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Bernie: Blame For Officiating Debacle Lies With NFL Owners
Bernie: Blame for officiating debacle lies with NFL owners
6 hours ago • BY BERNIE MIKLASZ, Post-Dispatch Sports Columnist
The shouting continues in the aftermath of Monday’s debacle in Seattle, and the stench won’t fade anytime soon. Incompetent officiating ruined an NFL game, with Seattle being handed a win that it didn’t earn, and Green Bay getting burned with a loss it didn’t deserve.
What we saw Monday night was one of most disgraceful moments in professional sports history.
A lot of folks are ripping NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, as they should. Leaders are supposed to lead, and Goodell previously earned respect for never hesitating to take charge. And he should do so now.
But I’m more disgusted by the NFL owners. Goodell works for them. He’s their employee. He has been granted a large measure of independence to exercise his authority in a bold manner. (See: Bountygate.) But if the owners wanted to settle this irresponsible and embarrassing lockout of the NFL’s real officials, it would be done. Goodell and his lead negotiator (Jeff Pash) would make a deal. But that hasn’t happened, at least not yet.
So what we have here is a remarkable display of ownership arrogance, and the flexing of muscle, just to show who is in charge. These people are so intoxicated by their wealth, power and privilege that they’d prefer squashing the real officials, even if it means compromising the integrity of the competition, damaging the NFL brand, or undermining their own franchises.
The real officials are nothing more than hired help to the elitist NFL owners. And the owners aren’t willing to let the hired help win a dispute over money; that would represent a symbolic weakening of the owners’ supremacy. These hopelessly bigheaded people, so used to getting their way, won’t back down.
To NFL owners, the quality of the on-field product is a secondary concern. The adherence to professional standards is a secondary concern. The players’ safety is a secondary concern.
And the fans are of no concern, none whatsoever. The fans will pay top dollar for tickets and they will buy media broadcast packages. And if the owners want to give the fans an inferior game and less value for their dollars, they’ll do it.
This is about power, and ego and control. The league commissioner and the owners believe that they are bulletproof, untouchable, and safe from afflictions that hurt other leagues. This is the NFL, damn it. The most popular league in America. The most successful sports league in the world. A league that expects groveling from the TV networks, the media, civic leaders, and fans.
The stadiums are filled. Financially impoverished cities will build new stadiums on demand, just to please these football kings. The TV boys are throwing billions at them. Most of the media will settle into the usual role of lapdogs. This league will do whatever it wants to do.
Goodell will make a deal with the refs when the owners insist on it. But the amazing thing is, these billionaires don’t seem to care that their own teams could lose games and miss the playoffs because of egregiously bad officiating. At least not to this point, anyway.
But you just wait. Just wait, and you will eventually hear the caterwauling, and the screaming at Goodell. It will happen when the slop hits the fan, and individual owners stop counting money in time to realize that their teams were victimized by the league’s decision to turn custody of the games over to a frightened bunch of overmatched, overwhelmed zebra-striped lightweights.
The NFL is a monolith; as an entity the league has layers of muscle. It is difficult to damage this league in a way that would reduce the long-term popularity and money being paid out in the TV deals.
The situation is a little more complex than that. Each NFL owner has a home base, a market, and customers. To some extent, every NFL owner has to answer to his coaches, GM and players. And those personal relationships are important to most NFL owners.
So on the local level, and at the team headquarters, what does an owner say? How does he respond when a coach or team leader asks him why they're putting their heart and soul (and health) on the line to compete in games that are being turned onto clown shows by fake officials? I don't see how an owner can look the coach, the players, in the eye. I don't know what Mark Murphy, the Packers' CEO could possibly tell head coach Mike McCarthy and QB Aaron Rodgers in trying to explain or justify Monday's loss.
But for now, the owners and their commissioner remain entrenched.
The hired help will not win ... even if it means the NFL losing its integrity.
Tuesday, the NFL "Officiating Department" issued its finding after taking a look at the maddening, inexcusable breakdown of protocol and common sense in Seattle.
And the NFL concluded that no visual evidence existed for overturning the call. The NFL supports the decision to let the on-field ruling stand.
We've learned something else. These people are not only haughty and self-important, they're also suffering from some extreme vision problems.
Apparently, this really is a case of the blind (Goodell) leading the blind (the owners.)
Where have you gone, Pete Rozelle? At times like this you really appreciate the standard of excellence established by the late, legendary NFL commissioner who built this league. You wonder what Pete Rozelle, the best commissioner in sports history, would be thinking now.
"I've never seen the NFL on such thin ice," said our town's Dan Dierdorf, who is in his 42nd NFL year as a Hall of Fame player, then broadcaster. "Pete Rozelle must be spinning in his grave."
Re: Bernie: Blame For Officiating Debacle Lies With NFL Owners
You know, I have had some time to think about this new found "beat up on the Refs", and I am going to be a bit of a hypocrit. I am going to say what everyone has said to me when I have complained about very questionable officiating giving the RAMS a L instead of a W.
The Packers lost that game fair and square. If they had played better in the first half, the score would not have been close enough for a bad call to "change the outcome of the game". The Refs are human, and make mistakes, so teams just have to play better to prevent a mistake from affecting the final outcome.
Re: Bernie: Blame For Officiating Debacle Lies With NFL Owners
You're misunderstanding the whole point here.
Everyone who watches sports understands and accepts that there is a human element to the officiating and that over the long haul, bad calls tend to even out for any given team...some of those calls go in your favor and some against you. And yes, officials are human and make mistakes.
Putting incompetent and untrained officials on the field is an entirely different thing. One of these dudes was fired from the Lingerie League for crying loud. Surely you're not suggesting that a regular official making a mistake is on the same level as the garbage the league has been dishing out for the least 3 weeks.Clannie Nominee for ClanRam's Thickest Poster
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