Goodell to La. Governor: Rules prevent me from overturning game

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell responded to a letter from Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards with a letter of his own.

The Democratic governor had expressed his “deep disappointment” that officiating helped decide the NFC Championship Game and called on the NFL to fix it by expanding replay. “The very integrity of the game will be called into question” without change, Edwards wrote.

In his reply, Goodell reiterated his belief that he cannot invoke Rule 17, Section 2, Article 1 “to overturn the result of a game because of an officiating error.” He added that he believes “it would be wrong for me to do so.”

The commissioner also sounds opposed to making interference calls a part of replay. He does, however, agree the league needs to figure out how to improve its officiating.

“I fully understand your personal disappointment, and the disappointment and frustration of Saints fans throughout the country, over the outcome of the NFC Championship Game,” Goodell wrote in his letter to the Louisiana Governor, via The Advocate. “As you know, immediately following the game, our head of officiating told Coach Payton that a penalty should have been called on the play in question. I have expressed the same view to both Mrs. Benson and Coach Payton, as well as during my press conference on January 30.

“Our rules do not permit the Commissioner to overturn the result of a game because of an officiating error, and I believe that it would be wrong for me to do so. Nor have the clubs supported an expansion of replay to review decisions by game officials to call — or not to call — a penalty on the field. That said, I agree that it is incumbent on us to review this issue closely to determine if there are changes in our rules or procedures that would prevent a similar occurrence in the future. While there will always be mistakes in any game played, coached, and officiated by humans, we do not want officiating to be the topic of discussion after any game.”

Officiating, though, continues to be a topic of discussion more than three weeks after the NFC title game.

62 responses to “Goodell to La. Governor: Rules prevent me from overturning game

  1. Officiating helps decide every game. Always has, always will.

    Saints fans need to make like the Lake Pontchartrain bridge……………….and get over it.

  2. This was not the first bad non-call in NFL history and it most certainly won’t be the last. Let this be a lesson to the Saints to not blow 13 point leads at home and to close out the game in OT after winning the coin toss. When the Patriots win the coin toss in OT, they find a way to win. There are bad calls against both teams in every single football game.

  3. Do rules stop Goodell from changing how officials are managed? Many media accounts say that the quality of NFL officiating has noticeably declined the past two seasons. How about Goodell addressing the downward trend.

  4. One good thing from this lawsuit is that it forces Goodell to actually speak on this noncall which he avoided during his press conference.

    I also cant understand if you not agreeable to challenges why not just have a referee who is in the video room that can call in a call like a missed call. Similar to when the ‘video room’ calls for a review of turnovers or touchdowns etc…

  5. Up until that game…officiating has helped determine point spreads and over/unders…This was the first time a officiating actually determined the outcome of a game!!!

  6. It was an officiating error. Unless malfeasance can be proven (or even circumstantially inferred), that’s it. Bad calls happen.

  7. Ahhh….nice play on words there Roger.
    “Overturning” would mean he would give the win to the Saints. In that case, he is correct, the rule does not allow for that. But no one asked for that. They simply wanted the game to be put back to the point of the blown call, which the rule clearly does allow for. No one knows what the outcome would be after that point. But Saints fans strongly believe they would run the clock down and kick an easy FG leaving the Rams very short amount of clock.

  8. I have some reservations about reviewing pass interference calls HOWEVER I do not have a problem reviewing helmet-to-helmet hits, like the one Robey was fined for in the NFC championship game. The colleges do this and quite well I might add so I don’t see why the pros can’t. Let’s face it; Goodell has a mess on his hands and he doesn’t know how to get out of it!

  9. Goodell is actually correct. The call was horrendous and the rule not allowing conferences or review could be fixed going forward. The problem is that anytime you have humans calling games they are subject to human error. In retrospect, freaking Jared Goff beat the Saints.

  10. At the very least, he (Goodell) should have fired that official.

    If he missed that call, he is not even fit to officiate a pop warner game IMO.

  11. The call was missed, everybody know this. Horrible for Saints fans. But the Governor of LA should be governing for the tax paying citizen of LA and not a private bajillion dollar industry.

  12. Enough. I imagine the Governor of the state has more important stuff on his plate. It was a terrible call. It happens. Not calling three straight runs and then kicking the FG was a terrible decision by the coach. Throwing an INT in overtime is on Brees. #humansmakemistakes

  13. You know I remember the Seattle game against my Vikings where Bobby Wagner jumped over the line and blocked a field goal, against the rules completely. The announcers pointed it out, and it showed up in articles the next day and the day after. A win in the game would’ve put the Vikings in the playoffs. We didn’t launch any lawsuits, demand any explanations, or involve any senators. I felt bad for the New Orleans team and their fans for a while, but enough now. You went way too far and instead of coming across as someone who got cheated, you come across as spoiled. Now that the Super Bowl is over, everybody is waiting for next year. Take a seat with the rest of us.

