A controversial non-call late in the NFC championship game may have cost the New Orleans Saints their opportunity to go to Super Bowl LIII, and the city of New Orleans is not happy about it.
On Monday, the morning after the Saints’ devastating home overtime loss against the Los Angeles Rams, the front page of the New Orleans Times-Picayune was understandably salty about what transpired on Sunday. The paper placed the blame squarely on the referees with an all-timer of a headline.
“Reffing Unbelievable” and “tainted Super Bowl LIII” is some hot fire. (Though “Blew Dat” would have also been a pretty strong headline.) But the local paper was far from the only entity to share their disgust at the blown non-call. Even the signs on the highway were shouting from the metaphorical mountaintops.
THIS JUST IN: On the Pontchartrain Causeway… pic.twitter.com/32LNrYw28b
— WWL-TV (@WWLTV) January 20, 2019
Some Louisiana optometrists are even offering free eye exams to any NFL referee who needs it.
In light of the atrocious lack of calls during the New Orleans Saints game we would like to extend free eye exams and glasses to any NFL referee in need.
You know who you are.
— CrystalVisionCenter (@CrystalVisionCS) January 21, 2019
The referees missing the completely clear pass interference call in the fourth quarter may have felt like a dagger in the heart of Saints fans everywhere, especially considering how the game turned out, but that’s not the only reason the Saints aren’t boarding a plane to Atlanta. Drew Brees’ overtime interception certainly had something to do with it. And the Rams found themselves as a team after being down 13-0 in the first quarter.
But that blown non-call, that’s going to linger. That’s a single moment that fans (or anyone) can point to and say “the Saints got screwed.” So let’s all cut the city of New Orleans a little slack. It’s working through the stages of football grief.
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• The Rams know it was a bad call. And no, they don’t care.