The NFL is being urged to fire the crew who officiated the NFC Championship game between the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints over a blown call in the fourth quarter of the matchup.
A petition launched after the Rams defeated the Saints in overtime, 26-23, has asked the league to fire official Bill Vinovich and the rest of the officials who were in charge Sunday afternoon. The officials came under fire after missing a clear pass interference penalty late in the fourth quarter.
“Because of the blatantly missed Pass Interference/Helmet-to-Helmet no call in the last minutes of the 4th quarter against the New Orleans Saints, which directly resulted in the Saints being eliminated from the Super Bowl, Bill Vinovich and his entire officiating crew should be fired for gross incompetence. This will be known as the worst no call in NFL history,” the Change.org petition read.
With the Saints driving, quarterback Drew Brees threw a pass toward wide receiver Tommylee Lewis. It appeared Lewis was in good position to catch the ball, but Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman barreled into him and appeared to hit him with his helmet.
Many thought the play should have warranted a penalty for pass interference, but the officials kept it in their back pocket. The Saints were forced to settle for a field goal to take the lead. The Rams then came back and tied the game up to force overtime and eventually win the game.
Saints coach Sean Payton said the NFL admitted the referees missed the call.
Prior to the game, Rams fans launched a petition to get Vinovich off the officiating crew. Los Angeles had gone 0-8 in games Vinovich had officiated since 2012, according to CBS Sports.