For the conspiracy theorists, the pass interference not called against the Rams in the final two minutes of Sunday’s NFC championship game against the Saints provides some fertile ground.
Here’s some of the prevalent theories.
The NFL wanted the largest market teams in the Super Bowl, therefore wanted Los Angeles instead of New Orleans.
A story published on a local news media website trumpets the following.
“At least two Rams-Saints officials are from Los Angeles.”
Before Sunday’s game, the conspiracy theorists were on the other side.
Rams fans were protesting that Sunday’s referee, Bill Vinovich, was allegedly anti-Rams.
The Rams were 0-2 this season with Vinovich as the white hat, and 0-8 since 2012.
One of the reasons Vinovich got the assignment Sunday is because of the quality season he has produced.
Believe it or not, officiating a conference championship game is an honor that goes to the zebras who have done a quality job all season.
Which brings us to the no pass interference call on the Rams.
Yes, it was pass interference. Yes, there was probably helmet to helmet contact.
But, it wasn’t called.
Now, there’s a demand to further expand instant replay to review pass interference calls.
This is a mistake.
Technology has already intruded enough into the NFL game.
The challenge system works. And, now every turnover is automatically reviewed without a coach’s challenge.
So, it is time to move on. Yes, move on.
Leave it to the Saints quarterback, and future first ballot Hall of Famer, to put the day in perspective.
“We knew this was going to be a battle,” said Drew Brees.
“It came down to the wire. We felt there were more plays we could have made, so regardless of the call, or no call, I felt like there were other opportunities we should have taken advantage of.”
He’s totally, correct.
On the Saints first drive, tight end Dan Arnold dropped a catchable ball in the end zone.
The Saints settled for three points.
On the following possession, linebacker Demario Davis intercepted a Jared Goff pass.
The Saints had the ball first and 10 at the Rams 16.
And, settled for three points.
On the next series, the Rams converted a fake punt, got three points, and got back in the game.
Goff settled in, and the Rams offense started to move the football.
In the third quarter, the Saints drove 71 yards for a touchdown, to take a 20-10 lead.
But, they allowed the Rams to answer with a 75 yard touchdown drive.
When you are 10 points ahead at home, in a conference championship game, it is your job to finish.
The Saints didn’t.
Defensive end Cam Jordan agreed that the Saints, should have finished the Rams off early.
“When you have 10 or 13 points on a team, you have to finish them off. Or, else you know, momentum will build I guess.”
So, yes the Saints should have gotten the pass interference call, and should have kicked a chip shot field goal in the final seconds of regulation to win the game.
But, the blown call is not the only reason the Saints aren’t going to the Super Bowl.
The Saints had the Rams staggered in the first quarter, and did not polish them off.
Plain and simple.