Officials with ties to L.A. become the latest Rams-Saints point of concern

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One week after the biggest non-call in years, the circumstances surrounding the latter stages of the fourth quarter of the Rams-Saints NFC title game continues to feed the never-ending NFL news cycle.

Four of the officials assigned to last Sunday night’s game live in Southern California. That concern has been percolating relatively innocuously for several days; ESPN’s decision to make it a Pro Bowl Sunday Splash! item has given it widespread attention, unfortunately.

As a league spokesman told ESPN, “Officiating assignments are based on performance and not geographic location.”

But that apparently isn’t stopping the suspicion that bias crept into the equation, raising the question of whether geography should be a factor in deciding who calls which game. Doing so legitimizes the notion that officials can’t set aside where they live, where they grew up, which teams they’ve rooted for, which team their family members root for, who they know, etc. when calling games. If the league were to venture into the rabbit hole of connective tissue between officials and teams, the league may eventually have to use something other than the best officials for the biggest games.

It’s only an issue that four of the officials live in Southern California because the crew failed to call pass interference and an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit against Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman. But if geographic bias were an issue, wouldn’t they have flagged the Saints player who grabbed the facemask of Rams quarterback Jared Goff?

In virtually all cases like this, incompetence trumps intent. If the NFL hopes to minimize the situations during which fans and media suggest foul play, the league should come up with ways to improve officiating, embracing ideas like the late Dan Rooney’s suggestion of a video official who would be watching all camera angles and replays and communicating in real time with the referee to fix mistakes quickly and efficiently.

The best way to rule out foul play is to do everything possible to eliminate errors. Even if the fix wasn’t in, stories like this fuel the fantasies of the tin-foil hat crowd. The best way to prevent that it is to do whatever it takes to get the calls right.

156 responses to “Officials with ties to L.A. become the latest Rams-Saints point of concern

  1. The Patriots always say: “Don’t let the officials decide the game”.
    They know they need a two score lead to counter the corruption.

  2. Where is Goodell and his so-called ‘Integrity’?

    The entire Saints Team, Coaches, Owner and Fans should show up and embarrass Goodell when he takes the podium this week.

  3. One of the refs played for the Rams and the Falcons in the past. I guess no potential bias there. Who is in charge of assigning these refs to the games?

  4. Everyone seriously be quiet, you have no idea of what Browns fans been through with the refs, fact

  5. OMG! GET OVER IT! The Saints got to the Superbowl in 2009 over one of the most corrupt ridiculously officiated games in the history of the NFL for what they were trying to do to Favre, and they’re whining over this. I have lost all respect for this organization. Rams Deserve to be here! Better team and definitely the better organization! Go Rams!!!

  6. Under Goodell’s regime the league has been a bastion of incompetence (or worse) rather than integrity. If the NFL were operating from the position of recognized integrity it largely was under its previous commissioners this might not have ballooned the way it has. Rozelle or Tagliabue would have gotten in front of this and we largely would have accepted their to err is human type apology. Unfortunately Goodell’s capricious (ahem) ‘leadership’ has created an environment in which conspiracy theories aren’t so easily ignored. The list of unfathomable actions would be hysterical if it weren’t so frightening. Just a few: hammering Elliott vs slapping Brown on the wrist, the Rice fiasco, the laughable Jets tampering fine vs the beating KC took for far less, Indy & Atlanta despicably pumping in crowd noise (the most cynical of cheats) but only getting sent to bed without dessert for it while bountygate became a capital offense, the absolute science denying nonsense that was deflategate leading to PSI measurements that became state secrets, bully gate and the list goes on and on. The NFL now sleeps in a bed of Roger Goodell’s making and it has itself to blame for the WWE sheets.

  7. #won’tletitgo
    #whatifitwereyourteam
    #fakesuperbowl

    how many “real” Superb Owls,or NBA championships have there been in the last decade or so? The fix has been in for quite sometime, the crossover from sporting event to entertainment was a while back- extremely unfortunate, MLB and NHL not far behind in that regard-= all about benjamins- no integrity in anything when that is the ultimate goal- now i am sad ;(

  8. The brief open handed touch of Goffs pretty little pink helmet was incidental and unintentional and did not affect the play. It has nothing to do with the Rams headhunting with intentional helmet to helmet hits to stop touchdowns.

  9. Current Sad state of the NFL! crybabies and excuses I remember when this was a man’s game makes me sick!

  10. Here’s the deal. The NFL refs are the greatest (GOATS) in the world at what they do, and the ones who are the best of the best, make it to the championship games. Nobody said they’re perfect, but they’re the best in the world. It would be like questioning Brady’s competence when he throws an interception. Or questioning his integrity. When Brady throws a pick, is he betting against his own team, and purposely trying to throw the game? I mean, why on earth would Brady deliberately throw the ball to the other team? This is all just ridiculous. Remember the Tuck Rule game? Were those refs Patriots’ fans, or did they just make an imperfect call? What about The Immaculate Reception? Were those refs Steelers fans? How about The Holy Roller? Were those guys Raiders fans?

