Saints Won't Go Marching Out...But Is It Time To Move On?

Chris Dufresne

It took nearly a week but we’re happy to report the city of New Orleans is finally moving on after last Sunday’s horrible non-call against the Rams in the NFC Championship Game.

What, no?

“The state of Louisiana is outraged,” Sen. Bill Cassidy bellowed Friday on floor of what used to be called the world’s “greatest deliberative body.”

Cassidy, in a move that surely cinched his 2020 reelection, brought props to the show and presented a blown-up copy of the Monday’s Times-Picayune, featuring the sure-to-be award winning headline:

“Reffing Unbelievable.”

That’s good, although I might have considered a mug-shot of the incompetent official, one Cassidy suggests might be in on a massive conspiracy as he noted, “It has been pointed out that the referee who missed the call lives in L.A.”

My headline would incorporate local culture, Roy Orbison and a giant indicator arrow pointing to the official’s head:

“Blown By YOU!”

People are filing lawsuits and some fans want the entire game played over or at least the last five minutes of final French Quarter.

Local chefs are serving up a new dish, based on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, called “Seafood Dumbo.”

Saint fans want justice but enough already—how long is this sob story going to continue?

The NFL said it was sorry.

What, no, it hasn’t?

Well, that’s a problem, but crazy talk of reversing a bad call is nonsense unless you can guarantee the Saints would have won on a game-ending field goal.

Truth is, you can’t. I see “chip shots” blown all the time and even remember Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers once fumbling away a center snap while in “Victory” formation.

You also can't assume the Rams would have scored from the one-yard line, and taken a 24-20 lead, on a face mask penalty not called on Jared Goff.

It may be time to remind New Orleans of the foibles, frailties and general ineptitude of humankind. The Crescent City isn’t the first jilted lover left at the goal post and must painfully accept the botch-ups inevitable in a sport with 22 moving parts and a rule book thicker than the Dead Sea Scrolls.

New Orleans is not the first town, team or fan base to have victory swiped, swindled, whistled, flagged or prematurely blown dead.

Off the top of my head, in about five minutes or so, I came up with a list of 10 bad calls, non-calls, conspiracies or general outrages that may have cost someone a victory parade.

Feel free to offer your own.

I recounted this week the insidiously rancid call, 45 years ago, levied against left guard Tom Mack, that likely cost the L.A. Rams a trip to the Super Bowl.

The referee who made that call, Tommy Bell, was from Kentucky. That’s right, an SEC man who must have had it in for us liberal city slickers?

Every fan base has their own story.

Silver and Black folk maintain no organization has been more plundered and conspired against than their Oakland\Los Angeles\Las Vegas Raiders. Ahrrrr!

1: The Immaculate Reception. NFL Films named it the greatest play in league history. In Oakland, it’s the “Plague of 1972.”

The Pittsburgh Steelers “defeated” Oakland in a playoff game on a desperate Terry Bradshaw heave that ricocheted off Raider DB Jack Tatum (or Steeler Frenchy Fuqua) to Franco Harris, who scooped the ball off the turf and ran in for the winning score.

The Raiders maintain two things: the pass deflected off Fuqua, which would have made it an illegal catch. Also, that the ball touched the ground before Harris picked it up.

Conveniently, the only video available in the archives cuts out the bottom of the ball and the turf.

Memo to New Orleans: They did NOT replay the game.

2: Tom Brady “Tuck You.” Everyone knows this story of the 2001 AFC Divisional playoffs. Defensive back Charles Woodson stripped Brady of the ball, Oakland recovered and killed the clock on an important game that kick-started a Super Bowl dynasty under young coach Jon Gruden.

Nope, that’s not AT ALL how it went down. Brady’s “fumble” was overturned by replay under the “Tuck Rule,” which was outlawed in 2013 by a vote of 29-1. Too late for Oakland. It was New England that won the game and started its dynasty with a win in the Super Bowl over...the Rams.

3: World Series: 1985. Game 6. St. Louis vs. Kansas City. Cards lead series, 3-2. First base umpire Don Denkinger called a Royals runner safe when he was clearly out. KC rallied to win Game 6 and the Series. Come on, St. Louis, was it really that big of a deal?

4: College Football: 2006. Oregon “defeated” Oklahoma in Eugene with the help of a late, onside kick recovery.

