Saints owner 'to pursue policy changes'

Last Updated: 21/01/19 11:21pm

Gayle Benson watched the New Orleans Saints be beaten to a place in the Super Bowl by the Los Angeles Rams, in part thanks to a controversial officials' decision

Gayle Benson watched the New Orleans Saints be beaten to a place in the Super Bowl by the Los Angeles Rams, in part thanks to a controversial officials’ decision

New Orleans Saints owner Gayle Benson says she will “aggressively pursue changes in NFL policies” after her team were controversially beaten by the Los Angeles Rams to a place in the Super Bowl.

The Rams beat the Saints in overtime in the NFC Championship game on Sunday to set up a clash against the New England Patriots in Atlanta on February 3.

However, the Saints believe they were denied an opportunity to beat the Rams in normal time after officials chose not to throw a flag after Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman hit Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis before the ball arrived on a third-and-10 pass.

Nickell Robey-Coleman contacted Tommylee Lewis well before the ball arrived, but no flag was thrown

Nickell Robey-Coleman contacted Tommylee Lewis well before the ball arrived, but no flag was thrown

If a penalty was called, the Saints could have run the clock down before kicking a 31-yard field goal as time expired, which would have won them the game and sent them to the Super Bowl.

Instead, the Saints had to kick a field goal with one minute and 41 seconds remaining, leaving time for the Rams to tie the game and force overtime – which they won.

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Highlights of the AFC Championship between the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs

Highlights of the AFC Championship between the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs

In a statement released on Monday, Benson said: “I am thoroughly disappointed by the events that led to the outcome of yesterday’s game.

“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.

Sean Payton said an NFL official told him after the game that the call was wrong

Sean Payton said an NFL official told him after the game that the call was wrong

“As is clear to all who watched the game, it is undeniable that our team and fans were unfairly deprived of that opportunity yesterday.

“I have been in touch with the NFL regarding yesterday’s events and will aggressively pursue changes in NFL policies to ensure no team and fan base is ever put in a similar position again.

“It is a disservice to our coaches, players, employees and, most importantly, the fans who make our game possible.

“The NFL must always commit to providing the most basic of expectations – fairness and integrity.”

Saints head coach Sean Payton said he spoke to Alberto Riveron, the NFL’s senior vice president of officiating, after the game, who he says admitted the call was incorrect.

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