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Roger Goodell responds to letter from Louisiana governor concerning missed call in Rams vs. Saints NFC title game

Elected officials in Louisiana should probably have better things to do than spend time criticizing the NFL for the pass interference no-call that many believe cost the New Orleans Saints a Super Bowl appearance. Senator Bill Cassidy used almost seven, obviously-fruitless minutes last month on the Senate floor drawing attention to the matter, and New Orleans mayor John Bel Edwards wrote commissioner Roger Goodell a letter around the same time condemning the officials’ mistake.

It’s not clear what either politician hoped to achieve by publicly voicing their ire while on the public’s dime to a judgement call in a football game, at least other than scoring political points. Indeed, Goodell, in his response to Edwards some three weeks after the first letter was sent, admitted there was not much he could to placate the Saints and their legion of fans.

The letter, an excerpt of which is below was posted on Twitter by Julia O’Donoghue of The New Orleans Times-Picayune.

“Our rules do not permit the Commissioner to overturn the result of a game because of an officiating error, and I believe that it would be wrong for me to do so,” Goodell writes. “Nor have the clubs supported an expansion of replay to review decisions by game officials to call – or not to call – a penalty on the field. That said, I agree that is incumbent on us to review this issue closely to determine if there are changes in our rules or procedures that would prevent a similar occurrence in the future. While there will always be mistakes in any game played, coached, and officiated by humans, we do not want officiating to be the topic of discussion after any game.”

Roger Goodell finally said several days before Super Bowl 53 that the officials indeed should have flagged Nickell Robey-Coleman for pass interference late in regulation of the Saints’ 26-23 overtime loss to the New Orleans Saints. The league is also reportedly considering changing rules that prohibit coaches from challenging judgement calls by officials, a development that Goodell supposedly supports.