Andrew Marchand of The New York Post took issue with a story Adam Schefter wrote for ESPN that points out in the headline that four of the officials working the NFC Championship Game were from Southern California. The story points out that no one in the league saw it as an issue. To Marchand’s thinking, that makes it a non-story. He emailed Schefter to find out why he wrote the piece, and Schefter responded.
“As others around the league told me last week, you want to remove that perception however possible. And they believe this will lead to changes in officiating assignments in the future, so this won’t happen again.,” Schefter wrote. “That’s news to me.”
The New Orleans Saints and their fans were livid about losing the game against the Los Angeles Rams after referees failed to throw a flag when Rams’ defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman slammed his helmet into that of Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis. It was a helmet-to-helmet hit that also looked a lot like pass interference.
Nevermind all the points the Saints left on the field in the first half or the fact that the team won the overtime coin toss and then turned the ball over, Saints fans and even some players have been focused on that single missed call. Some have suggested that there was a conspiracy to ensure that the Rams made the Super Bowl to give one of the two teams from Los Angeles a chance to win the title.
From Marchand’s point of view, a headline that points out that four officials in that game are from close to the Rams’ home is unnecessarily inflammatory. He says that the fact that the story points out that no one in the NFL office thinks it is a problem makes the headline misleading.
Schefter answered that charge by saying “If there were a Miss America contest and Miss California won even though she was the most impressive, how would it look if four of the judges were from California?”.
In his column in The New York Post Marchand said that Schefter’s piece “impugn(ed) the refs’ character” and didn’t have “enough meat on the bone.”