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Monday, January 11, 2010
Whisenhunt shrugs off facemask non-call

By Mike Sando

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Big shocker here. Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt isn't convinced officials should have called his cornerback, Michael Adams, for a facemask penalty on the final play of Arizona's 51-45 overtime victory over the Packers.

Adams sacked quarterback Aaron Rodgers, knocking the ball loose. Karlos Dansby caught the ball and returned it for the game-ending touchdown.

Did Adams' illegally grab Rodgers by the facemask? The photo here sure makes it appear so.

"I've just watched it on tape," Whisenhunt said. "This was a game that went longer than 60 minutes. There are all kinds of plays during the course of that game that go on. That to me was the way they called the game. I really haven't looked at it in depth. I was more focused on seeing the ball come off Aaron Rodgers' foot and going to Karlos' hand and him running for a touchdown."

Sounds like Whisenhunt won't be calling for an official review.

I watched the play several times. It's not an easy call to make.

"No player shall twist, turn, or pull the facemask of an opponent in any direction," the NFL rulebook states, adding that violators "may be disqualified if the action is judged by the official(s) to be of a flagrant nature."

The rulebook provides the following example: "Third-and-10 on A30. Runner A1 runs to the A33, where he is tackled by B1, who incidentally grasps A1's facemask on the tackle, but it is not a twist, turn, or pull. Ruling: A’s ball, fourth-and-seven, on A33. No Foul."

Did Adams twist, turn or pull the facemask? He seemed to pull it. It seemed incidental. It was not flagrant. Should a game as great as that one turn on what was arguably a borderline facemask penalty? I think not.

There were lots of missed and questionable calls and non-calls Sunday. This one will not taint or overshadow the outcome.