The New Orleans Saints almost certainly would be headed for the Super Bowl if the National Football League would get out of its own way and expand the replay system to include any blown call that obviously could have a dramatic impact on the outcome of a game.
The missed pass interference call in the final minutes of the NFC title game was so so blatant — and SO correctable — that it calls into question just how much Roger Goodell and the league’s owners care about the integrity of the competition, especially during the postseason.
Think about it. The league can spend 10 minutes trying to figure out whether Julian Edelman touched a seemingly muffed punt, but can’t spend the five seconds it would have taken to overturn an egregious call with the outcome of the entire season on the line.
Of course, there will be a rule change when the owners and the competition committee are ready to show their red faces again during the offseason, but it’s too late to prevent their biggest event from being tarnished by the stupidity of their long-standing short-sightedness.
It’s been obvious for a long time that the weight of the penalty for pass interference — particularly in the red zone or the end zone — is so impactful either way that it should be either challengeable or automatically reviewable.
The same goes for plays like the phantom roughing-the-passer call that helped the Patriots defeat the Chiefs in the AFC title game last night. Patrick Mohomes wanted that same call earlier in the game and took more contact to his head than Tom Brady. One of them got that call and it was no surprise to a lot of NFL conspiracy theorists that it was Brady.
Of course, you can’t review everything. But the NFL has the system in place that would make it easy to correct the most damaging and obvious errors that currently are unreviewable by rule.
It seems like just about every game has a call that could have been corrected in seconds if the upstairs spotter simply told the head linesman through his earpiece that the officiating crew clearly got the call — or non-call — embarrassingly wrong.
League officials admitted to Saints coach Sean Payton after the game that the officiating crew erred badly.
Lot of good that does now.