NFL expected to 'refine' rules after Saints blunder

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jan 29 2019 10:26 AM

ATLANTA -- NFL team owner Arthur Blank said Monday he believes the league will introduce rule changes following the officiating furor that saw the New Orleans Saints controversially denied a place in the Super Bowl.

Blank, the billionaire boss of the Atlanta Falcons, told reporters that the NFL's competition committee would address the blunder that overshadowed the Saints' NFC Championship loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

The non-call, which denied the Saints a chance to kill off the game before the Rams went on to win in overtime, is widely regarded as one of the worst officiating gaffes in NFL history.

Blank believes "refinements" are inevitable following the controversy, but would not speculate on what those changes might look like.

"The NFL takes the integrity of the game very seriously," Blank said. 

"That's the backbone of what we do. Every year, the competition committee looks at everything that took place in the previous year, and obviously this year will include the call that was missed in the conference championship game.

"They will look at making refinements to the rules, and I'm sure they will do something, although what that will be I'm not sure."

Anger over the blunder has continued to simmer in New Orleans, with one fan last week renting billboard space in Atlanta to vent his fury at the NFL.

One of the billboards read simply: "Saints got robbed."

"I understand how the Saints fans feel, and the city and the organisation feels," Blank said. 

"They should express themselves any way they can and I'm sure the commissioner will address that on Wednesday."

Blank, however, emphasized broad satisfaction with the standard of officiating in the league and suggested that given the increased pace of the game, human error was inevitable from time to time.

"The officials do a great job throughout the year," Blank told AFP.

"It's a tough game. You have 22 guys. Each one is bigger than a mountain and each one is faster than Superman. And they fly around, and sometimes it's not possible to catch everything.

"But by and large the officials do a great job of supporting the integrity of the game."

The Rams will face the New England Patriots in this Sunday's Super Bowl.

© Agence France-Presse

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