It’s kind of ironic that fans of the New Orleans Saints, along with the team’s coaches and players, are now complaining about how NFL referees should know what is and isn’t pass interference following what happened late in Sunday’s NFC Championship game against the Los Angeles Rams.
In case you missed it, referees in Sunday’s NFC Championship failed to call a pass interference penalty on Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman after he clearly hit Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis too soon and while he was attempting to catch a third and 10 pass from quarterback Drew Brees down the right sideline with 1:49 left in the fourth quarter. Had pass interference been properly called on Robey-Coleman, the Saints would have an automatic first down inside the Rams 10-yard-line and thus would have been able to run out most of the remaining clock time before attempting a last-second, game-winning field goal.
While the Saints were clearly screwed out of a trip to Super Bowl LIII on Sunday, it was quite funny to hear New Orleans defensive end Cameron Jordan talk about the missed call after the game was over and how it’s of his opinion that his team are never beneficiaries of such calls or non-calls.
“What’s new?” Jordan said. “We’ve known for a long time that we don’t get calls that way. There was a call in the Cowboys game (Jaylon Smith’s helmet-to-helmet shot on Alvin Kamara that wasn’t flagged) that should have gone our way. As far as I’ve known, we haven’t had referees that are gung-ho for the Saints. We’ve got to put ourselves in the best position so that we’re not able to be touched. Will it haunt that ref? Who cares? It will haunt this team. This will be something that will be another defining moment.”
Jordan sure must have a short memory as the Saints offense certainly benefited from a few questionable pass interference calls in their Week 16 home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers,. The first questionable pass interference call in that Saints game against the Steelers came in the first quarter when Pittsburgh cornerback Joe Haden was flagged for interfering with New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara during a deep pass attempt into the end zone by Brees. That questionable penalty came on a 4th and 1 play with 3:10 left in the first quarter and the Saints scored their first touchdown of the game on the very next play from the Steelers 1-yard-line.
Late in the game, Haden was once again fagged for pass interference only this time it was against Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas on a 4th and 2 play with 2:00 left in the fourth quarter and New Orleans trailing the Steelers 28-24. In addition to some feeling like the call against Haden was a very questionable one, other believe that Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt slightly tipped the pass from Brees to Thomas at the line of scrimmage which would have thus negated the possibility of pass interference being called. In short, if no penalty is called on Haden on that play, the Steelers would have had a great chance to win that game even though the Saints still had all three of their timeouts left.
Jordan should think about choosing his words better in the future when it comes to things such as penalties being called or not called for or against his team. About the only thing he got right after the game was him saying how the New Orleans defense should have played better earlier in the game so that to not allow themselves to be put into the situation later in the game could help decide the outcome
“We were defeated at the end of the day,” Jordan said. “So, we don’t have the right to complain about the what-ifs, the could’ves, the should’ves.”
As for Jordan’s hot take on the saints never getting calls to go in his team’s favor, maybe he needs to be checked right away for the early signs of CTE as his short term memory is already really awful.