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Saints Fans React to the Missed NFC Championship Call

Blown officiating calls aren’t always a bad thing.  Why? Because they get guys like you and me talking about the game. No such thing as bad publicity, right?  Of course when it’s YOUR team that’s victimized by a crucial call or no-call which is obviously erroneous but for whatever technical reason cannot be challenged— well, that’s a tough pill to swallow. 

Perhaps no call has ever changed the outcome of a season more than the failure of the officiating crew to make a pass interference call against the Rams on Sunday.  Had a flag been thrown, the Saints would almost certainly be headed to the Super Bowl.  While the winner of the game changed, the betting line for the game did manage to remain intact.  With most sports books offering the Rams +3.5, a 3 point Saints win would have still given Rams bettors a victory.  However, anyone who had the Saints winning outright or futures bets on the Saints in or winning the Super Bowl ended up a loser.  That’s the fun of gambling, though.  For every dejected Saints bettor, there is a happy person who wagered on the Rams.  It’s not fun to see a bet fall apart, but at the same time, earning that improbable gambling victory is so sweet.  For those of you interested in betting on the Super Bowl there are free bets and bonus codes available at https://www.betbrain.com/free-bets/ to make your wagering on the game that much sweeter.

Things still aren’t very sweetin in New Orleans, though. After a stunning missed call by officials helped to keep the Saints out of the Super Bowl, angry fans have been reacting in various ways — from lawsuits and petitions to billboards in Atlanta and boycotts throughout the New Orleans area.

At least two lawsuits have been filed by local attorneys on behalf of Saints fans who want to compel NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to use his power under the NFL rulebook to replay the final 1:49 of regulation of New Orleans’ overtime loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game.

Meanwhile, Saints fan Matt Bowers has rented billboards in and around the Atlanta area — where Super Bowl LIII is being held — to voice his displeasure with the league.

“And I’m not done yet,” Bowers, who owns car dealerships throughout the Southeast, told ESPN. “I’m going to do my best to bring as much attention to this as possible — and I’m not going to stop until I make them miserable.”

Geez, Matt. Slow down. You’re just making them richer. Everybody’s talking about the NFL now, moreso because of you. Sponsors can’t wait to get an extra spot inserted into the Super Bowl broadcast now. If they time it right, it might be sandwiched between another bad call and a subsequent review of the play. Ratings soar!

The very nature of umpiring and refereeing in the NFL is infused with human error. You can’t legislate human error. It’s going to happen whether you like it or not.

We ought to just accept the humanity of the officials, and see it for what it is: an adversary factor which must be accounted for and overcome as if it were part of the opponent force itself. See, if you’re up by 7 at that point in the game, that horrible call/no-call doesn’t matter. If your game plan comes up short of that score at that crucial part of the contest, you’re at the mercy of human error on the officiating front. You’re in the NFL, you should know that by now.

So simple solution— outperform bad calls. Avoid situations where you’re at the mercy of them.

Easier said than done, I know. We’re mandated by the principle of parity, so the NFL and the networks love close games. Follow that logic and they must love close calls. The only problem with that is when an ump or a ref blows a call that isn’t even close.

Several New Orleans-area bars and restaurants have already vowed to have anti-Super Bowl parties by refusing to show the championship game. One local bakery was selling cookies with the face of referee Bill Vinovich with a red slash through it. And local businesses throughout the area have posted signs with clever references to the botched call.

Also, a petition that started on change.org to replay the game had nearly 600,000 signatures as of Tuesday afternoon.

This is insane. You don’t replay a football game from the spot of the contested call. Nothing close to recreating the reality of that situation can ever hope to be reproduced. Football is an organic sport. Every game is a 60-minute slice of time and evolution which can never be revisited. Only baseball and tennis can be re-staged, and even then the Twilight Zone warnings are in effect.

Fans (and some Saints players) clamoring for a rematch have pointed to an obscure NFL rule that deals with “Extraordinarily Unfair Acts.”

According to Rule 17, Section 2, Article 1, the NFL commissioner has the “sole authority to investigate and take appropriate disciplinary and/or corrective measures if any club action, non-participant interference, or calamity occurs in an NFL game which the Commissioner deems so extraordinarily unfair or outside the accepted tactics encountered in professional football that such action has a major effect on the result of the game.”

However, Article 2 states, “The Commissioner will not apply authority in cases of complaints by clubs concerning judgmental errors or routine errors of omission by game officials. Games involving such complaints will continue to stand as completed.”

Neither the NFL nor Saints coach Sean Payton has addressed the media following Payton’s postgame news conference, during which he revealed that the NFL’s head of officials, Alberto Riveron, called him immediately after the game and admitted the officials “blew” the call.

Well sure they knew they blew the call. After all, they’re only human. They got caught up in the moment, little voices in their heads saying “let ’em play…” Last time I checked, that is not a re-playable offense.

Just remember the last time the Eagles had a legitimate gripe.

December 9, 2018—-the Birds also had to battle the officials, who negated the swing of momentum from the offset, with a terrible call on a Dallas fumble.

Malcolm Jenkins forced a fumble on the opening kickoff, which was recovered by Kamu Grugier-Hill, but awarded to the Cowboys after the refs didn’t even rule the play a fumble on the field. Doug Pederson was forced to challenge the call, forfeiting a timeout when the refs ruled that indeed there was a fumble, but there wasn’t a clear recovery by the Eagles, despite it being very clear on the video.

Jenkins ripped the officiating after the game, and was fined $12,000.

Sorry, Saints fans. If ever there were a case for replaying a game from the point of the blown call, that was it. And if that replay didn’t happen, neither will yours.



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