  11. why are people telling the saints to get over it? they have. you haven’t heard a word from payton or the organization. aside from tweet or two from a couple of players at the beginning of the week, everyone else has talked about it. yeah, fans of the saints have complained, but that’s pretty much the job of fans. the saints are on to next year. and viking fans, good LORD, get over it. lol

  12. The facemask was much harder to see in real time…Refs miss that call sometimes…And there was plenty of game left to play…

    Up until that game…No Ref…NONE…have ever missed a PI that obvious…they’ve missed close PIs before…and if they get that right…there’s no more game left to be played…

  13. #whatifitwereyourteam

    “Well, we disagree with the call but we can’t let one call decide the outcome of a game, especially a game of this magnitude. We had a lead with two minutes left, needed a stop, didn’t get it. We had the ball in overtime, needed a score, didn’t get it. Scores and stops are central to the game, and so we really need to focus on that, not a single call in a 70 minute game. We need to focus on what we can do better, because one call didn’t decide the game. Our opponent made more scores and stops than us, simple as that, so hats off to them. It hurts, but we’ll need to be accountable and get better.”

  14. Goodell started DEFLATEGATE when he cited competitive balance. I can’t think of anything that affects competitive balance more than 4 officials with LA ties overlooking a foul committed against an LA team.

  15. Think about it like this. Rams move to LA. The LA market doesn’t care unless they have a winner. The NFL makes sure the rams are in the superbowl. It’s all about making the rams stick in LA. Mark my word in 4 years their stadium will be empty and their fanbase will go back to watching the lakers

  16. It’s so silly to care about the fact that 4 refs are from LA in a championship game when LA is playing in the game. Must be an outrageous fan base to care about such petty things. And who cares that 2 of the 4 we’re directly involved with the most agregious no call in the history of sports.

    Guess what…call the penalty. Just one of the 2 and WE NEVER GO TO OVERTIME! But we did go to over time and then another no call on Fowler. Regardless of what very few of you think…vinovich was heckled in UTAH. That speaks volumes on how sports fans feel throughout the country…it far exceeds who Dat Nation.

    #FakeSuperBowl

    #NotGoingAway

    #LeastWatchedSuperBowlInHistory

  17. Please remember this is ESPN pushing this.

    Not Payton, not Gayle Benson, not Saints fans.

    We have been screwed over by the League before, and will be again- like pretty much every team.

    Rooney and Belichek are right.

    – Saints fan

  18. If you don’t want the optics to be as bad as they are…vet the officiating crew paid to facilitate an even playing field. You’ve got to be from somewhere…I get it. But if you’re from Boston and your 3 buddy refs are also from Boston…probably shouldn’t field that crew next Sunday, right. Or should I just get over it.

    #SaintsGotRobbed

  19. The fact you reference in this article that it’s unfortunate that it’s receiving attention is equally concerning. Terrible call, zero defense at what a terrible call it was, shockingly bad..cheated a team out of SB as a result so any attention to this nonsense is WELL founded. And that # of officials living in LA is a valid point to look at

  20. charliecharger says:
    January 27, 2019 at 6:54 pm
    Here’s the deal. The NFL refs are the greatest (GOATS) in the world at what they do…
    ————————————-

    Which makes it very hard to understand how no less than 4 out of the 7 of them who should have been in position to see it failed to make such an obvious call. So here’s the real deal, explain logically how a minimum of 4 of the greatest officials in the world ALL missed that call because we aren’t talking about just one of them.

  21. I don’t think it was a personal bias. I think it is an NFL bias. They have TWO teams in LA. They’ve gotta conjure up a devoted fan base, or else the league is going to have perennial “little sister” teams in a HUGE tv market with no one (comparatively) watching.
    That’s not good.
    What better way than to have the Rams won the Super Bowl?
    I don’t ever remember seeing any Patriots fans back in the 80s & 90s.
    Not a cap, jacket, or t shirt.
    Ever.
    Nothing creates a large fan base faster than winning. The league NEEDS LA to succeed. They need two string LA teams in that market.
    The Raiders moved from Oakland to LA. What happened? They won the Super Bowl. They became entrenched in southern CA, and they STILL have fans there. Probably more than the Chargers AND Rams.
    The Rams moved from LA to St. Louis. What happened?
    They won the Super Bowl. They became entrenched in St. Louis.
    The Browns packed up and moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens. What happened?
    They won the Super Bowl. No one even remembers when they were the Browns.
    The Cardinals moved from St. Louis to Phoenix. They went to the Super Biwl, and (arguably) should have beaten the Steelers with Fitz’s late TD. They let it slip away.

  22. LOL the Saints “folded”. Oh yeah they folded and deserved to lose is probably the laziest opinion to date. 2 great teams go at it, it’s close and a mind numbingly dumb call cost them a win. That’s not “folding” that’s a weak argument at best

  23. I believe where officials do live does contain a certain bias. It’s human nature. If one of the four makes a questionable call against the Rams, do you not think he would have his haters in his community, his neighborhood,etc… Enough anbout that, the real problem is the NFL, IMO loves the dilemma when bad calls are made. How many fans just turn off the TV and quit watching games? Very few because as inconsistent as the officiating has been, we love the NFL. Sponsors keep pouring in the $$ because we can’t turn off the TV. Can you name any that have pulled their sponsorship? The point the NFL is missing is the number of people who like to wager on their games. I’m not a conspiracy guy, but until the folks in Vegas starting losing $ and start speaking up, you won’t have the much needed change. But since they haven’t, it makes me wonder. Keeping the subjectivity in the game allows the NFL game to keep the element of “human error”. I personally don’t like that as we all know the technology exists to “just get it right”. Money, and lots of it, can make reasonable people do irrational things. And it doesn’t help the convoluted rule book gives them the ability to rationalize it. My 10 cents worth.

