Roger Goodell Didn't Speak to Saints Players After Missed Call Despite Comments

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 31, 2019

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell answers a question during a news conference for the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

The NFL issued a clarification of Roger Goodell's statements Thursday, saying the commissioner did not claim he spoke to New Orleans Saints players about the controversial no-call on Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman.

"Listen, we understand the frustration of the fans. I've talked to Coach Payton," a league-issued transcript read, per Mike Triplett of ESPN. "The team, the players, we understand the frustration they feel right now, and we certainly want to address that."

When Goodell spoke to the media Wednesday, he appeared to be saying he spoke with Sean Payton, players and fans about the missed call. Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas tweeted that Goodell had not talked to the players, and former New Orleans tackle Zach Strief alleged that Goodell was lying.

"The man literally stands up on a podium and just lies. It's mind blowing. He is the commissioner of the biggest sports league in the country, and it is totally cool with all the people who employ him, the 32 owners, that he just lies to everybody," Strief said on WWL Radio.

The league's clarification is an important one because this seems to be more of a misunderstanding than a lie due to the lack of a clear period in Goodell's sentence.

Goodell admitted the officiating crew made an error not calling Robey-Coleman for pass interference or a helmet-to-helmet hit on Tommylee Lewis on a late fourth-quarter drive in the NFC Championship Game. The Saints could have all but drained the clock to set up a potential game-winning field goal had the penalty been called. 

"It's a play that should be called,” Goodell told reporters. "We're going to make sure that we do everything possible to address the issues going forward and see if there are improvements we can make with instant replay or anything else. I understand the emotions."

Multiple petitions and several fans and players called on the NFL to replay the game or overturn the result. Goodell said the NFL never considered either of those options.