The championship games in both conferences were filled with drama, unfortunately the referees were involved.
One of the worst calls ever?
If we’re being technical it was actually a non call. Everyone has seen the play by now but just to recap, Nickell Robey-Coleman of the Rams got away with one of the most blatant instances of pass interference that you will ever see. It seems impossible that the referees missed that call in that situation but they did. Just to be clear if that call gets made, the game is over. The Saints would have got the ball 1st and goal with under 2 minutes left. Of course there’s no guarantee they would have scored a touchdown but the probability was very high given they would receive the ball on the 5-yard line if that call is made. If you throw in the helmet to helmet, then it’s first and goal on the 1-yard line.
It’s not all on the refs
There are two people that will need to stand up and take some blame for the outcome of that game besides the officiating crew. That would be Sean Payton and Drew Brees. The decision by Sean Payton to throw the ball on first down when he did set the table for this situation to occur in the first place. If the Saints run 3 times and don’t really get anything done, the Rams get the ball back with about 30 secs left down 3 points. If the Saints run the ball on first down instead of throwing in that situation it does two things. First of all, it keeps the clock moving and forces the Rams to burn their timeout. Second it sets up play action on 2nd down so you can take your shot at the end zone.
There’s also Drew Brees role in that first down play. It was a routine throw for a player of Drew Brees caliber. If his coach is taking the huge risk of throwing in that situation, it’s because he has supreme confidence that his guy can make that throw. That was not the case and it cost them big time. There is a fair share of blame to go around from the Saints considering Pro Bowl wide receiver Michael Thomas has 4 catches for 36 yards.
Saints had their chances
The Saints had a 13-0 lead that should have been much bigger. They twice settled for field goals when they could have put the game away. The difference between being down 13-0 in the first half on the road and 21-0. When the Rams scored that touchdown late in the first half, the Superdome was dead silent even though they were still up 13-7. That crowd knew that the opportunities that they had wasted previously would come back to haunt them and that’s exactly what happened.
All of that doesn’t change the fact that this non call is when of the worst in NFL history considering the game and when it happened. It’s never good for any league when the headlines from one of your biggest games of the season is a refereeing decision.