  24. I don’t think it was a personal bias. I think it is an NFL bias. They have TWO teams in LA. They’ve gotta conjure up a devoted fan base, or else the league is going to have perennial “little sister” teams in a HUGE tv market with no one (comparatively) watching.
    That’s not good.
    What better way than to have the Rams win the Super Bowl?
    I don’t ever remember seeing any Patriots fans back in the 80s & 90s.
    Not a cap, jacket, or t shirt.
    Ever.
    Nothing creates a large fan base faster than winning. The league NEEDS LA to succeed. They need two strong LA teams in that market.
    The Raiders moved from Oakland to LA. What happened? They won the Super Bowl. They became entrenched in southern CA, and they STILL have fans there. Probably more than the Chargers AND Rams.
    The Rams moved from LA to St. Louis. What happened?
    They won the Super Bowl. They became entrenched in St. Louis.
    The Browns packed up and moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens. What happened?
    They won the Super Bowl. No one even remembers when they were the Browns.
    The Cardinals moved from St. Louis to Phoenix. They went to the Super Bowl, and (arguably) should have beaten the Steelers with Fitz’s late TD. They let it slip away.

  25. Let it go

    ====
    I think most people have “Let it go” that the Saints should have won. The problem is you saw calls like this all season long. What do you think the outcry is going to be like if the Super Bowl this year is decided by a call like that. Specially if it favors LA. The NFL wants a league to stick in LA so bad you won’t be able to disprove the notion the games are rigged and the Refs are told who needs to win. Then with them legalizing gambling here in a year or two once Raiders are in Las Vegas…if you have people thinking even more the games are decided by the refs the NFL is going to have a major crisis on it’s hands.

  26. So four of the refs in said game are from the L.A. area, plus one is a former Rams, in addition to the fact the NFL invested a fortune into returning to the most fairweather sporting city on the planet, that just so happens to be one of their biggest markets. In said game the referees let blatant P.I. and a helmet to helmet hit slide to throw the game to the new L.A. franchise. No tinfoil needed, the NFL is protecting their investments and maximizing their revenue by throwing games. Period.

  27. as a saints fan , i truly cant wait until the superbowl is over and we can stop talking about all this
    i really dont care anymore. i wish the nfl would put into place super officials that would make it very difficult for a group of referees to change the outcome of games. what happened in new orleans must never happen again.

    this is a game played and officiated by humans who will make mistakes. it is now clear to any educated viewer that this was no simple mistake. to suggest otherwise is foolish and naive. bill vinovich and his crew are now new gold standards. the best we can say for the nfl is that they are simply incompetent. at worst, it is some highly manipulative scheme headed by goodell himself. quite possibly a little of both.

    for the sake of the league, serious changes must be applied. either way goodell should resign. this is a man who is so concerned about the integrity of the game that he investigated the amount of air in the football. dont you think he should say something when a hometown official changes the outcome of a championship game. he is a joke

  28. This is getting beyond ridiculous. The Saints had many plays they could of/ should of made. The Saints didn’t make them. Bad call or no call! GET OVER IT! Every team has been hosed over the years.

  29. Check it out…think this coverage is intense. Wait til this week when the nation’s media desends upon Atlanta and Roger goodell is there. I promise you…the last thing they’ll want to talk about is the fake super bowl.

  30. purpleandgoldpride42 says:
    January 27, 2019 at 7:00 pm
    Think about it like this. Rams move to LA. The LA market doesn’t care unless they have a winner. The NFL makes sure the rams are in the superbowl.
    ====================================================================================
    Right. And the refs made sure that the Rams were 13-3 because guys like Aaron Donald and Tim Gurley aren’t actually talented. They are just a creation of the officiating.

  31. Interesting how people are complaining that Brady led a touchdown drive in OT, and the Chiefs had no chance to go on offence, and meanwhile others are complaining how the Saints got screwed, ignoring that Brees had that same chance to win in OT over in the NFC.

    Actually probably a lot of the same people, now that I think about it.

  32. Silly to think that an official would jeopardize her job based on rooting for a team–until I read the crazy comments posted here.its just game, move on saints fan. Don’t you have better things to worry about in LA?

    Best regards,

    Spilled oil, crime, and dirty politics

  33. I think with all of the rule changes for player safety that the refs are at a disadvantage. There is so much more to watch for now, and so much more to be mindful of that the refs are majoring on the minors and calls like the obvious one here get missed. That being said…I didn’t know the Saints were such huge cry babies…this is behavior I’d expect from the Eagles. LOL!

  34. Which was it? Were the refs shaving points or was it gross negligence? Or extremely careless like Hillary?

  35. I officiate high school football, I can say without a doubt their is always bias, be it either the school or the coaches, they’re is always something to make to sway one way or the other in a game…

  36. my_old_name_was_offensive says:
    January 27, 2019 at 6:57 pm
    The facemask was much harder to see in real time…Refs miss that call sometimes…And there was plenty of game left to play…
    Up until that game…No Ref…NONE…have ever missed a PI that obvious…they’ve missed close PIs before…and if they get that right…there’s no more game left to be played…
    ==================================================================================================================
    Refs have missed plenty of bad PI’s before that are just as obvious.

