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Saints fans, be careful what you wish for ...

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By Christopher Dabe, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Ok, so we decided to take the what-if game a step farther.

What if side judge Gary Cavaletto threw his penalty flag when the Rams’ Nickell Robey-Coleman drilled the Saints’ Tommylee Lewis on that third-down pass late in the NFC Championship. What if that put Wil Lutz in position to kick the winning field goal with little time remaining.

What if the New Orleans Saints faced the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 53 — a game in real life that turned out to be so dull it drew the lowest TV ratings in nearly a decade?

Surely, the Saints would have spiced things up a bit. Two all-time great quarterbacks, two innovative coaches who have been on the Super Bowl stage before. Yes, that would have had the makings of something special.

While we won’t ever know how the game would have played out in real life, we did the best we could with an EA Sports Madden ’19 simulation streamed to our New Orleans Saints on NOLA.com Facebook page. ...

Full Story - NOLA.com

Like Sean Payton, Saints fans won’t forget but will move on

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By Letters to the Editor, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

While 8-year-old Roger Goodell likely was fast asleep at 3 a.m. on March 8, 1967, Basile Funti, a 25-year-old waiter at Brennan’s restaurant, was lined up in the shivering cold to buy tickets for the very first season of the New Orleans Saints football team. Funti was a French immigrant of Greek descent, but he loved football and all things American.

Roger Goodell grew up, went to college, and eventually became commissioner of the National Football League. Basile Funti rose up through the ranks of the New Orleans hospitality industry and after turning down an offer to be executive banquet manager of the new Convention Center, he decided to go into business for himself

When I married Basile Funti in 1991, I quickly realized that I had married the Saints as well. At that point, my husband had only missed one game in 26 years! Our Sunday activities and out of town trips now had to be carefully negotiated. He had remained a dedicated Saints fan through good times and bad, and soon I became one, too. ...

Full Story - NOLA.com

A Sinister Bias in NFL Officiating?

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Looking for truth, if not justice. Photographer: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America

Before Sunday’s Super Bowl, fans may want to get up to speed on all the ways referees can get it wrong.

By Stephen L. Carter | Bloomberg

Down in New Orleans (and beyond), they’re still insisting that this year’s Super Bowl is tainted. The cause is a horrendous call that, as tout le monde knows, sent the Los Angeles Rams rather than the New Orleans Saints to Atlanta for this Sunday’s Super Bowl against the New England Patriots.

What went wrong? Here, the academic literature may help. The cognitive biases that may influence the outcome of a game are one of the most widely studied aspects of professional sports — and some of what’s been learned may prove instructive: The error might come down to something as simple as who was standing where.

First, some background: Even people who care nothing about football may have seen replay after replay of the Saints receiver being clobbered, helmet-to-helmet, by the defender in the waning moments of the playoff game two weeks ago. Had a penalty been called, the Rams would have had only a 2 percent probability of winning. But officials did nothing. So open and notorious was the error that NFL insiders are apparently talking of little else in Atlanta this week. ...

25 reasons not to watch the Super Bowl: No. 1 Roger Goodell

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Associated Press

By Jim Derry

Why should Saints fans not watch the Super Bowl on Sunday? Oh, let us count the ways. Twenty-five, to be exact.

We probably could come up with 325, but we’ll settle for these. And although the zebras took away our reason for one last party before we get into the heart of Carnival, our sense of humor can never be taken away.

With that, we go through reasons we won’t be watching and all the better things we can find to do as the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Shams play for that tarnished trophy Sunday evening.


1 | Roger Goodell

What else would be No. 1? Really, who wants to look at his smug face intermittently throughout the course of four hours? Did it really take that coward almost two weeks to talk? He says he “understands the frustration of the fans,” but he doesn’t understand jack. ...

Full Story - NOLA.com

The NFL owes the Saints and the city millions in restitution

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By Letters to the Editor, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Recently the NFL stated that replaying the NFC Championship game would require an investment of more than $100 million. What about the cost to the Saints? The players, the fans, local merchants, New Orleans? What about those costs? I would venture to say that if we could quantify those costs, they would well exceed your $100 million.

