Referees shaping the NFL is ruining its future
The most blatant missed penalty in NFL Playoff history occurred in the NFC Championship game (the game before the Super Bowl) with one minute and 46 seconds left. It occurred on third and ten at the five-yard line, when as Drew Brees threw a pass down the sideline to Tommy-Lee Lewis, Nickell Robey-Coleman hit Lewis straight in the face before the ball got to him.
In the NFL officiating rulebook this play was a penalty for helmet to helmet and also a penalty for pass interference. This penalty would have given the ball to New Orleans inside the five-yard line while the Rams had one timeout remaining, the Saints would have run out the clock and kicked the game-winning field goal with little time remaining.
Neither penalty was called as 75,000 people in the Superdome in New Orleans all saw the same thing, while four referees who live in Southern California did not. This penalty was so obvious, but a hit to the face of Tom Brady in the AFC Championship in Kansas City, which did not seem like it was even the call to make was called, which led to the Patriots making the Super Bowl. Senior Vice President of Officiating Al Riveron talked to the head coach of the Saints minutes after the game ended and explained to Payton that his crew missed the call and potentially cost the Saints the opportunity to go to the Super Bowl.
“The reason they didn’t call that penalty was because they wanted to build the fan base in Los Angeles, and make more money,” John Park said. “Flying from Los Angeles instead of from New Orleans would make them more money.”
Even the player Nickell Robey-Coleman that committed the act admitted and said, “Yes, I got there too early. I was beat, and I was trying to save the touchdown.”
There were a lot of penalties throughout the game but only one ended the game and decided it. The worst missed call on the Saints was the missed face mask on Goff that would have given the Rams the ball at the 1-yard line and the Rams a lead of 24-20.
The penalty on the next drive was the missed one that Robey-Coleman committed that wasn’t called. This could have set up the Saints for the game-winning touchdown to take a 27-24 lead with under 30 seconds remaining and no timeouts for the Rams.
If the integrity of the game can’t be upheld then do us fans still want to watch a game that is not executed to the best ability, with implications from outside forces (refs) deciding the outcome of the game? Not just Saints fans, but all football fans should be upset with a call (or no call) that decides who’s going to the Super Bowl.