THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay walked through the locker room Wednesday, and upon seeing about 20 reporters and television cameras positioned in front of cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman‘s locker, hollered, “How many times can you ask the same question!”
Apparently, not enough.
As the Rams (1-0) prepare to play the New Orleans Saints (1-0) on Sunday in a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship Game, it was the infamous no-call — the one that helped send the Rams to Super Bowl LIII and was responsible for changing a rule that now allows for pass interference to be reviewed — that took center stage.
How many times has Robey-Coleman seen the play, where he blatantly hits Saints receiver Tommylee LeWIS before the ball arrives?
“Probably over a little over 4,000 to 5,000 times, easy,” Robey-Coleman said.
When did the questions about the play start?
“Since we got on the bus after the game,” outside linebacker Dante Fowler said. “They had it right there on TV.”
And what about New Orleans fans and players, including quarterback Drew Brees, who have said — even eight months later — that the play is something they’ll never forget, as it kept the Saints from advancing to their first Super Bowl since 2009.
“That’s a New Orleans problem,” cornerback Aqib Talib said. “It’s not an L.A. problem.”
The Rams and Robey-Coleman have said on several occasions that the hit should have been a penalty. They didn’t change their tone Wednesday, though Robey-Coleman admitted the play garnered far more attention than he anticipated.
“I didn’t expect it to get that much pub, but it is what it is,” Robey-Coleman said. “They made it into what it is and the league made it a rule. Just got to live with it now and it’s a rule that the whole league is going to have to adjust to. We don’t have no problem with it.”
McVay also said that if a similar situation were to happen to his team, time wouldn’t be spent dwelling on it.
“We’re not going to complain either way,” McVay said. “And that happened to end up working to our advantage, but we talk about it all the time, it’s got to be that next-play mindset mentality. That was one that definitely benefited us, but there’s a lot of plays in the game.”
The Rams mostly maintained that Sunday’s rematch is just like any other Week 2 matchup. It will be the fifth time that Rams quarterback Jared Goff and Brees will meet, with each quarterback winning two games.
However, at least one Rams player held out hope that perhaps a victory over the Saints on Sunday would end the chatter about last season’s no-call.
“Maybe,” Fowler said, “we can kind of put it to rest for a little bit.”