NFL ‘considering firing head of officiating’ over the missed call that propelled Rams to Super Bowl

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NBC's Peter King quoted a source  who said, 'Al Riveron (EVP of Officiating) is gone. He can't survive this'

NBC’s Peter King quoted a source who said, ‘Al Riveron (EVP of Officiating) is gone. He can’t survive this’

The job status of the NFL’s senior vice president of officiating, Alberto Riveron, could be in question after a blown call Sunday in the NFC Championship Game likely cost the New Orleans Saints a Super Bowl appearance.

NBC’s Peter King quoted a source Monday who said, ‘Al Riveron (EVP of Officiating) is gone. He can’t survive this.’

King added that another source said the league would have to pay a lot of money to get Dean Blandino or Mike Pereira (the latter ‘a less likely candidate,’ per King) to return to the position. Both men once held the VP of officiating title before moving into television as rules analysts.

King’s report came as over 549,000 Saints fans signed an online petition demanding a rematch.   

‘Refs missed a blatant pass interference call against the Los Angeles Rams late in fourth quarter of Jan. 20 NFC Championship game, possibly costing New Orleans Saints a trip to the SuperBowl (sic),’ read the Change.Org petition. ‘Due to refs’ inability to properly officiate at the game, we the undersigned want a re-match against L.A. on Sunday, Jan. 27. It’s the only fair solution to this travesty of epic proportions.’ 

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Even Robey-Coleman admitted he should have been flagged: 'Came to the sideline, looked at the football gods and was like, 'Thank you,'' Robey-Coleman said. 'I got away with one tonight'

Even Robey-Coleman admitted he should have been flagged: 'Came to the sideline, looked at the football gods and was like, 'Thank you,'' Robey-Coleman said. 'I got away with one tonight'

Even Robey-Coleman admitted he should have been flagged: ‘Came to the sideline, looked at the football gods and was like, ‘Thank you,” Robey-Coleman said. ‘I got away with one tonight’

Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman committed a blatant interference penalty with a helmet-to-helmet hit on Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis late in the fourth quarter, but the referees did not call it. Instead, the Saints settled for a field goal with 1:41 remaining 

Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman committed a blatant interference penalty with a helmet-to-helmet hit on Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis late in the fourth quarter, but the referees did not call it. Instead, the Saints settled for a field goal with 1:41 remaining 

Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman committed a blatant interference penalty with a helmet-to-helmet hit on Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis late in the fourth quarter, but the referees did not call it. Instead, the Saints settled for a field goal with 1:41 remaining 

Riveron was promoted to the position before the 2017 season to fill the vacancy created by Blandino’s departure for Fox Sports. Last January, multiple outlets reported Riveron would remain in the position for the 2018 season despite several high-profile officiating controversies, including one that led to the competition committee overhauling the catch rule last offseason.

Riveron was senior director of officiating before being promoted to replace Blandino. He became the first Hispanic NFL referee in 2008.

Blandino suggested in December 2017, not long after leaving the league, that he could be persuaded to return to his old post if the position were valued more within the league office.

On Sunday, Saints head coach Sean Payton said he spoke with Riveron via phone shortly after New Orleans’ loss to the Los Angeles Rams, saying Riveron admitted to a blown non-call on a play that should have been ruled pass interference in the final two minutes of regulation.

‘The explanation … it was simple,’ Payton said of his discussion with Riveron. ‘They blew the call. Not only was it (pass) interference, but it was helmet-to-helmet (contact). That was the first thing Al said. …

Over 549,000 Saints fans have signed an online petition demanding a rematch

Over 549,000 Saints fans have signed an online petition demanding a rematch

Over 549,000 Saints fans have signed an online petition demanding a rematch

King added that another source said the league would have to pay a lot of money to get Dean Blandino (pictured) or Mike Pereira, adding that the latter 'a less likely candidate to return to the position. Both men once held the VP of officiating title before moving into television

King added that another source said the league would have to pay a lot of money to get Dean Blandino (pictured) or Mike Pereira, adding that the latter 'a less likely candidate to return to the position. Both men once held the VP of officiating title before moving into television

King added that another source said the league would have to pay a lot of money to get Dean Blandino (pictured) or Mike Pereira, adding that the latter ‘a less likely candidate to return to the position. Both men once held the VP of officiating title before moving into television

‘I don’t know if there was ever a more obvious pass interference call. That’s a tough one to swallow.’

Had the call been made, with the score 20-20, the Saints would have been able to run the clock down and attempt a short field goal as time expired. Instead, they were forced to kick with 1:41 remaining, leaving time for the Rams to tie the game and force overtime, where the Saints went on to lose 26-23.

