The wrong team is going to the Super Bowl. It’s that simple. No matter who you root for or root against, the New Orleans Saints should be in the Super Bowl.
A missed call, the worst in NFL playoff history, kept the Saints from winning the game and gave the Los Angeles Rams a chance they wouldn’t have received had the proper call been made.
One sportsbook _ PointsBet in New Jersey _ refunded the money to everyone who bet on the Saints. When a bookie appears to have more integrity than the NFL, the league has a big problem.
I’m normally not one to get in the weekly debate of fans who feel a bad call kept their team from winning. Too bad. Every game has calls that could have gone the other way. Teams have to overcome it.
But this one was so egregious, the clear pass interference on Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman (even he admitted it afterward) that something has to change in the name of fairness.
No matter what happens in the Super Bowl between the Rams and the New England Patriots, this season will be remembered as the year the Saints were robbed.
This can’t happen. The league cannot maintain its respect when such an obvious mistake kept a team from reaching the Super Bowl.
Yes, many other calls were missed in the two championship games, including a ridiculous roughing the passer call on Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones (waving his arm by Tom Brady’s face) that kept a New England drive alive.
It was a bad decision by the official, but nothing compared to the Robey-Coleman play where he ran over Tommylee Lewis on the sideline (along with initiating a helmet-to-helmet hit) long before the pass arrived.
The correct call would have resulted in the Saints running most of the remaining time off the clock and kicking a chip-shot field goal to win. Sure, they could have missed the kick, but that’s beside the point.
In all likelihood, the game was decided on a call that seemed impossible to miss.
So how do they fix it moving forward? Easy. Make all plays reviewable. Critics of that idea say that’s not practical because it would add more time to games that already are too long.
I say baloney, and even if it does occasionally add time, it’s better to correct an obvious error than have fans question the outcome.
On plays that are not available for coaches to challenge, a replay-booth official must have final say about reviewing a play. Not every play needs to be reviewed. In fact, few plays need review that are not challenged.
The NFL never has reviewed plays that weren’t flagged. That also must change in rare situations like the one Sunday.
And no call in the game decides more games than pass interference. PI calls have an impact in almost every game. The Washington Post reported that the NFL will consider making PI reviewable.
However, I’m not talking about a review of every PI call. Most of those involve a receiver and defensive back grabbing each other in some fashion. Those calls often can go either way.
There was no debate on the play Sunday. Robey-Coleman deserved two penalties on one play. Someone in a replay booth back should have said, “We have to look at that play again. It’s just too egregious to ignore.”
Maybe there is one of those a game. Maybe two. Maybe none.
But something has to change. The Super Bowl was on the line and the wrong team won. That can’t happen again.