The blatant non-call has led to a cavalcade of anger from New Orleans Saints players, fans, and many non-partisan spectators. In an odd twist, the pervasive bitterness now seems poised to morph into a locker-room rallying cry in Los Angeles.
"You see the arguments from some of the Saints' players about the rule about the commissioner restarting the game over or from that point or whatever," Whitworth told Eisen, via Turf Show Times. "My argument to that would be, Rich, is then Jared Goff got a facemask on the second down on the possession before that was not called. That'd be first-and-goal at the 1 down three points. If you look at our odds from the 1 this season, that's seven points. So, they'd be down four, and a field goal wouldn't matter. They would have had to score in that situation either way.
"So, the reality is, where is the last foul that you want to argue? Whether it's blatant or not is not a matter. It's whether it's a foul.
"So, it's just one of those things that's a slippery slope, and it's an excuse. [However] you cut it. And the reality is they got football after that snap. They played in overtime with the football. New England had the same situation and won the game. They didn't score; we did.
"We can argue about it all day, but they had an opportunity to win the game and we won it."
Heading to the first Super Bowl of his 13-year NFL career, Whitworth has had his experience with bitterness after playoff losses following referee's decisions. He was part of a Cincinnati Bengals team that fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers after former assistant coach Joey Porter coaxed a personal foul penalty.
"I've played a ton of games. I've had a ton of calls that could have gone one way or the other or should have or whatever that have claimed to have been missed," he said. "But I've lost a playoff game to a coach being on the field getting a personal foul drawn from our players.
"So, I've experienced it, man, and I know it's tough. But the reality is, football was played after that snap, and you know what, whatever team tries to win the game from there and wins it won the football game."