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Owners skirt blame for officials debacle

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Our (or at least my) position that the Commissioner deserves a raise has raised a few eyebrows.

And that’s exactly what we (or at least I) wanted to do.

The point was and is that, from time to time, Roger Goodell does the bidding of the people who pay him.  In this case, Goodell successfully provided cover for the owners, not a single one of whom drew a single ounce of criticism from the players, the media, or the fans.

Think of how different the narrative could have been if players like Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had called upon CEO Mark Murphy to stand up and take action or if Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis had said publicly that owner Steve Bisciotti should address whether he supports the lockout.

The owners wanted to break the NFL Referees Association, and but for the Week Three debacle it would have happened, eventually.  Then, after the situation blew up in the league’s face in a dramatic and thoroughly unexpected way, with news programs buzzing and late-night talk shows guffawing, the NFL managed to get a deal that wasn’t the complete disaster it could have been, if the NFLRA had decide to apply a cleat to the league’s jugular.

And it was Goodell on Thursday, facing the music and answering tough questions and still catching the arrows that otherwise would have punctured the posteriors of the league’s owners.

As one league source with strong ties to ownership of one of the teams told PFT, “I agree with you 100 percent on Goodell.  He is like an agent for the 32 biggest pain in the ass players of all time.”

Now that the crisis has ended, it’s unlikely that the owners will catch any retroactive flak.  And that’s further proof that, even if the players and the fans think Goodell should be fired, he has successfully completed a very important aspect of his job duties.

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71 Responses to “Owners skirt blame for officials debacle”
  1. zoxitic says: Sep 27, 2012 1:34 PM

    I must say, I didnt think of it that way.

  2. cali49er707 says: Sep 27, 2012 1:34 PM

    “Owners skirt blame for officials debacle

    Game……. Blouses!!!!

  3. ldfontenot says: Sep 27, 2012 1:36 PM

    Goodell is the most hated man in sports and deservedly so.

  4. explosionsauce says: Sep 27, 2012 1:36 PM

    “And that’s exactly what we (or at least I) wanted to do.”

    Might be the first time you have referred to yourself in the first person, even if it’s in parentheses.

  5. kingmj4891 says: Sep 27, 2012 1:36 PM

    I always will have respect for Goodell because he is only the boss in so many ways he has to answer to 31 different men and that one stupid franchise’s CEO. He is only does what is in the best interest of the games long term health and future just like many of the most succesful business men do on a daily basis. And guess what it doesnt matter if we like it or not.

  6. mjbulls45 says: Sep 27, 2012 1:37 PM

    where was all this hoopla after the tuck rule game,

    since it happened to oakland, ppl were glad,

    ridiculous

  7. dmartin17 says: Sep 27, 2012 1:38 PM

    Well they did say to goodell: Handle this. And he he failed. He assumed the refs would fold early and he never fully prepared or trained their replacements. That was the big flaw in his plan: failure to plan.

    The replacement refs could’ve succeeded but they never had the proper training and they never had the leagues support, so in the end it was a waste of EVERYONE’s time.

  8. knackstermyea says: Sep 27, 2012 1:39 PM

    Or it would be like T.O. when he was with the Cowboys standing up for Romo sayin …He’s my Quarterback…oh wait a sec. haha

  9. dfeltz says: Sep 27, 2012 1:41 PM

    This might be the first article I agree with you. Even people I talk to on a regular basis who claim to be big football fans believed that Goodell was behind this, not HIS bosses.

  10. Pacific NW Mark says: Sep 27, 2012 1:42 PM

    Uh, no. In most companies simply doing your job doesn’t get you a raise, though it usually keeps you from being fired.

    Had Goodell instead pointed out that the owners were being penny-rich and pound-foolish, that the integrity of their product was infinitely more valuable than the money they were saving, and that replacing an entire league’s worth of officials was a fool’s errand – had he done any of those things, THEN he might have merited a raise. But that’s not how it went down.

  11. aaroncurryisbust says: Sep 27, 2012 1:42 PM

    I lost all respect for Goodell during the players lockout, the dude is nothing but a mouthpiece of the owners.

  12. aaroncurryisbust says: Sep 27, 2012 1:43 PM

    Only idiots and hicks are anti-union, without unions big business would treat their employees like slaves, on top of trying to eliminate the minimum wage.

