Add Gov. John Bel Edwards to the growing chorus of Saints fans who are unhappy about the officiating crew’s missed penalty call in Sunday’s NFC Championship game.
Edwards on Tuesday penned a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell "on behalf of the people of Louisiana and New Orleans Saints fans all across the country" to express "deep disappointment" in the refs’ failure to call a flagrant penalty against the Los Angeles Rams.
"The very least that any fan of the Saints, or any other team, should be able to expect from any game is that the result will be decided by the players on the field," Edwards wrote in the blistering letter to Goodell. "By missing the obvious, blatant and intentional penalty at the end of the game, the referees in Sunday's game undermined that expectation and unfortunately were allowed to determine the winner. The team deserved better. Saints fans deserved better. The city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana deserved better."
Some fans have called on Goodell to use an obscure rule to force a do-over of the game, but Goodell hasn’t commented on the uproar.
"While it certainly would be within your powers to determine that the missed call was so out of bounds that it affected the fundamental fairness of the game (and, without a doubt, it was), I do recognize that you are unlikely to change the result of the game," Edwards wrote in his letter.
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Edwards, an avid Saints fan, attended Sunday’s game.
During a radio interview earlier in the day, Edwards, who officially kicked off his re-election campaign Tuesday, voiced his frustration over the call.
“I’m a sports fan, but you can be a casual observer of the game and know that call wasn’t even close. It was the worst ‘no call’ that I can remember,” he said. “When you think about the consequences of it, they are as big as they can be.”
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“This is really just an unfortunate situation,” he continued. “It almost defies description. Words almost fail me for how significant this is.”
Edwards, in his letter to Goodell references Saints' owner Gayle Benson's vow to push for a rule change to give teams some recourse in these situations.
“They ought to call it the ‘Saints’ rule’,” Edwards said on the radio.