NFC championship refs harassed, had to change hotel after Saints loss, report says

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Saints fans were out for blood after Sunday’s infamous no-call against the Rams that likely cost the team a trip to Atlanta for Super Bowl 53.

According to the Toronto Sun, the NFL officiating crew from the NFC championship game was forced to be moved to a different hotel Sunday night after being harassed in person and over the phone.

The report noted that multiple witnesses claimed to see the referees being escorted by “a half-dozen or more yellow-jacketed event security staff, plus NFL security personnel as well as at least one local law-enforcement officer” when they were transported to their new hotel.

Furthermore, security guards were stationed outside a room throughout the night.

The no-call in question happened with the score tied at 20 and the ball in the red zone late in the fourth quarter. Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw the down the sideline to wide receiver Tommylee Lewis on third-and-10, but he was knocked down by Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman well before the pass arrived. No flag was thrown.

A pass interference call would have given the Saints a first down and allowed them to run out the clock before attempting the potential game-winning field goal. Instead, the Saints kicked a field goal and the Rams answered with one of their own to force extra time. Los Angeles went on to win 26-23 in overtime.

While it is highly unlikely to be applied, there is a section of the NFL rulebook that allows commissioner Roger Goodell to take action after an “extraordinary act.”

The Rams will face the Patriots in the championship game Feb. 3 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.