Controversial NFL Calls

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Tails You Lose

Photograph By AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

It would seem to be one of the easiest calls for an official to make. But when Pittsburgh's Jerome Bettis called tails before the ovetime coin flip on Thanksgiving Day, 1998, referee Phil Luckett thought he heard "heads-tails." So when the coin showed up tails, Luckett said Detroit won the toss as Bettis complained and announcers who heard him say "tails" over a live mic criticized the call. The Lions took the ball and won the game on their first possession. The controversy changed the procedure for the coin toss: The visiting captain now makes the call before the coin is thrown in the air.