NFL could make pass interference reviewable in wake of disastrous ending in Rams-Saints playoff game

The NFL suffered an ugly public relations black eye with some terrible on-field officiating as the Saints were robbed of an opportunity to advance to the Super Bowl thanks to NFL refs failing to throw a flag on Nickell Robey-Coleman's obvious pass interference against Tommy Lee Lewis. 

As a result, the NFL will discuss implementing a review of pass interference plays this offseason, according to a report from Mark Maske of the Washington Post

"It will be discussed at length along with additional fouls that coaches feel should be subject to review," a source told Maske.

Something has to be done. The league has to find a solution to this problem.

There are many proponents of the "make everything reviewable" approach to football. It's something the Competition Committee has discussed previously, but the group of men in charge has been hesitant to make pass interference, a highly subjective call, reviewable. It's believed doing so could open an ugly can of reviewable worms. 

But it should receive an extreme -- and perhaps more focused -- emphasis since current Saints coach Sean Payton, the very man who feels most robbed by the lack of a flag, is on the committee. Payton acknowledged as much, that it would be looked at "when we sit down as an ownership group ... at the league meetings."

"We all want to get it right, right? We've got plenty of technology to speed things up. Look, I'm on the Competition Committee, so hopefully that provides a voice. But, man, I hope no other team loses a game the way we lost one today."

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The Saints were winning that game if the flag is thrown. Wil Lutz is a good kicker and he made the pressure kick he would need to make from farther away anyway. The only difference was the time on the clock and the end result. 

"We were in a position to be right there on the 10-yard line, whatever yard line, to take three knees ... it's disappointing," Payton added.

New Orleans had other chances to win. They didn't lose this game solely on that penalty. But it's hard not to look at the play in question and think what could have been if the obvious flag had been thrown. 

Officiating is difficult, but when the refs miss a layup like that, it becomes particularly problematic.

"Listen it's a hard job for those guys, but I don't know if there was ever a more obvious pass interference call," Payton said. "It's the NFC Championship Game, so it's a tough one to swallow."

Making matters worse for Payton, one would assume, is the swift private reaction from the NFL. Payton said after the game he was on the phone with the league and NFL VP of Officiating Al Riveron, who told Payton flat out that the league "blew it." 

"For a call like that not be made, man it's just hard to swallow. And then to get a phone call [from the league apologizing] ..." Payton said trailing off. 

The Saints are headed off to vacation while the Rams head to the Super Bowl. Other factors played into the outcome of the game, but there's no doubt that officiating was a massive part of what happened. 

And as a result the NFL is will be taking a comprehensive look into potentially changing what is reviewable.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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