Bill Vinovich. The average fan may not know the name but will remember the game. The 2018 NFC Championship game between the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams included what may be one of the most egregious missed calls in NFL history.
Vinovich and his crew missed a blatant pass interference call committed by Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman late in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship game.
The Saints were stripped of the opportunity to end the game by means of running the clock down and then going for a touchdown or field goal. Instead, they were forced to take a field goal leaving enough time for the Rams to tie the game and send it to overtime. The Rams won the game in overtime and the Saints were left wondering what if. The missed call essentially ended the Saints season and sent the Rams to the Super Bowl.
Now that we have the history covered, close your eyes Saints fans, because Bill Vinovich has been selected to referee this year’s Super Bowl between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs. Vinovich has been an official in the NFL for 15 years and Super Bowl LIV will be his second appearance on football’s biggest stage. He also refereed the 2015 Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks, another controversial game but not due to officiating.
Even though Vinovich was not the only referee on the field on that fateful day in New Orleans, fans and players in New Orleans have attached this mistake to Vinovich’s legacy. The error has not been forgotten. Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas made that clear when he found out this year’s Super Bowl would be in Vinovich’s hands.
O no 😭😂😂 he don’t even own any flags . Let me stop 😂😂 https://t.co/8rkXl60tew
— Michael Thomas (@Cantguardmike) January 15, 2020
Despite Thomas’ dismay, referees are chosen to go to the Super Bowl based on their officiating during the regular season and postseason, as detailed by USA TODAY.
In the eyes of the NFL, Vinovich has bounced back and has been one of the league’s best officials. Despite what the NFL sees, fans will always view him as the referee that cost the Saints a Super Bowl appearance.
Whether it’s fair or unfair, all eyes will be on Vinovich and his crew’s every decision on Super Bowl Sunday.