Former NFL Official On Missed PI: "It's Not An Easy Call"

One former referee says the non-call that defined the NFC Championship was a "bang-bang situation"

Taz and the Moose
January 21, 2019 - 12:21 pm

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The NFL gave fans a pair of overtime thrillers on Sunday, but that, unfortunately, has been lost in the next-day shuffle. Instead, many fans and analysts are focusing on a missed pass interference call that likely cost the Saints a Super Bowl berth.

“It’s kind of frustrating because you had two absolutely wonderful games, it’s a missed call, and it puts an awful lot of pressure on the league office,” former NFL official Jim Daopoulos said on Taz & The Moose. “You want the officials to let them play, let the players decide to game. But it’s a miss.”

Rams corner Nickell Robey-Coleman committed pass interference on Saints wide receiver TommyLee Lewis on a pivotal third down with less than two minutes to play in regulation. Had the call been made, the Saints could have kicked a chip-shot field goal for the walk-off win. Instead, the Rams won 26-23 in overtime.

“Everybody says it was such an easy call; it’s not an easy call,” Daopoulos said. “It’s a bang-bang situation. It’s an obvious foul. I do not disagree. It’s a foul, it’s a miss, it’s a call that has to be made. I don’t know how the official missed it. For the most part, they did a great job yesterday. It’s unfortunate when you have 150 to 160 plays every game, one or two calls determine the outcome of the game or that’s all people focus on. Guys miss calls, and unfortunately, it’s so magnified in that game at that point in the game. I can tell you this official is sick today after missing that call.”

So is the NFL. In fact, rule changes could be coming this offseason.

“Maybe we need to have some kind of a replay challenge because you certainly have the ability to correct these correctable errors,” Daopoulos said. “Everybody talks about you don’t want to slow the game down, but this game is such that you have the ability to change a mistake of this magnitude with replay. . . . I can’t fault the officials for these because things happen so quickly out there, but gosh, we have the ability with replay. We have all the different camera angles. Why can’t we try to correct this type of a major egregious error during the game?

“It still comes down to these are judgment calls, and where do you draw the line?” Daopoulos continued. “Do we do it on a holding call in the middle of the line? You’ve got to set some kind of precedent. When you look at it from so many different angles, you certainly have a better view than the official on the field. Again, he’s got to make that call. He’s got to step up and throw that flag.”