The 2023 Iron Bowl this past weekend was one for the record books. The 10 year anniversary of the famous “Kick Six” repeated itself with another epic Iron Bowl which saw the Alabama Crimson Tide come from behind to secure the victory scoring on a 4th and 31 hail mary with less than a minute to go on the road in Jordan-Hare.
This epic showdown however didn’t come without controversy as there were several missed calls on both sides. Sure, there are missed calls in every game. But the missed calls in this one left fans wondering what the officials were even doing, and if they even had a genuine interest in protecting the players and doing their jobs.
Here were the missed calls worth mentioning:
Looking at 4 notable missed calls from the 2023 Iron Bowl
Face Mask: The officials couldn’t make it out of the first quarter before missing their first big call as Auburn kick returner Brian Battie had his head twisted around by Alabama’s Kendrick Law in a very transparent face mask no-call. Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze was noticeably upset on the sidelines. Immediately, CBS commentators Gary Danielson and Brad Nessler commented that there was going to have to be a make up call for this one that came Auburn’s way. Danielson was quoted as saying, “You’d have to not understand football not to see this.”
James Burnip Punter Takedown: Alabama Punter James Burnip was taken down very aggressively with the ball nowhere in sight as he was coming off the field after a punt. An official on the sideline was in direct view of the play, but no call was made.
Three men in motion (called offsides on Alabama): Auburn was running a crucial 4th and two early in the fourth quarter on Alabama’s 28 yard line up 21-20. The Tide were poised for a big stop to try to get the ball back and take the lead. However, the play never even happened and the Tigers were awarded a first down in what many deemed as the “make up call” for the missed facemask in the first quarter. The Auburn Tigers clearly had three men in motion which is a penalty as a team isn’t allowed to have more than two in motion at one time.
Burton Catch: In the fourth quarter, Alabama faced a third-and-10 when Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe connected with wide receiver Jermaine Burton on the sideline where Burton appeared to tap his left foot down with green grass between it and the white sideline paint. The officials called the play incomplete on the field, and after, replay upheld the decision. Although this one was probably more arguable that the other missed calls, it’s still worth mentioning.
These missed calls were so egregious that the officials kept themselves behind the eight ball the whole game and were having to worry about “make up calls” the entire game to appease both sides. Although “make up calls” are questionable and whether or not they happen, starting with the missed facemask on Alabama in the first quarter, it was without much question that the officials were going to have to try to do something.
As bad as the calls were, oddly enough they seemed to even out. And at the end of the day, there is always the logic that I attest to – play good enough to not let the officiating decide the game. With that being said, the egregious calls throughout this game are worth pointing out, and here’s to hoping the SEC makes some adjustments so this doesn’t happen again – especially in a rivalry of such magnitude.