Former NFL Ref Agrees Kyle Rudolph Clearly Pushed Off on Vikings Game-Winning Touchdown

Ryan Phillips
Kyle Rudolph snags game-winning touchdown for the Minnesota Vikings against the New Orleans Saints
Kyle Rudolph snags game-winning touchdown for the Minnesota Vikings against the New Orleans Saints / Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings shocked the NFL by going into New Orleans and beating the Saints on Wild Card weekend. As is tradition for the Saints, the win doesn't come without some serious controversy.

The game's final play occurred on the first (and only) drive of overtime, with the Vikings and Saints tied at 20. The Vikings faced third-and-goal from the 4-yard line and quarterback Kirk Cousins lofted a ball to the left corner of the end zone. Tight end Kyle Rudolph made the catch, secured the ball and the game was over with the Vikings winning 26-20.

Here's the play:

As you can see, Saints cornerback P.J. Williams immediately looks around for a flag, suggesting Rudolph pushed off. That's because he absolutely did.

Check it out:

While that tweet suggests there's no way that should be called offensive pass interference, by the rule book it should have been flagged. At least according to former referee and NFL rules expert Terry McAulay:

ESPN NFL officiating analyst John Parry, another former NFL ref, agreed.

I think it's pretty clear Rudolph extended his arm to create space for the touchdown. The craziest part of the whole deal is the TD wasn't even reviewed for pass interference:

The pass interference review rule was implemented solely because the Saints got screwed in last year's NFC Championship game by a no-call. Now, one year later, the league didn't review a pass interference no-call that may have screwed the Saints in a playoff game again? If nothing else the league's incompetence has beautiful symmetry.

Given how virtually no pass interference calls have been overturned this season, it's not likely Rudolph's push-off would have gotten overturned. That said, it should have been called on the field. It was clearly offensive pass interference.