For centuries, scholars have asked, “Is it possible for the NFL to somehow screw the New Orleans Saints in a game in which the Saints aren’t even playing?” And for centuries, the answer was long-believed to be “No, of course not. It’s not possible to screw a team in a game who isn’t even playing in that same game.”
And then last night happened.
Saints essentially get screwed by a no-call on pass interference in a game they didn't even play in.— Christopher Dunnells (@ChrisDunnells) December 30, 2019
On one of the last plays of the game, with the game on the line between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers in a battle for the NFC West, this happened:
There were, uh, plenty of other reasons the Seahawks lost the game, but the reason the NFL instituted booth review of pass interference is because of an awful no-call in a critical game last year, and if you’re not gonna do it here, what’s even the point? https://t.co/wFuV5wCZ5q— Jay Willis (@jaywillis) December 30, 2019
Yes, the Seahawks lost for other reasons, including a terrible delay of game penalty that backed the Seahawks to the six-yard line on this drive, but that’s on the Seahawks. This is on Alberto Riveron, the NFL officiating, and Roger Goodell.
Because this play came inside the two minute warning, the only way this play could be challenged (assuming the Seahawks had timeouts remaining which they did not) would be by a booth review. However, no call came from the booth to stop the game and review the play. The Seahawks would then go on to lose, giving the NFC West, and the 2nd seed in the NFC, to the San Francisco 49ers.
This single play changed the entire playoff scenario in the NFC . If this call gets reviewed - and then overturned - the Seahawks likely go on to win the game. The Seahawks win the NFC West, making the San Francisco 49ers a wild card team. The Seahawks would host the Minnesota Vikings while the San Francisco 49ers would travel to the Philadelphia Eagles. The New Orleans Saints get a first round bye.
Honestly, the issue isn’t even really how the play came down. It’s not even an issue of whether the NFL would have reversed the call after review. It’s that they never even bothered to look after coming under so much scrutiny in how the NFC Championship Game ended last year.
And in turning a blind eye to at least “arguable” pass interference, the New Orleans Saints will be forced to play Wild Card weekend.
That’s fine, NFL.
We’ll do it the hard way.