  13. jimr10 says: Sep 27, 2012 1:44 PM

    I agree 100 per cent. That is what I have been saying all along. I do think he should have been a little visable

  14. True Talker says: Sep 27, 2012 1:44 PM

    Excellent point. Well thought, and even more eloquently stated.

    You dont always get it right, but you nailed this one.

    Fans have been and always will be short sighted.

    With that being said, Fidel Goodell needs to step down.

  15. westclaims says: Sep 27, 2012 1:45 PM

    “And that’s exactly what we (or at least I) wanted to do.”

    How refreshing to actually hear the truth from you on something.

  16. realitypolice says: Sep 27, 2012 1:45 PM

    Still don’t buy the raise idea.

    It’s his job to be the front man for the owners. He is rewarded handsomely for doing their bidding. Anyone who is hired to be the face of a large corporation knows, or should know, that they will face the brunt of criticism and pressure that probably should be spread around a little. That’s life at the top.

    If it gets a little rough once in awhile, so be it.

  17. homelanddefense says: Sep 27, 2012 1:45 PM

    I dont know what its like where you all come from, but the owners were taking a ton of heat up here….

  18. wretchu says: Sep 27, 2012 1:48 PM

    That’s not how being a scapegoat works. Goodell would never get a raise for this. If anything they would’ve fired him if it had gone on much longer, and they’d blame him for it going on as long as it has.

    You don’t pay big bucks to a patsy.

  19. nagaswan says: Sep 27, 2012 1:49 PM

    I already literally want Dan Snyder to die (only realistic way to remove him as owner) already, so it is hard/pointless for me to hate him more. You bring up a good point, I had boycotted spending money on Redskins gear, I should really just boycott spending money on NFL gear. Thanks for the idea PFT, I’ll do it!

  20. coltsluckdynasty says: Sep 27, 2012 1:49 PM

    Goodell fired for what? Even I could see through the lies that Irsay was tweeting, that’s why he was so quick to do multiple contests to draw attention away from him and the owners. Roger is just a puppet in everything, imagine having to do his job, he’s in a no win position. Player safety, lockouts, trying to please everyone. He’s not perfect, but could be worse, like David stern. Now, the owners who wanted all this are going to play dumb, and Irsay will be back to saying our voices are heard, all in a cover up, to deflect all negative attention to the commish.

  21. btowngetsdown says: Sep 27, 2012 1:50 PM

    I wish that the Packers were privately owned like every other team, so we could point a laughing finger at the owner and say that for being cheap and not wanting to split the $3.3 million with 31 other owners, you might miss out on hosting home playoff game and/or the playoffs altogether.

    The loss of revenue from that would far exceed the costs to fund the referee’s pensions. So, you got what you deserved.

  22. bolts0621 says: Sep 27, 2012 1:52 PM

    Spare us the Pro Union BS here please…these was a Labor situation – the owners are protecting their interests against employees who were looking for significantly more than what they deserved.

    It was neogotiated out – and both sides are happy. To make this sound like the Refs got everythign they wanted and this was the owners fault is not accurate – and very disingenuious.

  23. ilifadeili says: Sep 27, 2012 1:53 PM

    Goodell is partly to blame. Tagliabue was the NFL Comissioner too. Why was he beloved while Goodell is so hated? A very large majority of the owners are the same.

    I think it’s because one is a lackey that refuses to compromise and the other had the balls to tell the owners that they were wrong when they were making decisions that hurt the league.

  24. bruiseddeath says: Sep 27, 2012 1:54 PM

    I think many forget who Goodell himself has to answer to.

  25. ironmike778 says: Sep 27, 2012 1:54 PM

    You can dump on Goodell all you want but be very happy he’s not Gary Bettman. Bettman sucks beyond belief.

  26. 49erstim says: Sep 27, 2012 1:54 PM

    This is what I’ve been saying. People blame Goodell like he is this despot, but the reality is that even he has bosses and he is their puppet. He is paid VERY well to be the backlash focal point though so I won’t be crying or losing sleep over what people have said about this poor guy, who is NOT a poor man.

