The 2019 NFC Championship Game will forever be remembered as the pass interference call that was never called after multiple refs watched the play go down in real time and decided to call nothing. No Pass interference or helmet-to-helmet. Either call would’ve given the Saints the chance to wind down the clock and end the game with a field goal.
A few days ago, we found out that two of the refs during that game were from the Southern California area. On Sunday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter dropped a bombshell and revealed there was concern around the league because four of those refs were from the same area in Southern Cali.
In the latest twist to the simmering controversy from last Sunday’s NFC Championship Game, there is some concern in league circles about the NFL’s judgment in allowing four game officials who live in Southern California to work the game between the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints, league sources told ESPN.
Those same four officials — all with long ties to Southern California — were the ones most responsible for the non-call on Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman’s early, helmet-to-helmet hit on Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis. The league admitted to the Saints that it “f—ed up the call,” according to sources.
Referee Bill Vinovich lives in Newport Beach, California.
Down judge Patrick Turner lives in Lakewood, California, in Los Angeles County.
Side judge Gary Cavaletto lives in Santa Barbara, California.
Back judge Todd Prukop lives in Mission Viejo, California.
Despite the evidence, the Saints as an organization do not believe the refs geographical ties influenced that call whatsoever.
Saints fans, however, will take this information and run with it.