Often, die-hard football fans would agree that the sport has four seasons — preseason, regular season, postseason and the off-season. Well, thanks to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, you can add a fifth — a season of malcontent. What happened on “Monday Night Football” in Seattle is a flat out disgrace to the game of football. I wouldn’t accept that as officiating in a Pop Warner game, much less the greatest level of sport in the world.
Often, die-hard football fans would agree that the sport has four seasons — preseason, regular season, postseason and the off-season.
Well, thanks to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, you can add a fifth — a season of malcontent.
What happened on “Monday Night Football” in Seattle is a flat out disgrace to the game of football. I wouldn’t accept that as officiating in a Pop Warner game, much less the greatest level of sport in the world.
The root of the problem, as is the case with most billion-dollar industries, is money. Goodell and the NFL owners don’t want to concede much to the regular NFL officials, who are trying to get a better deal. I understand that’s how negotiating in a free society works.
What I don’t understand is letting this situation linger to the point where the game is affected. So Goodell insists on using replacement officials even though none of them are trained enough to handle this level of football.
Billions ... not millions — that’s how much owners make off this great game. In the span of one year, their hired hand (Goodell) has managed to destroy the integrity of the sport. The ironic part of it all is that every step, every swing of his all-mighty gavel is followed by the explanation that he is protecting the integrity of the game.
He crucified the New Orleans Saints and ruined their entire 2012 season over what Goodell termed a bounty program, but it’s not even clear there was a such “pay-for-injury” program operated. He had to do it to protect the integrity of game, right? That’s worked out fine so far. You can imagine my eyes rolling as I typed that sentence.
Goodell is nothing more than a spoiled child running through the house with scissors in his hand. At some point, he was bound to fall and put someone’s eye out.
Monday night could very well be that point.
In case you haven’t seen “Hapless in Seattle,” on the final play of the game, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson heaves a hail Mary pass in the endzone toward receiver Golden Tate. Green Bay defensive back M.D. Jennings rises above the pack and clearly grabs possession of the football with both hands, clutches it toward his body while Tate reaches in with one hand on the football as the two fall to the ground.
Here’s where the replacement officials take the proverbial cake. Two officials look at each other and in a moment of Moe and Curly clarity, one signals a touchdown while the other signals to stop the clock as if he’s about to call for an interception and touchback.
OK, so did Seattle win or did Green Bay win?
The white hat, also known as the lead official, would normally gather the crew and discuss the ruling before clearly stating what the judgment call is. Then, they would subject the play for review. That didn’t happen. The white hat went straight to the review booth, and even if he wanted to make the final call under the hood, he couldn’t. In that situation, review can only determine if the catch was made or if a player is in bounds — it cannot decide who caught the ball.
The play is upheld, and Seattle gets the win on the last play of the game.
If you’ve watched any NFL games through the first three weeks, you have heard rumblings about the replacement officials and their inability to handle football on this stage. Many national pundits have said the real manure won’t hit the fan until the replacement zebras cost someone a game with a bad call.
It took only three weeks for that to happen.
How, or will, the NFL save face?
Ultimately, Goodell is just a figure head. He’s the arm of the owners. It’s these fat cats sitting in their million dollar suites having some lackey stir their drink who make the real decisions. Will they pony up and pay the real officials?
Likely not. It will take something far more tragic to spur the billionaire boys club to admit they screwed up. Like, one of their golden arm quarterbacks getting injured and lost for the season due to an officiating snafu.
Upon further review ... this NFL season has a black eye that won’t likely go away. I’m afraid Seattle’s slew of officiating missteps won’t be the last time the game is affected by poor judgment.
Where are you, Pete Rozelle?
Brian Trahan is regional editor for GateHouse Media Louisiana. Email him at email@example.com.