  14. Maybe I was watching a different game..but didn’t New Orleans take the lead after the admittedly horrible call and have every opportunity to win the game?

    The assumption they win if called correctly is just that. It is also possible the kick could have been blocked or missed and the game ends. It is possible.

    Yes the call was terrible..but bad calls and non calls happen in every NFL game. If the Saints would have converted in the red zone early a bad call is not a game changer. Enough of this silliness.

  15. Personally, I think it is hilarious that Ol Rog had an intern write the letter to grandstanding politician number 7. I would have added a brief section reminding said politician that he, like me, probably has a real job to do, so should stop wasting my time.

  16. To quote the Superbowl winning coach…On to the Combine.

    It happens, get over it. Coach Payton, you’re the real reason the team lost. Not running the ball. I seem to remember the Saints won the coin toss and had the chance to win it, and blew it.

  17. STOP !!!…..you guys got robbed, I get it. Enough is enough. Ask why a pass play was called. Why not run the ball then pass interference is not in the equation. The loss is on Saints’ coaching and play calling.

  18. As a Vikings fan, I have no sympathy for the Saints and their fans. They seem to forget the 2009 NFC Championship game when the Vikings were called for pass interference that was not. That was the same infamous bountygate game.

    Officials are just part of the human element of the game and things like this happen from time to time.

    The Saints are one of the most arrogant teams in the NFL and it’s been a treat the last couple of years to see them suffer the heartbreak of the Minneapolis Miracle and the blown pass interference call against the Rams in the NFC Championship game this year.

  19. Don’t understand the whining still. Of course you can’t change the outcome of the game. It happened. Why you need a statement from anyone is beyond me. It was a bad call, happens in sports. Stop acting like you are the only ones to suffer from a bad call. Get over it and get on with your life.

  20. nyyankeehatespoliticos says: “Many media accounts say that the quality of NFL officiating has noticeably declined the past two seasons. How about Goodell addressing the downward trend.”
    =======================

    Can you please give us the specific data that shows this “downward” trend or a list of EVERY incorrect call/non-call? How about previous years’ data?

    There were 47,129 plays in 267 games in the 2018 season – are you telling me these “media accounts” watched every single game and tracked all 22 players to catch every possible call/non-call? That’s 1,036,838 of them – these “media” guys must a lot of time on their hands… and to do that over multiple seasons to call it a “trend.”

  21. Surely, the governor has better things to do such as trying to figure out why Louisiana is at the bottom of the list on just about every quality of life index in the country.

    Plus, they hypocrisy is so incredibly obvious by ignorant Saints fans who conveniently forget the non call on the face mask just a set of downs earlier. The governor (and Saints fans) have also given Payton a massive pass for his terrible playcalling and Brees’ inept passing and interception even AFTER the “missed PI” call.

  22. Goodell cannot fire the Ref – If he did that Ref would be on National TV telling his side of the story and it would bring down Goodell.

    Goodell is a Liar & Thief = Not fir for office

  23. “he is correct, the rule does not allow for that. But no one asked for that. They simply wanted the game to be put back to the point of the blown call, which the rule clearly does allow for”

    Unless that was done immediately, which maybe or maybe not the rule allowed for, that ship sailed the moment the Rams left New Orleans and really from the moment they left the stadium it was already too late. Super Bowl tix, flights and hotel rooms were being bought, the teams were already on to preparing for the big game, it was impossible to turn back the clock from that point forwards.

  24. The rules in place that say I can overturn certain decisions prevent me from overturning said decisions. I don’t know if I can be any clearer.

  25. in the end, he paid the price though. Least watched super bowl in a decade plus. Thankyou to everyone who stood in solidarity with the whodat nation and protested that illegitimate game.

  26. I still like watching football. Fans think players and owners and refs make it worse hahaha. I disagree reading here some fans make the game worse. It’s a game let it go. I mean lets enjoy the game and not be so hung up on this and that. These are just players and teams. Have fun let go and enjoy the GAME.

  27. solo681 says:
    February 11, 2019 at 5:00 pm
    Goodell cannot fire the Ref – If he did that Ref would be on National TV telling his side of the story and it would bring down Goodell.
    —————–

    They fired a ref for missing an false start, so they can absolutely fire a ref for missing this.

