom Brady by Jerome Boger led to a Tapa Bay Buccaneers win back in Week 5, and on the Monday Night Football game that same week, NFL referee Carl Jeffers made a similar call on Kansas City Chiefs lineman Chris Jones. Like the Bills-Vikings game, the aggrieved team luckily came away with the win in this one.

And it hasn’t just been on the field, either.

In Week 7, two NFL officials were caught in the tunnel after the game talking to Buccaneers WR Mike Evans in what looked like an autograph-seeking situation. Ultimately, the league determined the ref was just hooking Evans up with golf lessons, but it was a bad look from the officials.

NFL referees have made some bad calls this season but have gotten lucky for the most part so far. They need to tighten things up, though, or they are going to cost a team a big game like they almost did in the Week 10 Bills-Vikings tilt.