Lions fans fear worst as Clete Blakeman referees Thanksgiving game vs Bills

Joshua Rogers November 24, 2022
Lions fans fear worst as Clete Blakeman referees Thanksgiving game vs Bills
Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Detroit Lions fans are fearing the worst after learning that referee Clete Blakeman will be officiating the Thanksgiving game vs the Bills.

The Lions have played on every single Thanksgiving except for two since 1934. They take on the Buffalo Bills in the first of three NFL games today.

It was recently revealed that the referee assigned to the Week 12 game will be Clete Blakeman. Blakeman began his officiating career in the in the Big 12 Conference, and moved to the NFL as a field judge in 2008.

The 58-year-old, who is a partner and personal injury attorney in Nebraska, has been an NFL referee since 2010, and even officiated Super Bowl 50 in 2016.

The Lions have a history with Clete Blakeman

While Blakeman has an impressive CV, he has made several questionable calls in the past that have gone against the Detroit Lions.

As highlighted by SI, Blakeman and his crew inexplicably called two illegal hands-to-the-face penalties against Trey Flowers back in 2019, which should not have been made. The calls led to the Packers’ 23-22 victory over the Lions despite the fact replays showed Flowers had not done anything wrong.

Per Sharp Football Analysis, the Lions average the fourth-most defensive pass interference calls per game and lead the NFL in illegal contact penalties. Clete Blakeman reportedly calls the third-most penalties per game in both these key categories.

Furthermore, Blakeman lead the NFL in defensive holding penalties in 2021 and is currently calling the third-most per game in 2022.

Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Lions fans fear worst with Clete Blakeman taking charge on Thanksgiving

All of this pretty much adds up to Lions fans being pessimistic about the outcome of today’s game. The Lions have lost 14 of their past 18 Thanksgiving Day games. That includes last year’s 16-14 loss to the Chicago Bears, and haven’t won on Thanksgiving since 2016.

After the news that Clete Blackman would be taking charge of the Bills game today, fans shared their thoughts online:

Good luck Lions fans, you’ll need it.

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Joshua is a senior sports writer with over four years' experience in online writing. He graduated with a BA in Ancient History from The University of Manchester before receiving an MA in Sports Journalism from The University of Central Lancashire. He became a trending writer for a leading social publisher and later spent time covering the 2018 World Cup for The Mirror Online. He then moved to a social marketing agency where he acted as website editor. His specialties on The Focus include F1, tennis, NBA, NFL and combat sports.