Dryol Prioleau is a seven-year NFL referee from VA. For 59 minutes, 30
seconds those of us watching the Browns play at the New England Patriots truly knew this.
Prioleau decided he wanted to determine the outcome of this game.
Leon McFadden was called for pass interference in the end zone with 35
seconds left in the game. Replays showed McFadden didn’t commit pass
interference. It didn’t matter to Prioleau who threw his flag with authority.
It was first down Patriots on the Browns 1-yard line. And in the matter of
what seemed like seconds the patriots went from trailing by 12 points to
leading by 1.
You can blame the Browns defense for allowing the Patriots to storm back
after the Browns took a 19-3 lead on an 80 yard touchdown reception to
You can blame Jason Campbell for burning timeouts earlier in the second
half. Timeouts the Browns dearly needed when they got the ball back
down one point with 30 seconds remaining.
But you can’t allow a field judge to play such a big role in determining who
wins and loses games. A bad call is going to happen, but in that situation,
why is he throwing a flag if there isn’t an egregious foul being committed?
In a Browns season that featured frustrating momentum after frustrating
moment, no doubt this takes the cake. To have a game in which the
Browns played relatively well determined by a poor judgment call on
Prioleau’s part is maddening.
Does this happen only to the Browns? No, just ask the Packers about that
Monday Night Football game last year vs Seattle. While we’re all at it, ask
the Seahawks about Super Bowl XL.
The Browns should have won this game. For 59 minutes, they did almost
everything right to secure the victory. The Patriots, with some big help
from Prioleau, dominated the final minute.
Is 5-8 that much better than 4-9? Of course not. On Sunday morning, one
Browns fan said to me, “These are the types of games the Browns win”
In other words: How many times have we seen the Browns win a
meaningless game December game only to screw them out of a key player
that following spring in the NFL Draft?
It’s not easy to say they should tank the final 3 games. A win at Pittsburgh
in two weeks would be most welcomed.
Hopefully the Browns learned an important lesson today. There were
plenty of missed opportunities in the game’s first 59 minutes allowing that
final disastrous minute to occur.
They also learned Dryol Prioleau doesn’t know what pass interference is.
We all learned that.