Rick Zamperin: Patriots (of course) and Rams will meet in the Super Bowl
At this point of the National Football League season, the line between jubilation and heartache is razor-thin.
For fans of the four teams that played in Sunday’s conference championship games, one minute they were on the highest high, the next minute it was rock bottom. It also marked the first time in NFL history that both championship games went to overtime.
You can’t blame Saints fans for feeling bummed out after New Orleans lost a nail-biter, 26-23 in overtime, against the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC title game.
Tied 20-20 with under two minutes to play in regulation time, Saints QB Drew Brees threw the ball to Tommy Lee Jones at the L.A. five-yard line and he was promptly obliterated by L.A.’s Nickell Robey-Coleman. It should have been a pass interference penalty against the Rams — which would have set up first and goal for New Orleans — but no flag came from the official.
There’s no guarantee the Saints would have scored a touchdown if the penalty was called, but I would have bet on it. Instead, New Orleans settled for the field goal and ultimately lost the game.
WATCH: Los Angeles Rams fans celebrate conference championship win sending them to Super Bowl
With 8:39 left to play in the AFC Championship game in Kansas City, Chiefs fans thought they got robbed when New England receiver/returner Julian Edelman tried to pick up a punted ball that was bouncing, and whiffed. The ruling on the field was that Edelman touched the ball and K.C. recovered it, but upon video review it was overturned and the Pats kept the ball — which was the right call.
The boos at Arrowhead Stadium quickly turned to cheers when Patriots QB Tom Brady was intercepted by K.C.’s Daniel Sorensen, and a couple of plays later, Patrick Mahomes lobbed a pass to Damien Williams and he ran into the endzone for a 21-17 Chiefs lead.
The Patriots retook the lead, the Chiefs came back and scored another TD, then watched New England get a touchdown in the final minute, before K.C. tied the game with a field goal with eight seconds to go. But New England silenced the crowd one last time after winning the coin toss in overtime and going down the field to score the game-winning touchdown.
Jubilation, heartache, rinse and repeat.
So, the matchup for Super Bowl LIII is set. The New England Patriots will meet the Los Angeles Rams in Atlanta on Feb. 3.
If that game is half as exciting as the conference championship games, then we are in store for an exciting NFL final.
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