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NFL Officiating responds to the Trent Williams non-ejection

The 49ers benefit from the NFL, NFLing

NFL: 2023 Season Player Headshots Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers had a wonderful Thursday Night in their 30-12 win over the New York Giants. The officiating crew had the opposite.

There were numerous blown calls through the game and some that were lacking any sort of explanation after the flag was thrown along with the ticky tack things you’d come to expect. There was a strange (to this writer) pass interference call on Deommodore Lenoir, illegal contact got thrown when George Kittle got rerouted (correct call, but it was in a sea of judgment calls that gave the 49ers multiple chances to punch it in the endzone), and then towards the end of the game it felt like the inmates were left to run the asylum. Sure, Dre Greenlaw got nailed for unsportsmanlike conduct, but given how regular those have come for him, that’s like the end credits to a movie at this point.

The biggest botch was on left tackle Trent Williams.

Towards the end of the first half, Williams got tangled up with A’Shawn Robinson. Depending on which edited video you see, it’s either a replay with them going at it with Robinson instigating, or a zoom in of Williams throwing a haymaker towards Robinson’s helmet. Flags came out and no ejections.

Just to clarify, Williams didn’t initiate first contact, Robinson did. From the video, some weird half punch came out that didn’t even hit Trent Williams, but Robinson was still the instigator. It’s weird, but if Robinson just walked away this would be much easier to sort out.

Of course now everyone wants to wonder why Williams wasn’t ejected.

1: Maybe he should have been.

2: Williams didn’t “throw” the first punch, Robinson did. So if Williams is tossed, so should Robinson. In fact, if you want to get it “right” (That fun little word), review the video, see Robinson started the scrum and toss him and leave Williams alone. Or toss them both.

3: Come on, NFL Officiating.

Now, if you really want to go the direction that Williams should have been 86ed from the field, OK, let’s play. I mean, everybody knows it. Williams knows it. He even spoke about it after the game.

At first he didn’t know what people were asking him and later calls it, “love taps”.

To the letter of the law, he retaliated. It was seen, and he should be tossed. That’s the rule.

Honestly? I don’t think that levels the playing field that much. It’s not like that’s going to make the Giants offense more efficient in trying to get down the field. And Trent Williams is one of the best players on the 49ers. But it does bring the questions of consistency the league has been flooded with the last few years. Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson shoved an official on the Monday Night Football and didn’t get tossed. Now Williams is in a similar boat.

It wouldn’t be complete without a long-winded explanation defining nothing. The Athletic’s Matt Barrows had a pool report with NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating Walt Anderson:


Should Williams have been ejected? Probably, if you’re trying to go to the letter of the league laws. But if you want to get it right (there’s that word again) Robinson should have been tossed too. Then give us an explanation after the game of what they violated. Beat writers shouldn’t have to double down on just how ridiculous all this is.

Furthermore, since there’s more context to this than just, “Trent Williams punched a dude, toss him” the outrage seems a bit twisted. Yes, to the letter of the law, Williams probably should have been ejected. But that said, there’s no sense in saying how bad the officiating was via gaslighting and without providing necessary context.

Back to the officiating crew. “100 percent judgment?” Isn’t this why you have open communication to sort this out?

While the 49ers benefitted from this, there’s still 14 games left where they may be on the receiving end of something similar. And that is concerning. The stakes could be much, much higher than a Thursday Night Football game against one of the weaker teams in the league.

All fans want is consistency. Not philosophy or judgment calls.

On the flipside, it did give me one of the more hilarious moments of the week and reminding me why I loved when Jim Harbaugh was coaching. Brian Daboll getting mad on illegal contact (sorry, Daboll, it was correct), will never get old.

What are your thoughts? Being unbiased (hard to ask around these parts), do you think Williams being ejected was the correct move? How should the officiating crew have done this incident? What are your thoughts on the officiating?