Even a trip around the golf course is enough to remind New Orleans sports fans of one widely held truth: "Saints got robbed."
That was clear enough Friday at the Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana where golfer Jason Dufner had the message emblazoned on his hat before the start of his second round.
It was revealed last week the 42-year-old was planning to wear the hat, which was designed by New Orleans car dealership owner Matt Bowers. Dufner can be seen wearing the same style hat in a video on Bowers' Facebook page posted on April 16. He ends the video with a "who dat."
Bowers was also behind the purchase of billboards in Atlanta before Super Bowl 53 decrying the no-call in the NFC Championship, among the most popular reading "NFL Bleaux It," along with the phrase on the pro golfer's hat.
Dufner also wore the hat as he, Bowers and Saints kicker Wil Lutz were grouped together in the Zurich Classic pro-am on Wednesday. That field also included Saints coach Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis, and retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre.
Dufner has played in the Zurich Classic several times, notching his first career PGA Tour victory at the event in 2012. The 2019 team of Dufner and Pat Perez finished 7-under par after two rounds and just missed the cut. The team of John Rahm and Ryan Palmers went on to win the event at 26-under.
Rain, thunder and lightning won the day when the Zurich Classic of New Orleans began its annual four-day run Thursday.
Dufner is a Cleveland, Ohio native, but played collegiately at Auburn University.
The 42-year-old won the PGA Championship in 2013, the same year his mannerisms gave rise to the social media trend of "Dufnering," which involved sharing photos while sitting in a slumped over, expressionless pose. The trend was in imitation of a widely circulated picture of the golfer as he struck the odd pose during a visit to a youth center in Texas.
While his personality more often leans toward the quiet, "Dufnering" style, the loud message on his hat was in reference to a no-call in the NFC Championship last January that quickly swirled the Saints fan base into whirlwind of righteous anger that for many still bubbles not far from public view.
The missed penalty call late in the game against the Los Angeles Rams that cost the Saints the chance to run the clock down before kicking a game-winning field goal as time expired. The moment occurred after Drew Brees threw a third-down pass in the direction of former Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis, but Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman trucked through Lewis well before the ball arrived. No foul was called, and the Saints had to settle for a field goal on fourth down, leaving enough time remaining for the Rams to drive for a field goal of its own and tie the score at the end of regulation.
The Rams would go on to win the game in overtime and secure a berth in Super Bowl 53, where they lost to the Patriots.
While two other teams prepared to contend for the Lombardi Trophy in Atlanta, Saints faithful spent Super Bowl Sunday turning New Orleans into…
The refereeing issue led to massive outcry about issues with NFL rules, a boycott effort throughout New Orleans and multiple lawsuits to overturn the result or replay the game, which were quickly dismissed. Thousands took to the streets for a second line parade on the day of the Super Bowl -- among other boycott events -- and the game saw record low ratings in the New Orleans market. One quickly developed event, aptly named the "Boycott Bowl," pledged to donate its proceeds to benefit the city's public recreation efforts, a promise organizers followed through on days later in handing over a check in the amount of $57,400.
In the end, the no-call did spark change in the NFL rulebook that could prevent a repeat of the NFC Championship debacle. In a surprise move championed by Saints coach Sean Payton, team owners voted 31-1 to amend replay rules that govern pass interference calls to allow for challenges to review incorrect pass interference and personal foul calls, as well as instances where those calls may have been missed.
The Zurich Classic of New Orleans this weekend, as well as a private function Monday for the title sponsor, will mark the final rounds of golf…