NFL decides against issuing statement admitting error in Rams-Saints, for now

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Everyone knows that the officials blew a key non-call late in the NFC title game. The teams knows it. The players know it. The officials know it. The league knows it, and a league employee has said so.

But the league has reversed course on its plan to formally admit it, for now.

Per a league source, the NFL has decided to refrain, at least for tonight, from issuing a statement admitting that Bill Vinovich’s crew failed to call pass interference against Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman, who hit Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis prematurely on a key third down play with less than two minutes to play in regulation.

The Saints should have had the ball with a fresh set of downs, along with the ability to take a couple of knees, bleed the clock, and kick a chip-shot field goal to advance to Super Bowl LIII. Instead, the Saints had to kick the field goal with enough time left for the Rams to tie the game — and then for the Rams to win it in overtime.

Apparently, the powers-that-be are haggling over the language of the statement that would admit the mistake. The haggling will continue into Monday, at a minimum.

If the league hopes to retain any credibility whatsoever, it will acknowledge the mistake ASAP and commit to making changes aimed at preventing such mistakes in the future. As the clock ticks, it will only get harder for the league to clean up a mess that its own substandard procedures for spotting and fixing obvious errors has created.

102 responses to “NFL decides against issuing statement admitting error in Rams-Saints, for now

  1. They need more time to come up with yet another pathetic excuse fort he decision. Just come out and say we screwed up, we fans (of all teams) we already know this!!!!

  2. Can they send a memo about Jones Roughing the passer penalty while we’re at it or we gonna ignore that cause the media loves the Pats?

  3. How about Goodell doing a PR bit about giving Chiefs fans Super Bowl tickets before the AFC Championship. Was that a mistake NFL?

  4. Everyone is going to talk about the no call. But they should be talking about how the Rams defense shut down the saints offense and held them to 3 points in the second half. Wade Phillips made adjustments and took away Kamara and the saints had no answer. And those to kicks from Zurline were a thing of legend. That game winner might still be in the air. That would have been good from 70 yds.

  5. I mean, of course. Did you really think the NFL would ever accept responsibility for their own incompetence? It would be hilarious if it weren’t so tragic.

  6. I’m a little more excited to see how the AFL turns out after today. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I’m fed up with this new overly convoluted version of football.

  7. The officiating was horrible in the KC game too. Roughing the passer? Really?

    Also, why all the official conferences just to state that the game clock was correct? Multiple times.

  8. Still cant believe they missed that call.

    Stunning!

    But, it went the Rams way, so I will embrace it!

  9. I don’t think the refs made a mistake. Los Angeles is a much bigger media market than New Orleans. The networks are who pays all the big salaries. Now they get Boston and L.A.

  10. No doubt a blunder call. But the bigger picture is, ow about the Saints don’t blow a 13-0 lead at home and should have had the game put away by the blunder call.

    Fist the Minneapolis Miracle (whining), now the blunder call (whining). Just play the entire 60 minutes and have games put away by then.

  11. All this talk about the obviously-blown call, but the simple truth is that Brees blew the game with that stupid interception. There’s your game, right there

  12. Biggest blown call ever. How are the Saints not in the SB?

    What is Fraudgers excuse now? Were the refs measuring Football PSI on the sidelines and missed the call?

    Oh wait..

  13. A terrible no call on the obvious pass interference. Terrible.

    The question I have is what is the purpose of having instant replay when you can’t correct the call that puts the wrong team in the Super Bowl?

  14. Enough already. No one is complaining about the 2 missed facemask before this. It would have changed the whole game. Saints cheated their way in 09 to the SB. They didn’t complain then, did they?

  15. An awful way to end a game to an otherwise great day of football. Just really stunk it up badly and shame on the nfl office and those refs who let it slide and sent the wrong team to the Superbowl

  16. The Saints should have had the ball with a fresh set of downs, along with the ability to take a couple of knees, bleed the clock, and kick a chip-shot field goal to advance to Super Bowl LIII. Instead, the Saints had to kick the field goal with enough time left for the Rams to tie the game — and then for the Rams to win it in overtime.
    ———-
    Wow….you have a whole list of things that had to happen AFTER the missed call, and it’s still only the refs that blew it?

    Maybe the Saints defense should have shown up to stop the Rams?
    Nope. It’s the refs fault.

    Maybe Brees shouldn’t have thrown a pic in OT?
    Nope it’s the refs fault.

    But if you are going to look at blown non calls and blame the entire game on the non call, why don’t we review ALL the non calls in the first 58 minutes of the game?

