Reports: Officials in Saints loss changed New Orleans hotels out of abundance of caution – The Advocate

There were no threats, the NFL said, but the officials involved in the Saints’ NFC Championship loss switched hotels out of caution, according to report. 

The switch was first reported by the Toronto Sun and confirmed by ESPN’s Mike Triplett. No threats or issues regarding the officials were reported.

The Sun’s report said the officials were moved from their original hotel, described as being “downtown,” and placed in a more “suburban” hotel. They checked out Monday without incident, the report said. 

The hotel switch came amid furor around the Saints’ 26-23 loss to the Los Angeles Rams following a blatant missed call at the end of regulation. The play occurred late in the fourth quarter with the game tied as the Saints were driving for a go-ahead score. Drew Brees uncorked a third down pass to receiver Tommylee Lewis, who was taken off his feet by Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman well before the ball arrived. 

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No flag was thrown, and the Saints were forced to settle for a field goal on the next play. The no-call left enough time for the Rams to drive for a tying field goal at the end of regulation, eventually winning in overtime on a 57-yard kick by Greg Zeurlein. 

Saints coach Sean Payton said he had spoken with league officials after the game, who admitted the call had been blown. 

“We spoke initially. Then I called to follow up. First thing [VP of NFL officiating Al Riveron] said when I got on the phone. They messed it up,” Payton said after the game. “But we went to these league meetings. We sit as an ownership group and we don’t further evaluate the replay system. It’s just too much at stake.”

It won’t make a difference for jilted Saints fans and players, but the missed call that likely cost New Orleans a Super Bowl berth could lead …

Reports the following day indicated the NFL this offseason would revisit a possible rule change that would allow for plays and missed calls like the one that cost the Saints to be subject to video review in-game. It is currently not a reviewable play. 

In a statement Monday, Saints owner Gayle Benson said she would be involved in “aggressively” seeking changes to the NFL’s rules regarding the situation. 

After a devastating loss in the NFC Championship, Saints owner Gayle Benson has weighed in on the result, as well as the missed call that cost…

“No team should ever be denied the opportunity to reach the title game … based on the actions, or inactions, of those charged with creating a fair and equitable playing field,” Benson said in her written statement. “As is clear to all who watched the game, it is undeniable that our team and fans were unfairly deprived of that opportunity yesterday.”


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