Two former heads of NFL officials said the unsportsmanlike penalty on Von Miller should not have been called.
Mike Pereira and Dean Blandino, who each once headed NFL officials, are now FOX network analysts and each said the decision by referee Carl Cheffers to penalize Miller for his “too slow” prank on Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor was an “overreaction.”
Bloggers and twitter posts called the penalty ridiculous, horrendous and one of the worst ever.
Multiple requests were sent to a Denver pool reporter to get an explanation from Cheffers after the game but none was delivered. Had the penalty not been called, Buffalo would have had fourth and 6 from the Denver 46 with a 23-16 lead and 7:38 left in the game.
On 4th & 6...— LeadingNFL ™ (@LeadingNFL) September 24, 2017
Von Miller fakes out Tyrod Taylor, and gets flagged for Unsportsmanlike Conduct. 😅 pic.twitter.com/uUhZgzZopy
Instead, Cheffers didn’t see the humor when Miller offered to help up Taylor, then pulled his hand back in a move that goes back to the grade-school playgrounds. Miller and Taylor were seen laughing at each other after the maneuver. Yet, Cheffers gave the Bills a first down and 15 more yards. The Bills killed another 4:20 off the clock before a short Stephen Hauschka field goal gave them what turned out to be an insurmountable, 26-16 lead.
At his day-after-game press conference Monday, Broncos head coach Vance Joseph had an equanimous response to the call.
“I’m a firm believer in the rules,’’ he said. “I read the rule this morning, and I didn’t see offering the guy a hand and taking it away as a penalty. With that being said, that’s my feeling. If it’s in the rules call it, if it’s not, don’t call it. Again, it was called, so I’ll go with that.”
As of Monday evening, the league had yet to offer an explanation on why Miller was penalized.