Point/Counterpoint: Which championship weekend call was worse?

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New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis (11) works for a coach against Los Angeles Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman (23) during the second half the NFL football NFC championship game Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, in New Orleans. The Rams won 26-23. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Both the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots took home the hardware on championship weekend and are now one win away from being Super Bowl champions. However, if not for some horrendous officiating by the referees, Super Bowl LIII could very well be featuring the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs. This raised the question, which call was worse? The pass interference no-call? Or was it the roughing the passer that was called against the Chiefs?

Michael Logan: Is there anything better than giving officials a hard time? No, and it is because they do a poor job, week in and week out. Not to mention the fact that fans get the chance to see a thousand replays in slow-motion. So, it is hard to believe that the NFL is still dealing with how to get calls right and it cost the New Orleans Saints a chance at a Super Bowl ring. With the score tied at 20 with under two minutes left in regulation, Drew Brees found Tommylee Lewis on 3rd & 10 for what have been an easy touchdown. Instead, the cornerback knocked Lewis into next week before he had a chance at the ball.

The official admitted he made a mistake, the league admitted he made a mistake, and it all means nothing. The Saints were robbed of a chance at a Super Bowl and the league should be ashamed.

Jorge Eckardt: The issue with the Saints call is that it was such a bang bang play, it’s understandable that some human error occurred. Nickell Robey-Coleman even said after the game that the official gave him a signal to say that the ball was tipped, which would have negated the pass interference. However, when you look at the “roughing the passer” that was called on Chris Jones midway through the fourth quarter, it almost looks like the refs were trying to give the Patriots a first down. Jones didn’t hit Brady in the head, all he did was put his hand on his chest. It also wasn’t a late hit (if you can even call it a hit), as Brady still had the ball! Jones was obviously just going for a sack and not trying to harm the opposing QB. It’s one thing to miss a bang bang play in live action, especially if you thought the ball was tipped. It’s another thing to go out of your way to call a roughing the passer that was just clearly not there.

Logan: The roughing the passer call, which benefited the Patriots, made me nauseous. But, the Saints would have won the game. Just look at the backlash that the NFL is facing right now. The Saints owner, coaches, players and fans have voiced their displeasure with the non-call. There is just too much money at stake to allow human error to negate the hard work that the Saints put into their season.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time a call ruined a game and it will not be the last time. The NFL will probably implement a rule where a play like that is reviewable, which is all fine and dandy, but the game will be prolonged even more than it is now. The bottom line is that the officials need to do their jobs better than they are doing it. Maybe they should have an official in their ear during the game to help them out. All I know is that something needs to be done.

Eckardt: I agree with you wholeheartedly. Something has to be done and officials need to do their jobs better. The non-call was obviously a terrible mistake, but the Saints did nothing to help themselves before or after. They made two red zone trips in the first quarter that both ended in field goals and blew a 13-0 lead. They let the Rams get into field goal range (which admittedly for Zuerlein is not that hard to do) to tie the game right before the end of regulation. They even won the coin toss and had a chance to put the game away in overtime without Goff ever getting to touch the ball before Brees threw a complete duck that wound up being intercepted on a ball he never should have let leave his hand. Sure, the non-call may have hurt them, but all of their missed opportunities lost them the game.

As for the roughing the passer, that call was just a blatant, unnecessary gift that bailed the Patriots out of what would have been a third-and-long deep in their own territory. In case you were wondering, that drive ended in a touchdown.


Michael Logan is the sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at michael.logan@uconn.edu.

Jorge Eckardt is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at jorge.eckardt@uconn.edu.

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