Saints owner Gayle Benson upset with no-call vs. Rams, vows to aggressively pursue changes with NFL
Jarrett Bell and Mike Jones from New Orleans and Kansas City on how the Rams and Patriots pulled off their impressive wins to head to the Super Bowl.
USA TODAY Sports
One day later, the New Orleans Saints are still smarting.
After the team’s 26-23 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game, Saints owner Gayle Benson issued a statement through the team’s official website, blasting the officiating and saying it is “undeniable” that a missed call “unfairly deprived” New Orleans from a shot at reaching the Super Bowl.
“Yesterday’s result is still difficult to accept for all of us,” Benson said Monday afternoon in the statement. “I am thoroughly disappointed by the events that led to the outcome of yesterday’s game. Getting to the Super Bowl is incredibly difficult to do and takes such an unbelievable commitment from a team and support from its fans.
“No team should ever be denied the opportunity to reach the title game (or simply win a game) based on the actions, or inactions, of those charged with creating a fair and equitable playing field. As is clear to all who watched the game, it is undeniable that our team and fans were unfairly deprived of that opportunity yesterday.”
Saints coach Sean Payton said after the game that the NFL contacted him immediately afterward to let him know that the officiating crew erred by not penalizing Robey-Coleman for defensive pass interference.
Had the penalty been enforced, New Orleans would’ve had a new set of downs and plenty of time – with the Rams down to their last timeout – to burn most of the 1:49 left on the clock before scoring a potentially game-winning field goal or touchdown.
Instead, the Saints converted a 31-yard field goal that gave them a three-point lead. But with ample time left on the clock, Los Angeles marched down the field on the following drive before it tied the game with a 48-yard field goal and sent the game into overtime.
Though the majority of the rest of the statement went on to thank the community’s fans, Benson said she was taking proactive steps to try to reach potential changes to the way penalties and rules are enforced.
“I have been in touch with the NFL regarding yesterday’s events and will aggressively pursue changes in NFL policies to ensure no team and fan base is ever put in a similar position again,” Benson continued. “It is a disservice to our coaches, players, employees and, most importantly, the fans who make our game possible. The NFL must always commit to providing the most basic of expectations – fairness and integrity.”
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