As the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams prepare to square off in Super Bowl LIII this Sunday, a shadow hangs over the game.
That, at least, is the opinion of millions of NFL fans, who are still trying to stomach the fact that the Rams—and not the New Orleans Saints—are competing to be crowned world champions.
A pass interference no-call late in the NFC Championship Game between the Saints and Rams may well go down as one of the biggest officiating errors ever in sports. Late in a tie game, with the Saints driving down the field, had an official thrown a flag and called pass interference against a Rams defender, it would have given the Saints a first down deep in Rams territory with the clock winding down. While it’s true that there are no guarantees in football, it’s more than likely the Saints’ kicker would have made his chip shot field goal and sent the Saints heading northeast 500 miles to play in the big game in Atlanta.
Instead, the no-call resulted in the game going into overtime, where the Rams won it.
One Saints fan, a car dealer named Matt Bowers has rented out seven billboards in the Atlanta area to convey his displeasure with the outcome. It will be tough for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to miss them this week while he’s going from here to there in the city.
Here’s the story from National Public Radio’s Laurel Wamsley.