The refs missed a fairly obvious pass interference call that would have given the Saints a first down and a chance to run out the clock and kick the game-winning field goal. The Breakout Live team debates whether the league should make major penalties reviewable in the final minutes of playoff games.
Senior News & Fantasy Editor
The NFL should go further than that. For too long the NFL has tried not to “neuter” its on-field officials at the cost of things like the egregious Nickell Robey-Coleman multiple rules infraction play that sent the wrong team to the Super Bowl.
Every call should be reviewable at any point during the game. A replay official should be in constant contact with the head game official telling him whether he/she got a call correct or not. That way there’s not time interruptions for official reviews.
Each play should be reviewed in between plays and time only stopped if an image needs to be “stitched” together, as in the Edelman fumble/no fumble play. What happens in the last two minutes with booth reviews should be for all 60 minutes. Sean Payton is right: We have the technology. There is no reason people on the couch should be getting calls correct when people paid handsomely and are looking right at the play can’t.
George “Cannonball” West
The idea that more replay on calls as subjective as pass interference will help get missed or poor calls corrected at the end of play-off games is flawed, as it assumes that retired older refs running the replay equipment will accurately correct the mistakes of their current brethren. This process will bog down the action more than now. Did the tackle hold? Was Dee Ford actually lined-up offside? Review, review, review, by OLD men. Does that seem like the answer?
More replay is not what is needed. The actual solution to the problem is better officials who are full time, proficiently trained, under the age of 50, who pass vision, endurance, and annual written tests on the rules at the combine in Indianapolis every year. While the rookies get evaluated each year, the referees should be right there with them getting tested. And if a ref misses a call as badly as he did in New Orleans yesterday, then he’s fired and replaced by fresh talent from next year’s combine.
First and foremost, that play shouldn’t have even needed to be reviewed. It was pass interference, period. Not only that, it was the most obvious and egregious PI I’ve seen all year in one of the biggest moments of the year. You absolutely, positively, cannot miss that call as a ref – it’s embarrassing and it changed legacies forever.
Being an NFL ref is one of the hardest – if not THE hardest – job in officiating. I’m not a huge fan of slowing the game down even further with extra reviews, but in the final two minutes of big-time games, it’s important to help the refs get the call right. That was the entire impetus of introducing reviews in the first place – getting calls right – so the NFL needs to practice what they preach. Make those huge calls at the end of games reviewable, and make sure this kind of joke never happens again.
Word is already coming out of the NFL that the competition committee will look into this matter. On the surface, sure it makes sense to have just about anything reviewable so that you don’t flip the outcome of a championship game on one bad call near the end. With that said, the league will have to walk a fine line in deciding what exactly is reviewable. If you review holding calls on the offensive line and defensive backfield, you open up a can of worms because you literally might have to review every play at the conclusion of games.
While the league is at it, maybe they should stipulate that all head coaches take a course in clock management. Because if Sean Payton manages the clock better, the pass interference never takes place, the Saints score the go-ahead field goal with under a minute remaining, and the Rams are behind the 8-ball with no timeouts remaining.