Will the Commissioner protect the NFL from itself?

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When it’s time to impose discipline on players, the Commissioner routinely invokes the integrity of and public confidence in the game of professional football. When it comes to a serious flaw in officiating that manifested itself by a non-call that possibly sent the wrong team to the Super Bowl, the Commissioner has said hardly a thing.

Beyond 10 days of silence between the Rams-Saints game and his annual pre-Super Bowl press conference, the Commissioner has done nothing to indicate a desire or urgency to fix the problem and to ensure that there will be no further incidents like this. Given that the Competition Committee has proposed only a rule that would expand replay review for certain flags thrown (but not for flags not thrown) and that would ignore the AAF’s “Sky Judge” concept, it appears that the Commissioner has either not tried to impose a better solution on the process or tried and failed.

Regardless of what has happened before today, what will the Commissioner do between now and the conclusion of the annual meetings? Frankly, he should do something; if he doesn’t and if the NFL has another controversy like this, the Commissioner could end up being the person hauled into Congress to answer many pointed questions about the league’s officiating deficiencies in an age of expanding legalized gambling.

While that would indeed become a Commissioner problem, it may not be a problem for the current Commissioner. With a growing belief that the Commissioner will step away after a new labor deal and a new round of broadcast agreements have been negotiated, the next Commissioner may be the one to have to fix this, when the current Commissioner is long gone.

Many believe that former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue rushed the 2006 labor deal so that he could retire without presiding over a potential work stoppage. The end result became a labor deal that the owners hated, and from which they opted out only two years later — creating a mess for the current Commissioner.

A potential problem exists for the current Commissioner. Eventually, he may pay it forward, like his predecessor did, by kicking the can onto the his successor’s desk.

19 responses to “Will the Commissioner protect the NFL from itself?

  1. Will the Puppet Commissioner, chosen by the Owners, protect the NFL from itself?
    If he does, he’s out of a job, no?

  2. Can the commissioner save football from itself is a good question. But also so is ‘who will save football from the commissioner?’.

    Who will watch the watchmen?

  3. Given his track record, why would anyone doubt Roger will man-up and do the right thing?

  4. There will always be bad calls. What is being suggested is a slippery slope to having everything reviewed and the game becoming unwatchable. The NFL needs to stop changing it rule book every off season. Of course there are bad calls. You have the refs enforcing rules that are completely fluid and the result will be more missed calls. Let the AAF and XFL use the sky judge for a season or two to work out the problems then talk about implementing it. This reaction to every problem is a horrible pattern to get into and the NFL has been in this pattern for years and it is hurting the game.

  5. the thing is that non call was so blatant, so egregious, so incredibly obvious, the league needed to explain exactly why the call wasnt made by not only the official covering the play but also any one of the officials on the field that surely saw it as well. and then they need to adequately explain why the fan should not now assume the games are rigged because, considering this cone of silence, that is the only logical conclusion one can make from this fiasco.

  6. I wonder if all this brouhaha would exist if the play in question happened in the first 5 minutes of the game instead of near the end.

  7. FWIW, the majority of New Orleans would be happy with the “sky official” addition. Almost no one is advocating expanded replay down here.

  8. Gambling, protests, bad officiating, marijuana and pooly planned “relocations’ will do the NFL in. The “PC” weak kneed Goodell should have been replaced by a strong leader. Jerry Jones was right.

  9. Would it make people better if the official was shot at dawn? Good grief, there have been terrible calls and non-calls made for the complete 100 year history of the NFL. Move on!

  10. Lot of angst over a game.

    I’m not even a Saints fan and was furious with that non-call. It looked like the zebras were handing the game to the Rams. It made me wonder if they had money on the outcome.

  11. Bad calls happen. Pretending that officiating can be perfect only highlights these missed calls and raises more questions about the integrity of the game.

    But by all means, let’s review every single play to see if any defensive linemen were held.

  12. Really?
    Goodell is NOT the scapegoat for everything that the PLAYERS do wrong!
    At what point will the pampered players be held accountable for THEIR own actions?
    Are players suddenly exempt from discipline? What happens when players run amok and the none of them are held accountable? Would the media blame the NFL….or the NFLPA that protects players from discipline?

  13. People say “well the saints had a chance” well not really cause when a play happens like this and it’s not called it takes a lot out of a team. Like focus and makes players really angry which takes even more focus away to win a game. You feel like you have no chance to win. It’s like getting the wind knocked out you

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