NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Saints fans hoping to hear some good news in NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s news conference Wednesday (Jan. 30) wound up sorely disappointed, and sports experts agree Goodell’s response feel short.
With the fourth quarter NFC Championship play and subsequent no-call running through Saints’ fans mind, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell took the podium to field questions before upcoming Super Bowl, some questions of course surrounding the circumstances of the Saints' loss.
"We understand the frustration of the fans,” Goodell said.
But for many, “understanding their frustration” was not enough.
Tulane sports law professor Gabe Feldman said the league has been transparent there should have been a call on the play and was surprised Saints’ fans didn’t hear an apology today.
“I think an apology would have gone a long way about what happened,” Feldman said.
He said the commissioner and the league, had nothing to lose by saying sorry, even though there is pending litigation against them. There are missed calls on the field all the time, Feldman said, the question is how to reduce the critically-missed calls.
“The league said under the current rules, the officials couldn’t do anything because there’s no rule to review pass interference, and the commissioner had no right to step in and do anything," Feldman said “So we have many aggravated fans but no remedy.”
However, former Saints general manager Jim Miller said it’s important for fans to remember the Saints still have a powerful voice at the table when it comes to making a possible rule change.
“Our ace in the hole, I think, is Sean Peyton, who sits on the competition committee," Miller said. “And I don’t think he’s going to let it go by without making his point.”
Though from Miller’s perspective, fans' expectations of Goodell’s address may have been too high.
“The best the Saints fans could hope for today with the commissioner’s press conference is to see the commissioner squirm a little bit, and he did,” Miller said.
Miller said football will continue to be a human-played and a human-officiated game, but there is the technology available to assist.
“Referees are human, but we have the luxury in the last some years of having technology that’s not human," Miller said. “It’s impartial it’s not human and it tells the truth so let’s utilize it.”
Miller said he’s moving on, but that Goodell’s words haven’t changed his mind on watching the 2019 Super Bowl.
“I have no interest in watching the game," Miller said. “It hurts.”
The Competition Committee meets in March, and even though both Feldman and Miller said it’s hard to see the committee not addressing the no-call, there’s still a chance the rules will not be changed.