U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-LA, called on Friday for the NFL to answer questions about a blown call near the end of last weekend’s NFC Championship game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints, asserting in a speech that the mishap was “a taint on the Super Bowl.”
Referees failed to call pass interference on Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman, who tackled Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis well before he had a chance to catch a pass on a key play near the end of regulation. The non-call allowed the Rams to tie the game on a last-minute drive and later win in overtime.
“What happened, in my belief and in the belief of many, was the most blatant and consequential blown call in NFL history,” Cassidy said during a speech on the Senate floor.
The missed call has drawn universal criticism in the days since the game, with many calling on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to take action to correct the error. In Louisiana, many Saints fans have vowed to boycott the Super Bowl in protest.
After the game, the NFL league office admitted to Saints head coach Sean Payton that the non-call was a mistake, NFL Network reported. However, the NFL has remained largely silent about the situation in the days since.
"Football's more than a game. It is part of our culture, and I would say the NFL has a responsibility to the millions of fans across the country to ensure the integrity of the game and to answer these questions and perhaps a few others," Cassidy added, asserting that the NFL should provide context on how the league gauges referee performance.
The backlash among Saints fans has been so strong that some of the team’s season-ticket holders have filed suit against the league in a bid to force Goodell to take action.