If you have a Facebook or Twitter account, or have turned on a TV this morning, I’m sure you have seen the ending to last night’s football game. Richmond’s own Russell Wilson threw the NFL’s first game winning interception: his hail mary was caught by a Packers defender who fell on top of a Seahawks receiver who put his hand on the ball. One replacement ref called a touchback the other a touchdown. The real refs chortled. This marked the second night in a row where the officials decided a game. They have decided many of the games this season, but this is the first time in primetime, and it happened on back-to-back nights, and involved 3 of the NFL’s marquee teams.
Roger Goodell has definitely passed Gary Betman as worst commissioner ever (or at least most hypocritical). His two big things have been draconian punishment of those who “disrespect the shield (the NFL)” and player safety. This week clearly demonstrated that he only pays lip service to those two goals. Because he feels the league “lost” to the players in the lockout, and they “lost” to the cable companies by having to provide the NFL Network for a price less than what they wanted, the $9 billion dollar industry has decided it will “win” by not giving the real refs $10 million dollars over the course of three years. But at what cost?
This week we saw the integrity of the game completely questioned as a phantom illegal contact and an interception called a touchdown changed the outcome of the game (and don’t think those bad calls are just ones of principle, they cost a lot of money). We also saw Houston Texans QB Matt Schaub have part of his ear ripped off from a vicious helmet to helmet late hit and Raiders WR Darius Heyward-Bey spent the night in a Bay Area hospital from a similar hit that didn’t even draw a flag.
This whole referee dispute shows Goodell cares more about appearing to be the king of the castle than actually doing what is right and good for the league. That is the sign of a horrible leader.