Super Bowl 56 Referee Ron Torbert is Foolishly Sticking With His Controversial No-Call on Tee Higgins’ Touchdown

The Los Angeles Rams are the Super Bowl 56 Champions. After a thrilling victory over Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals, the Rams got to celebrate on their home field at SoFi Stadium.

Matthew Stafford and Aaron Donald finally got that cherished Super Bowl ring, Cooper Kupp capped off a marvelous campaign with a Super Bowl MVP trophy, and the Rams’ all-in effort paid off in a big way.

However, the Rams almost lost this game, and it took a Stafford to Kupp touchdown in the closing minutes to give LA the victory. Surprisingly, the referees did an excellent job holding their whistles until the final minutes, but one call hurt the Rams.

Burrow connected with Tee Higgins on a 75-yard touchdown on the first play of the second half to give the Bengals momentum. But, this play was full of controversy, especially after replays showed Higgins clearly grabbing the facemask of Jalen Ramsey. After the game, referee Ron Torbert was quick to stand by his call — for some reason.

Referee Ron Torbert stood by his controversial no-call on the touchdown by Tee Higgins

The opening play of the second half gave the Bengals their first lead of the game. Burrow threw a gorgeous pass to Higgins, who caught the ball off his facemask and ran the distance to send the Cincinnati fans into a frenzy.

However, upon further review of the play, it was as clear as a California day that Higgins grabbed Ramsey’s facemask and altered the play.

Still, after the game, Torbert stood by it, insisting that Higgins didn’t “grab and twist” Ramsey’s facemask.

The Bengals went up 17-13 and stole all the momentum, scoring a field goal on the next drive and going up 20-13.

Ultimately, the Rams came back and won the game, although this missed call will stick with Torbert for some time — and the replay clearly shows that there was a foul.

The Bengals got away with a blatant facemask in Super Bowl 56

Torbert would be under the microscope even more if the Rams ended up losing this game. Thankfully for him and his crew, the Rams got the victory.

Even though Torbert insists there was no call, the video proves otherwise. Higgins grabbed and twisted Ramsey’s facemask, even altering the direction of the LA star and allowing Higgins to break free for the long touchdown.

If this play was called a foul — as it should have been — the Bengals might not have scored on that drive. The Rams might never have given up the lead, and who knows what the final minutes of this game would have looked like.

Sure, there were other missed calls during the Super Bowl, and nobody is perfect. However, Torbert had a chance to look back on the play and still stood by his decision not to throw a flag.

Then, in the final minutes of the game, Torbert and his crew again got in hot water for another questionable holding call before the go-ahead touchdown by Kupp.

The officiating crew threw a questionable flag on the go-ahead drive by the Rams

Ron Torbert isn't wavering on the no-call in Super Bowl 56.
Ron Torbert and Tee Higgins with Jalen Ramsey | Mitchell Leff/ Rob Carr/ Getty Images

The Rams marched down the field to essentially put the nail in the coffin. Stafford led them on a brilliant drive that eclipsed nearly five minutes of game time and brought the clock down to 1:29 following Kupp’s go-ahead touchdown.

As clean as this game was called — for the most part — the referees got involved toward the end. On 3rd-and-goal, Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson got a flag for holding Kupp, which gave the Rams a first down.

That play by Wilson was another controversial decision by the referees, and it cost the Bengals in a big way. You can see Wilson grab Kupp’s jersey a bit, although that is as ticky-tack a call as it gets — and it came in the most significant moment.

After that, the Bengals were called for pass interference, and the Rams proceeded to get the ball at the 1-yard line and would score on a touchdown pass to Kupp.

Sure, Bengals fans can be upset about the questionable call on Wilson, but we can’t forget about the blatant missed call on the Higgins touchdown earlier in the game.

As Clay Travis says, if the refs call a facemask on Higgins, this game could have turned out much differently.

Former NFL Vice President of Officiating and current FOX Sports Rules Analyst Mike Pereira reacted to both of those controversial calls by Torbert and his crew. He agreed that the Wilson one wasn’t holding while admitting they missed a facemask on Higgins earlier in the game.

Nonetheless, Torbert and his crew will have many questions to answer for the next few weeks and months. There are always questionable calls, and unfortunately, the magnitude of these calls will be a hot topic.

If the Bengals ended up winning, that missed facemask on Higgins would be played repeatedly for a long time. Hopefully, Torbert and his crew can forget about these calls and move on. Still, he has to see how he missed the facemask on Higgins, not to mention the questionable call on Wilson in the closing moments.

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