NO LOVE FOR NOLA: Bad Relationship Between Saints and NFL Will Get Worse in 2019


Just in case you missed it, the National Football League in its infinite wisdom appeared to disrespect the New Orleans Saints once again yesterday (perhaps unintentionally but one has to wonder). The League’s Competition Committee decided not to make any changes to its rules regarding instant replay and more specifically, any non-calls made by NFL referees, at least for now.

As noted by several reporters on-hand in Indianapolis during yesterday’s meeting, the League and the Committee — which ironically Saints head coach Sean Payton himself is actually a member of — will explore the possibility of revisiting the rule and consider making any changes of significance at a later date.

There was no word on whether or not Payton addressed the Committee, or whether or not it was ever brought up for serious conversation among his fellow seven members (Chairman and Falcons President Rich McKay, Giants owner John Mara, Cowboys co-owner Stephen Jones, Packers president Mark Murphy, former Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, and Broncos GM John Elway).






Not surprisingly, it was the very same rule that the League and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had promised to consider changing after the Black and Gold got robbed of a Super Bowl appearance in the NFC Championship Game loss to the Los Angeles Rams last month. The decision followed the much-discussed and now-infamous pass interference and helmet-to-helmet hit “no-calls” that should have been called penalties, by Rams DB Nickell Robey-Coleman against Saints WR Tommylee Lewis.

Instead of taking up the issue of the controversial play and its after-effects that essentially ripped the hearts out of an entire fan-base, members of the Committee opted instead to take into consideration things such as banning players from leaving their team’s bench on the sidelines to go and celebrate with their teammate(s) after scoring a touchdown.

Oh boy, that’s a real critical issue that they chose to address right there. Are they serious?

When you have as bad of an image problem as the NFL does at the moment, it would seem that perhaps the League would have been better served to address the most significant controversy that hangs over the sport like a dark black cloud. Namely, that officiating debacle at the Superdome a few weeks back that essentially robbed an entire team and its fanbase of a legitimate shot at winning a World Championship.

Hysterically, the person that runs the Saints team Twitter account was quick to throw some “shade” at the League for their blatant hypocrisy and apparent incompetence, with this brilliant Tweet right after word had spread about the Competition Committee’s ignoring the replay issue for now and addressing other issues of far less importance.

One notable thing about that Tweet is that there now appears to be a growing contentious relationship between the League and the Saints franchise, a relationship that over the past several years has seen some obvious discourse between the two sides following the BountyGate controversy back in 2012.

It was before that 2012 Season that the League punished the team and handed down a series of suspensions for the Black and Gold’s supposed illegal “bounty” program; in which it was said (or alleged) that Saints defensive players were intentionally trying to injure players from other teams for money.

The League was never able to prove that the Saints were, in fact, guilty of any transgressions, and while eventually both sides moved past that controversy and seemed to be on friendlier terms in recent years, the League’s complete bumbling of the NFC Championship Game no-call appears to have re-opened some of those old wounds.

As it turns out, that’s not the only issue with their now-tarnished image that the NFL has to worry about.

Photo by Zennie Abraham

The League’s handling of the entire no-call issue has also led to a huge ground-swell of pushback by passionate and angry Who Dat fans; many of them whom still feel that the League has an unspoken hidden agenda to do harm to the Saints franchise.

While I personally don’t subscribe to such wild conspiracy theories, it’s an indisputable fact that whether it was meant to be intentional or not, the Saints franchise (especially in the eyes of long-time fans) has now gotten “screwed” by the League in two very notable instances within the past several years.

However, as a consequence, that’s also caused some negative feedback from fans and even some national analysts that cover other NFL teams. Many have labeled the entire Who Dat Nation/Saints fanbase as “whiners” and “criers” for their constant complaints about how that game eventually turned out.

The relationship between the team and the League was always strained at best following BountyGate, and their handling of this issue only threatens to make it considerably worse.

It’s pretty evident that the Saints team, its fanbase, and even the city of New Orleans and the surrounding region now all have a big-time chip on their shoulders because of this entire ordeal. Not so much because of the end result of the game itself, but more so about how the League failed to respond initially and their ultimate handling of the entire incident.

Photo by Chris Taylor, JRNOLA

The NFL’s willful dereliction of duty and abdication of responsibility to clean up its own self-inflicted mess, has only fueled the fire and aroused the anger of not only the Saints organization itself but also for an overwhelming majority of Saints fans; and that should make for some exciting and probably contentious times in the upcoming months ahead.

The perception (whether it’s an accurate one or not) is that the NFL hates the Saints franchise, and clearly, the feeling on the other side of that equation has definitely become mutual, especially in recent weeks.

