An upset Superdome crowd went nuts.
"Just getting off the phone with the league office. They blew the call," Saints coach Sean Payton said after the game. "I don't know if there was ever a more obvious pass interference call."
Payton added that senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron told him that Bill Vinovich's officiating crew missed two calls on the play: the defensive pass interference and a helmet-to-helmet penalty on Robey-Coleman. The coach said Riveron told Payton, "We messed it up."
After the game in an interview with FOX's Erin Andrews, Payton, who is on the NFL Competition Committee, called for more replay in those instances.
"Look, it's a tough way to lose a game, especially when you're in a position like that to win it," Payton said. "All more reason we need more replay. We lose a chance to go to the Super Bowl with a call like that, it's just disappointing. But credit to the Rams, they did a good job and made the plays in the end when they needed to."
Payton elaborated during his postgame press conference: "We all want to get it right, right? We've got the technology where we can... We've got plenty of technology to speed things up, and look, I'm on the competition committee so hopefully that provides a voice. But I hope no other team has to lose a game the way we lost that one today though. We were in a position, like I said, to be right on there on the 10-yard line, whatever-yard line, and be on our knee for three plays. It's disappointing."
The Saints would kick the go-ahead field goal, but the non-call on what appeared to be a blatant penalty wiped out a chance for New Orleans to drain the clock. Instead, Los Angeles got the ball with 1:41 left and a timeout allowing the Rams to drive for a game-tying field-goal sending the tilt into overtime.
After seeing last season's playoff run end on the Minneapolis Miracle, the Saints once again saw their hearts ripped out once again. At least last year, the loss came on a physical error by a player. This time, New Orleans is left to wonder what might have been had a ref tossed his little yellow hanky onto the field in a crucial situation.
"Listen, it's tough to get over it," Payton concluded. "My problem, it was, I just don't know, if we were playing pickup football in the backyard, the team that committed the foul... It was as obvious a call, and how two guys can look at that and come up and arrive with their decision... It happened though, so we can't dwell on it. We'll probably never get over it."