Reviewable Penalties: A much needed change to NFL officiating
It was a third down play. Drew Brees throws the ball to WR TommyLee Lewis, but the pass is incomplete. Why was it incomplete? Rams CB Nickell Robey-Coleman hit Lewis before he was even close to touching the ball. Robey-Coleman never even looked!
What was the result of this play? A failed third down attempt forcing the Saints to settle for a FG. What should have been the result of the play? A pass interference call, putting the Saints in prime position to score a TD and secure a trip to the Super Bowl.
This no call has been quite the topic of controversy over the past few days, and for good reason. That no call on an obvious pass interference was perhaps the worst no call I’ve ever seen in my life!
To make matters worse, there was a referee watching it go down on the sideline. He had a clear view of what should have been an easy penalty.
To make matters even worse than worse, there was another referee in the area who could have easily made the call. Not one, but two referees missed what looked like the easiest call to make! Two referees!
The only way you don’t think that hit by Robey-Coleman was pass interference is if you’re a Rams fan. Even then it’s hard to deny the referees blew it. Even Robey-Coleman himself admitted it should have been flagged!
Congrats to the Rams on making it to the Super Bowl, but this Super Bowl trip should belong to the Saints. That no call was a disgrace to the NFL, and it needs to be changed. This kind of officiating can’t take place any longer.
Long before this no call occurred, it has bugged me that once a ref makes a call (or doesn’t), there’s nothing that can be done. A team can challenge the spot of the ball or if a player fumbled, but they can’t change a call as obvious as Robey-Coleman’s pass interference. What’s up with that?
Perhaps the reason is because the league doesn’t want allow reviewable penalties because it will prolong games. If teams can challenge penalties, the game is sure to go a little longer. Perhaps it’s some other reason. Regardless of why, shouldn’t it be more important to get the result of the game right, especially when it decides who goes to the Super Bowl?
NFL has to get it right
Look, we don’t know what would have happened if the Saints did get that call. Drew Brees could have thrown an INT. Alvin Kamara could have fumbled the ball. Maybe the Saints would have just not executed their plays and had to settle for a FG anyway. Anything could have happened.
I’m not mad the Rams are in the Super Bowl. They’re worthy of being in the Super Bowl. They were tied for the best record in the NFC and NFL, they’ve beaten some of the league’s best teams, and they were in the NFC Championship game. They’re a worthy Super Bowl team. I’m not mad about them being in the Super Bowl, but I am mad about how they got to the Super Bowl.
Like I said, anything could have happened. However, if that call was made, the Saints would have been set up to take the NFC Championship. If reviewable penalties were allowed, surely the refs would have called pass interference. Instead, a no called screwed them over and the wrong team is now playing in the Super Bowl.
When the league calls Sean Payton after the game and says they “blew the call,” that makes everything worse. If the league knew the call was blown, why couldn’t they have allowed Sean Payton to challenge the call?
This rule of not being able to challenge no calls of penalties has to change. When two refs miss the most obvious call of all-time, a coach should be able to say, “Go back and look at this because you missed it.” They can do it when refs miss a fumble or when another game changing act happens, but not when a call isn’t made? It just doesn’t make sense.
The league has to change this rule right now. The NFC Championship game officiating was a disgrace, and that needs to change. It’s time for the NFL to allow reviewable penalties.