After managing to tie a franchise record of 13 wins in the regular season the New Orleans Saints were the top seed in the NFC playoffs.
They were on their way to the NFC Championship Game on Sunday when everything took a turn for the worst. After much controversy the Saints missed a place in the Super Bowl due to a non-call against the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC.
What Happened During The Game?
The Saints quickly ran away with an early 13-0 lead, but the Rams fought back later in the game and narrowed the gap to 23-20 with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Saints failed to build on their leads throughout the game which ultimately cost them in the end. A few clutch field goals by Greg Zuerlein levelled the scores and took the game into overtime, he ultimately gave the Rams a 26-23 overtime victory over the Saints which denied them their first opportunity to make the Super Bowl since 2009 when they won the NFL championship. The controversial decision in the game by official Gary Cavaletto cost the Saints the game when he failed to throw his flag when Rams player Nickell Robey-Coleman appeared to interfere with a clear pass.
Saints Owners Anger
The New Orleans Saints owner Gayle Benson was extremely angered by the events that took place. He vowed to try and ensure that there would be changes in NFL policies and to promote more “fairness and integrity.” Benson said that his team were clearly and unfairly denied a chance to play in the Super Bowl by referees who are supposed to ensure that the game is equal. The Saints owner was specifically directing his comments at the call that referees missed which cost the Saints their season. Should the interference penalty have been called the Saints would’ve had a first down inside the Rams 10-yard line with roughly 1:45 left on the clock. This would’ve meant that the Saints could’ve ran out the remaining time or even gone for a field goal. Benson issued a statement of dissatisfaction which said, “I am thoroughly disappointed by the events that led to the outcome of yesterday’s game,” Benson said. “Getting to the Super Bowl is incredibly difficult to do and takes such an unbelievable commitment from a team and support from its fans.”
What Happened After The Game?
The game brought about a lot of drama which the NFL have yet to comment on. Although they have fined Robey-Coleman $26 739 after he made no attempt to intercept the pass but instead made helmet to helmet contact with Tommylee Lewis. Cavaletto has since admitted that he should’ve whistled for pass interference. Saints fans aren’t happy either and have filed lawsuits which has raised a lot of awareness around the situation. Billboards have also been put up outside the Super Bowl stadium to emphasize the fans and businessmen disappointment. I personally think that the Saints should be given a rematch due to the magnitude of the game and what it cost them. They had an incredible season and its had an awful ending which was not deserved.
This was an extremely unfair decision, and something should be done about it. The NFL need to take serious actions against such incidents and should implement certain rules to ensure that such decisions could be reviewed and overturned.