  37. Can’t wait for fake super bowl week. Media stuff is going to be fantastic! You’re gonna hear a lot of this…

    ‘Next Question’

    #FakeSuperBowl

  38. boisestatewhodat says:
    Actually I don’t care what boisestatewhodat says, so forget it anyway.
    #FakeSuperBowl = #GreatSuperBowl
    #NotGoingAway = #GiveBackThe2009LombariTrophyYouHypocrites
    #LeastWatchedSuperBowlInHistory=#MostWatchedSuperBowlInHistory
    #Whodatfans=#SoreSpoiledHypocriteLosers

  39. This may be the first time I’ve agreed with Frank Booth. Good and bad calls are both made and missed. I was very bitter following the NFCC game 9 years ago. So many missed and what appeared to be ignored calls. At the time I felt it was all set up to help the NO area following Katrina. With the now known existence of a bounty program, I have to believe the NFL wouldn’t knowingly promote and fix a game for a cheating franchise. It takes time and I’m not yet over it, but the healing is slowly taking place. Time to accept that the Rams were just the better team, right?

  40. If it doesn’t matter where they live why did the NFL remove a New Orleans based replacement official in 2012 during the referee strike from refereeing a game that involved the Saints? This is a fact. Last year a referee who played for the Falcons in the 80’s was allowed to referee a Saints/Falcons game and made a highly questionable call. I’m not saying anything is fixed but this looks questionable at best.

  41. I don’t think the officials missed the call because they are from SoCal. I think they froze under pressure and realizing throwing the flag at that point effectively ended the game while incorrectly not throwing would still give both teams an opportunity. Either way, the side judge should be fired no doubt. If the Integrity of the game is lost then the game is dead. This storm will not just blow over. The media does not let things like this die. This story generates clicks which means many more still to come.

  42. Viking fans — Favre is still alive. He did not go into a wheelchair after that game. Let it go.
    Rams fans — Your team won. Kwicherbichen.
    Saints fans — Your team got robbed. Fact. It’s way too late to possibly replay the game from the point of infraction. Let’s see what ol’ Rog has to say this week…because he’s gonna have to address it. Then move on…and punch a ref on the opening kickoff of next season.

  43. So the four live in SoCal.

    Hmmm…what if further research shows they were all born and raised in New Orleans, all are life-long Saints fans, and all just moved to SoCal six months ago?

    Would that matter any?

  44. “…Time to accept that the Rams were just the better team, right?”

    Yeah, they WERE the better team (based on points) until 1:45 left in the 4th Qtr.

    That’s when the refs made arguably the worst non-call in NFL history that cost the Saints the opportunity to run down the clock, kick the tap-in FG, and win the game.

  45. Computojon…guess what big homie…

    Saints got robbed. You’re one of the few who disagrees. Atlantic City refunded bets. Vinovich heckled in UTAH.

    Cheera

  46. It doesnt matter where they live, the Pats have this taken care of. Hand shakes with Benjamins always trumps bias. Brady will get his share of phantom roughing the passer calls as he did in the KC game. When it comes to influencing the refs, the Rams are playing checkers and the Pats are playing chess.

  47. Geographic bias? The Rams have been there for a year. If all of the officials used to live in St. Louis and recently moved to LA, say in the last year, then I’d be concerned.

    This is a huge stretch.

  48. It’s difficult to look at the film and figure out what officials Patrick Turner and Gary Cavaletto, who were practically standing on top of the play, were thinking with the no call. But I can’t imagine it had anything to do with them living in Los Angeles. However, people will continue to speculate about this incident until the league finally addresses its horrible officiating … or the next mind-blowing call/non-call occurs, whichever comes first.

  49. So, the NFL has assigned John Parry to ref the Super Bowl. The Rams are 7-0 when he refs the game. Coincidence? Think the NFL doesn’t want to capture that LA TV Market? Think they won’t go to outrageous lengths to get it? Or to derail the parity crushing effect of the Patriots? The problem now is how to make it less obvious….because it’s grossly obvious.

  50. “This is a huge stretch.”‘ll go further and say its fake news.

    If we start attributing ref bias to where they live, then we have to start looking at where they grew up and what teams they were fans of, and what teams their spouses’ families were fans of, and so forth. Pretty soon we will have to disqualify websites based on who their founders live or who they were fans of.

    This country has enough polarization based on perceived background conspiracy theories. Why promote them further?

  51. Trash reporting who cares where officials live. Proper reporting should be discussing FakeNFCChampionship and how in the heck did the Saints belong in that game. Obviously something was slanted their way to qualify. Full and thorough explanation should be given by the commissioner. Every Saint game, every Saint play reviewed for bias from NFL to get them to the NFC final.

  52. All about the optics. Vet the officials and you (the NFL) avoids this. Under what circumstances is okay to have FOUR officials call a CHAMPIONSHIP game for a team that hails from WHERE YOU LIVE. Good Lord….

  53. boisestatewhodat says:
    January 27, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    Guess what…call the penalty. Just one of the 2 and WE NEVER GO TO OVERTIME! But we did go to over time and then another no call on Fowler. Regardless of what very few of you think…vinovich was heckled in UTAH. That speaks volumes on how sports fans feel throughout the country…it far exceeds who Dat Nation.

    ————————————————————————–

    I agree…..call the penalty. Besides PI and helmet-to-helmet, they also could have called illegal hands to the face by Peat on Aaron Donald, or holding on the Saints RG on Michael Brockers. Worst case scenario, it’s offsetting penalties and replay the down. Why don’t Saints fans and Rams haters acknowledge all the fouls?

