On Sunday, Saints coach Sean Payton wisely avoided commenting on a game-changing non-roughing-the-passer call against his team. On Monday, Payton tiptoed toward providing some insight.
“Look, the foul’s called ‘roughing,” Payton said on WWL-AM, via Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “I can’t talk about any one foul that’s called. But that’s a big call at that point in the game. . . . It is what it is.”
It definitely is what it is. And what it is is a freaking mess.
It’s a Magic 8 Ball. A throw of a dart. A wing and a prayer. There’s too much subjectivity, and the discretion that comes from that subjectivity is routinely being abused. “Roughing” is being called in the absence of any actual roughing.
Whether through a sky judge, full-time officials, other possibilities, or some combination of options, the league needs to do better. The league, however, is too cheap to do better. And, frankly, too arrogant to see the downside of not trying to do better.