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Saints Controversially Lose Playoffs As Ex-NFL Referee Blasts Pass Interference Decision

The Saints found themselves crashing out of the playoffs at the Mercedes-Bank Super Dome. However, a former NFL referee believes there was a controversial call.


'Missed opportunities' will be the title of the story of the New Orleans Saints' exit from the National Football League (NFL) Playoffs. The Vikings finished the regular season with a 10-6 record. The Saints, on the other hand, finished with an impressive 13-3 record. Despite the gap in numbers in the regular season, the Vikings came out on top against the Saints, courtesy of a controversial pass interference no-call. 

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Former NFL referee laments pass interference decision during Vikings vs Saints matchup

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins was the star of the show for the winners at the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome. Kirk Cousins threw for 63 yards in overtime to lead the Minnesota Vikings over the line. However, the drama unfolded when the Vikings were facing a third-and-goal from the 4. A four-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins found Kyle Rudolph, which was the play that ultimately ended up winning the game for the Vikings. It was then that the Saints players felt hard done by. During the play, Kyle Rudolph is seen holding out an arm to impede Saints cornerback P. J. Williams. According to NFL rules, if an offensive player fully extends his arm as Rudolph did on the play, it is supposed to be grounds for offensive pass interference.

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While the play was reviewed, NFL's Vice President of Officiating, Al Riveron decided to let the call stand. While Saints fans may have disagreed on the referee's call, they did find some support from a former NFL referee. Terry McAulay served as the lead official in three different Super Bowls and had a say on the Saints' playoffs exit. After the game, McAulay tweeted saying that there were obvious signs of interference play. The NFL, however, did not take too long to review the decision. 

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Had the NFL taken the time to review the call, the Vikings would have suffered a 10-yard penalty. This would, in turn, mean that the Vikings would have to settle for a field goal and possession would turn to the Saints, trailing 20-23. Instead, Kirk Cousins' four-yard touchdown pass was converted by Kyle Rudolph, which ultimately settled the contest. 

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