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Jon Gruden reached out to Sean Payton after NFC title game

If there’s one person who knows what Sean Payton is going through this week, it’s Jon Gruden, so the Oakland Raiders head coach reached out to his NFL colleague to offer some support.

Gruden of course was on the bad end of the “Tuck Rule” game, when the Raiders lost a 2001 AFC divisional-round playoff game to the New England Patriots at Foxboro Stadium under extremely controversial circumstances.

Payton has now suffered a similar fate courtesy of the New Orleans Saints’ devastating loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game.

The Saints coach is now tasked with picking up the pieces, something Gruden understands all too well.

“That’s one of the reasons Sean and I talked,” Gruden said, via the East Bay Times’ Matt Schneidman. What do you say to your team? It’s tough. If you lose a game like that, it’s tough. It’s tough to lose period. Somebody had to lose unfortunately. Just a shame to come down to that.

“I’m not gonna get into what we talked about. Sean and I worked together a long time ago. I was involved in a game, in a playoff game, that ended in quite dramatic fashion and so has he now. He and I will have a couple hot dogs and a couple glasses of Coke here and talk about things in the future, I’m sure.”

The controversy stemming from Sunday’s NFC title game was spawned by an inexplicable no-call on Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman, who took out Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis on a Drew Brees pass attempt late in the 4th quarter.

The Saints of course went on to lose to the Los Angeles Rams by a score of 26-23 in overtime. Had some penalty been called, it’s almost certain the game would not have played out in such a manner.

There not surprisingly has been no shortage of outrage expressed by Saints fans over Sunday’s loss, some more macabre than others. Odds are Gruden, not to mention Payton, can at least sympathize with the source of their frustration.