  28. It’s funny that Roger says the’rules’ prevented him from doing the right thing when we have seen time and again the ‘rules’ are whatever 345 Park Ave wants them to be. The league ignores it’s own rules all the time. Heck it’s constitution states ‘the league shall employ as commissioner a person of unquestioned integrity’ and their obviously comfortable ignoring that one.

  29. Well, let’s see…they missed the head shot that knocked out the NO tight end. They missed the PI on Ginn. They missed the hands to Brees face on the OT int. That matches any Rams complaints. The difference, of course, is this was an admitted deliberate foul. In college he’d have been ejected. Not to worry though…the Vikes still think the Saints put 12 guys in the Minn huddle.

  30. How do you explain two refs (from Cali) looking at that play and missing that call? If it were close or a judgement call, then I can accept that. You cant just say it was a missed call, they do not miss calls like that ever. Never, ever ever ever. Nada, zero times in the history of football on planet earth, at any level. At that point in time, irregardless of other calls and missed calls, the refs interceded and stopped a sure Saints win. Yep, Saints could still have won in OT, could have stopped the Rams. My point is that no one misses that call and stats show a greater than 95% chance of Saints victory if either horrible call were made. RG has not explained anything. I have no gripe with the Rams whatsoever.

  31. Geez, you had your chance to win, 13 point lead, OT toss, could not stop Rams from OT field goal. But let’s blame the commissioner. Get over it girls.

  32. llcamino says: February 11, 2019 at 4:21 pm
    Ahhh….nice play on words there Roger.
    “Overturning” would mean he would give the win to the Saints. In that case, he is correct, the rule does not allow for that. But no one asked for that. They simply wanted the game to be put back to the point of the blown call, which the rule clearly does allow for.
    =====================================

    Replaying the NFC championship game because one team felt “cheated” means that the NFL and sports in general would be mired in whining losing teams EVERY week demanding that the game be replayed because they felt wronged at one point or another. Besides, if you’re going to replay the game at the point of grievance, then why not restart from where Goff was facemasked but not called. That was also a major decision making point for the Rams as they had to settle for a field goal, not a new set of downs at the 1 yard line. That seems fair for everyone, right?

  33. Luke Hanson says:
    February 11, 2019 at 4:37 pm
    As a Vikings fan, I have no sympathy for the Saints and their fans. They seem to forget the 2009 NFC Championship game when the Vikings were called for pass interference that was not. That was the same infamous bountygate game.

    Officials are just part of the human element of the game and things like this happen from time to time.

    The Saints are one of the most arrogant teams in the NFL and it’s been a treat the last couple of years to see them suffer the heartbreak of the Minneapolis Miracle and the blown pass interference call against the Rams in the NFC Championship game this year.
    ______________________________________________
    It’s amazing that a fan of a fan base that has been complaining for over 9 years about a game would cast any judgement on another fan base.

    When you get over your 2009 loss, we’ll get over ours… I’ll wait

  34. cjmcfootball says:
    February 11, 2019 at 4:21 pm
    It was an officiating error. Unless malfeasance can be proven (or even circumstantially inferred), that’s it. Bad calls happen.

    ——————————————————————————————

    Yes, bad calls happen. But that was not a bad call, it was a non call which smelled to high heaven.
    Remember — the NBA had an official (Tom Donaghy) who in 2007 plead guilty to two counts of conspiracy for being paid $30,000 to give inside information to bookies and influencing scores of games by calling bogus fouls. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison and was released in 2009. Mind you, Donaghy was a 13 year veteran official in the NBA.
    It happened in the NBA and don’t think for a second that it couldn’t happen in the NFL.
    I will never believe that those officials just missed that call. It was too obvious for even a casual observer to see. Not only that, there were two fouls on the play, not just one.
    I am convinced that something was rotten in Denmark with those officials. And I am NOT a Saints fan.

  35. It was a terrible non call in a game full of terrible non calls which hurt both sides.

    Anyone focusing on that one non call either didn’t see the whole game or is more concerned about disliking the result instead of feeling like it was unfair.

    If anything, the whole game should have been replayed, but that wouldn’t have been feasible. Which is why Rule 17 is very clear that it’s not to be used for cases of bad refereeing. Goodell had no choice under the rules but to let it go.

  36. The non-call was horrible but the implication that an official has the ability to impact a game is worse. Fixing / Point shaving in the NFL is a potential reality.

  37. nyneal says:

    “I am convinced that something was rotten in Denmark with those officials. And I am NOT a Saints fan.”

    ———————————————————————————————

    Ever hear of Hanlon’s razor?

    “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

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