It was arguably the worst non-call in a playoff game in NFL history. Saints fans were livid and bewildered after the most blatant pass interference and helmet-to-helmet contact possible was allowed to stand without a flag even though a referee was staring at them five yards away. There was no problem with the angle. It wasn’t a judgment call. It was unquestionably pass interference and it likely cost the Saints the game.
9,999 out of 10,000, I would argue that bad calls are part of the game. I would say that a play may or may not have influenced the outcome, but there were plenty of other plays that could have changed the result as well. I would argue that it’s tough to lose when there was a chance to win, but that’s football.
I won’t say those things on this one. It was a season-changing call that calls into question the NFL’s fairness as an institution. Saints would have had the ball on the 5-yard-line, first and goal with under two minutes to play and the score tied. I would have given them a 90% chance of winning at that point.
Instead, they kicked the field goal, leaving enough time for the Rams to tie and then win in overtime. They’re going to the Super Bowl. But perhaps they shouldn’t be.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has it within his power to make them replay the game. He should invoke this power and make things right in the football world.
Different people have referred to different ways this can happen. Michael Thomas mentioned one:
Rule 17 Section 2 Article 3 @NFL ?⚜️
— Michael Thomas (@Cantguardmike) January 21, 2019
“The Commissioner’s powers under this Section 2 include the imposition of monetary fines and draft-choice forfeitures, suspension of persons involved in unfair acts, and, if appropriate, the reversal of a game’s result or the rescheduling of a game, either from the beginning or from the point at which the extraordinary act occurred.
In the event of rescheduling a game, the Commissioner will be guided by the procedures specified in 17-1-5-11, above. In all cases, the Commissioner will conduct a full investigation, including the opportunity for hearings, use of game video, and any other procedure the Commissioner deems appropriate.”
Others have looked two articles prior. Rule 17, Section 2, Article 1 states:
“The Commissioner has the sole authority to investigate and take appropriate disciplinary and/or corrective measures if any club action, non-participant interference, or calamity occurs in an NFL game which the Commissioner deems so extraordinarily unfair or outside the accepted tactics encountered in professional football that such action has a major effect on the result of the game.”
At this point, I don’t care what magical rule the commissioner pulls out of his hat. There’s a consensus he can make this right if he chooses to do so. Of course, there’s also the financial factor. An impromptu rematch this weekend would be the second most-watched game of the season outside of the Super Bowl.
It’s taken time for the NFL to put the kneeling debacle behind them. This controversy is not in the same league, but it certainly is to Saints fans. Letting it go as an “oops” moment is unacceptable.