  17. Their helmets barely touched. Helmet fouls should be for egregious and collision that cause injury. Do you want me issuing you a ticket for going 5mph over the posted limit, citing you for j walking? I approve that no call.

  18. “Can they send a memo about Jones Roughing the passer penalty while we’re at it or we gonna ignore that cause the media loves the Pats?”

    There were bad calls/ non calls in favor of KC too, but all the Pats haters ignore those like they didn’t exist.

    BTW penalties against Pats were 6 – 61 yards, against KC 4 – 28 yards

    KC was far from hosed by the refs they got their fair share that went their way

  19. There are tons of blown calls in every single game. You’re only making such a big deal about it since it was close to the end of the game.

    The saints still had plenty of chances after that play to prevent the rams from coasting all the way down the field to kick a field a goal to tie it, and then again in overtime to kick another one to win.

  20. If you are going to fix the missed PI call, you need to fix the missed facemask call at the other end of the field on the Rams previous series… Since you are not allowed to fix blown penalty calls, I want to eliminate the challenge system all together. Live with the call on the field. As a Vikings fan I say… Ha Ha Ha Ha…. As a Cyclone fan I say, see a bad call can change a game…

  21. “All this talk about the obviously-blown call, but the simple truth is that Brees blew the game with that stupid interception. There’s your game, right there”

    ——-

    And that should have been defense holding on the DB. Two blown calls, actually.

    We all know that teams should win games without penalties. But, at a certain point, we’re just making excuses for people who should also be doing their jobs (the refs) to keep screwing things up. At the end of the day, was it a bad no call? Yes or no? Was it significant? Yes or no?

  22. The officiating has been terrible all season. Every weekend there were games decided by crap calls and non calls. No reason to expect it would be better today. Fix it NFL.

  23. PFT: “The Saints lost! Let’s blame it on a single play!”
    Real World: “But weren’t there several dubious calls in the game? And in the AFC Championship as well: Such as that incredibly bad Roughing the Passer call against KC? So… why are you focusing on this one particular call, in every single PFT post?”
    PFT: “Because the result doesn’t fit our narrative!”

  24. Issue the PSI report .Replace the Comish and acknowledge the petty vindictiveness of the NFL front office .Saints got screwed in Bountygate and now their chance for Drew and Tom match up.

  25. tollisonsmith says:
    January 20, 2019 at 11:14 pm

    Their helmets barely touched. Helmet fouls should be for egregious and collision that cause injury. Do you want me issuing you a ticket for going 5mph over the posted limit, citing you for j walking? I approve that no call.

    ————————————-

    It was a blown pass interference. The ball was in the air and the defender drilled the receiver. A blatant missed call. The helmet to helmet is irrelevant here.

  26. Good no call, hate PI when the wr isn’t going to catch the pass anyway. With the defender right there that play had about a 1% success probability. Too much over officiating as it is, well done on this one refs.

  27. prneum says:
    January 20, 2019 at 11:08 pm
    Bountygate?
    ————————————–

    More like PSLgate. The league got exactly what it wanted, Kroenke’s still got a lot of PSLs to move to pay for that palace that’s also going to house the NFLN.

  28. The NFL I know is being careful here because the NFL knows if they word it wrong, an elected official or some other group might actually attempt to take the NFL to court to force them to make the Rams go back to NO and replay the final minutes of the game, which would be an absolute nightmare for the NFL if they actually had to do that.

  29. A HC should be able to challenge any call on the field by officials…simple fix for future horrible errors like this.
    —————————————————————————————————————————-

    There was no call to challenge, or are you saying the coaches should be able to challenge a no call on every single play?
    Because you could call off. holding on 90% of erin rodgers snaps and the same with the cowboys. Zeke would have very few yards if you could scrutinize that holding line on every play.

  30. Guess you don’t see all of the offensive line holding, defensive backs grabbing wrs all the way down the field penalties that aren’t called on both teams in a game.

  31. It seems it’s the inconsistency of the officiating that is the most frustrating. Missed calls will happen yes, but you watch one game and everything is called you watch the next game and nothing is called. Frustrating stuff. It doesn make it more plausible to entertain the conspiracy theories.

  32. Honestly, I can see where the ref would miss that call on the PI since it happened so fast but not the helmet to helmet. That was a brutal non call & there need to be revisions to the replay system. I can think of SEVERAL examples of my team getting screwed on bogus roughing or obvious non calls that affected games significantly off the top of my head. I don’t like the saints but as a fan of the game, it sucks seeing the outcome decided due to a missed call in this magnitude of a game. The NFL also needs to make ALL of their officials full time.