First problem: the ball touched an Oregon player before going the mandatory 10 yards. Second problem: Oklahoma, not Oregon, recovered the ball. This was the biggest of many egregious officiating calls in the recent history of Pac 10\12 football.

Then-commissioner Tom Hansen suspended the crew and called the ordeal “most unfortunate and unsettling.”

Oklahoma President David Boren, like a Soviet dictator, demanded the game be expunged from the records. Hint: it wasn’t.

5: College Football:1990. Colorado “defeated” Missouri in Columbia with the help of five downs on the crucial, game-winning drive. Oops. Mayhem ensued and bottles were tossed. Victory helped Colorado win a share of the national championship.

6: College Football: 1969. UCLA fans still scoff at a fourth-down pass interference call, Danny Graham on USC receiver Sam Dickerson, that helped the Trojans to a game-winning touchdown.

“It seems like my whole life just went down the drain,” Graham was quoted in the L.A. Times.

7:American League Playoffs. 2005. Angels vs. Chicago White Sox. Anaheim loyalists haven’t forgiven home plate umpire Doug Eddings for a call that could have cost the Angels a chance for their second pennant. In a 1-1 game, Eddings called strike three on an inning-ending swing-and-miss by A. J Pierzynski. Angel catcher Josh Paul rolled the ball back to the mound on his way to the dugout but Pierzynski ran to first, claiming the third strike was dropped. The umpires ruled against the Angels. Chicago won the game and the series.

Eddings’s name in Anaheim is still mud, and A.J. Pierzynski remains the seventh-son of SATAN.

8: Basketball.NBA Finals. Game 6. 1998. Chicago star Michael Jordan hit the game-winning shot with 5.2 seconds left. Utah fans still claim Jordan pushed off on Bryon Russell and should have been called for an offensive foul. Jordan won six NBA titles with the Bulls while Utah is still in search of its first. A few years ago, Matthew Durrant, Chief Justice of the Utah’s Supreme Court, ruled in a filing that Jordan should have been called for the foul.

9: Baseball. American League Championship Series.1996. Baltimore vs. New York. Game one. Jeffrey Maier, a 12-year-old Yankees fan, reached into field of play to touch what was erroneously ruled a home run for rookie Derek Jeter. Baltimore right fielder Tony Tarasco went bonkers, claiming he could have caught the ball. Umpire Rich Garcia, pre-replay, stuck with his call. Jeter’s homer tied game and the Yankees win in extra innings.

Maier remains a hero because he helped the home team. Conversely, poor fan\man Steve Bartman, became a goat in Chicago because a non-interference call against him in 2003 hurt the home-town Cubbies.

10: College Football. This year. Washington State at USC. The Cougars were driving for a potential game-winning touchdown at the Coliseum when quarterback Gardner Minshew was clocked helmet-to-helmet by USC linebacker Porter Gustin. It should have been “targeting” but Gustin was ultimately not penalized. Washington State had to settle for a game-tying field goal attempt, which was blocked. The non-call might have cost Washington State the Pac 12 title and trip to the Rose Bowl.

Comments (5)

Obviously Congress, or at least this Senator, has nothing better to do. Sheesh!

No. 1-5
Chris Dufresne
Chris Dufresne


It's simple Herbie. Give coaches the ability to "challenge" calls that are now not eligible for review. Or give upstairs or the league the right to review all calls in the final two minutes of a game... There, it's fixed, just like the NFC title game was


Vince Young’s knee was down.


Another writer on another website said the 2 refs closest to this play are from Los Angeles, one a longtime resident Ladera Ranch -- "just south of L.A." -- and the other a lifelong resident of Santa Barbara. Ladera Ranch is in South Orange County, about 50 miles from L.A. Most O.C. residents hate L.A. and despise begin described as being from L.A. Ladera Ranch isn't even near Anaheim, geographically or demographically. If the writer goofed and meant to say Ladera Heights, well, that is between Culver City and Inglewood and is just west of L.A. Santa Barbara is more than 100 miles from L.A. and nobody who resides there claims any association with L.A. Nice try, conspiracy theorists.

Herb Gould
Herb Gould


Nice roundup of gaffes, Duf. . . Here's my question: Where will the refs involved in the Big Easy no-call work next year? If they work again? Do you want them in the Pac-12? If nothing else, NFL needs to have a way of correcting egregious no-calls like this to spare the zebras from a life of. . . ridicule.

Chris Dufresne