MIAMI — Super Bowl 2020 hasn’t kicked off yet and already there is an officiating controversy.
Bill Vinovich is the head referee even though it was just 13 months ago that his crew missed an obvious pass interference committed by Nickell Robey-Coleman in the NFC Championship. The victimized Saints lost to the guilty Rams, and it led to the NFL adding pass interference under the coaches challenge replay reviews in 2019.
“There are two ways for that to go: You can worry because he’s back in the game or you can say, ‘Wow, he knows everybody is going to be watching, so he better get every call right,’ ” said Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin, an NFL Network analyst. “If the NFL is trusting him in this situation — they don’t want a black eye — then I have to be OK with it, also.”
Vinovich is a 15-year veteran and third-generation referee. It is his second Super Bowl assignment.
Saints receiver Michael Thomas tweeted, “Oh no!” when the NFL announced Vinovich’s appointment.
Rosenfels: Snee’s a HOFer
Talk is in the air regarding the likelihood of Eli Manning getting into the Hall of Fame, a natural conversation considering Manning announced his retirement last week.
The debate truly can kick off five years from now. One of the strongest arguments for Manning, other than his two Super Bowl MVP awards, is that he never on offense played alongside another Hall of Famer in his 16-year career.
Or did he?
“I think Chris Snee is a Hall of Famer,’’ retired quarterback Sage Rosenfels told The Post.
Rosenfels spent 12 years in the NFL, almost entirely as a backup, and one of those years — 2010 — was with the Giants, where the starting right guard made quite an impression.
“He was so strong in the running game, he was a really good pass protector, he was very smart,’’ Rosenfels said. “I played with a lot of guards in my career, Steve Hutchinson comes to mind of a guy that will have a chance to get into the Hall of Fame. I put Chris Snee as the best guard I ever saw play on a team that I played for in my 12 years.’’
Hutchinson and Rosenfels were teammates with the Vikings. Hutchinson has a solid shot to get elected into the Hall of Fame this weekend. Snee’s first year of eligibility was 2019.
“I’d take Snee,’’ Rosenfels said. “He was a quiet guy and he wasn’t a big self-promoter, he doesn’t have that going for him.’’
RB Coleman set to play
All players on both teams practiced Friday.
For the 49ers, that includes running back Tevin Coleman, who injured his shoulder in the NFC Championship. No wonder Raheem Mostert, who rushed for 220 yards and four touchdowns in Coleman’s absence, said he is not sure he is starting.
“He’s worked his tail off to get healthy,” coach Kyle Shanahan said of Coleman, a Super Bowl LI loser with the Falcons. “He’s good to go. He’s confident.”
For the Chiefs, defensive lineman Chris Jones, tight end Travis Kelce, center Austin Reiter and tight end Deon Yelder — all listed on the injury report — are expected to play. Kelce, in particular, was “moving around pretty good,” coach Andy Reid said.
“I don’t want to play,” Reid said, “but yeah, I’m ready to coach.”
All eyes on Honey Badger
Chiefs free safety Tyrann Mathieu lines up deep, in the slot and almost anywhere in the Kansas City secondary. He is his team’s top playmaker on the back end, meaning the mastermind of the 49ers offense needs to be wary of where the defender known as Honey Badger is located.
“I’ve got a ton of respect for him,’’ Shanahan said. “He was a really good player in Arizona, in Houston he was good, and I feel like he’s playing on the top of his game right now. I was hoping it wouldn’t be like that. I turned on the tape last week and he’s one of the reasons they’re playing so well on defense. He’s as good a safety as there is in this league.’’
For more on Super Bowl 2020, listen to the latest episode of the “Gang’s All Here” podcast: