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CONFLICT? NFL Referee Who Blew Call in Saints-Rams Game Lives in Lakewood, Three Other Referees in the Game Were From So. Cal.

Courtesy Times-Picayune

 

FROM WAFB AND ESPN

(WAFB) – In the latest development to what many around the football world are calling the most high-profile blown call in NFL history, there is some concern in league circles about the judgment call that allowed four officials – all with ties to southern California – to work the NFC championship game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints, according to a report by ESPN senior writer Adam Schefter.

Those four officials were the ones most responsible for the non-call on Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman’s helmet-to-helmet, blatant pass interference hit on Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis.

Referee Bill Vinovich, who led the game’s officiating crew, lives in Newport Beach, California. Down judge Patrick Turner, whose primary responsibility was to follow Lewis on the blown call from start to finish, lives in Lakewood, California, in Los Angeles County.

Side judge Gary Cavaletto, whose job was to initially watch outside receiver Dan Arnold before shifting his focus once the ball was thrown to Lewis, lives in Santa Barbara, California. Back judge Todd Prukop, who was stationed in the end zone as an extra set of eyes on the controversial play, lives in Mission Viejo, California, according to ESPN.

The league admitted to Saints head coach Sean Payton immediately after the game “they blew the call.”

“They said not only was it interference, it was helmet to helmet,” Payton said in a press conferencejust minutes after the Saints’ heartbreaking, season-ending loss.

Sources told Schefter the Saints and other officials not involved in the game do not believe the officials’ geographical ties influenced their non-call, and there were no complaints from either team when the officiating assignments were communicated the Monday prior.

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