    The Saints had a great season. But they came up a little short. The Rams outplayed the Saints after the 1st quarter last Sunday. Time to move on.

  54. Unbelievable. What crybabies looking under every crack, crevice and crease for an excuse. Score td’s on your first 2 drives, score a td in ot. No responsibility or accountability for not taking care of your business. Go away already. Some of us realize it’s fixed, you had your turn in 2009, you couldn’t get it done. Every game the saints play next year, every other fan base will be rooting against these whiners.

  55. What makes you think that an official would jeopardize a dream job by making inaccurate calls? Doubt that any of the LA area officials have any emotional attachment to a team that just moved there.

  56. People are forgetting that prior to the game, Rams fans started a petition to get Vinovich removed as referee for the NFC Title Game. They claimed that the Rams were 0-8 in the previous eight games he officiated and that they were penalized far more often than there opponents. That included the Saints-Rams game from earlier this year in which they claim he favored the Saints. So much for regional bias. It seems that the only thing everyone agrees on is that Vinovich (and crew) are lousy officials.

  57. They only do it in college and high school…if an SEC team is playing in a bowl game SEC officials dont get to call that game. Same thing with any other conference. Florio talks about a face mask where the players hand slid across goffs facemask for like.00025 seconds, but NO mention of the drive before the no call where the same db tackled the reciever a full 2 or 3 seconds before the ball got there..no call was made then either..i wonder why?

  58. If you’re a professional ref who cares where you are from. The expectation is they are supposed to be non biased.

    There was a missed face mask on Goff that could have cost the Rams the game.

    Was it a egregious missed call? Sure was!
    This is sports and there are missed calls all the time.

    Hopefully some rule changes are coming so this doesn’t happen again.

    Time to start moving on.

  59. Hey computojon…New Orleans is waaaayyy cooler than Los Angeles and much, much cooler than Minneapolis!

    #SaintsGotRobbed

    😁

  60. There is an obvious solution.
    All refs should be required to live on a ship that is based in international waters. That way the officials wont be biased towards where they live.

  61. For those saying the Saints blew it in overtime – – there shouldn’t have been an overtime.

    If Goodell would just make a statement of some kind, it would help defuse some of the hard feelings. But, not all!

  62. So while the point may be whatever to some and worse to others

    What would be the normal probability that 4 refs would be from Southern California on one crew ???

    Especially an N.F.C Championship game .

    For some reason it seems odd and possibly unethical to have the majority of Refs from one teams state …..

  63. difference between Brady and Brees: both had the ball first in overtime; Brady drove the field and scored a touchdown…Brees threw a horrible interception…

  64. Wow, these refs called 7 penalties for 65 yards on the Rams but only 3 penalties for 20 yards on the Saints, but somehow they were favouring who?!?

    Please, these “conspiracy” junk is just ridiculous.

  65. Funny how the Saints want to claim this will be a “fake SB” when they have a banner hanging in their stadium that is the most fake championship in the history of sports. The irony you can cut with a knife!

  66. For all those calling on Goodell to make a public statement, where does it end? After he admits the refs missed PI, should he also admit that the refs missed illegal hands to the face against Saints on same play? How about a missed holding against Saints on same play? Or a missed facemask the drive before? Or a missed helmet to helmet against Rams in 1st half? Or multiple missed delay of game penalties against Saints?

    There were quite a few missed calls all game. This crew let the players play, probably a little too much.

  67. I’m so tired of people calling this “a missed call” and to just let it go. It wasn’t just a “missed call” as if the refs in question didn’t see it. It was a series of “ignored calls”…. Pass interference was ignored by two refs looking right at it; head-to-head contact was ignored by two refs looking right at it; hitting a defenseless receiver was ignored by two refs looking right at it; and I would argue unnecessary roughness was ignored by two refs looking right at it. That is a lot different than missing a holding call or face mask where the refs might not have seen it, that happens all the time in every game and yes, hapenned in this one.

    I for one would like an explanation as to why those patently obvious and egregious penalties were ignored?

    By its silence and reluctance to adequately explain why the obvious penalties on a play that ultimately decided a Super Bowl birth were ignored, the NFL will continue to get heat and spawn conspiracy theories like the game was crooked because a majority of the officiating crew was from SOCAL.

    For those so ready to call this proposperous and far-fetched, flip it around and ask yourself what people would be saying if the same call was ignored against the Patriots in the Super Bowl and afterwards it was discovered that four of the refs were from Boston? Trust me, in that case there would be a congressional investigation. But because it happened to New Orleans, a team without the same level of national support and interest, Saints fans are told to get over it and let it die.

    If you’re a true fan of football and don’t want the game to steer toward boxing or wrestling, you should really ask why is the NFL hunkering down over this? Why in the world would four officials from a city that is playing in a championship game be assigned to work that contest? And most of all why did that crew ignore a series of penalties on that one play that if called would have most certainly changed the outcome of that game? Silence is not answering these questions, it’s giving them more credence.

  68. There will be 2 main fan bases at the fake super bowl. Patriots fans and the Who Dat Nation. Yes, all 500 Rams fans will also be there but I assure you…the Who Dat Nation will far exceed maybe even Pats fans. Billboards are already up in Atlanta…you didn’t think Dat Nation would stay behind, now did ya?

    WHO DAT!!!

