With 1:49 left to play in a 20-20 game and the Saints facing a third-and-10 from the Rams’ 13-yard line, Drew Brees dropped back and threw a pass to TommyLee Lewis, and that’s when this happened. The Saints got screwed by one of the worst no-calls in NFL history. Nickell Robey-Coleman not only made helmet to helmet contact with Lewis well before the arrival of the ball, the play screamed pass interference! The 73,028 fans in attendance all thought it was pass interference, everyone from ESPN to FS1 believed it was pass interference, hell even Robey-Colman thought it was pass interference and the flag would have gone against him. But the officials didn’t and that’s what matters.
The no-call was so bad that the league office literally called Payton after the game to apologize about it.
“Just getting off the phone with the league office. They blew the call,” Payton said following the loss. “Man, there were a lot of opportunities though, but that call puts it first-and-10 and we’d only need three plays. It’s a game-changing call. That’s where it’s at, so it’s disappointing. For a call like that not to be made, it’s just hard to swallow.”
To make things worse, the NFL’s vice president of officiating, Al Riveron, actually admitted to Payton that there were a total of two missed penalties on the play. “[The league] said not only was it interference, but it was helmet-to-helmet,” Payton said. “There were two calls [the refs missed], they couldn’t believe it. We spoke initially, then I called to follow up and the first thing Al said when I got on the phone, ‘We messed it up.'”
Had the refs called the penalty the Saints would’ve have likely run the clock down and kicked a game winning field goal which would have sent them to the Super Bowl. But, the error of 7 men and a flawed system the wrong team moved on the the biggest game of the year. There’s talk that the competition committee will look into penalties being reviewed. In theory that’s awesome, but it’s too little too late in this situation. The Rams and Patriots will play each other Super Bowl Sunday, while the Saints will get a letter in the mail containing a BS apology. NFL changes needs to be steadfast so, the healing process can start.