Lions' Bill Ford: I'll never get over Cowboys call

Dave Birkett
Detroit Free Press
View Comments
Detroit Lions vice chairman Bill Ford, right, speaks with his mother and Lions owner, Martha Ford, before a game against the Chicago Bears  on Nov. 27, 2014.

Still having trouble with how the Detroit Lions lost to the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL playoffs last week? You're not alone.

Lions vice chairman Bill Ford Jr. said in a radio interview at the North American International Auto Show today that, eight days after the fact, he's still coming to grips with the Lions' controversial wild-card loss.

"I'm still getting over that," Ford said on WJR-AM (760) this morning. "I don't think I ever really will. That was a tough one."

The Cowboys scored 17 unanswered points in the final 18 minutes last week, beating the Lions, 24-20, and eliminating them from the playoffs.

The Lions melted down in the fourth quarter with a botched punt, short kickoff return, two late fumbles and a pair of defensive holding penalties on Dallas' go-ahead drive.

But the game, just the Lions' second playoff appearance since the turn of the century, will be remembered for a disputed fourth-quarter pass-interference penalty that wasn't.

Officials originally flagged Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens for interfering with Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew on a third-and-1 incompletion, then picked the flag up after announcing the penalty and beginning to mark off the spot.

Sam Martin shanked a punt 10 yards on fourth-and-1, and the Cowboys converted a fourth down on the ensuing go-ahead touchdown drive.

The Cowboys lost a divisional playoff game Sunday to the Green Bay Packers when a late fourth-down pass to Dez Bryant was overturned on replay. In shades of Calvin Johnson, Bryant was ruled to have dropped the ball because he did not complete the process of the catch while falling to the ground.

Asked this morning about the Cowboys' loss, Ford told the Free Press: "I wasn't heartbroken."

Many have said it was karma coming back to bite the Cowboys, but Ford mostly kept mum on that play when asked whether he was "tickled" about how that game ended.

"There's a lot I could say, and I suspect I'd better off be quiet at this point," Ford said on WJR.

Note: Pro Football Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau has resigned as the defensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 77-year-old had been with the organization for 16 seasons, including serving as defensive coordinator in 1995-96 and 2004-14. He was also the team's secondary coach in 1992-94. LeBeau played for the Lions in 1959-72.

Contact Dave Birkett: Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. Tom Walsh and the Associated Press contributed.

View Comments