At least last weekend went well for one of us. After a tough battle on Sunday, The Baltimore Ravens came away with a 23-17 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. It was a tense, suspenseful, hotly contested game with our new starting quarterback, Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, walking off the field being crowned as the first person to throw over 250 yards and rush over 120 yards in a single game. But you don’t care about that.
Because for all you Saints fans, things didn’t go quite so smoothly. Your team unfortunately walked off the field on the wrong side of a 27-9 score. And I’m sure I don’t need me to tell you the opponent, The Los Angeles Rams, was the worst possible one for you to fall to. In a game some considered to be the rematch to that botched NFC Championship game from last season, it truly hurt us all to see Drew Brees and the crew walk away with anything less than a W. Add in the fact that this game too was in some way decided by horrendous refereeing, and we’re talking worse than painful.
Listen, I know you’re probably wondering why exactly I care about any of this, but I have nothing but love and respect for you, Who Dat nation. I’m Baltimore born and bred, so of course I’m always pulling for my team, but New Orleans is a second home to me, and The Saints my second team. You rule the NFC, we’ll take the AFC, and if we meet up in the Superbowl then so be it. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. We only meet every few years anyway, and even though I’m still upset about our kicker, the nearly flawless Justin Tucker, missing that extra point to seal your victory last season, I can still recognize that there’s something shady going on here.
Last season, it was the no call, the most obvious, textbook example of defensive pass interference I’ve ever seen. I’m serious; this goes way beyond team alliance. That was just wrong, on so many levels. It was so awful, in fact, that it not only forced The Saints into an overtime they shouldn’t have had to play, but also inspired the NFL to implement a whole new system that makes pass interference calls reviewable. You would think this would fix things, and in some way it did. My Ravens actually utilized their newly found ability to challenge another no call this very week. Even though the challenge didn’t go our way ( it was a less obvious infraction that could have gone either way) it’s still nice to know we can benefit from the Saints tragic loss. But not everybody does.
It was near the beginning and the score was still three to three. The Saints recovered a fumble off of Rams quarterback, Jared Goff, and returned it all the way to what would have been a touchdown, if the referee hadn’t already blown the whistle and ended the play. The referee mistakenly read the play as an incomplete pass, which is understandable, but then chose to prematurely end the run, which is not. Although this mistake didn’t end the Saints’ season in the same way last year’s no call did, and in all fairness the Rams did go on to score 24 more points while the Sains only scored a few more field goals, this was certainly another momentum ruiner for the boys in black and gold.
So, regardless of team, regardless of conference, I’m sorry for you all, and I genuinely mean that. It’s never fun to watch your team lose, and it’s especially unenjoyable when some incompetant third party has something to do with it. It’s not fair for professional referees to be getting things wrong like this. And it’s really not fair that it so frequently happens to be against you.
But keep your head up Saints fans. Rules can be changed and mistakes can be corrected, even if it is too little too late.
And failing all that, there’s always next week.