Social media was up in arms after a late no-call from NFL officials led to the Rams escaping the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with a win over the New Orleans Saints in overtime of the NFC Championship game Sunday.
It was inevitable that posts would go up decrying the officials and claiming the Rams paid them off. What was unexpected, however, was someone who just finished playing in the game would get in on the joke on Instagram.
That's where Los Angeles running back Todd Gurley comes in to play.
Gurley, who carried the ball four times for 10 yards and a touchdown in Los Angeles' win, posted a photoshopped picture of himself and lead referee Bill Vinovich exchanging jerseys after the game. Gurley posted the photo with three emoji skulls and four crying while laughing emojis as the caption. It drew similar takes from various NFL players.
The meme is a riff on the tradition of NFL players exchanging jerseys with an opposing player after a game as a sign of respect.
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The no-call in question came late in the fourth quarter as the Saints were driving for a go-ahead score. On third down, Drew Brees uncorked a pass toward receiver Tommylee Lewis. As the receiver turned back for the ball, Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman ran through Lewis. There was no call for pass interference. The Saints would kick a field goal to go up 23-20, but a Rams field goal tied the game at the end of regulation. They would eventually win the game on a 57-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein in overtime.
Saints coach Sean Payton said he got a simple answer from the NFL league office after the game: "It was simple. They blew the call."
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Saints coach Sean Payton didn't mince words about the "game-changing call" that wasn't made as the Saints drove late in the fourth-quarter of …
The lead referee didn't have a strong opinions after the game on a no-call that may have cost the Saints a Super Bowl berth.
The Rams are headed to the Super Bowl, and their coach isn't about to complain about a highly criticized no-call that helped them get there.
The ball was in the air, Tommylee Lewis was turning to catch it -- then he was taken out of the air by Nickell Robey-Coleman.