EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Giants did a pretty good job of beating themselves on Sunday. And at least one of them thinks they had a hand from the officials, too.
In fact, Giants linebacker Alec Ogletree is pretty sure he knows why.
Ogletree made a bizarre and vague accusation about one of the officials, in the wake of the Giants' 33-18 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Asked about some of the questionable calls, he claimed that one official on referee Pete Morelli's crew admitted that one of the calls wouldn't have been made in the Super Bowl - which led Ogletree to conclude that the officials were making calls with a possible Super Bowl assignment on their mind.
"Honestly, I think they are worried about reffing in the Super Bowl game," he said. "If you ask them why didn't they call a call and they tell you they wouldn't make that call in the Super Bowl, I think that's bad all around."
It is terrible, actually, if it's the truth, because a penalty is supposed to be a penalty regardless of the game. And the idea that an official would concede that to a player in the heat of the game is actually startling.
But Ogletree swears it happened.
"That definitely was explained to me, that you wouldn't make that call in the Super Bowl," he said. "I don't think that's right. I think you should call the game as it's being played. If you do that, everything will work itself out."
Ogletree said he didn't know which official said that to him. And when he was asked which penalty he was talking about, he declined to say.
"I ain't really trying to get into all that," he said. "I'll leave it at that. They are worried about reffing in the Super Bowl. We'll leave it at that."
There were several questionable calls that went against the Giants, including a few against the Giants defense. The two biggest were a 15-yard penalty for a horse-collar tackle on Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins, which many players said in the locker room looked like a clean tackle to them. That extended a field goal drive for the Saints.
A bigger one came in the fourth quarter when the Giants appeared to stop the Saints on a third-down play, but cornerback Donte Deayon was called for pass interference (he appeared to be holding the jersey of the Saints receiver). Three plays later, Saints running back Alvin Kamara took off for a 49-yard touchdown run that put the game away.