Saints' Benjamin Watson rips Roger Goodell's no-call public silence: 'Lead by example'

Retiring Saints tight end Benjamin Watson implored NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to "lead by example" and address Sunday's officiating error that cost New Orleans a shot to reach the Super Bowl.

In a social media post, Watson wrote:

The no-call in the NFC Championship Game came with 1:45 remaining on a third-and-10 play from the Los Angeles Rams' 13-yard line with the score tied 20-20. Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman ran into Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis and made helmet-to-helmet contact before the ball arrived.

Robey-Coleman admitted it was pass interference, and the NFL's head of officials, Alberto Riveron, told Saints coach Sean Payton after the game that the officials "blew the call."

The aftermath of the no-call has been significant, with players voicing their disbelief, lawsuits and petitions being filed, billboards on it posted in Atlanta, boycotts throughout the New Orleans area, and a letter from Louisiana's governor chastising Goodell.

The NFL's lack of a public response has been met with growing criticism from national media. But it appears as though Goodell will wait to address the blown call for the first time when he meets with the media next Wednesday at his Super Bowl news conference.

According to a source, the NFL determined that there was nothing further to add to what Riveron told Payton after the game.

According to Payton on Sunday night, Riveron told him, "We messed it up."

"They said not only was it interference, it was helmet-to-helmet," Payton added. "They just -- they couldn't believe it."

Payton has not met with the media since the game. But Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said Wednesday that the team had not heard anything from the league office since Sunday night. He said the league's lack of a public statement "is what it is."

Loomis deferred most of his comments on the blown call to Saints owner Gayle Benson's recent statement, in which she vowed to "aggressively pursue changes in NFL policies to ensure no team and fan base is ever put in a similar position again."

Benson's statement added, "The NFL must always commit to providing the most basic of expectations -- fairness and integrity."

"I thought it was a great statement. And I think it does a great job of capsulizing how we feel about that," said Loomis, who admitted he has had a few "sleepless nights" in the wake of the loss.

"Look, our fans are hurting," Loomis said. "Our coaches and staff put so much time and effort. And we achieved so many great goals -- win the division, secure the No. 1 seed, win the divisional round in a tough game. We did enough to put ourselves in a position to win this game. And then to kind of have that happen and have the rug pulled out from under you, so to speak, that's difficult to take. It's difficult for our fans to take.

"So I understand the hurt. This goes under the category of, 'Life's not fair.'"

Watson missed Sunday's game after recovering from appendicitis. He previously announced that this year will be his final season in the NFL.

ESPN's Mike Triplett contributed to this report.