  69. I find it hard to believe that some of these Patriot fans actually think the refs do not favor Tom Brady ?!?!?! I mean that guy gets a defensive players hand anywhere near his head they toss a flag. And rarely ever do they get OL holding called against them. All football fans know there is holding on every single play. But when TB drops back to toss the rock 40 some times in a game and not a single holding call just makes the integrity seem a bit shady. Don’t believe me? Look up the stats for offensive holding for NE and you can see it for yourself. Hopefully this SB is called very fair and the refs let them play instead of over officiating the game. Should be a good one.

  70. Blaming refs for a loss is old hat BUT the Saints and their fan base do have a legitimate gripe BUT Rams fans can also point out at least one missed call that could’ve lead to a TD BUT that missed call was a facemask and those go unseen a lot of times depending on how visible it was to officials BUT the fact it wasn’t called (if it was obvious) pokes a hole in the “fix is in” narrative BUT I don’t remember this much backlash and articles when Dallas went 10 straight games without a single opponent being called for holding against Dallas’ D line coincidentally the same year Jerry tried to oust Goodell after he suspended Zeke with no good reason. And public opinion and narrative despite facts and evidence counts as no good reason. I get this game was big with a lot at stake but I doubt Saints fans had much sympathy for Viking fans in ’09 with the same amount at stake. Not to mention when Dallas beat NO this season and the Saints only TD was on an obvious, and uncalled, OPI Saint fans still wanted to cry about officials for the hit on Kamara while ignoring the no call on OPI. I don’t believe the Rams deserve to be in the SB after the no call in question (not saying Dallas does) or after the hands to the face call against Byron Jones and the no call on the holding of Taco Charlton at the goal line on 4th & goal but still this is getting old. It’s over. Root against them if you’d like in the SB but still let it go.

  71. I understand how that would raise concern but whats overlooked is the article spells out each official’s responsibility on that play.

    They really screwed it up.

  72. “Interesting how people are complaining that Brady led a touchdown drive in OT, and the Chiefs had no chance to go on offence, and meanwhile others are complaining how the Saints got screwed, ignoring that Brees had that same chance to win in OT over in the NFC.”

    And I guarantee you if KC had won the toss and gotten an overtime TD to close the game out exactly zero people would be complaining the Pats didn’t get to touch the ball.

    Unless you complain about bad calls on both sides of a game you’re operating on a double standard, and that invalidates your complaint

  73. Rather than geography and who’s from where, I think a bigger issue is the NFL’s policy of separating referee crews in the post season.

    Like an offensive line, these guys work better when they’re with the same people all the time, including one ref’s inclination to overrule another, due to familiarity. Less familiarity, less inclination to overrule or be perceived as “showing up.”

    So instead of the best performing individual referees, perhaps the best crews (or.. ya know… the best “teams”) should do the post season.

  74. Disagree completely. Incompetence and bias need to both be monitored. Both are very concerning and potentially big problems for the integrity of the League.

  75. Bad calls have existed since the dawn of sports. Griping can continue on forever too.

    But the amount of melodramatic angst that this has generated from Saints and their fans is embarrassing.

    Enough is enough.

  76. If the refs were trying to give the game to the Rams they did an awful job. Missed the facemask on Goff that almost surely would have gotten the Rams a TD to go up 4. Also, flagged the Rams 7 times for 64 yards in the game and the Saints only 3 times for 20 yards.
    Get over it. This wasn’t anything on par with the Tuck Rule where the officials went to replay for 10 minutes to supposedly find conclusive evidence in support of a forward pass in what was obviously a fumble. They simply erred too much on the side of caution on a bang-bang play where the defender made contact .1 second before the ball got there. The refs don’t see the game in slow motion where the time difference is 10 to 20x more pronounced.

  77. So everyone from SOCAL is a now a die hard Rams fan, including the refs? I thought most people there were transplants from somewhere else?

    Jeez, the refs aren’t 12 year olds , they can be impartial. It’s a character trait of being grown up

  78. If the fix was in do you think that is a secret that could be kept? Dozens of NFL suits, TV and network brass, money men, lawyers and officiating personnel would have to conspire to put the fix in. And all of them keep the secret? Forever? No way.

  79. League officials (including the commissioner) with ties to the Jets have been the Patriots’ concern for years now.

  80. Obviously the call was bad, and I feel terrible for the Saints and their fans, they were robbed. Being a Raiders fan, that happens nearly every week; phantom calls, no-calls, ect. The NFL is absolutely rigged to whatever their narrative is at that time, if they have the chance. The NFL has their darling’s whom they help win games, and the cast off’s whom they do whatever they can to make them lose.

    I didn’t buy into this conspiracy talk 5-10 years ago. Since then, it’s become completely obvious that the NFL is pulling the strings. They have become so arrogant that they do a really poor job of hiding their biased calls/decisions. It’s really watered down the game, and honestly makes it hard to watch some games. I honestly don’t care about the SuperBowl this year, I’m not sure if I’ll even watch it. I’ve taken the Monday after the Superbowl off work, and have had a party for the last 15 years or so. Not this year.

  81. @slayer1224 says:
    January 27, 2019 at 6:41 pm
    One of the refs played for the Rams and the Falcons in the past. I guess no potential bias there. Who is in charge of assigning these refs to the games?
    =======================================================================
    NBA has at least one former player that is now an official. It doesn’t mean he can’t officiate a game played by his former team.

