Pass interference soon could be a reviewable play in the NFL, according to sources cited by The Washington Post on Monday.
That’s not soon enough from the perspective of the New Orleans Saints, who would have been in position to put the NFC Championship Game on ice late in the fourth quarter Sunday had a collision prior to the ball arriving — textbook pass interference in the NFL rulebook — been flagged.
Saints head coach Sean Payton erupted on the sideline and appeared to scold game officials for blowing “a Super Bowl call.” Payton said after the game the missed call is something New Orleans will “probably never get over.” The league admitted to Payton that an error was made.
“(Pass interference) will be discussed at length along with additional fouls that coaches feel should be subject to review,” a person familiar with the NFL’s inner workings told the Post.
—A day after the controversial defeat, Saints owner Gayle Benson issued a strong statement of disapproval.
“No team should ever be denied the opportunity to reach the title game (or simply win a game) based on the actions, or inactions, of those charged with creating a fair and equitable playing field,” Benson said, in part. “As is clear to all who watched the game, it is undeniable that our team and fans were unfairly deprived of that opportunity yesterday.
“I have been in touch with the NFL regarding yesterday’s events and will aggressively pursue changes in NFL policies to ensure no team and fan base is ever put in a similar position again.”
—Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Dee Ford didn’t mince words or offer up an excuse, a day after he lined up offside on a pivotal fourth quarter play and likely cost the team a trip to the Super Bowl.
“Sloppy football on my end at the end of the day,” Ford told reporters one day after the Chiefs lost 37-31 in overtime to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. “Whether it was six inches or however many inches, I was offside.”
The penalty on Ford wiped out an interception by Kansas City cornerback Charvarius Ward with 54 seconds left. The Chiefs led 28-24 at the time.
—Philadelphia players rallied to Carson Wentz’s defense after unnamed teammates reportedly called the Eagles quarterback “selfish” and “egotistical.”
A report criticizing Wentz by PhillyVoice.com cited “more than a half dozen” players who requested to remain anonymous, “fearing repercussions.”
Among the claims in the report were that Wentz “bullied” offensive coordinator Mike Groh, played “favorites” by over-targeting Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz, and generally acted “like he’s won 10 Super Bowls.”
—With Jared Goff and Tom Brady heading to Super Bowl LIII, Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson will take their place in the Pro Bowl on Sunday in Orlando.
One teammate Watson won’t reunite with this week is defensive lineman J.J. Watt, who was replaced by Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell. Other newly announced replacements include Oakland Raiders tight end Jared Cook (for the Chiefs’ Travis Kelce) and Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson (for the Dallas Cowboys’ Tyron Smith).
—The NFL announced all five international series games for the 2019 season:
Panthers at Buccaneers in London
Bears at Raiders in London
Bengals at Rams in London
Texans at Jaguars in London
Chiefs at Chargers in Mexico City
—The Miami Dolphins are expected to name Green Bay assistant coach Patrick Graham as their new defensive coordinator, according to multiple reports.
The Packers’ defensive run-game coordinator and inside linebackers coach reportedly will join the staff of future Dolphins head coach Brian Flores.
Miami has to wait until after Super Bowl LIII to officially hire Flores, the New England defensive coordinator whose Patriots will face the Rams in Atlanta on Feb. 3.
—The Tennessee Titans promoted tight ends coach Arthur Smith to offensive coordinator.
Smith joined the Titans’ staff in 2011 and has coached the tight ends since midway through the 2015 campaign. He replaces Matt LaFleur, who was named head coach of the Packers earlier this month.
—The fan-friendly menu prices at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium will remain intact for the Super Bowl.
The Atlanta Falcons instituted “Fan First Menu Pricing” when they moved into the new stadium in 2017, and team president and CEO Rich McKay told ESPN the prices of the 12 items on the menu will stay as is for the game, just as they have for other big events there.
—Former NFL running back Darren McFadden was arrested early Monday in Texas on charges of driving while intoxicated and resisting arrest.
TMZ reported that McFadden, 31, fell asleep in his SUV outside the drive-thru window of a Whataburger fast-food restaurant in suburban Dallas.
According to TMZ, McFadden resisted officers and that the driver’s side and passenger windows in his vehicle were both smashed.
—Field Level Media