Seahawks' Pete Carroll critical of refs: 'Way too many penalties'

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll candidly voiced his displeasure with the officiating in his team's 41-35 loss to the Dallas Cowboys Thursday night, including what he called an "error" on a pivotal play in the first half.

Carroll was also upset over what he viewed as over-officiating in the NFL. The two teams combined for 19 penalties and 257 penalty yards.

"It's unfortunate that it feels like there was a whole 'nother factor in this game," Carroll said unprompted to open his postgame news conference. "I don't know, you guys saw it a lot better than I did, but there was just way too many penalties in this game, for both sides. We've got to get out of that kind of football."

Late in the first quarter, the Seahawks were lined up for a 37-yard field goal try when they were flagged for a delay of game. Placekicker Jason Myers gave the hand gesture for officials to reset the 40-second play clock as it was winding down. Replays showed Carroll yelling from the sideline that the ball had been re-spotted, which he felt should have warranted a reset.

After the penalty moved Seattle back five yards, Myers missed the 42-yard attempt.

When asked about the penalty, Carroll was eager to discuss the sequence.

"I'm glad you asked me that," he said. "OK, what happened on that play was that officials moved the football from the middle to the hash, and they're supposed to reset the clock, and they didn't do it. And so we're griping about that and the time, it got me."

Carroll said he "screwed up" by not signaling for a timeout earlier.

"I was calling it, but the whole thing got screwed up and it was unfortunate," he said. "Poorly done."

Referee Clete Blakeman offered a differing account in a pool report.

"Following a play like that, third down going to fourth down, we have a process as it relates to transitioning the balls in and out, if the kicking team is coming out or not," Blakeman said. "The scrimmage ball is transitioned out and the kicking ball is transitioned in. The umpire spots the ball. I'm dealing with eligibles reporting in and the kicking team in that regard. So, through this process, there was no real delay to either the scrimmage ball going out or the kicking ball coming in. It was just a normal process. Of course, at the end of the down the 40-second clock kicks in. We felt like there wasn't any undue delay in any way. It was a normal procedure."

Said Carroll: "The way I saw it, that's an error on their part, and that was too bad."

Asked about the sequence Friday morning in a Zoom call with reporters, Carroll said Seattle's coaches did in fact see an official re-spot the ball after the initial swap-out -- the regular ball for the kicking ball -- and spot.

"They knew that they should've reset the clock afterwards, but it was too late," Carroll said.

Did officials tell Carroll they should have reset it?

"They knew what happened," he said. "Officials knew what happened. They knew what happened there."

Of Seattle's 10 penalties, six were for either defensive holding, defensive pass interference or illegal contact. Four of them came on the same Dallas touchdown drive in the third quarter. Of Dallas' nine accepted penalties for 127 yards, three were for defensive pass interference.

Carroll said he doesn't believe the NFL is "going in the right direction" with the frequency of coverage penalties such as those, and that officials need to be given more latitude in that part of their job.

"They know the game, they know how to make these calls, but they can't call everything that when there's a little this and a little that, and particularly when it doesn't affect the play," he said. "I'll spend some time on this in the offseason for sure. And I'm not saying I've got all the answers. I'm not saying that at all. I'm just saying that I think the game needs to be adjusted here somewhat because there's too much emphasis on those situations."