New Orleans Saints owner Gayle Benson said Monday her team was “unfairly deprived” of a trip to the Super Bowl by what is widely viewed as a blown call by the referees near the end of the NFC championship game on Sunday.
Benson criticized the inaction of game officials “charged with creating a fair and equitable playing field,” and pledged to pursue aggressively changes in NFL policies that will promote more “fairness and integrity.”
The Saints owner was referring to the officials’ decision not to call a penalty on Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman for his early and high hit on Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis while quarterback Drew Brees’s third-down pass was still in the air.
A penalty would have given the Saints a first down inside the Rams' 10-yard line with about 1 minute 45 seconds left in the game, and would have allowed New Orleans to run out most of the remaining time before trying a go-ahead field goal.
Instead, about 1:41 remained when the Saints took their last lead, and the Rams came back to win in overtime.
Benson has been the sole owner of the Saints since her husband, Tom, died last March.
Meanwhile, a sports betting agency in New Jersey is offering credits for customers who bet on the Saints, because of the widespread belief that the team was victimized by the blown call.
PointsBet initially said Monday it “will refund all wagers” on the spread and money-line bets on the Saints.
But, later in the afternoon, PointsBet said those “refunds” would come in the form of bonus bets, not cash payouts.