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Referee Can’t Help But Grin While Calling Penalty To Bring Back Huge Gain

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BUFFALO, NY—Reached for comment on his experience officiating the NFL divisional round playoff game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills, referee Clay Martin told reporters Sunday that he couldn’t help but grin while calling a penalty to bring back a huge gain. “I have to admit, watching those players cavalierly celebrating what they think is a 43-yard pickup, all the while knowing I’m about to toss my flag and wipe that gain right off the board, I couldn’t help but crack a smile,” said Martin, who was observed on television cameras attempting to stifle his laughter after throwing a penalty flag that turned a massive third-down conversion into a ten-yard loss for an offensive holding call. “It’s especially fun when you get to throw the flag right near the guys when they start celebrating and making first-down signals, then watching as the wind goes right out of their sails and they have to make the long walk back downfield. Sometimes they get really mad and start yelling, which we officials all honestly find hilarious. The best part is that I didn’t call holding penalties all the other times they occurred—I waited and bided my time until the penalty would cause maximum frustration to the players and the fans. Man, I love it when the fans get upset.” Later in the game, the officials were seen smiling and giving each other high-fives after a questionable defensive pass interference call allowed the offense to move 57 yards down the field.