"I don't know if there was ever a more obvious pass interference call that ... you know, that here it is, the NFC Championship Game".
Referee Bill Vinovich, who led the game's officiating crew, lives in Newport Beach, California. Not only should it have been a pass interference, but an additional flag for a helmet-to-helmet hit should have been thrown.
Specifically, the league allowed four referees who live in Southern California to officiate the NFC Championship Game despite a team from Los Angeles playing in the game.
Schefter reports the Saints and National Football League do not believe there was necessarily any amusing business going on between those four refs and the Los Angeles Rams. Instead, the Rams will play the Patriots on Sunday.
Another fan had a sign begging "don't screw these Saints", a sign that a BYU broadcaster said Vinovich asked to be removed during a media timeout. If you're thinking about buying a new TV for the big game, CNET has you covered. "This is stuff that has to be taken care of prior to game".
There's no disputing the National Football League messed this up in a catastrophic way - both in terms of having four Los Angeles-based refs doing the game and then of course on the non-call itself. "This is one that slipped through the cracks".
Vinovich is spending his time officiating NCAA basketball games, but the damage done from last weekend is still having an effect on his career.
"I haven't heard anybody say the game was fixed; I have heard people say the crew F'ed up", one high-level league source told ESPN.
Another high level source told Schefter "the optic is bad" with respect to the officials being from Los Angeles "It's a legit issue and they should have figured that out", the person said.