Patriots Rams Super Bowl Football

New England Patriots' Stephen Gostkowski, second from right, celebrates his field goal against the Los Angeles Rams with teammates during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) ORG XMIT: NFL344

ATLANTA — For those who chose to attend the Boycott Bowl instead of watching the Super Bowl, you didn't miss much.

Super Bowl 53* (yeah, it'll always have an asterisk beside it to the folks who spent their Sunday partying in the streets of New Orleans instead of tuning in to the game) won't be one you'll be talking about years from now.

Well, you might remember Gladys Knight's national anthem. And you might remember Maroon 5's halftime show.

But the two quarters of football before and after Adam Levine and his band  hit the stage didn't leave much to write about.

The Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots (two of the top four scoring offenses in the NFL this season) stayed in a funk all game long. But in the end, the Patriots' dynasty continued as  Tom Brady and Bill Belichick  hauled another Lombardi Trophy back to Boston with a 13-3 victory.

It was a game that surely left Saints fans wondering "What if?"

What if Gary Cavaletto or Patrick Turner had thrown a penalty flag on Rams cornerback Nickell Robey Coleman two weeks when he crashed into Tommylee Lewis long before the Drew Brees' pass got there?

What if the New Orleans Saints had driven down the field and scored a touchdown on their first drive in overtime that day?

What if the Saints had turned some of those first half Wil Lutz field goals into touchdowns?

What if we had Brees vs. Brady Sunday?  Would Brees have Super Bowl wins over Brady and Peyton Manning?

What if? What if? What if?

The Saints (and all of their fans) will have to spend this entire offseason pondering just how things would have turned out if they had made it to Atlanta.

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You'd think Brees and Company would have been able to find their way to the end zone at least once, something the Rams were unable to do. The first (and only) touchdown of this game didn't come until 7 minutes remained when Patriots' running back Sony Michel scored on a 2-yard run. It provided the loudest roar of the night, a clear signal that at least 75 percent of the announced crowd of 70,081 were Patriots fans.   

New England led 3-0 at halftime, the second-lowest scoring first half of a Super Bowl since 1975 when the Pittsburgh Steelers led the Minnesota Vikings 2-0.

It ended up being the lowest scoring Super Bowl ever, eclipsing the one in 1973 when the Miami Dolphins beat the Washington Redskins 14-7 in Super Bowl 7. That game 36 years ago put the punctuation mark on the Dolphins' perfect season.

This one capped off a Super Bowl that was anything but perfect. It was a lackluster game, perhaps a bit of karma to the NFL for its officiating blunders in both conference championship games two weeks ago.

Several players with Louisiana ties left Atlanta empty-handed.

Rams offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth, an LSU alumnus in his 13th NFL season, won't get a Super Bowl ring this year. Neither will LSU alum Michael Brockers or Tulane grad Tanzel Smart or former Saints receiver Brandin Cooks. Cooks was unable to hold on to a touchdown in the game. For Cooks, who played with the Patriots last season, it was the second straight year his season ended with a loss in the Super Bowl.  

The Saints, who drafted Cooks in 2014, know a thing or two about back-to-back years of heartbreak.

Their fans do, too.

That's why they decided to "celebrate" the heartbreak of the no-call by throwing a giant party in New Orleans on Sunday.

They missed the Super Bowl with the asterisk that their Saints coulda, woulda and perhaps shoulda been playing in.

They didn't miss much.

But they surely have to be thinking "what if?"

Follow Rod Walker on Twitter, @rwalkeradvocate.