Opinion: It’s time to Endgame the Rams

Graphic by Kaitlyn Biri

Graphic by Kaitlyn Biri

I tried to get over it. I really did. I THOUGHT I was over it. 

I’ve vehemently opposed the online petitions and lawsuits. I’ve pointed out the complete disregard for all the ways the Saints could have and should have done more to stop the fate of that game from being put in the hands of the NFL’s historically-incompetent officiating crew. 

For example, I know we’ve all tried to block it from our memories, and as much as it pains me to do it, I have to remind everyone that Drew Brees threw an interception on the first drive of overtime. The opponent was able to secure the win after that. We can’t ignore it forever.

I’ve avoided joining in the “SAINTS WERE ROBBED” movement. I wasn’t a fan of the referee costumes at the regular season opener on Monday night against the Texans.*

*(As for the Roger Goodell clown shirts, those can stay. Those have united the league in a way nothing else ever has or ever will.) 

I even wrote an opinion piece right after the game where I basically told everyone that we need to be optimistic and move past what happened. You know, like the liar that I am.

Because the thing is, ever since Jan. 20 of this year, the 2019 NFC Championship game has been living rent-free in my mind. The first notes of “Choppa Style” give me chest pains these days.

So in the spirit of full disclosure and acceptance, I’m here to admit that I’m NOT over it. 

We would have played for the Lombardi. We probably would have won it.

Super Bowl LIII was a travesty, for those of you (most of you) who didn’t watch it. It resulted in a combined 16 points. SIXTEEN. Then, to add salt to the wound, Maroon 5 didn’t even perform “Sweet Victory” during their Spongebob tribute at halftime. A travesty.

I don’t think I need to explain why I’m bringing up the 2019 NFC Championship game in the middle of September. You already know why. 

If you don’t know, then I’ll keep it simple: they’re back.

The current state I’m in right now is that of a girl who broke up with her boyfriend and decided she was 100% over him, so she listened to exclusively Ariana Grande for months because she’s totally over him. Then, she saw him in public and realized she’s not over him at all.

I had an Ariana Grande spring and an Ariana Grande summer after the NFC Championship. I thought I was fine. The Saints released their 2019 schedule, and I knew that team would be coming back into my life months later, but I chose to ignore it.

They’re back now, though. The Los Angeles Rams are back. 

I didn’t always hate them. I honestly don’t think I hate them that much. They’re one of the most talented teams in the league, and they’re exciting to watch, with the likes of stars such as Jared Goff, Todd Gurley and Aaron Donald on their roster. Up until the events that occurred on Jan. 20, I had said that if the Saints didn’t make it there, I wanted the Rams to win it all.

But, now? It’s different now. 

Now, every time I get a wave of nausea during the day, I can’t decide if it’s because I ate one granola bar for breakfast and then chugged an iced coffee or if it’s because of the Los Angeles Rams. Because we lost our best shot at the Lombardi in YEARS to a team with horns on the side of their helmets―a team that, two weeks later, let Bill Belichick and Tom Brady and Robert Kraft earn the satisfaction of adding yet another ring to their collection. I’m sick just writing about it.

You can call this Sunday’s Saints/Rams rematch whatever you want. It’s the revenge game. It’s a chance for redemption. It’s just another game. I’m going to call it this:

Avengers: Endgame.

Yes, that movie. If you haven’t seen Endgame, this is probably where you’ll want to stop reading.

At the end of Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos won. The Avengers lost, and they lost miserably. 

Here’s the thing: Thanos deserved to win. He was calculated. He was smarter and more resourceful. He formulated a plan for years, and he carried it out in a flawless fashion. Thanos was the kind of villain that you hate but you can’t help but respect.

The Avengers spent five years dealing with the fallout of their loss. Was Thanos REALLY better than them? Was there more they could have done? At the beginning of Endgame, we see them trying to move on and to help everyone else move on from their failure.

Then, Steve Rogers says it best:

I keep telling everybody they should move on and grow. Some do. But not us.”

That desire for revenge propels them to fight back. More than ever, they have a cause behind them that’s worth doing whatever it takes to bring Thanos down. This time, they’re smarter and more calculated than him, and this time, they win. That victory doesn’t come without difficulty and loss, but they win.

And then, they are able to move on.

We shouldn’t be thinking about the no-call this weekend. We should be thinking about the Rams. The Saints are the Avengers. The Rams are Thanos. They beat us in January, and no-call aside, they deserved to win. 

We have to get over it eventually, but maybe we don’t have to get over it just yet. If we want revenge, then it has to be done right.

Lawsuits aren’t the road to revenge. Neither are petitions. Nor “Saints were robbed” memorabilia. Nor referee costumes. 

There’s nothing we can do to change the no-call. That part of the NFC Championship game needs to be out of everyone’s minds this Sunday. The revenge aspect of this game is not about beating the referees or beating the no-call. It’s about the fact that a very good Rams team beat the Saints and earned a spot in Super Bowl LIII. 

Sunday’s revenge is about proving that the Rams are not the better team―that just because they beat us once, doesn’t mean they’ll do it again.

I know it’s only week two, but a win over the Rams on Sunday has so much at stake.

For a start, it proves that the Saints could be on track to have another dominating season. A win on the road over a team that is a legitimate Super Bowl contender solidifies the Saints as a legitimate Super Bowl contender once again. 

The Saints usually find themselves off to a sloppy start, losing anywhere from one to three games to begin the last five seasons. On Monday night, they won their first week one game since the 2013 season. A 2-0 start would put the Saints at a serious advantage and hopefully propel their momentum as they prepare to face the Seahawks in Seattle and the Cowboys at home on Sunday night in the following weeks.

Considering the weak state of the NFC South right now, with the Panthers, Bucs and Falcons all finishing week one with losses before the Bucs went on to barely beat the Panthers on Thursday night, the Saints could find themselves moving well ahead in the division with a win on Sunday. They would be poised to win the NFC South for the third year in a row and hopefully secure a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Above all, though, it gives the Saints their Endgame victory, and it gives them a chance to prove their superiority and for everyone to move on from what happened in January.

The no-call was terrible, but we can’t dwell on it forever. Let’s get our revenge against the Rams. Let’s prove we’re better. Let’s put the 2019 NFC Championship behind us once and for all. And let’s get ready for week three after that.