NEW ORLEANS —
Even the Rams biggest hometown newspaper admits that the NFL referees' missed calls played a huge part in their teams' win over the Saints on Sunday.
That's not all they had to say, though.
Following the Rams' 26-23 overtime victory in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome that sent them to Super Bowl LVIII in Atlanta, The Los Angeles Times published a story titled, "Rams have L.A. back in Super Bowl after breathtaking win over Saints."
The piece by sports reporter Bill Plaschke celebrates the Rams win but states that it came with a large caveat.
"[It was] a breathtaking game in which they overcame a 13-0 deficit in an ear-pummeling environment and were ultimately saved by both a bold fake punt and boneheaded officiating," Plaschke wrote.
The reporter goes on to explain that 'The No-call,' a pass by Drew Brees to receiver Tommylee Lewis on third down with 1:49 left to play in the game and broken up by Rams' cornback Nickell Robery-Coleman, "was the absolute definition of pass interference."
"Bottom line, if the flag is thrown, the Saints probably win the game," Plaschke wrote.
With that out of the way, Plaschke also calls out Saints fans and predicts they will have a selective memory about the game.
"They will tell you forever that the Rams got lucky. They will ignore the big-pressure greatness of Jared Goff and the power of the Rams’ defense and say the game was lost by a single zebra."
"Saints fans will forever believe it never should have come down to that, and they booed the officials with every breath until that final silence, and they will forever blame this game on that call, but, seriously ...
In that sequence of plays, the blown call had nothing to do with a misguided first-down pass that Brees threw into the dirt, foolishly stopping the clock in a play call almost as dumb as the penalty.
'If the coach runs the ball on first down, we’re not even talking about this,' said the Rams’ Marcus Peters."
While Plaschke seems ultimately to want Los Angeles fans to cherish their city's first road to the Super Bowl since 1980, he also quotes Rams general manager Les Snead, remarking, "This is never a one-play, never a one-kick game."
"...The officials had nothing to do with the Saints’ defense allowing Goff to lead the Rams 45 yards on the game-tying drive, including completing a 16-yard pass to a wide-open Robert Woods down the middle.
And, oh yeah, how about the Saints getting caught on that fake punt that changed the momentum of the game?"
Many Saints fans would disagree. In fact, nearly 400,000 people have signed a petition for a rematch in less than 24 hours since the game.
"The Rams are going to the Super Bowl," Plaschke finishes. Saints fans wish they were saying it, instead.