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With Meghna Chakrabarti
A blown no-call by officials cost the Saints a chance to go to the Super Bowl. We’ll look at the NFL under fire, again.
Jason Gay, sports columnist for the Wall Street Journal. (@jasongay)
From The Reading List
WWL Radio: "Kristian's Good, Bad and Ugly from Saints loss to Rams in the NFC title game" — "Ugly: The officiating in the last 2 minutes of the game cost the Saints a trip to Atlanta. On 3rd and 10 for the Saints with 1:41 left on the clock, Drew Brees tried to connect with WR Tommylee Lewis for a possible conversion that would have virtually iced the game. The Saints would have been able to kick the game winning field goal with 15 seconds left on the clock after taking a knee. Instead, the referee ignored two violations, blatant interference and helmet-to-helmet. This type of "no-call" CANNOT HAPPEN in a game of this magnitude. Saints head coach Sean Payton said after the game 'The league office said they blew the call; not only should it have been pass interference it should have been helmet to helmet on the Rams as well.' No team should have to lose a game that way. Just blatantly unfair & heartbreaking.
"Ugly II: Nothing will happen to that official. The league will say they messed up and then move on from there. But every Saints coach, player, and member of the organization will pay the price for his incompetence. Every member of the Who Dat Nation will suffer damages, as will the city of New Orleans and business owners and operators who thrive when we have a winning team. It’s good for the psyche of the region...the nation, even, as Saints fans are everywhere. We all pay a price when the Saints quest for the Super Bowl ends so tragically."
Wall Street Journal: "A Super Bowl to Drive America Crazy" — "This is a pretty delicious Super Bowl, but I can already tell the matchup is making America cranky.
"They’re mad in New Orleans, angry at game officials for a ghastly missed penalty—truly, a historic, game-altering bungle—which cost their beloved Saints a chance at playing for the NFL title.
"They’re bummed in Kansas City, about a legit-but-still-annoying offsides call that negated a huge interception—and cost their beloved Chiefs a chance at playing for the NFL title. (They’re also a little baffled by the bizarre rules of NFL overtime.)
"Meanwhile, they’re annoyed in every state in the union besides Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine—because once more, the flippin’ New England Patriots will play for the NFL title."
USA Today: "Opinion: NFL must make changes to address its latest officiating mess" — "We should be talking about breathtaking conference championship performances and intriguing Super Bowl matchup.
"We should be celebrating the Los Angeles Rams’ meteoric rise from perennial losers to bona fide title contenders.
"We should be marveling over a third consecutive Super Bowl berth by Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, their ninth since 2001.
"But instead, there's a dark cloud hanging over it all after a botched non-call dented the New Orleans Saints’ chances in the NFC Championship Game that ultimately became the team's end point for this season.
"Instead, Saints fans are wringing their hands in disgust. Instead, the NFL’s faithful yet ever-skeptical fans can speak only of conspiracy theories. They’ve called the league a scam while accusing the league and its officials of fixing games.
"The NFL had a chance to continue its year-long resurgence as two of the top four squads prepare to face off in Atlanta two weeks from now. But the latest officiating-related controversy has badly tainted the outlook."
Washington Post: "‘I ain’t calming down!’: New Orleans Saints radio hosts lament blown call" — "The Los Angeles Rams are headed to the Super Bowl after an overtime win Sunday afternoon in New Orleans, but all Who Dat Nation could talk about afterward was a fourth-quarter officiating blunder. As if proof was needed, the evidence was on the local airwaves Sunday night, the epicenter for the heartache and vitriol pulsing through the Bayou.
"After the game and deep into Sunday night on 'The Point After' — the Saints' radio postgame show on flagship station WWL-AM — aired live from Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar on the New Orleans waterfront. Hosts Kristian Garic and Bobby Hebert lamented the outcome of the game, flagellated the referee who missed the call and fielded the phone calls of equally frustrated Saints fans.
"'That call was so bad the NFL is lucky there wasn’t a riot in the Dome,' Hebert screeched in his Louisiana twang.
"'The NFL thinks its biggest problem is CTE?' asked Garic. 'No, it’s the officiating!' "
Brian Hardzinski produced this hour for broadcast.
This program aired on January 24, 2019.
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