City of New Orleans stews over NFC championship game

 

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.

Some Louisiana optometrists are even offering free eye exams to any NFL referee who needs it.

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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Rams vs. Saints NFC Championship game
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Rams vs. Saints NFC Championship game
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 20: Los Angeles Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein (4) kicks the game winning field goal during the NFC Championship Football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints on January 20, 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
New Orleans Saints' Ted Ginn catches a pass in front of Los Angeles Rams' Lamarcus Joyner during the second half of the NFL football NFC championship game, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 20: Los Angeles Rams inside linebacker Cory Littleton (58) and Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Ethan Westbrooks (95) celebrate after the game during the NFC Championship Football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints on January 20, 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 20: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) looks to throw the ball during the NFC Championship Football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints on January 20, 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 20: Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) runs the ball for a gain during the NFC Championship Football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints on January 20, 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 20: New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) runs the ball during the NFC Championship Football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints on January 20, 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 20: Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) looks to throw the ball during the NFC Championship Football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints on January 20, 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 20: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) looks to throw the ball during the NFC Championship Football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints on January 20, 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 20: Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) throws the ball down field during the NFC Championship Football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints on January 20, 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 20: Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay after the NFC Championship Football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints on January 20, 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 20: John Johnson #43 of the Los Angeles Rams intercepts a pass in overtime against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 20, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 20: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints shakes hands with Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams at the start of overtime in the NFC Championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 20, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 20: Head coach Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams celebrates with Andrew Whitworth #77 after defeating the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 20, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Los Angeles Rams defeated the New Orleans Saints with a score of 26 to 23. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
El wide receiver Ted Ginn (19), de los Saints de Nueva Orleáns, se queda con el balón ante el free safety Lamarcus Joyner, de los Rams de Los Ángeles, en el partido por el campeonato de la Conferencia Nacional de la NFL, el domingo 20 de enero de 2019, en Nueva Orleáns. (AP Foto/Gerald Herbert)
Los Angeles Rams players celebrate after overtime of the NFL football NFC championship game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Los Angeles Rams' Nickell Robey-Coleman breaks up a pass intended for New Orleans Saints' Michael Thomas during the second half the NFL football NFC championship game Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Los Angeles Rams' JoJo Natson tries to get past New Orleans Saints' Vonn Bell during the first half the NFL football NFC championship game Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis (11) works for a coach against Los Angeles Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman (23) during the second half the NFL football NFC championship game Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, in New Orleans. The Rams won 26-23. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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