  27. jtylert says: Sep 27, 2012 1:56 PM

    I’ve been saying Goodell is essentially Batman. He is the lightning rid for the owners. He’s not the hero the NFL needs, he’s the hero the NFL deserves.

    That said, I’m still pretty sure Goodell killed Harvey Dent.

  28. godofwine330 says: Sep 27, 2012 1:56 PM

    In my best Robert DeNiro voice, “You…you…you’re good, you.”

    I see what you did there. Roger did his job of the Kansas City Suffle, taking the heat for all of the file when the ones responsible (the owners) took absolutely none at all.

    And now they never will.

  29. vanmorrissey says: Sep 27, 2012 1:57 PM

    These …. owners, only when it would hurt their pocketbooks ala making it to the playoffs with potential big buck earnings, did they get a clue. The replacement refs were an afterthought and were not prepared for the stage, they should have thought about that and gotten them ready way back when. If GB does not make the playoffs by one game, letting some other team in, one team loses that money, one team gains, but you sure as heck will look back at this and say you should not have waited to get the deal done. Blame definitely sits squarely on the owners and ownership groups rather than one individual.

  30. bluebongzilla says: Sep 27, 2012 1:59 PM

    Man, thank God the “good” refs are back and we are assured that there will be no more ridiculously bad calls ever again.

    P.S. Jerry Jones stood right up next to Goodell like a freaking BOSS and helped deflect the heat from the more sensitive Sarcastaball owners who were more than happy to cuddle in a back corner in their bras and tinfoil helmets sipping Butters’ Creamy Goo sports drink and letting others take the heat for them.

  31. koenig61 says: Sep 27, 2012 2:04 PM

    So basically Goodell does what the owners say even if he knows its bad for the game? Yet hes always saying the integrity of the game means the most to him? I would agree that some of the things he says or does comes directly from the owners, but the inequties of the fine system falls squarely on his shoulders. The fact that he wants to be the judge and jury on all fine matters is on him. If he cared about the integrity of the game he would voluntarily give up that position, and invite a true seperate abritrator to handle these matters. What will always stick with me is burning the tapes that involved the Patriots. I’m not saying there was anything extra there, but destroying evidence, leaves the impression that there was more to this than meets the eyes. No where in this great country do we destroy evidence. yet he felt it was the right thing to do.

    In my opinion, if you were hired by someone who asked you to do somethign that weas eitehr unlawful, or possibly unethical, or hurt the integrity of yourself, and the game you say you are trying to protect, then either quit that job, or speak up and tell everyone you are only doing what your boss is making you do. Dont continue to make a huge salary, and then when things dont go well, claim its not my fault, i work for the owners.

    Goodell may not deserve 100% of the blame, but he deserves a great deal of it. Even when hes doing something that is good, like making the game safeer, he overreacts and escalates the fine system so astronomical numbers, on split second decisions made by players. And to top it off, one player gets fined 50k, and the next 7500.00 It makes no sense.

  32. KIR says: Sep 27, 2012 2:04 PM

    GODell makes 20 MILLION a year! Anyone who thinks he didn’t have the authority to make a deal for a couple of million is crazy. GODell is nothing more than an insecure middle manager who thinks squeezing the little guy for a couple of bucks is good business. I can see if the industry was down sizing or it appeared that business was going to slow in the near future but the NFL just signed a 40 BILLION dollar deal off the backs of the players and refs.

  33. glac1 says: Sep 27, 2012 2:08 PM

    Lets put an end to this mess by properly compensating the Green Bay Packers, Inc… The team either should get two extra high draft choices next spring or be allowed to take one player and not have to count his salary against the cap as long as he is with the team.

  34. j0hnboy says: Sep 27, 2012 2:11 PM

    Why does Goodell deserve a raise? His job is to do what the owners tell him and make them look good. He did his job.

    He made almost $10 million last year and will get $20 million per year by the end of his current contract.

    Seems to me that he makes enough money.

  35. gbpshareholder says: Sep 27, 2012 2:12 PM

    America knows that the owners dictated Goodell’s actions over the last few months… but Goodell has the power and obligation to protect the game, which he failed to do…

  36. Punk says: Sep 27, 2012 2:13 PM

    “after the situation blew up in the league’s face in a dramatic and thoroughly unexpected way”

    By “unexpected” do you mean… predicted by everyone.

