This morning, I really just wanted to bask in the afterglow of having watched the Saints extend their amazing season to their first ever Superbowl appearance. But everywhere I look, there's talk about how the Vikings got robbed. I expected a pretty big shipment of sour grapes, but this is ridiculous. It's really taking focus away from what was a tremendous game. While I know that the worst of the Minnesota fanbase (who seem by and large to be good, intelligent folks) are going to be the most vocal and negative in the next few days, it feels like there's some creedence being leant to their claims, which is both silly and surprising to me. So I just wanted to make a few points in plain english, since on a lot of blogs and recaps they seem to be being mentioned only as afterthoughts.
The Vikings had 5 turnovers. I guess the refs came in and made them fumble the ball, right? The Vikings actually fumbled the ball six times. The Saints only recovered half of those. I am hoarse this morning from yelling "just fall on the ball!" at the television for most of last night. You can't put the ball on the ground six times and say that the Vikings played a better game with a straight face.
The Vikings got almost every call for 60 full minutes of regulation and couldn't take advantage of it. The Saints were penalized 9 times for 88 yards. The Vikings were penalized five times for 32 yards. The Saints had some iffy calls go against them, but a lot of those calls were Saints mistakes. What was annoying to me was that the Vikes were commiting some penalties, but the refs weren't seeing them. I saw at least two obvious holding calls against the Vikings o-line that were not called. Those noncalls kept Favre upright and allowed him to extend drives, just as the penalties against the Saints allowed Minnesota to continue to move the ball. So let's not complain about the refs too much, okay?
If you don't want the refs to call pass interference, play D without running into the receiver.
If a call is made, reviewed, and upheld, it's probably right. I know it's easier to say the refs had it out for you and that the game is rigged, but people need to realize that saying things like that make you look pathetic, delusional, and desperate. Favre made a crusial mistake and his offensive line couldn't keep him clean. The Vikings had every opportunity to win, but the Saints defense kept forcing fumbles over and over again. The Saints were 100% in red zone and goal to go efficiency. When it mattered, they made the plays they needed to. The Vikings did not.
It was an epic game. Don't detract from that by saying the refs gave the game away or that the better team didn't win. The Saints weren't handed anything. They earned it. By making plays on offense when they needed to, and by forcing turnovers when their backs were against the wall on defense. There are better ways of dealing with a tough loss. There are better ways to generate traffic on your website. Don't trade your integrity as a fan or a reporter to take the easy way out. Hold your head up, be proud of your team in a losing effort, and admit that they got outplayed in crucial spots.
The game was amazing. Many thanks to the Vikings fans that are being gracious in defeat. You guys rock. For all the rest, feel free to direct them here so they can dump their hate all in one place and hopefully not bombard other places meant to shine some light on the Saints' accomplishment.