Saints had earlier chances to beat Rams

Before we go any further, some full disclosure. I will watch Super Bowl LIII. It is my job, and even if it wasn’t, I would still watch.

Let’s quickly, while we are at it, address a few items regarding the infamous no-call of pass interference in the NFC Championship Game.

Was it a penalty? Of course. The NFL admitted it when it fined the Rams’ Nickell Robey-Coleman for helmet-to-helmet contact on Saints wide receiver Tommy Lee Lewis.

Was it pass interference? Of course. The Saints should have had a fresh set of downs and the ball at the Rams’ 6-yard line with under two minutes to play.

Was there ever a chance of the final two minutes being replayed? Of course not. All the conjecture about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell ordering a replay of the last two minutes of regulation was totally absurd.

Sorry, if that hurts your feelings or if you are one of more than 700,000 who signed a petition asking for that to happen. I love your spirit, understand your angst.

Was Goodell wrong for not immediately addressing the issue and admitting an egregious error? Here’s my question to you: If you were in charge of marketing the Super Bowl, would you, as NFL commissioner, readily admit that the Rams should not be there? That’s what a mea culpa amounts to, an admission that the NFC champion isn’t the NFC champion.

Was all the political grandstanding necessary? U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, Gov. John Bel Edwards and Congressman Cedric Richmond all expressed public outrage over the no-call. I get it. It is always good politics to let your constituents know that you commiserate with them over a controversial issue.

And, football is one of the handful of things in Louisiana that connect all sides of the political spectrum.

However, the Guv, in his letter to Goodell wrote that Saints fans “will never forget it.”

My take? Let’s hope Goodell doesn’t take that personally in a few years when the Saints extend their lease with the state of Louisiana and then go back and ask the NFL for the chance to host another Super Bowl.

LSU basketball coach Will Wade touched off a mini furor when he said on his radio show that the Saints’ loss to the Rams was a teaching moment. Wade said he told his players that the Saints had a lot of chances to win the game early. He’s right.

Of course, upset fans shot back at Wade, telling him, among other things, to stay in his lane. But, if the Saints score two TDs early instead of two field goals, the Rams were cooked. 

The Saints also had a 10-point lead in the third quarter and had the ball first in overtime. And, if you score a touchdown on the first possession in overtime, you win.

Moving forward, a good rule change will be to allow one opportunity a game for each head coach to challenge a penalty, such as pass interference. In the meantime, my guess is many of you will be watching the Super Bowl.

You don’t have to admit it. I understand. And, you will be rooting hard for the Patriots. You aren’t crazy about that coach who wears the hoodie, with the sleeves of his sweatshirt cut off. And, you aren’t keen on the pretty boy quarterback, who seems to get to the Super Bowl every year.

But, for four hours Sunday, Louisiana is Patriots’ country.

Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26 WGNO. He can be reached at edaniels@clarionherald.org.

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