  37. tripplebirdie says: Sep 27, 2012 2:16 PM

    anytime Jerry Jones spoke on the topic it was obvious he was one of the owners trying to stick it to the refs….what a jerk

  38. Stupid Raiders Fan says: Sep 27, 2012 2:17 PM

    You make a good comparison of Goodell as an agent for the owners. If he’s an agent he should be looking out for his clients (the owners) best interests. And wrangling his clients at the same time or letting them know what they can and can’t do. In this regard he is doing a terrible job as a commissioner or agent as you say. It was not in the owners best interests to lock out the refs. It hurt the game albeit slight.

  39. mavajo says: Sep 27, 2012 2:21 PM

    Goodell is basically the avatar of the owners. He’s not a total puppet, since he has the authority to punish teams if necessary (see: Patriotgate, Bountygate), but when it comes to business decisions, his will is not his own — he does what the owners tell him to.

    If you think the owners simply said “Roger, get this done.” and that’s it — you’re in dellusion. The owners actively told Goodell every step of the way what they wanted here. They were calling all the shots.

  40. rpiotr01 says: Sep 27, 2012 2:22 PM

    I think the $20 million Goodell makes is plenty of money to have egg thrown on his face occasionally. No raise needed.

  41. eustus says: Sep 27, 2012 2:25 PM

    They days of the Wellington Maras and the Lamar Hunts running the league with the simple goal of providing the product possible are over. With the Robert Krafts and Jerry Jones taking over league stewardship the emphasis has shifted. It’s no longer just about offering the best product possible, it’s about extracting the maximum profit from it.

    The old guard knew the road to profit and growth was offering the best product possible. It was their hard work that the current league leadership has reduced to a marketing tool (protect the shield….). Paul Tagliabue was the last bridge between the old and new guard. When he left, the authority and respect he brought to the table was gone. He didn’t leave because he had to – he left because he knew the owners didn’t want a guy who wanted what was best for the game, they wanted a yes man. Tagliabue was a lot of things but he was never a yes man. He told the owners the truth, whether they liked it or not and dug in until they came around.

    So, Florio, you’re right. Goodell deserves a raise for being the ultimate yes man. The problem is, when you reduce your integrity to a marketing tool, you lose that integrity. And as you lose that integrity, eventually it erodes the product and you lose market share. Don’t believe me? Look at baseball.

    Undoubtedly, football is King of the hill today. But all the events with the NFLRA have demonstrated is that the fan is no longer valued above profit. It was putting fans before profits that made the league what it is. Getting away from that formula will be its downfall.

  42. ravenator says: Sep 27, 2012 2:30 PM

    You couldn’t be more wrong about deserving a raise. He’s already making millions and has tarnished this great game enough already.

  43. rogonthefly says: Sep 27, 2012 2:30 PM

    I’d like to place some of the blame on the locked-out officials. They are reason the NFL had get instant replay in the first place. Part-time employees wanting a pension….get real

  44. njsteelersfan says: Sep 27, 2012 2:30 PM

    Why do ppl blame Goodell he is just like foreman
    in a company you have the owners then Goodell then the players . The owners tell him what to do he don’t make the rules or nothing its the owners rule committee that make’s and sets all the rules .

  45. taintedlombardis says: Sep 27, 2012 2:36 PM

    If many people didn’t understand that it was the owners behind tbe lockout…then the general public is even dumber than initial prognostications.

  46. dannyabramowitz says: Sep 27, 2012 2:36 PM

    I completely disagree. I think Goodell keeps his job (despite no discernible talents) and justifies his existence by making/saving as much money as possible for the owners. I think he told the owners, don’t worry, I’ll handle it and squeeze the officials and get them to cave. Happily and thankfully (like so many other things), it blew up in his face. I refuse to believe that he was on the phone with 32 owners regarding the intracies of the negotiations. I think it was all his baby and he owns it, regardless of whether the media is trying to convince us that he was just doing the owners’ bidding. Otherwise, he can never be at fault for anything, if he always just acts for the owners.

