NEW ORLEANS — The NFC Championship Game on Sunday between the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans was cloaked in controversy after officials did not throw a penalty on what appeared to be a pass interference foul late in the fourth quarter.
With 1:45 to play in the game, Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman appeared to commit a pass interference penalty with a helmet-to-helmet hit on Tommylee Lewis.
The penalty would have given the Saints a first down and with the Rams having only one timeout, New Orleans would have been able to run out most of the clock to set up a chip-shot field goal.
Instead, Wil Lutz made a 31-yard field goal to put the Saints ahead, 23-20, with 1:41 to play. Los Angeles then drove down the field and tied the game with 19 seconds remaining.
The Rams then won the game in overtime, 26-23.
Still, the controversial noncall on pass interference was all the talk after the game.
“I don’t know if there was ever more obvious pass interference,” Saints coach Sean Payton said.
After the game, an eye care business in Covington, Louisiana, took to social media to say it would offer free exams for NFL officials before next season.
“We will GLADLY provide no cost eye exams to all NFL officials prior to next season to prevent the atrocity that occurred tonight,” Louisiana Family Eyecare wrote on Facebook on Sunday night. “We would hate for someone else to feel our pain.”
A vision center in College Station, Texas, said it will extending its free eye exams to NFL officials as well.
“In light of the atrocious lack of calls during the New Orleans Saints game, we would like to extend free eye exams and glasses to any NFL referee in need. You know who you are,” CrystalVisionCenter tweeted after the game.
In light of the atrocious lack of calls during the New Orleans Saints game we would like to extend free eye exams and glasses to any NFL referee in need.
You know who you are.
— CrystalVisionCenter (@CrystalVisionCS) January 21, 2019
The Rams will play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3 in Atlanta.