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Controversial Referee to Officiate Steelers-Ravens



An NFL referee looks on as the Steelers face the Ravens on Jan. 1, 2022 in Baltimore. (Mitchell Northam / Steelers Now)
An NFL referee looks on as the Steelers face the Ravens on Jan. 1, 2023 in Baltimore. (Mitchell Northam / Steelers Now)

Controversial referee Brad Allen will officiate the Steelers and Ravens game on Saturday. Allen is under fire after the Lions and Dallas game, where he failed to recognize Lions tackle Taylor Decker reporting as eligible. Instead, Allen believed that another tackle, Dan Skipper, reported as eligible, leading to the Lions being called for a penalty instead of taking the lead.

“So, we had a situation where if you were going to have an ineligible number occupy an eligible position, you have to report that to the referee,” Allen said. “On this particular play, No. 70 [Dan Skipper], who had reported during the game a couple of times, reported to me as eligible. Then he lined up at the tackle position. So, actually, he didn’t have to report at all. No. 68 [Taylor Decker], who ended up going downfield and touching the pass, did not report. Therefore, he is an ineligible touching a pass that goes beyond the line, which makes it a foul. So, the issue is, No. 70 did report, No. 68 did not.”

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported afterward that Allen’s crew would be downgraded. He addressed the video of all the players approaching him, though Skipper said he never spoke to Allen anyway.

“That conversation is where No. 70 reports to me, and I then go to the defensive team, and I say to them ‘No. 70 has reported as an eligible receiver,’ so they will be aware of who has reported and then I return to my position,” Allen said. “That was the conversation with the defensive line.”

It’s another pivotal game for Allen to officiate. The Steelers need to win the game to boost their playoff chances, even though the Ravens have nothing at stake in the game. That leads to the possibility of game-changing calls. Allen’s crew also failed to call defensive pass interference in the Chiefs and Packers game.  So, there is a history of worry from both teams in this game.