New Orleans Saints Fans ‘Still in Mourning’ Over Lack of Pass Interference Call in NFC Championship
Said tight end Benjamin Watson on 'The Ingraham Angle' on Tuesday night, football 'is an imperfect game'
New Orleans Saints fans are unhappy and upset about the way Sunday’s NFC Championship game was officiated — and some are taking action.
The Saints lost the game 26-23 in overtime to the Los Angeles Rams — who are now headed to the Super Bowl — and the outcome drew ire from New Orleans fans due to a missed pass interference call they said changed the outcome of the game.
With 1:45 minutes remaining — when the score was tied 20-20 — it was third-and-10 and the Saints were 13 yards away from the end zone.
Quarterback Drew Brees threw a pass intended for wide receiver Tommylee Lewis.
But before the ball reached Lewis, Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman hit him — preventing Lewis from making the catch.
Yet no pass interference was called.
Had the referees made that call, the Saints very well could have scored a touchdown and won the game in regulation rather than settling for a field goal and losing in overtime.
Fox News contributor Raymond Arroyo, a New Orleans native and Saints fan, was among those unhappy with the no-call and made that clear on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” on Tuesday night.
“The entire Who Dat nation is still in mourning,” he said, referring to the team’s fanbase. “It’s more than a team to us. It’s a way of life. It’s four things: faith, family, food and football.”
In an exclusive interview, Saints tight end Benjamin Watson also told host Laura Ingraham his thoughts about the play.
“You have to console your kids because they are trying to figure out what happened,” he said. “We have a saying as athletes that this is an imperfect game played by imperfect people. And obviously refereed [by] them. I have no words. There’s no words that could console myself or my family … As a league, we try to put forth a product that is full of integrity, something that we can be proud of. These sorts of things happen.”
“When you have a non-call of that point in time in in the game where things are in the clutch and it’s time to be decided, it just doesn’t sit well,” he later added. “That’s not how either team wants to win or lose.”
Saints fans have responded to the controversial non-call in a number of different ways to show their frustration with the outcome.
Saints fan Terry Cassreino started a Change.org petition demanding an NFC Championship rematch on January 27, “due to refs’ inability to properly officiate” the first one. As of Tuesday night, the petition had over 660,000 signatures.
Some angry Saints fans will even be boycotting the Super Bowl. One group is hosting an event called the Boycott Bowl, a music festival with chefs and bartenders on site scheduled at the same time as the Super Bowl on February 3.
Their site urges fans to “make February 3 a vacation from football” — and according to the event’s Facebook page, so far some 9,000 people have said they will attend, while another 40,000 expressed interest.
A pair of Saints season ticket holders are suing NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in the hope that the NFL will call the penalty — and replay the rest of the game from that moment.
Singer Harry Connick Jr., a Saints fan, said he won’t be tuning in either. The singer wrote an angry letter to the NFL and said, “To not call the pass interference/helmet-to-helmet penalties at the end of the game was one of the most disgraceful no-calls I have ever seen.”
Saints fan Matthew Bowers put up eight billboards in the Atlanta area — the Super Bowl’s host city this year — to express his discontent.
He posted photos of two of his signs on Twitter, which read, “NFL BLEAUX IT!” and “SAINTS GOT ROBBED.”
— Matt Bowers (@Matthew_Bowers_) January 21, 2019
Also, a pair of Saints season ticket holders are now suing NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in the hope that the NFL will call the penalty — and replay the rest of the game from that moment.
Unfortunately for Saints fans, it would be unprecedented for the NFL to do anything about the lack of a pass interference call and overturn the results of a completed game.
The Rams and New England Patriots will play for the title on Sunday, February 3.
Tom Joyce is a freelance writer from the South Shore of Massachusetts. He covers sports, pop culture, and politics and has contributed to The Federalist, Newsday, and other outlets.