First and foremost, I do not have a dog in this year’s NFL Playoff Competition. My Atlanta Falcons decided to let someone else feel the sting of the bite of the referees this year (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). And as bad as our run-ins with refereeing has been in the past; I almost feel sorry for the New Orleans Saints. Now before my fellow Falcons fans torch me; I said almost. But on a serious note, my bone of contention is the competition committee and their inability to successfully regulate the requirements and parameters for what is and should be considered reviewable calls by the referees. What should have been a classic battle (even though there were questionable obvious no calls throughout the game) between to great teams; the referees found a way to ruin it by becoming part of the game.
I’ve had a chance to visit the Mercedes Benz Dome on several occasion over the last few years. Be it concerts or a game between the Falcons and Saints (I won’t discuss the outcome); it is a special venue. What makes it special is the noticeable seating capacity and sheer size of the venue. However, when it comes to the atmosphere of an NFL game; there are only a few facilities that can compete with the noise level that those Saints fans generate. This may explain the size of the jumbotron in the Dome. At least if one cannot hear or see the action on the field; the jumbotron is there to give justice. Yet none was given today for the city of New Orleans and their beloved Saints. On a play which ultimately decided the fate of both teams; in the end neither the noise or the jumbotron could help them. The referees made sure of that.
Ironic enough, leading up to this week’s National Football Conference Championship games, many of the Los Angeles Rams fans were calling for the removal Bill Vinovich from the Championship game today. Yet it was the non-call from members of Vinovich’s officiating crew that ended up handing the game to the Rams. What is even more ironic is that it was Vinovich who has a clear view, from behind the line of scrimmage (check the replay and see the white hat looking at the play), of the obvious pass inference on the Saint’s WR, Lewis; yet there was no call. Yes, I know it was not his initial call to make; however, he saw the infraction. Again, I have no fight in the contest but there must be something done about these calls; or non-calls for that matter. There are individuals from the NFL rules committee viewing the game from the Review command center in New York; and not one phone call, pager beep, or smoke signal was lit to fix what is perhaps one of the most egregious non-calls I’ve witnessed.
Now to the Rams. As a non-betting man, I would caution you on the upcoming trip to this year’s Super Bowl. I understand that you are use to the glimmering lights that is L.A. However, many have come to my great state, and our capitol city, and have lost all of the sense that was given to them. I’m sure that won’t be your issue for your team. However, your issue lies in two numbers, which you will find out later this ever which number you will face. The goat who wears the #12; and #15, the guy who performs autopsies on NFL defenses on live television (shout out to Loaded Lux). Hey, you do have at least one advantage; Bill Vinovich. That is if the NFL Rules Committee makes the right call. Just a thought.