Referee Bill Vinovich (NOLA.com Photo)
By Michael Hecht, Tommy Faucheux and Gregory Rusovich
The ending of the Saints-Rams NFC championship game is being decried around the country as highway robbery: brazen, indefensible, and, some even speculate, deliberate.
The Saints players were robbed of an appearance at the Super Bowl. The Who Dat Nation’s fans were cheated of their commitment and money. New Orleans lost an invaluable economic and civic boost. America was deprived of a classic duel between the two greatest quarterbacks of our generation. And the NFL — a brand already under severe duress — was further robbed of its credibility.
There is no question that the no-call was an officiating crime. “Oh, hell yeah,” the Rams’ Nickell Robey-Coleman said upon being shown the play on a reporter’s phone. “That was P.I.” And this pass interference was compounded by a second illegal act, a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit that sent the Saints’ Tommylee Lewis sprawling (for which Robey-Coleman has since been fined nearly $27,000 by the league). ...
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