New Orleans. Days after Sunday's NFC championship game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints, this city remains in tumultuous turmoil following the most obvious no-call pass interference penalty in professional football history. That missed call when Nickell Robey-Coleman clobbered Tommylee Lewis before the ball reached them, was seen as a flagrant violation by all 70,000 in the stadium, and tens of millions watching on TV. Only the officials missed it, and their error very likely gave the Rams a free ride to the Super Bowl.
In response to the uproar and an appeal to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell from Saints coach Sean Payton, the league office took under consideration the Saints request for a replay of the last minute and a half of the game, starting with the penalty, giving the Saints a first down near the five yard line.
Commissioner Goodell has wasted no time in reaching a decision, ruling that the Saints were, indeed, the victims of a missed call. As a result, an asterisk will be printed before the name of the Rams, indicating that their NFC championship win was tainted. Should they defeat the Patriots in the Super Bowl, a double asterisk will appear before their name.
Goodell's office explained the decision, noting that it is similar to the asterisks that were printed before the names of major league home run hitters whose homers were marred by the steroid controversy, or the number of games in a season during Babe Ruth's era.
A quote from an unidentified Saints fan seemed to reflect the view of the entire city; "Goodell knows damn well where he can put his stupid ass-terisk."