You know it must be bad when even your rivals have your back.

Tampa Bay is home to the Buccaneers—an NFC South rival of the New Orleans Saints. It's also home to Martin Fennelly, a writer for the Tampa Bay Times, who says that the upcoming Super Bowl is "living a lie."

The New Orleans Saints should be in the game. They know it, we know it. Blatant, outrageous pass interference on Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman wasn’t called. And that makes this game a joke. The NFL played 256 regular-season games, added 10 playoff games and still got it dead wrong.

I'll be honest, even I am starting to roll my eyes at some of the reaches that scorned Saints fans are grasping for in hopes of somehow making this whole debacle "right." What's done is done, and it will never change—but this writer doesn't focus as much on the individual non-call than he does the deafening silence from the NFL in the wake of the controversy.

The NFL remains tone deaf. The closest it has come to acknowledging what happened is when Robey-Coleman was fined $26,000 for an illegal hit on the play in question. Illegal hit, but no pass interference, no Saints keep the ball, no run the clock all the way down, no winning field goal as time expires. It casts a pall over this Super Bowl that a hundred halftime shows wouldn’t erase. But this isn’t about people being people. It’s about a system that’s broken. And the NFL just rewarded it by ignoring it, nothing to see here, move along, enjoy the fan zone.

I'm hoping that the Saints and their fans will be able to truly move on and look forward once the media circus around the Super Bowl (and, ultimately, the actual game) is finally over with.

Until then, we'll just watch the fanfare—knowing that it should have been us, and no matter how many ways critics try to deny it, this Super Bowl will always carry an asterisk of illegitimacy.

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