  47. mikebrownfaux says: Sep 27, 2012 2:38 PM

    Some owners did not even take home 20 million last year on their team. I think it’s ludicrous to think Roger should make more than some of the people that have well over a billion dollars invested in to the NFL

  48. evilboy128 says: Sep 27, 2012 2:41 PM

    it was the same way when the players were locked out…some how in this society…the corporations and millionaires and billionaires became innocent doe eyed victims of a merciless public and the supposed lazy poor. Players became greedy and Godell their prison guard…it is about time that people just accept that the rich got were they are by screwing over anyone and everyone…and what is good for them is what is good to them…screw everyone else… Capitalism in its purest form. Enjoy

  49. njsteelersfan says: Sep 27, 2012 2:42 PM

    Well they did find Jimmy Hoffa today in Detroit . Maybe he had something to do with the lockout being taken care of .

  50. usmutts says: Sep 27, 2012 2:46 PM

    Make no mistake. Goodell works at the whim of the owners and no one else. His ultimate job is to maximize their profits and, not coincidentally, protect them from their own greed and avarice. He is their lap dog.

    Through the CBA, Goodell is the commissioner FOR the owners and AGAINST the players, handing down fines and suspensions without concern for the difference between governance and despotism.

    Goodell uses the catchphrase “integrity of the game” to justify every nonsensical action he takes on every player issue, yet aids, abets, and gives cover to the owners who’s treatment of the game officials, and by extension the players and fans, was increasingly destroying the integrity of the game.

  51. rocketcrab says: Sep 27, 2012 2:48 PM

    Goodell is partly to blame. Tagliabue was the NFL Comissioner too. Why was he beloved while Goodell is so hated?

    __________________________________

    Tell that to the football fans in the area between Washington DC and Philly, the Baltimore area. Lot of people never forgave Tags for that 1993 expansion farce.

  52. trollhammer20 says: Sep 27, 2012 2:49 PM

    The reason the owners pay Goodell so much is so he can take the heat from their bad business decisions.

    “Holy crap, look at the potential liability that will come from the league treating concussions like jokes for six decades…..Roger, start fining people.”

    “We ‘won’ the labor negotiations with the players, let’s knock the refs down a peg or two as well. Roger, hire some replacements and tell everyone everything is going to be fine.”

    And so on.

  53. furtigan says: Sep 27, 2012 3:09 PM

    Had Goodell instead pointed out that the owners were being penny-rich and pound-foolish, that the integrity of their product was infinitely more valuable than the money they were saving, and that replacing an entire league’s worth of officials was a fool’s errand – had he done any of those things, THEN he might have merited a raise. But that’s not how it went down.


    Never worked in an executive position, have you?

    If a CEO thinks the board’s decision is stupid and shortsighted, he can tell them so ONLY behind closed doors. If he can’t persuade them, his public position MUST be that it’s a brilliant idea, no matter how obviously stupid it really is. It’s called eating a s*** sandwich, and you have do it occasionally to play in the big leagues.

    No, unless you were in the room or have sources that were, you have no idea how it really went down.

    Something tells me Florio has sources that *were* in the room, and have seen Goodell chowing down on a fecal hoagie.

  54. 8jman8 says: Sep 27, 2012 3:14 PM

    anyone who didnt understand all of this the entire time is a moron. why would you blame goodell, its not his money. would he just have done this for fun? how stupid could you all be… seeing this reaction like this is a surprise and info that you didnt immediately know as common sense just makes me feel like you are all the biggest idiots around. holy heck

  55. mgdsquiggy17 says: Sep 27, 2012 3:17 PM

    Hey a reasonable evaluation of Goddell. Bravo. Now let the trolling begin.

  56. mgdsquiggy17 says: Sep 27, 2012 3:19 PM

    “Well they did say to goodell: Handle this. And he he failed. He assumed the refs would fold early and he never fully prepared or trained their replacements. That was the big flaw in his plan: failure to plan.”

    you mean a collective fail? It wasn’t JUST him doing all this. They should have from the beginning not allowed the players and coaches to bully the refs like they did. If you’re going to roll with the replacement refs then you make it clear. You pull any of the crap that BB, Wallace, Fox, etc did you’re getting tossed, suspended and fined.

