Saints head coach Sean Payton didn’t waste any time speaking to the league office about a non-call on Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman for pass interference near the end of regulation in the NFC Championship Game.
Payton didn’t much like what the office had to say. At his postgame press conference, Payton said that he has never seen a more obvious pass interference call and said that NFL officiating head Al Riveron told him that the officiating crew led by referee Bill Vinovich missed the call.
“They blew the call,” Payton said. “There were a lot of opportunities, but that call makes it first-and-10 and we’d only need three plays. It was a game-changing call.”
Payton added that the Rams made the plays they needed to win and the Saints had a chance to run more clock down on their final possession. Drew Brees missed a short pass to Michael Thomas that they would probably make 9 times out of 10 and Payton could have run the ball rather than try the pass to Lewis. There was also a missed facemask call on Jared Goff earlier in the fourth quarter, so there was more than one case of shoddy work by Sunday’s crew.
One solution would be to make penalty calls reviewable and Payton’s spot on the Competition Committee gives him a chance to raise that issue this offeason. He said in his press conference that he’d hate to see that happen to any other teams, so perhaps that will be on the agenda.