Sean Payton urged the NFL to acknowledge error, it still hasn’t

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Last Sunday night, the NFL quickly acknowledged to Saints coach Sean Payton, with the kind of profane terms in which Chris Simms routinely dabbles, that the officials erred by not flagging Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman for pass interference and/or unnecessary roughness for his hit on receiver Tommylee Lewis. Eight days later, the NFL still hasn’t acknowledged the mistake publicly.

The league has remained silent even though, per a league source, Saints coach Sean Payton privately has urged the NFL to “show some leadership” and admit the mistake publicly. The goal isn’t to rub the league’s face in it, but to ensure that a true commitment exists to avoiding these kinds of issues in the future.

Indeed, if every situation like this can be avoided by hunkering down and weathering the storm and keeping quiet until the fans and media move on, that will become the league’s new blueprint for handling such situations.

It hasn’t been that way in the past. Peter King points out in his new Football Morning in America column that the NFL has, on at least 15 and as many as 30 occasions since 2003, admitted publicly an officiating mistake.

If the league hoped that the passage of time would make it all better, the league hoped wrong. Commissioner Roger Goodell continues to be called out for not talking about the situation, with King being the latest to sound off — and with Goodell’s annual pre-Super Bowl press conference only two days away.

Other strategies for putting out the fire have failed. Last Monday’s coordinated leak campaign regarding the possibility of making pass interference subject to replay review bounced once and then landed with a thud, when people like Cowboys executive Stephen Jones and Broncos G.M. John Elway (members of Competition Committee) and Falcons CEO Rich McKay (the chairman of the Competition Committee) promptly went on record throwing water on the possibility.

Over the weekend, the league leaked to Adam Schefter of ESPN a blatantly self-serving message aimed, apparently, at simulating a public apology: “This week, Sean Payton has spoken to Roger Goodell, SVP of Officiating Al Riveron, EVP of Football Opetations [sic] Troy Vincent, Comp Committee Chairman Rich McKay. It was explained to Payton: It’s a call that officials should make. Goodell also spoke to Saints’ owner Gayle Benson.”

Schefter thereafter provided “context” (i.e., accuracy), thanks apparently to the reaction to his prior tweet. “Sean Payton reached out to NFL this week to see how it would publicly handle situation and demonstrate leadership it should,” Schefter tweeted. “NFL did not reach out to him. NFL felt the explanation that Riveron offered Payton after game — officials missed the call — was sufficient.”

Although McKay never spoke to Payton (per a league source), the rest of the second tweet is accurate. The conversations between Payton and Goodell, Riveron, and Vincent weren’t about Payton receiving an explanation. They were about Payton urging the league to make a statement as a matter of basic leadership.

Without that, nothing will change. Without it, nothing can change.

26 responses to “Sean Payton urged the NFL to acknowledge error, it still hasn’t

  1. After the butcher job on the Minnesota Vikings by the Saints in the 2010 Championship game that takes a lot of nerve to expect an acknowledgement or anything else-glad the Saints got jobbed, deliriously happy-they earned it =)

  2. Sean , if they do acknowledge it, please ask them to review what is known as the ” The Forward Lateral” Game in Buffalo ( Music City Miracle in Nashville ). If they look at the overhead view, they can see the ball went forward and should have come back. The Bills win the game. Still waiting.

  3. Payton should acknowledge that throwing the ball on 1st and 10 at the 13 with 1:58 left was really really dumb

  4. Companies make mistakes. The best companies admit to the error, apologize to its customers and make changes to prevent the same damage from occurring again. That’s basis crisis management. Where is the NFL’s leadership? Unreal.

  5. I don’t understand the need for a pubic acknowledgement. Anyone with a modicum of sense, or who has been subjected to the media whining and searching for page hits knows the got it wrong.

    If the league are going to do anything, I would rather they compiled a chronological list of every missed call in the game. We could then go back to the most important error (which was the first one because if that call was changed everything thereafter would not have happened as it did) and each one thereafter and consider hypothetically how the game would have turned out from there if that call was made correctly.

    Recency bias in the game and in comparison to past officiating errors has enabled this issue to blow up far beyond what it should have.

