Saints' Benjamin Watson to Roger Goodell: Your silence on controversial play 'detrimental to the integrity of the game'

NFL Playoffs 2019: Pass-interference calls could become reviewable after Saints-Rams debacle

Saints tight end Benjamin Watson on Thursday called out NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for not addressing the controversial no-call in the NFC championship game.

In one of the most egregious missed calls in NFL postseason history, Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman hit Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis before a pass arrived with 1:45 remaining in the game. Officials did not call pass interference, which likely cost the Saints the victory. The Rams tied the game and sent it into overtime, where they won, 26-23.

In Watson’s tweet, which he sent to @nflcommish, he called Goodell’s silence on the issue, “detrimental to the integrity of the game.”

“Commissioner Goodell. We all realize that football is an imperfect game, played, coached and officiated by imperfect people,” Watson wrote. “What occurred last Sunday in New Orleans though, was outside of that expected 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 room to Park Ave, accountability is what makes our league great. Lead by example. We are waiting.”

Robey-Coleman later admitted it was pass interference (“Hell yeah,” he said) and Saints coach Sean Payton, who immediately called the NFL office after the game, said officials told him they missed the call.

The controversial play immediately led to an outcry on social media. Alternate videos of the play seemed to show the interference was even more obvious than the TV camera angles showed. Saints fans started a petition and filed a lawsuit seeking to have the NFL allow the end of the game to be replayed. Louisiana lawmakers chastised Goodell and the league, and even asked the NFL to hold a make-up game.

However, the play also led to reports saying NFL team owners will consider a rule change adding certain penalties, including possible pass interference, to the list of reviewable plays.