Yesterday’s failure by the League to address the controversial no-call/instant replay issue only added more bitterness to an already untenable situation.

As far as Who Dats are concerned, Roger Goodell and the NFL have no love for NOLA — and you can bet that the bad relationship between the Saints and the NFL will only get worse in 2019.


Barry Hirstius is a semi-retired journalist, who has worked as a sports editor and columnist. Barry is a New Orleans native who grew up as a fan of the Saints while attending games as a young boy at the old Tulane Stadium. He is the proud Grandfather of two beautiful young girls, Jasmine and Serenity.

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12 thoughts on “NO LOVE FOR NOLA: Bad Relationship Between Saints and NFL Will Get Worse in 2019

  1. Roger Gotohell needs to get a grip on reality. He knows those refs blue that call hell Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder both knew they blew that call. When is he going to actually step up and be a man and hold someone accountable for a deliberate failed non-call? Is he scared that the referee is going to whine about it? Too bad, you made a call that cost everything to a team, and you cannot change that but you should have to face some form of reprimand for it. Just like Sean Payton did with the bountygate. He manned up he took his punishment he kept his mouth quiet during that season and then he came back with a vengeance and New Orleans was kicking ass. So why aren’t these refs that were involved in this situation reprimanded by being held out for a year not being allowed to call any games 4 a year? That would mean they would not get paid they would not be allowed to even be in a venue when a football game is being played.? Why can’t that be done why isn’t that being done? There needs to be consequences to their destructive actions cuz if Roger is so stupid that he says he didn’t see that and he wants to play ignorant well then maybe someone needs to put a helmet on his ass and let him get whacked a few times and maybe then he’ll start realizing the importance of true calling and not ignoring a call. The pass interference was one thing not calling that, but the helmet-to-helmet that’s been a comet have been making at the slightest touch and our player got knocked on his ass with the helmet-to-helmet and your ref wearing the number 59 on the back of his hat is going to wave off the one wearing 60 on his hat who was running over there because he was fixing to throw his flag and the guy that was right there on top of it waved him off go back and look at your video and you will see number 59 ref wave off number 60 literally wave him off. It’s time for the NFL itself to shake it up and get rid of that top ass y’all have because Roger Gotohell going to just keep messing up

  2. With such malfeasance, a concerted effort to remove current NFL commissioner seems a very logical course of action

  3. It would be very interesting to know the actual vote. This committee is comprised of 2 head coaches, 2 GMs, 2 presidents, and 2 owners. My guess would be that the coaches were in favor of changing the rules and the others -the businessmen- were not.

    I think we all lose sight of the fact that the League is a business and, increasingly, they are a profit-driven entity. They will therefore support only changes that will permit them to maintain their ability to manipulate events intended to maximize League profits.

    Do I believe that money and profits were the motivating factors behind the no-call in the NFC championship game? I believe that money and profits are behind EVERYTHING the League and Goodell do.

    I love the Saints and will always supoort them but I will purchase nothing that puts money in the NFL coffers nor will I watch any game in which the Saints are not playing.

  4. So in other words they can do whatever the hell they want to the Saints and nothing will get done about it! And nothing will be done about that asshole of a commissioner we have! His ass should’ve been gone a long time ago! I’m sorry but not sorry I can’t stand that MF’ER!

  5. Does ANYONE know HOW the commissioner is assigned? 🤔
    Are they voted in?
    Are they assigned by certain officials?
    Is it the fans vote??
    I mean hell, you can only blame that yellow belly, coward so much.. right? WHOEVER it is that pays roger “yellow-belly” gotohell , CHECK THEIR ASS… ??? Right or wrong?
    He didn’t just walk up and say, “I’m the commissioner of the NFL”.??

    1. I believe owners vote on it and as long as they are bringing in millions and billions of dollars nothing else matters

  6. I can kinda see why they wouldn’t want to address it. For me, it’s not so much the PI (as the Saints had gotten away with some missed PI’s during the season), but the helmet to helmet hit. I thought Goodell was all about player safety.
    If they don’t want to give coaches an extra challenge per half (and really hash out and limit what can be challenged), then do like college and helmet to helmet hits are automatically reviewed for targeting. Your butt has to sit in the locker room the rest of the game + the entire next game.

  7. Let’s not also forget the rule change the NFL DID put into place after the Saints Win the Super Bowl. When the Saints beat the chosen one Brett Favre and the Vikings in the NFC Championship game by winning the toss in overtime and kicking a field goal without the Vikings ever touching the ball, the NFL was quick to change the rules to the current overtime rules.

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