Sean Payton on roughing the passer penalty: No opinion on it; next question
Another week, another officiating controversy. What else is new?
It’s also not new that the Saints were on the wrong side of a key call (or non-call).
In the 2018 NFC Championship Game, it was a missed (and blatant) pass interference call on then-Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman that cost the Saints. On Sunday, it was a controversial roughing the passer penalty on Saints linebacker Kaden Elliss.
The call by referee Jerome Boger negated Marcus Williams’ interception in the end zone. Four plays later, Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill scored on a 1-yard run to give the Titans a 13-6 halftime lead on their way to a 23-21 victory.
Replays showed Elliss did not hit Tannehill in the head. Instead, he pushed him in the back with Elliss’ helmet maybe grazing Tannehill’s nameplate.
“There wasn’t an explanation, what do you want me to say? You want my opinion on it?” Payton snapped. “No. No opinion on it. Next question.”
Payton made his point without incurring a fine from the NFL office. It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad call.
CBS rules expert Gene Steratore said on the broadcast that Boger had a “difficult” viewing angle on the play and should have asked for help.
“What you hope for in that play is that the umpire, who is in the offensive backfield and has the opposite angle, can come and talk to you there and walk you through that and hopefully get you to pick that up,” Steratore said. “So you get the right call at the end of the day, because that is not roughing the passer, in my opinion.”