After Monday night’s Seahawks-Packers game, the last play of which a surprising number of people (of course, “one” would be a surprising number of people) believe was called correctly, multiple NFL owners were inclined to keep fighting the locked-out officials.
Judy Battista of the New York Times reports that Panthers owner Jerry Richardson and Jets owner Woody Johnson initially wanted to dig in. Others, like Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Giants co-owner John Mara, were concerned that damage was being done to the NFL.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who along with Mara, Texans owner Bob McNair, Chiefs owner Clark Hunt helped negotiate the contract, believed it was time. “There was a sense of urgency on both sides to get it done,” Blank said. “The integrity of the brand is incredibly important. The officiating was creating more controversy and focus on it than on play, and that’s something you never want to happen.”
Now, both a deal and damage have been done. While Commissioner Roger Goodell ultimately did what he was paid to do by the men who wanted to pay the officials as little as possible, it’ll be interesting to see who, if anyone, catches the blame for believing that replacement officials wouldn’t create a complete and total clusterfudge that crossed over into mainstream news and late-night TV.
Unless the league office told the owners “this will be a complete and total clusterfudge that crosses over into mainstream news and late-night TV” and the owners told the league office to proceed despite that warning, someone made a very bad assessment regarding the capability of third-tier-and-worse replacements, and that someone eventually could be pursuing other interests and/or spending more time with his or her family and/or taking a high-paying, big-title gig with one of the 32 teams.