  33. They still could win the game in overtime, right? That call did not make them lose the game. It make them not win the game. But in overtime, they still could win the game out right. This is becoming the tuck rule game of this decade! The “no flag game”?

  34. Weren’t the Saints already in position to burn clock and kick a game winning field goal but they decided to pass it on first down? 13 yard line, 1:58 left and the rams have 2 timeouts? It would have left the Rams around 40 seconds and no timeouts. Bad play calling, bad officiating.

  35. Sure sure. The NFL will release a statement just after they release all the psi numbers from a whole season years ago. Frauds at Park ave. Disgusting

  36. And all is right in the world.
    Maybe the saints should run their mouths less after sqeakin by 6 seeds in the future.
    #almostchampsback2back

  37. Wonder if the NFL will also issue a statement about the missed facemask on Goff that would have given the Rams 1st and goal with the chance to go up 24-20. Rams fans would be all over that now if they didn’t win.

  38. Pretty dreadful day of officiating in both games. To a large degree, the screwups offset and didn’t favor one team over another in the end. All 4 teams had plenty of chances to win their games right up to the end.

    But that PI is possibly the most blatant non-call I’ve ever seen. I just cannot fathom how officials can be right there, watching it happen, and not call it. There was absolutely no gray area. The ball was on target, the defender’s back was completely turned, no attempt whatsoever to get the ball, and it happened right out in the open, where everyone’s eyes were focused, without anything obstructing view of the play…just baffling.

  39. Guess it takes time to phrase “Our employer wanted Los Angeles to win” in a way that still upholds the integrity of the game.

  40. NFL really shot themselves in the foot, Brady vs Brees would be a way more compelling matchup to someone that isn’t a fan of any of the teams that played today

  41. I will argue that the Chris Jones Penalty was weak, but the fact that the illegal contact/PI on Edelman was missed on that play was just as bad. Don’t get me started on the phantom calls on JC Jackson all night. Edelman, Gronk, Hogan all got grabbed and pulled with no penalties but JC handfights with Watkins and that is PI? Really?

    Two VERY poorly officiated games by “All Star” crews.

  42. Bang-bang play my foot! Where was the Back Judge? Where was the Side Judge?
    They had to be on the Field and the play was coming in their direction.
    Why wasn’t there a conference with the crew to make someone with “Courage” to make the proper call?

    It now makes sense why there was a petition by the Rams fan to have this officiating Crew removed from the game.
    Their tactics worked. Prove me wrong.

    Hey Goodell, what do you think? You are the highest CEO in the World. Earn your salary!

    Those two or three officials including the Crew Chief should be fined and suspended for3 years and NEVER work any Playoff games for that length of time.

    Imagine, getting paid to be BLIND!

    Good job Rams……See you next YEAR!

  43. Saints ahead 13-0 in the 1st. Out scored 26-10. Blame that great defense I have been hearing about. Most of your db’s suck and so do your backers.

  44. I think that the replay officials should have the right to call fouls that are missed by the referees on the Field. Because the Replay officials can see in real time and by slow motion plays and the Timing of hits that are before or after a catch or before the Catch.

    In the last San Francisco 49ers last Super Bowl Appearance, the Referees allowed the Ravens to do whatever they wanted to do without getting a penalty. The 49ers lost the Superbowl because the referees called the Game for the Ravens. This Game was just as bad in that an important no calls cost a team a trip to the Super Bowl.

    The replay officials should be able to call Penalties on any play, even if there are no calls on the Field.

    Referees are human and miss calls, but the Camera sees everything.

  45. Last year they made the bad “Myles Jack wasn’t down” call in the Jags vs. Patriots. Small market team vs. established Patriots. I wrote it off as error. Now, let’s see a team newly relocated to LA, with nearly $5B being spent on a new stadium? Odd how their decisions follow the money.

  46. The least they could have done is call offsetting penalties LA for PI, the receiver for attempting to make a game-winning play from a smaller market team, and let them replay the down.

  47. it’s unfortunate the missed call or non call happened when it did however the saints had many opportunities to win this game before it came to that one play in football unlike many sports it cannot come down to one play to blame a game on in a close game just as you cannot blame a kicker for a missed walk off kick to win a game when the game is that close those teams have usually had many other plays they could have won the game on it happens every week , every game , every playoff season , season in 2009 there were several none calls that won that game for the saints but Mr payton had NO problem with that or saints fans , now Mr payton is on the rules committee , go figure , it’s football people , NO one talked about all the ramifications in 2009 about paychecks and so on and so on until the bountygate investigation and no saint gave up their checks after payton was suspended for a year so lets drop all the crap and move on vikings fans did when they had a championship stolen from them because the saints deserved it because of all they endured from katrina , right no one deserves it thats why they play the game but refs miss calls , players don’t execute coaches make bad decisions and thats the game move on

  48. “As the clock ticks, it will only get harder for the league to clean up a mess that its own substandard procedures for spotting and fixing obvious errors has created.”

