Jamie Collins gets Detroit Lions welcome from NFL referee

Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

New Detroit Lions linebacker Jamie Collins received the most Honolulu Blue welcome possible by an NFL referee

As the Detroit Lions opened the 2020 season at Ford Field on Sunday, a host of new players were getting their first action wearing the Honolulu Blue. But only one player got a taste of what many, many Lions players before him have experienced after coming from a different team and arriving in the Motor City.

Let’s start with a few years ago when offensive lineman T.J. Lang came to Detroit from the Green Bay Packers. Lang had rarely been penalized in his entire career with the Packers and was called for multiple penalties in his few weeks with the Detroit Lions. One player, one example uniform bias. That can be a coincidence.

Fast forward to 2019 when newly-acquired defensive end Trey Flowers was playing against the Green Bay Packers. Flowers was called for illegal hands to the face, not once but twice. Surprise, surprise, neither time did he ever touch the offensive lineman’s face. Really, the Packers player admitted it. Another player, another example of uniform bias. Okay, this is weird.

And then, it happened again on Sunday in Detroit. Former New England Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins was welcomed to Detroit on a weak call by an official. As Collins was demonstrating what happened on play, he “bumps” an official with the crown of his helmet and is flagged and ejected. No readers, this isn’t a joke.

Should he actually be ejected for that?!

While this certainly has an element of the player using better judgment and not getting close to an official, it also has an element of bias toward the color of his jersey – as proven by the examples above. Had the same interaction happened while wearing a Patriots jersey, would he have been ejected? After all, this is extremely minor contact and without malicious intent.

Let’s go back to Lang as he completely understands the feeling of playing for the Detroit Lions:

Lang says the referee walks into Collins as well. Which, if you want to analyze the clip, they are both moving toward one another. The official almost looks like he’s bracing for the impact which may not have happened at all if he doesn’t. It’s certainly weak and not the intent of the rule that was enacted against Collins.

The bigger impact was losing a key player early in a tie game – the score was 3-3 at the time – and not having his help on defense the rest of the contest. We’ll never know how his presence could have changed the outcome of this game thanks to a ticky-tack (at best) call to remove him from the playing field.

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Welcome to being a Detroit Lions player, Jamie Collins. Luckily, he won’t be suspended for his run-in with this official. While everyone is expected to just play better and beat the other team straight up to earn respect, it’s a catch-22. Because a team can’t earn the respect when they’re being held back by forces other than the opposing team. Hopefully, this brush with a referee won’t be held against him in future games.