The NFL and the Ravens are in disagreement when it comes to the interpretation of wide receiver Steve Smith's controversial offensive pass interference penalty from Sunday.
NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said that officials made the right call in nullifying an 80-yard touchdown during the final minute of the Ravens' 27-24 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals when they ruled that Smith interfered with safety George Iloka.
The Ravens were irate about the call, as it wiped out what likely would have been the winning score, and coach John Harbaugh said Monday that the team sent video of the play into the league asking for an explanation.
Blandino discussed the call during an NFL Network appearance Tuesday night.
"It's an interesting play," he said. "Pass interference is any act that significantly hinders an eligible player's ability to catch a pass. When we look at this replay, you can see Smith put his left hand in the chest of the defender and push him down. We do feel that this is the correct call.
"And when you look at it, reverse the roles. If that was a defender pushing a receiver down, I don't think anybody would be questioning the call. The rules are the same to both sides of the ball: That is offensive pass interference."
Blandino added that Iloka, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound player who is one of the biggest safeties in the NFL, may have been already losing his balance before contact. However, he said Smith clearly pushed Iloka and that's the determining factor in the call.
"You can make a case that he may have been off balance, but the receiver does push to gain that separation and it does create an advantage for the receiver," Blandino said. "And that's why it's a foul."