Sunday’s NFC and AFC championship games marked the first time in NFL playoff history with two overtime games on the same day.
The St. Louis Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots are set for an epic Super Bowl matchup on Feb. 3. Fans can watch Super Bowl 53 on 10News.
The AFC and NFC championship games came down to the wire, and there’s plenty to break down.
NFC championship game: Rams @ Saints
Worst no-call in NFL playoff history?
By now, nearly every NFL fan has seen Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman’s hit on New Orleans Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis. The play happened with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter with the game tied at 20. It should have been called a pass-interference penalty, but the flag never came.
Reporters asked Robey-Coleman about the play after the game. He admitted he should’ve been called for pass interference.
Reporters asked referee Bill Vinovich about the play too. According to an exchange with a NOLA.com reporter, Vinovich said it was a judgment call by the referees -- adding he hadn’t seen the play, and the timing of the game did not have an impact on the no-call.
The referees do not have the ability to look at a replay and then administer a penalty under current NFL rules. Some are calling for the NFL to adopt the Canadian Football League’s rules, where pass interference calls and non-calls are reversible by video review.
“It was simple, they blew the call,” Saints head coach Sean Payton told reporters after the game.
Screenshots posted to social media show the referees missed several other calls that would have gone against the Saints throughout the game too, including a delay-of-game penalty, two facemask penalties and an unnecessary roughness penalty.
Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein would go on to make a 48-yarder with less than 20 seconds left to tie the game at 23-23. It sent the game into overtime.
In overtime, Zuerlein made a game-winning 57-yard field goal.
AFC championship game: Patriots @ Chiefs
The refs were bad…again
- The roughing-the-passer call against Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady that clearly wasn’t roughing the passer
- The offside call against Chiefs outside linebacker Dee Ford that could have been called illegal formation on the Patriots offense. If Ford doesn’t line up offsides, Tom Brady’s interception stands and the Chiefs go to Super Bowl 53.
- Overturning of a muffed punt by Patriots punt returner Julian Edelman where the video didn’t appear to be conclusive enough to prompt a reversal.
- Patriots receiver Chris Hogan’s catch late in the fourth quarter to help his team convert on a third down.
The Chiefs tied it up, but opted to kick the game-tying field goal with 11 seconds left
Down 31-28, the Chiefs had 11 seconds left in the fourth quarter with 2nd down and 10. The Chiefs were at the New England 21 yard line and didn’t have any timeouts.
The Patriots could have forced a turnover had the Chiefs tried to score a game-winning touchdown on one more play before kicking the field goal. Who knows what the outcome would’ve been?
Kicker Harrison Butker made a 39-yard field goal to tie the game and send it into overtime.
Seven years ago, the NFL adopted its current playoff overtime rules. Here is a quick explanation of how it works.
Chiefs fans are livid quarterback Patrick Mahomes didn’t get a chance in overtime against the Patriots. Some feel the Patriots winning the coin toss in overtime decided the outcome of the AFC championship game.
It’s worth noting the Chiefs didn’t score in the first half. It marked the first time in Andy Reid’s six seasons coaching the Chiefs that the team was shut out at home in the first half, including playoff games.
Even if the NFL adopted college football’s overtime rules, eventually your team’s defense would need to get a stop to win the game.
CBS analyst Tony Romo predicting Patriots plays before they happened
Romo has one year left on his CBS contract, but it’s hard to imagine the network getting rid of him after he predicted several plays that New England ran before they happened. The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback likely earned himself a nice payday.
Several others pointed out that if Romo could predict what the Patriots were going to do, some of the Chiefs defenders should have been able to as well.
Tom Brady is the GOAT
Here are some stats in the aftermath of Sunday’s game:
- Brady is 72-1 as a starting quarterback, including the playoffs, when he has a halftime lead of 14 or more points.
- Brady and the Patriots are the third franchise to reach three straight Super Bowls. The Patriots are the first since the Buffalo Bills did it in 1990-1993.
- This marks the ninth Super Bowl appearance for the Brady-Bill Belichick tandem. Brady has played in more Super Bowls (nine) than road playoff games (eight).
Super Bowl 53
This year's Super Bowl matchup in Atlanta between the Patriots and Rams is a showdown between the NFL's past and its future.
Led by 24-year-old quarterback Jared Goff, the Rams and their 21st-century offense will take on 41-year-old Tom Brady and the Patriots, who are in search of a record-tying sixth Super Bowl title.
Tom Brady and Jared Goff have the largest age gap (17 years, 72 days) of any starting QB matchup in Super Bowl history. Next-closest: Super Bowl 50: Peyton Manning & Cam Newton (13 years, 48 days)
Bill Belichick and Sean McVay have the largest age gap (33 years, 283 days) of any head coaching matchup in Super Bowl history. Next-closest: Super Bowl III: Weeb Ewbank & Don Shula (22 years, 243 days)
Since the Saints lost in the NFC championship game:
- A Louisiana eye doctor has offered free eye exams for NFL referees
- An online petition has received more than 50,000 signatures to get a rematch
- A Jefferson Parish councilmember is lobbying for a Saints parade during the Super Bowl
- The Louisiana Department of Transportation has electronic signs displayed on the interstates that read "we were robbed"
- The NFL still has yet to issue an official statement on the blown no-call on the pass interference
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