According to an ESPN Report from Adam Schefter, four members of the officiating crew from last Sunday’s NFC championship game live in Southern California. This coincidence has led certain “league circles” to be concerned about the NFL’s judgment when assigning officials to game.
Here is what the report said regarding the four officials:
“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.”
The NFL and the competition committee are usually diligent in their work to ensure that officials are not assigned to games that involve teams from their home states. How the NFL made this mistake in one of the biggest games of the year remains to be seen.
It’s also worth noting that the seven officials on the crew from last Sunday’s game penalized the Rams seven times for 64 yards and the Saints three times for 20 yards.
According to Schefter, none of the officials set to work Super Bowl LIII have ties to Southern California or Massachusetts.