Advocate file photo of New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton reacting after a flag was not thrown for pass interference in the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 20, 2019. Note the red challenge flag in his back pocket.

Sometimes I watch WWE wrestling in the Superdome. In the championship match, the good guy and bad guy beat the living daylights out of one another until, sometimes, at the end of the match, the bad guy pulls a piece of metal, brass knuckles, or some other object out of his trunks, hits the good guy in the head, knocks him out, pins him, and claims the championship belt.

Some 60,000 people in the Superdome see it, and boo. Instant replay shows exactly what happened. But because “the ref didn’t see it,” nothing would be done and the bad guy would walk off with the championship belt.

Lawsuits on behalf of 'Who Dat Nation' filed over Saints loss; demand damages, pre-Super Bowl hearing

Well, you can now spell “NFL” as “WWE,” because the exact same thing happened in the Superdome this past Sunday. The bad guy smashed his helmet into the good guy’s helmet, and hit the good guy before the football was anywhere near him. Some 60,000 fans in the Dome saw it. Instant replay showed it. The NFL suits in Manhattan saw it. The $40 million commissioner whose job it is to protect the sanctity and credibility of the league saw it. However, because “the ref didn’t see it,” the bad guy got away with it and won the championship belt.

In fact, not only did the bad guy get away with it, he admitted to his act and gloated about it. And so, the team on which Vince Lombardi’s grandson is a coach was robbed of its opportunity to win the Lombardi trophy fair and square.

If Vince Lombardi were alive to see how the NFL goes about deciding who will win the trophy named for him, Lombardi wouldn’t stop throwing up. And whether the Rams or the Patriots win the Superbowl, Vince Lombardi will be rolling in his grave knowing that the New Orleans Saints were unfairly denied the opportunity to win the Lombardi trophy and that the once-proud NFL guided by Pete Rozelle has deteriorated into a laughingstock run by a $40 million fool.

Steven J. Lane


New Orleans