Roger Goodell's message to New Orleans fans: I feel your pain.
But don't get your hopes up for change.
In speaking about the missed pass-interference call that might have cost the Saints a trip to the Super Bowl, the commissioner said the competition committee will certainly consider changing the rules to allow recourse for a blatant non-call.
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But Goodell said league decision-makers have long been opposed to having flags thrown by a replay official or someone in New York, and changing that dynamic would be a big obstacle to overcome.
"Are there solutions for this?" Goodell said. "That's what they committee needs to focus on: What are the solutions and what are the unintended consequences?"
The commissioner said he never heeded the call from some Saints of stepping in and reversing the result of the NFC championship game.
"Absolutely not," Goodell said.
While noting game officials missed the helmet-to-helmet hit and pass interference penalty by Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman — league officiating chief Al Riveron called Saints coach Sean Payton after the game and admitted the blown call — Goodell said the league will re-examine the officiating process.
He didn't rule out adding such plays to the video review system, and he definitely didn't endorse such a move.
He cited a part of the NFL rulebook that said the commissioner could not use his authority to overturn results based on routine errors and judgment calls.
There had been calls from New Orleans for Goodell to step in and overturn the result based on his power to step in when egregious mistakes have been made.
"We will look again at instant replay," said Goodell, who added that league executives recognize the frustration of Saints fans. "There have been a variety of proposals over the last — frankly 15 to 20 years — of should replay be expanded? It does not cover judgment calls. This was a judgment call.
"The other complication is that it was a no-call. And our coaches and clubs have been very resistant and there has not been support to date about having a replay official or somebody in New York throw a flag when there is no flag (thrown). They have not voted for that in the past. It doesn't mean that we won't. It's something that we're going to put to the competition committee to see if there's an answer to that, but the reality is that's been at least an opposition philosophically for many clubs."
Goodell completely ruled out any use of commissioner's powers to change the call or resume the game; a lawsuit was filed in New Orleans seeking that. He also stressed that he and the competition committee will examine a potential expansion of replay to include helmet-to-helmet hits.
The NFL commissioner did provide some nuggets of news on Wednesday, including establishing a quarterbacks summit at Morehouse College in June to help get more minority coaches into the pipeline of higher-level assistant coaching jobs that are quicker pathways to head coaching opportunities. Otherwise, Goodell generally ducked the rush at his annual State of the NFL appearance as effectively as Russell Wilson.