Louisiana senator rips NFL refs over no-call in Saints-Rams game

Louisiana Sen. Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyGOP senator issues stark warning to Republicans on health care Bipartisan senators offer bill to expand electric vehicle tax credit Menendez, Rubio lead Senate effort to regulate Venezuelan sanctions MORE (R) took NFL referees to task during a speech on the Senate floor Friday, chastising the league over what was widely viewed as a blown call in a playoff game between the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams.

During Sunday's game, Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman hit Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis while Lewis was attempting to catch a pass. Robey-Coleman was not cited for pass interference and later expressed surprise on the lack of a call.

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In a floor speech Friday, Cassidy implored the NFL to explain how referees were "scored" for their performance in the NFC championship game, while characterizing the missed call as one of the most consequential in the league's history.

"What happened in my belief, and the belief of many, was the most blatant and consequential blown call in NFL history," Cassidy said.

"Saints fans would like to have an accountability for the referees," he said. "Did people look into conflicts of interest? It's been pointed out that the referee [closest to the play] who missed the call lives in Los Angeles. Is he a diehard Rams fan?"

"Football's more than a game. It is part of our culture, and I would say the NFL has a responsibility to the millions of fans across the country to ensure the integrity of the game and to answer these questions and perhaps a few others," Cassidy said.

The senator's objections follow an official complaint sent to the league's commissioner by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D), who pushed the league to implement rules that would prevent a future game from ending in a similarly contested outcome.

"By missing the obvious, blatant and intentional penalty at the end of the game, the referees in Sunday’s game undermined that expectation and unfortunately were allowed to determine the winner," Edwards wrote to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

"This team deserved better," Edwards wrote. "Saints fans deserved better. The City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana deserved better."

The Rams ended up defeating the Saints 26-23 in overtime on Sunday. The Rams are set to play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3.