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Jimmy Graham cries foul over Hail Mary penalty
1:14 | NFL
Jimmy Graham cries foul over Hail Mary penalty
Sunday November 9th, 2014

Jimmy Graham probably pushed off Perrish Cox on a potential game-winning Hail Mary, and Cox probably flopped a bit. Only one of those things constitutes a penalty in the NFL.

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So Graham's dramatic last-second (apparent) touchdown catch, which would have given his team a 30-24 win, was wiped off the board on an offensive pass interference call. The penalty came on the final play of regulation, thus sending the Saints and 49ers into overtime, where the 49ers would ultimately emerge with a 27-24 victory.

Here is the play in question:

In the NHL, for example, players can be given embellishment (read: "diving") penalties even if an opposing player commits an infraction on them. In soccer, referees can hand out yellow cards if someone tries to sell a call.

There was no downside for Cox in overplaying his hand here once Graham established position on him. Either he flops and draws the call at that point or Graham secures a TD catch for the victory.

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It all probably will not sit too well with Saints fans -- offensive pass interference is almost never called in this situation. In fact, NFL replacement ref Wayne Elliott, whose crew was on the infamous Packers-Seahawks "Fail Mary" game, told Showtime's Inside the NFL in 2012 that the league instructed its officials to look the other way on this type of play.

"[For] the deep officials, it was brought up that you don't really call interference on a Hail Mary," Elliott said via CBSSports.com. "The deep officials were trained that during a Hail Mary, there's a lot of bodies in there and you just let it go."

Sunday's officials opted to throw the flag. Was it the right call?

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