    They can’t clean up this mess, unless they replay the end of the game, or install New Orleans in the Super Bowl, and they aren’t going to do either. What an avoidable farce that was, at a time when they’re paying a dope $44M a year to avoid that crap. They also dropped the ball by remaining silent. Stand up and acknowledge the obvious and then you can begin the path forward, but the NFL under Goodell has really learned how to shoot itself in the head.

  49. tsiawd says:
    January 20, 2019 at 11:46 pm

    Wonder if the NFL will also issue a statement about the missed facemask on Goff that would have given the Rams 1st and goal with the chance to go up 24-20. Rams fans would be all over that now if they didn’t win.
    **************************
    It’s really hard to issue a statement on something that never happened. Just because his hand brushed the facemask, didn’t make it a facemask, unless you’re one that likes the QB in a bubble where he can’t be touched without a penalty.

  50. I think the answer to this situation is not to allow reviews on every play but to allow the coaches, players and media, to publicly criticize the officials when they blow a call. And call the official by name. back judge joe jones really blew that call, etc. After their name is known and how bad they are they may straighten up. But then again what can one expect for part timers.

  51. bucsandbolts says:
    January 20, 2019 at 11:02 pm
    Everyone is going to talk about the no call. But they should be talking about how the Rams defense shut down the saints offense and held them to 3 points in the second half. Wade Phillips made adjustments and took away Kamara and the saints had no answer. And those to kicks from Zurline were a thing of legend. That game winner might still be in the air. That would have been good from 70 yds.
    ———————————–

    Its easy to hold teams down when your allowed to level their receivers 4 yards early… Happened 2 drives in a row, the last one was just the worst.

  52. All 4 teamsare great and played tough and deserve to be in the SB. Yea it was crap but how many non calls were there that went NO way that would have put the Rams ahead earley? Let’s all scrutinize the game second by second for conspiracies. Was it a crap call or lack of that made DB throw interceptions or PM get sacked so much? No I am tired of one of the last American institutions that brings me such joy sept-Feb being hijacked by some millennial attitude that it is okay not to own failure. It has to be someone else’s fault. 4 teams enter 2 leave and this is not defined by 1 exact moment in 4 quarters. They lost and I would have loved to see KC in but they lost because NE played better. And why tarnish the Rams great season and great energy – they deserve to be there and have worked like hell this year and so fun to watch -there is no flipping conspiracy.

  53. harrisonhits2 says:
    January 20, 2019 at 11:14 pm
    “Can they send a memo about Jones Roughing the passer penalty while we’re at it or we gonna ignore that cause the media loves the Pats?”

    There were bad calls/ non calls in favor of KC too, but all the Pats haters ignore those like they didn’t exist.

    BTW penalties against Pats were 6 – 61 yards, against KC 4 – 28 yards

    KC was far from hosed by the refs they got their fair share that went their way
    ————-

    KC wasn’t screwed in the penalty game, thought that one was bad. KC was screwed on the reviews. It was pretty obvious the ball hit the ground, but all in all it was a clean game. Nothing like what happened in New Orleans. Patriots are just a good team.

  54. All this proves is that the NFL ( Goddell et al ) have no problem rigging games so their two bigger markets get their teams into the big game. Don’t buy that? How about the NFL colluding to put not one, but two teams into the nation’s largest television market (LA). Than, during the Saints contest, having the officials look the other way during the infamous “non call” with 1:47 left on the clock. The official was standing 10 feet away from the play ( right below my seats )and walked right through the play, eventually telling the Rams defender why he hadn’t called a penalty ( but not the Saints player slammed with a head butt? ). In the AFC game, roughing the passer was used with impunity to place Tom Brady and his east coast team to match up with the Rams west coast team ( and preferred market ). This is not crying….it was robbery, plain and simple. There was speculation regarding why the college game is gaining popularity, while the pro game has trouble filling seats. These games are a glaring reason why.

  55. The Referees will be the Pall Bearers carrying the casket of the NFL to it’s final resting place.

    This is the feather in the cap of Referees and the NFL Front Office officially ruining the game.

    The “it’s just part of the game” excuse is over, done, and buried. It has ruined the game, the entertainment value has turned into infuriating altered outcomes where it is no longer to be taken seriously.