  82. It will be interesting to see what new technology/rules are utilized to address coaches challenges in the new football leagues. Perhaps if they’re popular the NFL will adopt them. Remember the 3 pt line was made popular in the ABA before the NBA would consider. If left up to them I doubt the NFL does anything to prevent another fiasco like what happened in New Orleans.

  83. If only the NFL could afford to pay refs full time – maybe someday it won’t be a fly by night league so they don’t hire part timers with full time pay so what do they care if they blow a call or three? It’s just spending money or hopefully not – just gambling money.

  84. ausernamethatisavailable says:
    January 27, 2019 at 7:43 pm
    I don’t think the officials missed the call because they are from SoCal. I think they froze under pressure and realizing throwing the flag at that point effectively ended the game while incorrectly not throwing would still give both teams an opportunity. Either way, the side judge should be fired no doubt. If the Integrity of the game is lost then the game is dead. This storm will not just blow over. The media does not let things like this die. This story generates clicks which means many more still
    ==========
    I think you hit the nail on the head with this comment. I do not think the refs were intentionally trying to job the Saints of a win…but I DO THINK that the refs have their marching orders, meaning that they actively try to keep the game “close and interesting” to make for exciting games and keeping the door open for miraculous comebacks. This happens all the time in the NFL and it really shouldn’t if the playing field is supposed to be even.

    Full disclosure I’m a Pats fan, and I think the KC Pats game was a worse officiated gamed than the Saints Rams. Sure, you can point to this one particular play where there should have been a flag and it may have swung the pendulum in the Saint’s favor, but the Pats had to play against the Chiefs in their house & against the Zebras who were letting the KC defense have their way with Pats receivers ALL GAME LONG, yet at the other end of the spectrum the Pats secondary couldn’t put a hand on KC receivers without seeing it rain yellow with flags. Many many one-sided calls greatly outweighs one egregious missed call, so as a Pats fan its hard for me to feel sorry for the Saints fans because I’ve seen much worse that one single egregious missed call in a game before…but I would have enjoyed a Brady/Brees SB.

  85. Same thing on no touchdown call when Mike renfro scored in championship game against Pittsburgh years ago. Official was from pittsburgh.

  86. For all the morons saying Brees shouldn’t have thrown an INT in OT- if the refs had done their job the Saints wouldn’t have needed to win in OT. And I’m not a NO fan.

  87. Feel terrible for Brees. This call quite possibly changed the outcome of the SB. This Saints team was primed to help Brees get his 2nd ring and cement his legacy.

  88. Did they call any penalties on the Saints until the 4th quarter? And then PI against the Rams put the saints in perfect position to win the game in OT but they blew it. This is getting embarrassing.

  89. Being an official myself for 25 years (even though I live in a country far, far away from the states), and knowing a healthy number of other officials, I can assure that this is a no-issue. Once you are on the field all you see is “colors” without thinking about what team wears these colors. There may be exceptions on high school level where there is not much of a selection process and officials are inexperienced, but at NFL level – no. No way.

    Officials make bad decisions (just like any QB will throw an INT from time to time), but that has nothing to do with a “home team”.

  90. There needs to be a complete investigation for possible gambling interference. Until a full investigation is made of all the officials there will remain a possibility of wrong doing. The NFL may be doing an investigation but nothing has been said publicly.

  91. A large percentage of NFL fans will always believe that this game was fixed by the NFL. Why? A 5 billion dollar stadium, no season ticket sales, NFL offices moving into stadium, more fans in Los Angeles root for Patriots than Rams, see the connections? Or do you still believe that Wrestling doesent have predetermined endings too?

  92. Its too late to do anything about it but the NFL should acknowledge that it happened. Everyone saw it and continues to see replays. The longer they take to address this the worse it will look. They should have came out and said they screwed up. Waiting till after the SB just makes them look like children. They harassed Zeke with investigation that lasted way too long but now they hide????????? Its too late to fix but they should man up and declare the mistake.

  93. Bad non call, they happen every week. Some this year even decided whether a team made it to the playoffs or not. Do they get a do-over?

    Further, the “now that sports betting is legal” statement makes no sense. Just because the Supreme court struck down the ban, it doesn’t mean all of a sudden every state is allowing sports betting. Currently, only a handful of states allow sports betting.

  94. footballfannie says:
    January 27, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    Yep and Myles Jack wasn’t down in last year’s AFC Championship. The NFL desired narrative continues.
    ————————–

    It doesn’t matter, because the football was never fumbled.

  95. Quit crying. Saints fans acting like they’re some dominant team and the only reason they’re not in the super bowl is because of some non-call. Brees has been to only 1 super bowl, right? Quit acting like he’s there every year and that the only reason hes not there is because of one single play.

  96. boisestatewhodat says:
    January 27, 2019 at 7:53 pm
    Computojon…guess what big homie…

    Saints got robbed. You’re one of the few who disagrees. Atlantic City refunded bets. Vinovich heckled in UTAH.

    Cheera

    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    It’s over man. Put away the tin foil hat and wait til next year. BTW Saints missed out on their opportunity and it will be many years before they will be in a Super Bowl

  97. Fayld says:
    January 27, 2019 at 8:41 pm
    Ask me #whodat I will tell you #whowhining.

    *********************************************************************************************
    This is from Drew Brees in an open letter to the people of New Orleans:

    “This will make us strong; this will bond us tighter…..”