  6. Regardless of the outcome, the fact that the league can’t admit this was terrible is pathetic.
    While I don’t buy into the conspiracy theories about the refs living in California, there’s simply no way that this league can’t admit it was bad. And to me, this league should be more concerned about the black eye it’s getting by not admitting it.theres simply no effort to disprove those conspiracy theory comments. That should be job one right now….

  7. Pretty sure everyone outside of New Orleans is sick of hearing it..It sucks, it happens, and the Saints are not the only team to get screwed on a bad call..Nothing will change the fact that the Rams won in OT after Drew Brees had the chance to win in and threw an INT to give the game away…On To Atlanta…

  8. The NFL will make whatever announcement they’re going to make AFTER the super bowl. Everyone understands the importance of timing, but there are some angry people who want to damage the league. If the shoe was on the other foot, and the Saints were in the super bowl, Sean Payton would be livid if the league made some kind of announcement that he thought delegitimized their presence in the game. How do you think the networks would feel about it as well? There is a timeline people. The super bowl has become sort of a national holiday, and the league isn’t going to say anything to divert attention away from the game. I understand not everyone cares about the league, but the commissioner gets paid to care.

  9. Wait til media week. They won’t want to talk about the fake super bowl I know that much.

  10. Yeah because admitting mistakes in the past really improved officiating . Whether they admit it or not bad calls will continue to happen because imperfect human judgement is used to decide what is a penalty either on the field or in the booth . Those screaming for more replay need to remember how many times they were yelling at the TV after a review either how could they not see that or how could they overturn that call .Bad calls that aren’t PI can change outcomes of games and can happen at any point in the game so unless every call can be reviewed bad calls will continue to impact the outcome of games.

  11. As a football fan, it should infuriate everyone that the league thinks by not addressing the situation it will go away. We are all fools to watch a sport that has not accountability or no fairness to what the officials can control. Like any business its all about the money but its our(fans) hard earned money that they are so arrogant about. They show a 25 billion dollar profit. 25 BILLION!

    I’ve heard the argument about the missed facemask call on Goff but the no call is the most game changing one of all of them. The missed hands to the face on Brees is a complete game changer as it happened during a turnover and essentially ended the game as well. Bad calls happen and are a part of every game in every sport but that no call on the hit was about as bad as I’ve ever seen. Its ridiculous that with all the officials on the field that “missed” that call.They don’t need to add officials , they just have to get ones that do their job!

  12. I believe Goodell’s silence is in part an effort to avoid the obvious question – – Why didn’t you call for a replay of the final 1:49 using rule 17? By letting time pass by without a word, he has eliminated this option.

    I personally don’t buy into conspiracies. The coordinated effort it would take to “fix” games is far beyond the capability of the NFL. And, if it were proven they were predetermining the outcomes, the losses and penalties would be so severe they may not survive.

  13. They still didn’t admit the “no clear recovery” mistake from the Philly/Dallas opening kickoff.
    Not the same impact since it happened so early in the game, but an obvious a mistake. And what makes that one so egregious is that the ruling was supported by the head of officiating.

  14. No address to the Jags players skipping out in Godel’s London on a 65ooo bill.. This is the NFL

  15. I wonder if the frivolous lawsuits stop the NFL from commenting? You can’t have it both ways.

  16. Sean, have them admit also all the errors they made in the Steelers and Eagles games that got you to this game. Funny how you whine when the calls don’t go your way, but when they do, total silence. It’s called Karma you sore loser.

  17. Thinking Payton wants the missed call story to continue on because the longer it stays in the public eye then people won’t be blaming Payton for his boneheaded playcalling and Brees for playing horrible coming down the stetch . Payton can cry all he wants but after the bad call but he and Brees deserve their fair share of blame for the loss too .

  18. The NFL should acknowledge the error. But what difference does it make? The result would still stand.

  19. There’s a video out there showing the ball was probably tipped which makes the call right as far as PI goes.

  20. Jason Seifried says:
    January 28, 2019 at 3:00 pm
    There’s a video out there showing the ball was probably tipped which makes the call right as far as PI goes.
    Ball wasn’t tipped. Not even close. Brees threw it about 5-6 feet above the D-linemen.

  21. Influencing an NFL game is easier than anyone imagined it could be.

    An illegitimate team is playing in the Super Bowl and the League knows it.

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