NFL officials are under scrutiny again after missing a blatant call in the NFC Championship game between the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams.
With 1:49 left to play in a 20-20 game, the Saints had a crucial 3rd-and-10 play from Rams' 13-yard line. Drew Brees dropped back and threw a pass to TommyLee Lewis on the sideline.
Rams' Nickell Robey- Coleman took out Lewis well before the arrival of the ball, meaning the play should have been called for pass interference.
73,028 fans in attendance inside the Superdome, Saints head coach Sean Payton, Brees, and even Robey-Colman himself during an interview after the game thought it was pass interference on the play, but a flag was never thrown.
As you can see from the video below, this might go down as the worst call ever made in NFL history as it's one of the most blatant fouls you'll ever see, and it effectively cost New Orleans a spot in the Super Bowl.
After an exchange of field goals, the game would go into overtime, which ended with Greg Zuerlein kicking the Rams into the Super Bowl, their fourth appearance in franchise history, winning the game 26-23 after a 57-yard field goal.
Following the conclusion of the game though, all everyone was talking about was the missed penalty call during regulation. Even the league admitted they messed up big time.
Payton said he spoke to the league on the phone after the game, who admitted that the call should have been made.
He said, via ESPN: "For a call like that not to be made, man, it's just hard to swallow. And then to get a phone call ... We spoke initially, then I called to follow up. And the first thing [head of officials Alberto Riveron] said when I got on the phone -- 'We messed it up.'
"Listen, it's a hard job for those guys 'cause it's happening fast. But I don't know if there was ever a more obvious pass interference call that -- here it is, the NFC Championship Game. So, it's a tough one to swallow."
The Saints head coach continued: "It was simple. They blew the call. They said it should never have not been a call. They said not only was it interference, it was helmet-to-helmet. They just -- they couldn't believe it."
Poor officiating has been a recurring theme in many NFL games throughout the season, but for a call like this to not be made in one of the biggest games of the year is embarrassing.
Many NFL fans, coaches, and players alike will be hoping the league and their officials take a long hard look at themselves during the offseason to make sure a blatant call like this one never goes uncalled in a game again.