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SUPER BOWL LIII

NFL Admits blown call

Napoleon Jinnies

Rams cheerleaders making nfl history

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istory will be made Sunday at the Super Bowl, but it will happen on the sidelines, not on the field. That’s where you’ll spot Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies when the New England Patriots take on the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. Peron and Jinnies will be the first male cheerleaders at the Super Bowl in NFL history, cheering for the Rams alongside their female counterparts. The men already made history at the start of this season when they — along with dancer Jesse Hernandez of the New Orleans Saints’ cheerleading squad — became the first male cheerleaders in league history. In a tweet last week after his Rams secured a spot in the big game, Peron sent out a shout out to his squadmate. “Napoleon, you think Atlanta is ready for us?” Peron tweeted. “NAHHHHHH. We’re going to the Super Bowl!” The men, both dancers, made the Rams cheerleading squad back in March. Jinnies called making the team

a “humbling and amazing” experience. Peron said there wasn’t a good reason for him not to try out for the squad. “I was at (an L.A.) Lakers game (right before making the team) and I was watching the Laker Girls,” Peron told “Good Morning America” last summer, “and I was asking myself, ‘Why can’t I be down there?’ I’ve choreographed for girls who dance on pro teams, I’ve danced with girls on various pro teams. I just thought, ‘why not me?’” Other teams, like the Indianapolis Colts and the Baltimore Ravens, have had stuntmen before, USA Today reported, but Peron and Jinnies danced alongside their female teammates and did the same moves during the season. Peron and Jinnies’ success inspired 25-year-old Jesse Hernandez to try out for the New Orleans Saints’ Saintsations cheerleading team. He told CNN affiliate KATC that his mom sent him a link with their story. “She told me it was my time to shine,” he said in a video posted before his final audition.

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Los Angeles Rams CB Nickell Robey-Coleman breaks up a pass intended or New Orleans Saints WR Tommylee Lewis during the NFC Championship, Jan. 20.

OFFICIALS ‘ARE HUMAN’ Eight days after a blown call helped shape the outcome of the NFC Championship Game, the NFL finally acknowledged its mistake in an official capacity. In a court document filed Jan. 27, lawyers for the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell wrote they “do not dispute” what Saints coach Sean Payton told reporters after the game — that the league called him and admitted the officiating error shortly after New Orleans’ 26-23 overtime loss. “Because the officials on the field are humans, like the players and coaches, errors will happen,” the league’s lawyers wrote. “The NFL parties do not dispute that they have previously advised the Saints, including the club’s head coach, that one or more penalties — for pass interference or illegal helmet-to-helmet contact — were mistakenly not called late in the NFC Championship Game, and that the NFL would like its officials

on the field to make these calls. “This was acknowledged immediately after the game to the coach of the New Orleans Saints by NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating Al Riveron.” The NFL’s acknowledgment came in a brief filed by New Orleans law firm Jones, Swanson, Huddell & Garrison in response to a lawsuit filed by two Saints season ticket holders. The league had declined to publicly own up to the error in the days after the game, prompting criticism from media members and current and former players, including Saints tight end Benjamin Watson. NBC Sports reported that Payton has privately “urged the NFL to ‘show some leadership’” and issue a statement about the missed call. In its brief, the league also argues that Goodell does not have author-

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