Column: Officiating helps determine Super Bowl teams – Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The closing thing the NFL would ever prefer is for an officiating mistake to believe the Corpulent Bowl.

On Sunday, the league would possibly perhaps presumably honest need made adequate errors to set up both teams that can play in the championship sport in two weeks.

The most egregious gaffe got here in the NFC title sport in New Orleans. The Saints had been in set to set away the Rams when Tommylee Lewis blatantly changed into once interfered with at some level of the Los Angeles 5-yard line by cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman. No longer most effective did Robey-Coleman hit Lewis early, he did so helmet to helmet. Subsequent weekend, we’ll hear about Robey-Coleman being fined for the collision — despite the reality that, incredibly, no flag changed into once thrown.

“Came to the sideline, checked out the football gods and changed into once savor, ‘Thank you,’” Robey-Coleman talked about. “I obtained away with one tonight.”

Such a gigantic one who it kept the Rams alive. As an alternative of a major down and the probability to creep down the clock earlier than making a self-discipline function, or ranking a touchdown for a bigger lead, the Saints injure up with Wil Lutz’s 31-yard kick. That made it 23-20 with 1:41 left in law, a lot of time for the Rams to march to Greg Zuerlein’s tying forty eight-yard self-discipline function.

“Greg The Leg” obtained it with a 57-yarder in OT. His heroics almost completely never would have took set had the call on Robey-Coleman been made. And the reality the defender led at the side of his head into Lewis’ helmet at a time when the NFL is adamant that it’s doing the entirety to discover such hits out of the game would possibly perhaps presumably honest quiet be great extra maddening.

“They felt savor the gamers — the player — arrived at the similar time that the ball did,” Saints coach Sean Payton talked about, searching to be diplomatic when he had every upright to rant and rave. “They didn’t if truth be told feel savor it changed into once an interference call.

“Look, it’s a disturbing technique to lose a sport, namely when you happen to’re in a set savor that to make your mind up on it. It’s all the extra reason we need extra replay. We lose a probability to scuttle to the Corpulent Bowl with a call savor that, it’s staunch disappointing. But, credit score the Rams. They did a staunch job, made the performs in the discontinuance after they desired to.”

Performs that wouldn’t have existed if Bill Vinovich’s crew obtained it upright.

An argument in general is made, and rightly so, that performs viewed in sluggish motion become clearly illegal, but at paunchy velocity in an an increasing number of rapid and physical sport, they sight OK. That competition has no set here; even at warp velocity, Robey-Coleman’s hit changed into once clearly a penalty.

NFL senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron “couldn’t believe” no penalty call changed into once called on the play, Payton talked about.

“It’s disturbing to discover over it,” Payton talked about. “My narrate with it’s miles, I staunch don’t know, if we had been playing pickup football in the backyard … it changed into once as obvious a call — and the device two guys can sight at that and attain at their decision? It took set despite the reality that.”

About a issues took set in Kansas Metropolis, too, where the Patriots obtained 37-31, also in time past law. These had extra to originate with replay, with two serious calls going New England’s system in the fourth quarter.

The first, which required a lengthy video overview, piquant Julian Edelman muffing a punt. The customary call changed into once that the bouncing ball touched him. Replays, even in quit motion, gave the impact inconclusive, which system the call would possibly perhaps presumably honest quiet stand.

But Riveron and his workers in New York saw adequate evidence that Edelman never made contact with the football. Even Kansas Metropolis’s laid-back coach, Andy Reid, changed into extremely demonstrative with the overturned decision. Who would possibly perhaps presumably perhaps blame him serious about how many dozens of such calls keep on with what on-self-discipline officers decided?

The Chiefs, in all likelihood in a dose of poetic justice, soon after intercepted a circulate that went off Edelman’s fingers.

But later in the quarter, Chris Hogan tried a one-handed use on third down. Reid challenged, and replay indicated a long way extra evidence the ground helped Hogan construct the use than the old overview showed Edelman whiffed on the ball.

No matter. The use changed into once upheld, and 6 performs later, Sony Michel scored a touchdown.

Chiefs linebacker Dee Ford also went offside on the Patriots’ final pressure in law, negating an interception by Charvarius Ward that will presumably have clinched a decide. But there changed into once miniature controversy there.

The league has been beneath heavy scrutiny and drawn huge criticism about its officiating in the last few years. The perception is that the NFL wishes paunchy-time officers, which would possibly perhaps presumably perhaps lend a hand somewhat, and in phase is being performed.

Nonetheless, the deeper points are too many rules and tangents to those rules; parts of emphasis that discover hammered in, then reputedly are discarded; and officers who fight to sustain with the charge of the game. The league prizes journey, but when one in all its most experienced crews blows a call so blatant that even the perpetrator acknowledges he caught a smash, the storm of articulate will rage.

Rightly so.

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