NEW ORLEANS — In a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Harry Connick Jr. writes that he won't watch the Super Bowl until changes are made to the league's officiating.
Connick penned the letter after the New Orleans Saints controversial loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Sunday.
Los Angeles cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman committed a blatant interference penalty with a helmet-to-helmet hit on Tommylee Lewis well before the pass arrived inside the 5, forcing the Saints to settle for Wil Lutz's 31-yard field goal that made it 23-20 with 1:41 left in regulation.
If the pass interference penalty had been called, the Saints could've run most of the time off the clock to set up a winning field goal from chip-shot range. A replay was shown over and over on the Superdome's giant video boards, prompting some fans to toss trash on the field.
"Being that it happened right there in front of the person who would be the one to make the call, and everyone in the stands saw it, everyone watching at home on TV saw it, that makes it even more difficult to take," Drew Brees said. "Because of this, I'm sure there will be a lot of talk about reviewing penalties, perhaps game-changing penalties."
Connick wrote that the NFL officiating this year was "mediocre" and officials assigned to the game had "no regard" for a penalty that would have changed the outcome of the game.
"To not call the pass interference/helmet-to-helmet penalties at the end of the game was one of the most disgraceful no-calls I have ever seen," Connick wrote.
It was the first home playoff loss for the Saints with Brees and coach Sean Payton, who had been 6-0 at the Superdome since their pairing began in 2006.
Payton said he talked to the NFL office after the game and was told that Robey-Coleman should have been flagged.
"Not only was it interference, it was helmet to helmet," the coach said. "I don't know if there was ever a more obvious pass interference."
Harry Connick Jr.'s letter to Roger Goodell
'Please know that I would've written this letter regardless of which teams were playing in the NFC Championship.
I love the game of football so much - the NFL gives me such great joy and has for many years. To not call the pass interference/helmet-to-helmet penalties at the end of the game was one of the most disgraceful no-calls I have ever seen.
The officiating this year has been, for the most part, mediocre, in my opinion. But for a game as important as the NFC Championship, it sickens me to know that the people who are assigned to fairly officiate the game seemingly had no regard for not only a dangerous penalty but one that would have certainly changed the outcome of the game.
Until changes are made, specifically, booth review of outcome-altering no-calls, you can count me out. I'm not watching the AFC Championship game and I won't be watching the Super Bowl.
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter.
Harry Connick Jr.