There is not a game played in the NFL where the referees don’t miss a call. But I challenge anyone to find one that kept a team out of the Super Bowl. The NFL hires referees and assigns the best for the championship games. Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL should take responsibility for the error. ...

Players make errors. Owners and teams make mistakes. Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was fined $2.75 million; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was fined $2 million; the Ravens were forced to surrender 2 OTAs; the Patriots were fined $1 million, surrendered a 2016 1st and a 2017 4th Round Draft pick. All results of their errors. ...

Full Story - NOLA.com

Opinion: Roger Goodell won't give NFL fans the honest answers they deserve

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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. (Photo: John David Mercer, USA TODAY Sports)

By Nancy Armour, USA TODAY

ATLANTA — Roger Goodell is the master of double talk and untruths.

The NFL commissioner held his annual news conference at the Super Bowl on Wednesday, and there will be no bigger waste of time this week. Which is saying something, given the circus that “Media Night” has become.

Anyone hoping to get a straight answer out of Goodell on, well, anything, left sorely disappointed. He offered nothing to reassure fans that the critical no-call in the NFC Championship Game would not happen again, and made no apologies for taking 10 days to address the debacle publicly.

Pressed on the NFL’s deafening silence when New Orleans Saints fans were venting their rage in legal action and on billboards, Goodell said – with a straight face, mind you – that the league had “addressed this immediately after the game.” Sorry, talking to Saints coach Sean Payton and leaving him to appease the masses doesn’t cut it. Last time I checked, Payton’s title is coach not commissioner, and he’s not getting $32 million to be the face and voice of the NFL. ...

Full Story - USA Today...

Roger Goodell Won't Apologize For Bad Call And That's Bad Business

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By Don Yaeger - Contributor | Forbes
Leadership Strategy

I study high performers in sports for lessons in business leadership.

As a father, I’ve made it a point to teach my kids good manners. To help them, we’ve ingrained three simple phrases into their brains:

“Please.”

“Thank you.”

“I’m sorry.”

Simple words, but when applied authentically, they go a long way to keep a relationship healthy. I use them liberally with my family, with my team, and with pretty much everyone I meet. I want people to know that I value and respect them.

And because I believe so strongly in those simple expressions of respect, I’d love to ask the commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell, an honest question:

What the hell is wrong with you, man?


It’s been a little over a week since the NFC Championship game ended with one of the worst referee jobs in history, a clear pass interference that wasn’t called. Nearly ten days have passed and the only semi-official acknowledgment of “the call that wasn’t” came from a private phone call between Al Riveron, the NFL’s head of officiating, and Saints head coach Sean Payton where Payton claims Riveron said “our bad.” ...

Full Story - Forbes

The no-call was an officiating crime. What’s the NFL going to do about it?

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Referee Bill Vinovich (NOLA.com Photo)

By Michael Hecht, Tommy Faucheux and Gregory Rusovich

The ending of the Saints-Rams NFC championship game is being decried around the country as highway robbery: brazen, indefensible, and, some even speculate, deliberate.

The Saints players were robbed of an appearance at the Super Bowl. The Who Dat Nation’s fans were cheated of their commitment and money. New Orleans lost an invaluable economic and civic boost. America was deprived of a classic duel between the two greatest quarterbacks of our generation. And the NFL — a brand already under severe duress — was further robbed of its credibility.

There is no question that the no-call was an officiating crime. “Oh, hell yeah,” the Rams’ Nickell Robey-Coleman said upon being shown the play on a reporter’s phone. “That was P.I.” And this pass interference was compounded by a second illegal act, a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit that sent the Saints’ Tommylee Lewis sprawling (for which Robey-Coleman has since been fined nearly $27,000 by the league). ...

Full Story - NOLA.com

Goodell's Silence on Saints-Rams No-Call Is Deafening

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Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

By Conor Orr | SI.com

We’re now five days removed from one of the worst officiating mistakes in NFL playoff history. The fallout has been as ridiculous as expected.

