I feel as though I should begin this with a small disclaimer, that my best friends and I make it a note to watch NFL football every single day it’s on. Whether it be pre-season match-ups, regular season games, and ones that delve into the post season. We watch every down, every call, and every play made, regardless of who’s playing. And though I may be only 22 years of age, one thing stood out to me this season that never has before. It was especially clear this evening, watching the Saints take on the Vikings at the Superdome.
Now this may come off to you as a joke, but I assure you that it’s anything but that. I know you guys are serious about your sports, and so are we. Which is why, I couldn’t let something that seemed so blatant to us, go unsaid. “The City of New Orleans, paid off the NFL, to get the Saints a Super Bowl Championship.” Now as ridiculous as that may sound rolling off the tongue, allow us to explain ourselves. And, if at the end of this e-mail, you don’t find yourself questioning it at all, then I haven’t done my job, nor fulfilled my purpose for writing this.
All season, I couldn’t be more amazed at how many times the Saints, won games based on horrible officiating, or “conveniently” mis-thrown balls.
Week 4- Only 119 total passing yards for Drew Brees, with NO TOUCHDOWNS. But they win on a fluke, with 2 interception returns for Touchdowns by Darren Sharper.
Week 7- Miami is destroying the Saints at the half, and pretty much well into the 4th quarter. Then by some divine inspiration, penalty flags are thrown like confetti. None of which seem to be on the Saints, but rather benefit them. So much so, they wind up winning a close one.
Week 10- Need I say anything about this one? A team that finished the season with one win overall, makes the Saints look like a bunch of schoolgirls for most of the bout. Until that divine power once again takes over, and 9-0 was to be.
Week 13- Another Nail biter for Brees and crew. Another one of the most horrendous teams in the NFL seems to push the Saints to the limit. Saints miss the field goal, but the Redskins, “conveniently” turn the ball over, giving them another chance to pull it out.
Week 14- another penalty ridden 4th quarter, resulting in a last chance game winning drive for the Untouchable Saints.
Before I even get going on tonight’s less then honorable match-up, I’d like to say just two words. Pete Morelli! I wonder if you guys remember the 2006 AFC Championship game that he officiated, where the Colts went on to win, due to a controversial call to say the least. The interception by Troy Polamalu, that was ruled an incomplete pass. Costing the Steelers the game, and leading to an NFL Championship for the Colts 2 weeks later.
After all this I still feel as though my friends and I would have been okay with the way their season went. But, after tonight’s game I feel that is no longer possible. Not only was this game visibly scripted, but absolute blatancy of the wrongful officiating almost seemed to poke fun at the fans that looked on. As if were not smart enough to pick up on this key factor. And sadly, I feel most people aren’t. It all just makes too much sense to me. A city that was ravaged by a natural disaster, on the brink of losing not only a majority of it’s population, but all of it’s professional sporting outfits as well. Then just as Tom Benson, decides to keep his team in New Orleans, they make a miraculous run for the Super Bowl. A virtually unchanged team from a year ago, that boasted a less then stellar record of 7-9. Fueled by the passion of a once dying city, a team that plays for the people. I don’t think John Grisham could have written it better himself. But to me, something else seems to be more at work here then just divine powers from above. And never was it more evident then after the game I witnessed this evening.
It started off innocently enough, The Vikings score, The Saints score. The Vikings score, The Saints score. Then, all of a sudden, before the half, Reggie Bush muffs a punt return that is recovered by the Vikings just outside the 10-yard line. Then, just as if it had to be an even score before the half, Favre fumbles on the very next play. Not to mention that was one of five total fumbles on the night. Again, too much to just be coincidence in my opinion. To begin the second half things again seemed fairly normal, The Saints score, The Vikings score. The Saints score, The Vikings score. The game remained close, as the nation honed in, perfect for the city of New Orleans. A city that desperately needed a Championship team was ready for the perfect finish. Now it was time for the officiating crew to do what it needed, and for the Vikings to do there part to throw the game to the best of there ability. A convenient injury to Cedric Griffin, means a rookie corner comes in his place. To cover no less Marques Colston, and the very next play, a random holding penalty. A few plays later, a pass interference penalty to extend the drive again, against Leeber, who was covering Thomas. Which by the way, to any human being watching in their right mind, was clearly not a penalty. Then to end regulation, instead of giving Rian Longwell an opportunity at a field goal, they opt to go to the air, and Favre throws across two hash marks, just to picked off by Porter.
This was all starting to become mundane in my mind, that the Vikings were pretty much screaming, “HERE’S THE GAME! TAKE IT!” But then we get to the Overtime play. The Saints won the toss, and that, with the help of the officiating crew, would prove to be all the Saints needed to pull this victory from the fire as well. Much in the same fashion as the rest of the season. Two very key plays make it apparent, that no matter what the Vikings did, it would never be enough, because the Saints had won this game before the season started. The booth reviewed a 4th down run by Pierre Thomas, where he clearly lost possession of the ball without ever crossing the 1st down plane. But Pete Morelli had other plans in mind, and the Saints drive would continue. And then on the next set of downs, on a 3rd and 18, Brees throws an incomplete pass to Robert Meachem. But, the officials call it a completed pass. As the fans and players on the field gaze up at the Jumbo Tron, they can clearly see that the ball is bobbled, possession is never maintained all the way to the ground, and it shifts around bounces off of the turf, before he rolls on top of it. Minnesota, calls a timeout, giving the crew enough time to decide to review this play as well. The third on this Saints drive. And as the country watched, Morelli made the most baffling decision I’ve ever seen. Oh, that’s right, except for the 2006 AFC Championship game. The play was upheld, and the Saints were in position to kick a 40-yard goal. Like clockwork, the Saints season continued, while the Vikings fell by the wayside.
One of the most unnerving things to me all season long was the half-assed, clown like smirk of Sean Payton. I always found myself asking, “What the hell is he smiling at? It’s as if he knows something we all don’t.” Well now we all do, the Saints have been destined for a Super Bowl victory in his rookie season as head coach, long before the season even started. I never thought I’d live to see the day that NFL games would be paid off. Especially on this grand a scale. But I suppose anything is possible. They do it Boxing, Soccer, and many other sports around the world. I guess it was just a matter of time before it hit here. Spygate was just the beginning, of the Downfall of American football in the United States, or at least any with a shred of dignity.
I’d be amazed if anyone who’s managed to make it through reading this hasn’t had his or her suspicions aroused, at least slightly. And if anything else, think of this as food for thought. But I genuinely have never seen something so obvious in my life, be hidden on such a large scale, to the general population.
Written by: Devon P. Nolan