  57. mgdsquiggy17 says: Sep 27, 2012 3:21 PM

    “I lost all respect for Goodell during the players lockout, the dude is nothing but a mouthpiece of the owners.”

    so clearly you don’t understand the role of the commish.

  58. mgdsquiggy17 says: Sep 27, 2012 3:23 PM

    “If GB does not make the playoffs by one game, letting some other team in, one team loses that money, one team gains, but you sure as heck will look back at this and say you should not have waited to get the deal done. Blame definitely sits squarely on the owners and ownership groups rather than one individual.”

    So GB deserves no blame at all for this game coming down to the last play? not the 8 sacks that the losers on the oline gave up in 1 half (yes this means you TJ Lang. you were WORSE then the replacement refs) or not trying to run the ball at all in the 1st half while the oline got demolished or the fact they couldn’t get a first down to ice the game and not end up punting the ball away and giving the seahawks a chance to win it. Sure it was a bad call but they could have avoided it getting to that point and they and didn’t.

  59. mgdsquiggy17 says: Sep 27, 2012 3:26 PM

    “Capitalism in its purest form. Enjoy”

    not just capitalism where the elite have a scapegoat or someone to deflect the blame.

  60. realfann says: Sep 27, 2012 3:27 PM

    To answer the question posted above:

    “Why do ppl blame Goodell he is just like (a) foreman”

    Foremen do not get paid $10m a year. CEO’s, on the other hand, do.

    Goodell is the CEO of the NFL and like the CEO of any business, he is responsible for his actions and for the actions of his company. The buck stops at his desk.

    CEO’s work for their board of directors and for the shareholders. But to say they merely carry out the whims and wishes of those above them shows a deep and profound lack of understand how big businesses works.

  61. usmutts says: Sep 27, 2012 3:30 PM

    “chowing down on a fecal hoagie”

    Good one. Good one, indeed.

    And that pretty much describes the quality of the officiating to which the players and fans have been subjected by the avaricious owners.

  62. rogergoodellsays says: Sep 27, 2012 3:48 PM

    Don’t worry owners, I got your back. I’ll take it on the chin. I’ll take the fall.

    Just let me keep that damn Sean Payton suspended and you can have whateeeever you want.

  63. pabrownsfan says: Sep 27, 2012 4:07 PM

    i agree 100% that it was the owners but i still dont like the man!

  64. scott28078 says: Sep 27, 2012 4:43 PM

    Next time this happens let the owners suit up and ref these games.. They put these guys in an impossible situation.

  65. wolfmanpatriot says: Sep 27, 2012 4:55 PM

    all in a cover up, to deflect all negative attention to the commish.
    —————————————————-

    Worse than that. The owners are making themselves look like the hero’s from the big bad wolf (whom they hired and pay)

  66. easyeddie says: Sep 27, 2012 5:16 PM

    aaroncurryisbust says: Sep 27, 2012 1:42 PM

    I lost all respect for Goodell during the players lockout, the dude is nothing but a mouthpiece of the owners.
    ———————————-
    You don’t read very well, do you? Being the mouthpiece of the owners IS HIS JOB.

  67. MasMacho says: Sep 27, 2012 5:29 PM

    Weird, I thought it was the Seahawks fault.

  68. thelastpieceofcheese says: Sep 27, 2012 5:44 PM

    They settled the NFL ref strike, and that ticks me off. I was actually starting to enjoy football again with the replacement refs, and now it’s gonna get back to this sterile, totally predictable game.

  69. sakatak says: Sep 27, 2012 5:56 PM

    The owners clearly tried to break the union, just as Reagan busted the Air Traffic Controllers union back in 1980. If there had been a mid-air collision Reagan would have lost his attempt to break the union, since there wasn’t Reagan won, union lost.
    Owners watched a mid-air collision on Monday night, they lose and union wins. It was a gamble for Reagan and the Owners, gamblers don’t always win.

  70. andylucksneck says: Sep 27, 2012 6:09 PM

    It is amazing that Goodell can look into a camera and knowingly lie time and time again. Talk about a man with zero integrity. He has less gumption than peytonsneck.

  71. pleazenufalready says: Sep 27, 2012 6:21 PM

    The owners were simply doing what rich guys do best….exercising power and control, no matter how trivial. Think about it, all this over $3M out of a $9B pie……..pure greed.

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