The Saints released a statement basically saying they’d be in the Super Bowl had it not been for this call, willfully ignoring another critical (though much less egregious) no-call against the Rams and some tactical decisions that may be worth revisiting. A local attorney capitalizing on the soapbox is threatening to sue the NFL. We wondered if the commissioner would invoke his red telephone powers to play the game over again. The governor wrote the league office, as if our politicians have nothing better to do right now.

Thankfully, clearer heads have prevailed. Saints tight end Ben Watson, on Thursday, made the most reasonable request to date: Have the commissioner talk about it publically. He wrote:

"Commissioner Goodell. 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. 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...

Covington priest cries foul over Saints no-call; plans special services to help fans deal

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The Rev. Bill Miller in the stands during the NFC championship game in the Superdome on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019. (Photo compliments of Bill Miller)

By Kim Chatelain, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Like most Saints fans, The Rev. Bill Miller was a bit irate after referees blew an obvious pass interference call in Sunday’s (Jan. 20) NFC Championship game that essentially robbed the New Orleans Saints of a trip to the Super Bowl in Atlanta.

Rather than simply seething in anger, the rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Covington has decided to help the community re-channel its grief and anguish by hosting “Black and Gold and Yellow Flag Sunday” during the church’s four services on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 3.

"Folks will be encouraged to wear black and gold," Miller said. "And we will distribute yellow penalty flags during the service but will turn them into prayer flags on which they can write an injustice or a challenge they wish to change, or work toward changing."

At the conclusion of the service, the congregation will sashay to "When the Saints Go Marchin' In" and hang the symbolic yellow flags on prayer lines set up outside the church. ...

Full Story - NOLA.com

Commissioner has authority to take action over Rams-Saints outcome, in theory

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Getty images

By Mike Florio | PFT

So what can the NFL do about the outcome of the Rams-Saints game? Probably nothing. Bad calls happen. Sometimes, bad calls have bigger consequences than others.

Still, there’s language in the rulebook that could, in the right circumstances, allow the Commissioner to take extreme action in the face of a grossly unfair result.

Consider Rule 17, Section 2, Article 1: “The Commissioner has the sole authority to investigate and take appropriate disciplinary and/or corrective measures if any club action, non-participant interference, or calamity occurs in an NFL game which the Commissioner deems so extraordinarily unfair or outside the accepted tactics encountered in professional football that such action has a major effect on the result of the game.”

Even though Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman admits that he opted to wipe out Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis because Robey-Coleman believed he’d been beaten for a touchdown, it’s hard to imagine this being the kind of “extraordinarily unfair” act that would have a major effect on the outcome of the game. Then again, the rule is there for a reason; if ever it would be invoked, wouldn’t now be the time to do it? ...

Wild NFL rule allows Roger Goodell to reverse Rams-Saints outcome, but would he actually use it?

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By Will Brinson | CBS Sports

After all the insanity of Championship Sunday wrapped, it was almost hard to comprehend all the crazy things that happened throughout the day. One thing stood above all else though: the Rams pass interference penalty against the Saints that went uncalled by the referees and ultimately allowed the Rams to advance to their first Super Bowl since 2001.

Lingering with that game and the outcome is the NFL's lack of a statement about the lack of a penalty. And lingering over that is a pretty insane and broad rule in the NFL rulebook that would allow NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, should he so choose, to reverse or reschedule the outcome of the game between the Saints and Rams.

No, really. Goodell could either tell the Rams "sorry" and send the Saints to the Super Bowl or he could make them play the NFC Championship Game again. Either situation falls deep in the realm of the unlikely, but Rule 17, Section 2, Article 1, as noted by Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, does exist.

And it reads like this:

"The Commissioner has the sole authority to investigate and take appropriate disciplinary and/or corrective measures if any club action, non-participant interference, or calamity occurs in an NFL game which the Commissioner deems so extraordinarily unfair or outside the accepted tactics encountered in professional football that such action has...

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