A year ago, when the Saints’ postseason ended on a pass interference no-call, coach Sean Payton didn’t hide his displeasure. Today, Payton was diplomatic.
Asked after the game if he got an explanation for why Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph was not flagged for offensive pass interference on his game-winning overtime touchdown catch, Payton didn’t directly answer and instead simply praised the Vikings for a hard-fought win.
“Tip your hats to Minnesota,” Payton said. “They deserved to win. . . . They made more plays than we did.”
Rudolph definitely extended his arm to push off before catching the pass in the end zone, although it probably wasn’t flagrant enough to get overturned on replay. Former NFL referee Terry McAulay said it was offensive pass interference. Former NFL referee John Parry wrote on Twitter that it was at least close enough to pass interference that it wouldn’t have been overturned if the officials on the field had called it. Former NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino said the same.
Both Blandino and Parry also noted, however, that NFL head of officiating Al Riveron has had a very high standard for overturning the call on the field when it comes to pass interference.
Still, given the circumstances of last year’s no-call in New Orleans leading to replay on pass interference, it’s reasonable for the Saints to complain that the play at least should have been reviewed.
There were no such complaints, however, from Payton.