By: Pat Austin
SHREVEPORT – Folks in Louisiana are salty today as a result of the terrible officiating in the Superdome yesterday.
My social media feeds are filled with images of voodoo dolls in referee stripes.
From WWLTV this morning:
A crucial non-interference, non-helmet-to-helmet call cost the Saints a spot in the Super Bowl and provided a crushing loss to end the season for a second straight year as the Rams won with a field goal in overtime 26-23.
After the game, Saints head coach Sean Payton said the NFL head of officials admitted they had missed the call, saying that it was not only pass interference, but a helmet to helmet hit. If the call had been made, the Saints could have killed the clock and tried a chip shot field goal…..
…On 3rd-and-10 from the Rams 13-yard line following a long pass to Ted Ginn, Tommylee Lewis was targeted by Drew Brees and the Rams’ Nickell Robey-Coleman clearly hit Lewis well before the pass got there and with his helmet to Lewis’ helmet. But, there was no call.
The video of the play is the very definition of pass interference. It’s what you would show in referee training school as a textbook example. Yet the guy whose only job was to watch the play, missed it.
NOLA favorite son, Harry Connick, Jr. even weighed in, posting a letter he wrote to Commissioner Roger Goodall in which he says,
“The officiating this year has been, for the most part, mediocre, in my opinion. But for a game as important as the NFC championship, it sickens me to know that the people who are assigned to fairly officiate the game seemingly had no regard for not only a dangerous penalty but one that would certainly have changed the outcome of the game.”
Now, I live in a state where we love our football; LSU has never really lost a game – it’s always been the officials who gave it away. As Saints fans, we were accustomed to losing, then we won that glorious Super Bowl, and now we like winning. But probably the coolest thing on my social media feed this morning was not the voodoo dolls or the BirdBox memes, but Drew Brees tying his son’s shoe on the field after the game when the kids got to run around on the field. That puts it all in perspective, right?
Football is a game; yes, it’s big money, but it’s important to keep perspective. Sandwiched around the stories of the Saints loss this morning are also reports of the funeral of local Shreveport police officer Chateri Payne who was gunned down on her way to work last week. She was a twenty-two year old mother, athlete, and police officer, and trust me, when the dispatcher walked to the podium to do the final radio call for Officer Payne at the funeral Saturday, there wasn’t a dry eye to be seen.
Those are two completely unrelated stories but they put things in perspective. Keep your eye on what’s really important.
And hey, we’re only a month away from spring training!