The Assassination of The National Football League by the Coward Roger Goodell
Last summer, we almost found out what football would be without players.
In the first three weeks of this season, we are seeing in New Orleans what football is like without a coach.
And this weekend, we are increasingly finding out what football is like without referees.
Remember the Sunday night game? Belichick runs on the field after what may or may not have been a game winning field goal and grabs the referee in frustration. They don’t make the right calls, and when pressured to review, they run away. They don’t listen.
Bill would’ve been partially vindicated last night. Crazy play, two different calls on the field (right next to each other, morons). Let us go to the videotape. It shows that 1) Golden Tate commits blatent pass interference and shoves Sam Shields to the ground, 2) Jennings for GB gets BOTH hands on the ball and pins it to his chest immediately, and 3) At one point during the fracas, Tate’s hand is loose! It doesn’t seem like the tape shows it, the tape doesn’t “appear to show” as ESPN has been saying all morning. It shows that. Possession for GB.
The NFL’s lack of concern in this matter is as egregious as the errors the referees have made this weekend. Sometimes on sports broadcasts, the announcers try to use evasive language to stay somewhat partial on the matter of questionable calls. But in the league’s top two highest rated marquee games this weekend, the referees hijacked two of the powerhouse NFL teams, and everyone saw it. Collinsworth, Michaels, Tirico, and (especially) Gruden really let it fly during their broadcasts…Gruden went so far as to say it made him sick…”I don’t feel good about this.” For once, ESPN’s hilariously overanalytical somber tone had an appropriate event to display itself.
While most former players don’t make great analysts, the ones that do theoretically know how the game should be played, and the frustration of the aforementioned announcers, the venom from Dilfer and Young afterwards, and the constant coverage on Sportscenter this morning is a product of that knowledge. These guys are also agents of their networks: if the guys considered to be the experts on this game that a network pays millions of dollars to broadcast determine that this game isn’t of the highest quality, why should they announce it? More importantly, why should networks who want to carry high quality programming carry this inferior product?
Obviously, no one is going to drop the NFL from their programming (even if ratings decrease, contracts are signed), and clearly there is no provision in broadcast contracts that prevent broadcasters from trashing the product their network has paid to put on its air; but you have to imagine the embarrassment. ESPN has approximately 293 programs dedicated solely to the NFL (NFL Matchup, NFL32, Audibles, NFL Live, et. al) which for three weeks have been dominated by replacement ref gaffes. You know one of the game’s premiere cornerbacks isn’t going to play football for the rest of the year, and one of the premiere QB’s got Holyfielded on Sunday, but on Sportscenter this morning they each recieved about 25 seconds of coverage. Sportscenter was already pretty much the same on every replay of itself, and recently its been even more finite: “We have a guy on the phone who once watched a Pop Warner game, and sir, did the two extra challenges Jim Harbaugh was gifted make you as sick as the twelve extra yards the Titans recieved made our own Herm Edwards? Good, because he is gonna scream about it now.”
That’s just a league and broadcaster perspective. What about the fan perception? Wanna go to a game this Sunday with the backup zebras? Wanna pay good money to see your team’s play possibly undermined by a high school ref? Wanna see the Packers try to answer their screw job this coming weekend against the Saints? The cheapest stubhub.com ticket is $143.00. To see two teams with one win combined through Week 3. And now that last night happened, you can definitely not say it won’t happen again. So why should you or I pay for it?
What if you are Seattle? Here is what you learned last night: Your football team is full of liars and Golden Tate is the king of them. Their attitude takes away from a united front the players need to have to create further push to get these refs out. “The refs suck, unless its in our favor” is not gonna get it done. It sucks to have to go out there in front of the press and save face, but blatently lying is another story. The replays are clear. Also, Golden Tate is a jackass. Watch the replay, Terrible First Name. Then maybe you can tell Lisa Salters “Oh! Okay, now I knowhatchootalkinbout.”
Maybe now that the Inaccurate Reception (can’t take credit for that) has occurred, the fans might begin to look for alternate programming, right? One, no way, because its still football at the highest level, athough the level is dipping. But secondly, there is still a reason to watch on Sundays. Its the ultimate reality TV: People dealing with extroadinary circumstances in their everyday routines. Let’s see how poorly they can botch a call against my rival team. What’s the over/under on guys slipping on a referee’s hat for the rest of the season? Its like a car wreck…you have to keep watching. So welcome to the new National Football League: now, more like reality television. So bad, its good.