    “I’ve spent this last week navigating the heartache and disappointment from the game. Some things within our control and some outside our control that caused us to fall short. So much of our motivation is to represent the Who Dat Nation with determination and resiliency. We want to play for you, fight for you, and win for you. You deserve that.
    The longer I play I realize that we truly are one heartbeat with our fans. Our success is your success. Our disappointment is your disappointment. We are inspired by one another to accomplish things far greater than what we could ever do on our own.
    “Everything that has ever happened to this community, we have bonded together, galvanized and leaped forward every time. The frustration we feel now can be channeled in the same way. Pour that passion and emotion into your families and communities. Inspire others with your focus & determination and positive outlook. This will make us stronger, this will bond us tighter, this will be a source for our success in the future.
    “There is no place like New Orleans. There is no community like ours. No fans like the Who Dat Nation. I refuse to let this hold us down. I refuse to let this create any negativity or resentment. I embrace the challenge.
    “So keep your chin up, hold your head high, puff your chest out because WE are the Who Dat Nation and WE will always persevere.”

    Listen to all that whining! Brees is such a loser, right?….NOT! Brees is a great leader to the Saints and has embraced the city of New Orleans. But because of the infamous no-call, he may very possibly have lost his last chance at another Super Bowl. He deserves better than this. #WhoDat!

  98. It’s strange: All the same people who say the NFL made a huge mistake going back to LA because there aren’t any fans in the area, now want us to believe that refs living in the area far longer than the Rams have been there have become such rabid Rams fans that they intentionally threw a game.

    Ok

  99. I don’t know why fans are asking the Saints to get over it and let it go. Having your whole season stolen from you is a tough pill to swallow.

  100. I don’t know if I’m just a different level of football fan than most – but had this non-call happened to the Browns/Ravens/Falcons, OR Saints – I would still show the same level of disgust for the sport. How can you just tell Saints fans to shut up and move on? Say what you want about “they had an entire game to blah blah blah” but the fact remains, they did ENOUGH in the game to win. Make the right call, 3 knees and a chip shot FG that Lutz is 100% on for his career. Saints fans acknowledge the missed calls on BOTH sides – but you show your bias when you act like THE MAIN non-call is the same as a random holding call that was missed. It was Blatant and at a point in the game where it effectively ends the game. I’m sure Saints fans wish the Rams CB would’ve played fairly so the WR could have the TD – but he, self-admittedly, “smacked” the WR EXPECTING a flag. If you step back and be objective for two seconds you’ll see what everyone else sees.

  101. Their location isn’t as much to note as the league needing to sell tickets to that giant stadium going in. They can’t look like fools going back to LA and not selling out. What better way to get people in seats than a free trip to the Superbowl for their team?

  102. These whining Saints fans need to stop it! They cry unfair? This was not as unfair as the so-called tuck rule that affected the Raiders and did cost them a superbowl bid. Not as unfair as the Eagles and Bears being forced to play a game – in the fog! No one could see! And each team’s fans in the league has had to deal with bad or missed calls, but not one of them took legal action! Grow up Saints fans, we’ve all had to deal with missed or bad calls.

  103. No matter how many times the legitimate and rationale points have been made: horrible playcalling, terrible defense, missed Saints chances, Brees’ interception, the missed facemasking penalty, etc., Saints fans will continue to ignore those points and blame the refs as the sole reason for their loss. They are fast becoming the worst fans in football.

  104. Look, I don’t know why they fixed the game. I just know they fixed it. They decided to give the Rams another chance to win the game by not calling the most blatant pass interference/helmet to helmet penalty any of us have ever seen. And I don’t mean we haven’t seen a call that bad before, I’m saying nobody in the history of the league has straight up blown up a receiver so long before the ball got there. And the fact that the flag wasn’t thrown just makes it more mind boggling.

    Let’s just accept the fact that Sunday’s Super Bowl is no more legitimate than the WWE.

  105. The Saints have gotten hooked up with so many beneficial calls in their history it’s insane including just the week before against the Eagles with the “taunting” call and the non PI on Tate. The year you won the Super Bowl after the disaster was engulfed in horrible calls that hooked you up. They missed a face mask and Goff and you even started off OT with the ball which is a gift and Brees Bleaux it. This is not a good look for you Saints fans. Whiners!

  106. With all the whining I’m just worried it’s going to go the other way next year and Saints are going to get even more BS calls than they’ve gotten in their history which is CHALK full of BS calls.

  107. Keep holding out hope that the NFL isn’t fixed. Its something I always thought of in the back of my mind but now there is proof. There is no denying it anymore.

  108. Its not that they missed a call. Its that they saw this happen in the open field and chose to ignore the call. Thats the difference. Missed call, sure, I get it, happens all the time, and thats part of the game. This was not missed, it was a choice. Yes, I love the Saints- and I accept they lost- but, the integrity of the game where they choose to ignore something so blatant, so far beyond “letting players play” has to be called into question a little.

  109. I’d normally agree, but this year I do hope that the Pats win on an even crappier call/no-call than the Rams won on. Its the only way they will actually do anything. As a Saints fan, I can get over this as long as the NFL actually does something about it. Its been horrible all year (and yes, the Saints have benefited at times), this is just the coup d’etat.

    steelcurtainn says:
    January 28, 2019 at 9:25 am

    That’s over, Does it really matter anymore. I Just hope in the next game New England doesn’t get the flags thrown for them like they usually do.

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