At least fans won’t have to wait long.
League sources told ESPN that rematches of this season’s conference championship games are being considered for the 2019 Kickoff Game.
While the opener would be reliant on the outcome of Super Bowl 53 between the Patriots and Rams, it leaves the intriguing option of giving the NFC runner-up Saints another shot at the Rams months after a controversial ending to the NFC title game.
Referees blew a call with the scored tied at 20, failing to flag Los Angeles cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman for either interference or a helmet-to-helmet hit on New Orleans receiver Tommylee Lewis. The Saints settled for a field goal on the drive, while the Rams answered with a field goal of their own to knot the score before winning in overtime.
In the two weeks since, Saints ownership, coach Sean Payton and numerous players have called, tweeted and generally expressed their displeasure at what they feel was a blatantly missed call that kept them from playing in Atlanta this weekend. And that doesn’t even mention the failed New Orleans fan lawsuit against the NFL.
As for the other options, a Patriots-Chiefs rematch would certainly center around quarterbacks Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes, though the rest of the lineup could undergo plenty of changes that would make for a different matchup.
Other 2019 Kickoff teams the NFL is reportedly considering include the Seahawks and Bears of a matchup with the Rams, while the Patriots could see the Steelers, Cowboys or Browns. There are also multiple reports that the league could eschew having the Super Bowl winner in the season opener and instead opt for a game between the Bears and Packers for a 100th anniversary game.
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