Retiring New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson strongly criticized NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday for his public silence following a blown call in the NFC championship game.
Watson posted a letter to Goodell on Twitter, saying “we all realize that football is an imperfect game, played, coached and officiated by imperfect people. What occurred last Sunday in New Orleans, though, was outside of that expected and accepted norm.”
Watson continued, adding “your continued silence on this matter is unbecoming of the position you hold, detrimental to the integrity of the game and disrespectful and dismissive to football fans everywhere. From the locker room to Park Ave., accountability is what makes our league great. Lead by example. We are waiting.”
Officials clearly missed pass interference and helmet-to-helmet contact on Los Angeles Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman, who flattened Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis on an incomplete pass inside the Rams 10-yard line with 1:45 left in a tie game. The play occurred in close range of two officials along the sideline who never pulled their flags.
The Saints settled for a field goal. The Rams tied the game on Greg Zuerlein’s 48-yarder and won it in overtime with his 57-yarder.
Saints coach Sean Payton said after the game that Al Riveron, the NFL senior vice president of officiating, “couldn’t believe” no penalty was called on the play.
On Monday, Saints receiver Michael Thomas implored Goodell to undo the outcome of the game, citing an NFL rule that allows for “the reversal of a game’s result or the rescheduling of a game, either from the beginning or from the point at which the extraordinary occurred.” The league has never invoked the rule to reverse a game’s outcome.
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