If there's one piece of criticism that never goes away in the NFL year after year, it's criticism towards the league's referees for their standard of officiating at the highest level.
NFL officials were criticized once more during this week's Thursday Night Football game between the New Orleans Saints and the Dallas Cowboys.
The game ended close at a scoreline of 13-10 in the Cowboys favour, but it arguably could have swung the other way if the officials hadn't missed two key calls on the field of play.
Both of these plays occurred late in the game, with the first coming with the Saints facing a third-and-17 from the 50-yard line with around ten minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
Saints running back Alvin Kamara caught a pass and was moving downfield when he took a huge helmet-to-helmet hit by Cowboys linebacker Jaylen Smith.
Despite the obvious helmet-to-helmet hit, no flag was thrown onto the field. If there had been a flag, New Orleans would have been given an automatic first down at Dallas' 27-yard line trailing 13-10 with 9:59 left.
Kamara was sent to the medical tent, as a result, to be evaluated for a concussion, but he was able to return to the game. He was asked after the game if he thought a flag should have been thrown on the play.
He answered rhetorically according to NBC Sports: “Did one come out? It is what it is. It don’t matter what I was expecting.”
The other play came just minutes later, and it helped the Cowboys close out the game, as Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley was given a first down on a third down play where he came up obviously short of the marker.
There were other plays as well throughout the game that didn't go Dallas' way, but these two were arguably the most significant.
Quarterback Dak Prescott was facemasked late in the fourth quarter on a play that wasn't flagged. The Saints appeared to have got away with a pass interference on their only touchdown of the game too.
It was a terrible night in truth for the officials, and their standard should be miles better, especially when you look at the Kamara hit that was missed.