    Games are now decided by how terrible a given Referee Crew is or isn’t, new rules they change annually yet never really figure out, and crunch time moments where it appears there is no accountability or recourse to curb the Refs puppet like influence over the game.

    The game is now officiated by a half dozen Mr Magoos and we’re all just supposed to “accept” their result. Uhhh, yeah no.

    This is the new NFL and it’s kind of disturbing. My last season as a season ticket holder was 2017 and I am glad I walked when I did.

  56. The truth is out there….its a business..it’s about markets and ratings. It’s been the same for decades.

  57. deuce22222 says:
    January 20, 2019 at 11:04 pm
    The officiating was horrible in the KC game too. Roughing the passer? Really?

    Also, why all the official conferences just to state that the game clock was correct? Multiple times.
    ——————————————————————
    How about the phantom PI calls against JC Jackson? Chiefs had their chances. It was a great game. Mahomes will be back, likely several times. They were just outplayed and outschemed by the best coach/QB combo in history. There is no shame at all in going down to the wire against the GOAT’S.

  58. Yea it was kinda was P.I. but the same could be said for more than a few of the Saints defensive plays, that is the thing about letting them play, you have to let them play the results be damned. The Saints had every opportunity and advantage to win that game, and they lost it, end of story. b.t.w. I am a fan of the new rules and prefer games with 60- 80 pts scored over the old 3 yards and a cloud of dust 10 to 7 games of the past but it was nice to see an old school battle between the DBs and WRs

  59. Crossed the picket line suggests he was an nfl player. He wasn’t, he was a guy off the street, like all the other shlubs who played those games. That’s a lot of people to hate.

  60. Fraudger got exactly what he wanted – a Superbowl in the country’s two large media markets….follow the money, folks…!!!…

    I’m more convinced than ever that the NFL is no more legit than Pro Wrestling….

    The fix is in, and it will not improve with legalized gambling…..

  61. Just can’t help believing this fraud was planned from the start. Networks call the shots, and they wanted opposite-coast teams. They always do, because whether we like it or not, it is all about ratings. The networks are in the broadcast game to make a profit. Just a terrible day for the NFL, horrific. All complicit know who they are.Goodell has a lot to fix.

  62. Enough about how the Rams held the Saints in the second half. They wouldn’t have held them if the right call would have been made. The problem with the refs has been going on for several years now. It’s time to hit the NFL where it hurts – in their pocketbook. Start boycotting the sponsors until something is changed. Goodell should have fixed this problem a long time ago

  63. bucsandbolts says:
    January 20, 2019 at 11:02 pm
    Everyone is going to talk about the no call. But they should be talking about how the Rams defense shut down the saints offense and held them to 3 points in the second half. Wade Phillips made adjustments and took away Kamara and the saints had no answer. And those to kicks from Zurline were a thing of legend. That game winner might still be in the air. That would have been good from 70 yds.
    ===================
    And the reason everybody is talking about the no call is because those two kicks don’t happen if it’s called.

  64. joesuhunka says:
    January 20, 2019 at 11:03 pm
    Too bad the ramifications of Bountygate keep popping up for you don’t they Sean? The football God’s have long, long, long memories.
    ==============================
    So to clarify, the football God’s allowed the Saints to win 13 and lose 3 times before their recollection?

  65. That crew should be banned from ever working a game again. The league ‘must’ fix this. Absolutely ridiculous.

  66. Mr J says:
    January 20, 2019 at 11:06 pm
    No doubt a blunder call. But the bigger picture is, ow about the Saints don’t blow a 13-0 lead at home and should have had the game put away by the blunder call.

    Fist the Minneapolis Miracle (whining), now the blunder call (whining). Just play the entire 60 minutes and have games put away by then.
    ============================
    But why can’t it be both? You know,, put the team away AND get the correct calls? It’s funny how complacent fans have become in accepting this type of mediocrity from the NFL. Seriously, don’t demand more. Just keep making more and more excuses as to why the NFL will never have to change.

  67. samadams14 says:
    January 21, 2019 at 8:38 am
    Biggest Champ Game blunder since Lee Evans drop, BAL vs NE. ‘12.
    =================
    The one where he lost the ball before his second foot touched? Biggest game blunder indeed.

  68. The NFL does not want to admit making a mistake and giving the game to Rams due to legalities. Am wondering how many lawsuits will be filed? How to fix this: put one man a booth; add another and there is a potential debate. Have him buzz head ref if he see error being made or a missed call.Will not slow game up much.

  69. fireroger wrote: So to clarify, the football God’s allowed the Saints to win 13 and lose 3 times before their recollection?

    No, they waited until the Saints were late in the championship game to drop the hammer on them.

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