Gayle Benson owner of the New Orleans Saints reacts before a game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 22, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images
Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Saints owner Gayle Benson responds to fumbled interference call

As thousands of football fans sign a petition calling for a rematch, New Orleans Saints owner Gayle Benson responded Monday to the uproar surrounding a failed interference call in Sunday’s NFC championship game between the Saints and the Los Angeles Rams that may have cost the Saints a Super Bowl berth.

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The controversial call occurred in the final minutes of a tied game when referees missed an obvious pass interference call on Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman when he appeared to make helmet-to-helmet contact with Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis. The Rams went on to beat the Saints 26-23 in overtime.

Benson said the results of the game were “difficult to accept.”

>> Related: Saints fans blast officials over missed pass interference call in NFC championship loss

“I am thoroughly disappointed by the events that led to the outcome of yesterday’s game,” she said in a statement.

“No team should ever be denied the opportunity to reach the title game (or simply win a game) based on the actions, or inactions, of those charged with creating a fair and equitable playing field. As is clear to all who watched the game, it is undeniable that our team and fans were unfairly deprived of that opportunity.” 

Benson said she’s been in touch with the NFL and “will aggressively pursue changes in NFL policies to ensure no team and fan base is ever put in a similar position again.”

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The NFL is expected to discuss whether to make pass-interference penalties reviewable, something that is not done now, according to ESPN, citing The Washington Post, which reported such a rule change is expected to be “discussed at length along with additional fouls that coaches feel should be subject to review.”

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