New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson called out NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for his silence after Watson's team was on the wrong end of a crucial no-call near the end of the NFC Championship Game against the Los Angeles Rams:
With the Saints and Rams tied at 20 late in the fourth quarter last Sunday, referees failed to call defensive pass interference on Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman, who knocked down Saints wideout Tommylee Lewis before the pass-catcher had a chance to make a play:
The Saints would have then earned a first down with the opportunity to run down the clock and kick a late field goal to win. However, New Orleans had to kick a field goal immediately, which gave the Rams enough time to tie the game in regulation. They did so, and Los Angeles eventually won in overtime 26-23.
The no-call has elicited plenty of response from the Saints. Team owner Gayle Benson released a lengthy statement:
General manager Mickey Loomis told reporters "the disappointment will never go away and that pain will never go away." Saints head coach Sean Payton also called the league office immediately after the game:
The loss was especially painful for Watson, who is retiring after 15 years in the league. He did win a Super Bowl as a member of the 2004 New England Patriots, but Watson finished that season on injured reserve and could not play in Super Bowl XXXIX.
Watson was a member of the 2007 AFC champions, but the Pats lost 17-14 to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl. This season was Watson's last opportunity to play in the Super Bowl for a winning team.
The game won't be replayed, despite the hopes of a lawsuit against the league by two Saints season-ticket holders.
The question is whether the no-call brings about expanded replay reviews to penalties such as pass interference, which the NFL is reportedly considering, per Barry Wilner of the Associated Press.