Saints owner Gayle Benson released a statement saying she was 'thoroughly disappointed' with the lack of 'fair and equitable' decision-making from the referees, adding she has been in touch with the league and will 'aggressively pursue changes' to prevent future errors from happening

Saints owner Gayle Benson released a statement saying she was 'thoroughly disappointed' with the lack of 'fair and equitable' decision-making from the referees, adding she has been in touch with the league and will 'aggressively pursue changes' to prevent future errors from happening

Saints owner Gayle Benson released a statement saying she was ‘thoroughly disappointed’ with the lack of ‘fair and equitable’ decision-making from the referees, adding she has been in touch with the league and will ‘aggressively pursue changes’ to prevent future errors from happening

Referee Bill Vinovich briefly addressed the play during a postgame interview with a pool reporter.

‘It was a judgment call by the covering official,’ Vinovich said. ‘I personally have not seen the play. … It is not a reviewable play.’

Multiple outlets reported Monday that the league will look closely this offseason at potentially changing that matter, perhaps making pass interference reviewable along with other ‘judgment’ calls that have not been reviewable previously.

Saints owner Gayle Benson released a statement Monday saying she was ‘thoroughly disappointed’ with the lack of ‘fair and equitable’ decision-making from the referees, adding she has been in touch with the league and will ‘aggressively pursue changes’ to prevent future errors from happening.

The officials on the field closest to the play in question were side judge Gary Cavaletto and down judge Patrick Turner. It’s unclear whether either will face discipline, although the league let go of down judge Hugo Cruz in October, less than two weeks after he missed a false start on a play that resulted in a Los Angeles Chargers touchdown against the Cleveland Browns.

Even Robey-Coleman admitted he should have been flagged: ‘Came to the sideline, looked at the football gods and was like, “Thank you,”‘ Robey-Coleman said. ‘I got away with one tonight.’

Saints coach Sean Payton said after the game that the NFL head of officiating admitted to him that the referees blew the call. Payton said he and his team will 'never get over it'

Saints coach Sean Payton said after the game that the NFL head of officiating admitted to him that the referees blew the call. Payton said he and his team will 'never get over it'

Saints coach Sean Payton said after the game that the NFL head of officiating admitted to him that the referees blew the call. Payton said he and his team will ‘never get over it’

New Orleans native and Grammy-award winning musician Harry Connick Jr. (pictured) will not be watching the Super Bowl, as he explained in an open letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after his hometown Saints lost Sunday's NFC Championship game to the Los Angeles Rams by virtue of a blown pass interference call

New Orleans native and Grammy-award winning musician Harry Connick Jr. (pictured) will not be watching the Super Bowl, as he explained in an open letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after his hometown Saints lost Sunday's NFC Championship game to the Los Angeles Rams by virtue of a blown pass interference call

New Orleans native and Grammy-award winning musician Harry Connick Jr. (pictured) will not be watching the Super Bowl, as he explained in an open letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after his hometown Saints lost Sunday’s NFC Championship game to the Los Angeles Rams by virtue of a blown pass interference call

Saints fan and New Orleans native Harry Connick Jr. said he would boycott the Super Bowl over the missed call. 

‘I love the game of football so much — the NFL gives me great joy and has for many years,’ the 51-year-old former Grammy winner wrote in an open letter to commissioner Roger Goodell. ‘To not call the pass interference/helmet-to-helmet penalties at the end of the game was one of the most disgraceful no-calls I have ever seen. 

‘The officiating this year has been, for the most part, mediocre, in my opinion,’ he continued. ‘But for a game as important as the NFL championship, it sickens me to know that the people who are assigned to fairly officiate the game seemingly had no regard for not only a dangerous penalty but one that would certainly have changed the outcome of the game.

‘Until changes are made, specifically, booth review of outcome-altering no-calls, you can count me out. I’m not watching the AFC championship game and I won’t be watching the Super Bowl,’ he added.

The New England Patriots defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime to win the AFC on Sunday night and earn the right to face the Rams in Super Bowl LIII.   

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the league's competition committee are reportedly considering a rule change that would allow coaches to challenge pass interference calls 

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the league's competition committee are reportedly considering a rule change that would allow coaches to challenge pass interference calls 

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the league’s competition committee are reportedly considering a rule change that would allow coaches to challenge pass interference calls 

Connick Jr., 51, felt so strongly about his decision to boycott the Super Bowl that he penned an open latter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and posted it on Instagram 

Connick Jr., 51, felt so strongly about his decision to boycott the Super Bowl that he penned an open latter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and posted it on Instagram 

Connick Jr., 51, felt so strongly about his decision to boycott the Super Bowl that he penned an open latter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and posted it on Instagram 



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