In case you have been living under a rock all morning – or simply avoiding the NFL as more and more are doing these days – there was a pretty terrible call in the Green Bay/Seattle game last night.
Kurt Crowley summed up its importance to both the game and Roger Goodell’s legacy very nicely here.
Rather than talking about the Seahawks’ defense and their incredible EIGHT-SACK performance, we are stuck listening to analyst after analyst recount the events of the game’s final play over and over and over again.
Lost in the shuffle is the fact that Green Bay failed miserably on a two-point conversion that would have made the blown call slightly less important (just slightly…but still). Green Bay’s defensive backs are also receiving NO criticism for failing to do what every football coach at every level instructs his team to do in Hail Mary situations – bat the ball out of bounds or straight to the ground.
Instead, the poor replacement referees – guys who never claimed they could do the job but instead were forced into a responsibility that is clearly over their head – have become everyone’s favorite punching bag.
What’s even more hilarious is the idea that the integrity of the NFL game is gone.
NFL’s “Integrity” Hasn’t Changed
Read that last sentence again.
Next, people will start claiming that John Stewart, Steven Colbert, and Saturday Night Live are undermining the integrity of politics through their political discourse. Give me a break.
Fans, commentators, and players have all of the sudden ascended their high horses to bemoan the tragedy that is “their” league.
Apparently, a league that just suspended players, coaches, and general managers for their participation in a program that rewarded each other for injuring opposing players is a league of “integrity.”
We are talking about a league that routinely slaps its players on the wrist for steroid use by giving them a paltry four-game suspension before celebrating them in commercials later on because of its economic benefits.
This is the same league that almost missed part of the season last year because its players and owners were arguing over BILLIONS of dollars in a nation whose economy is crumbling all around it.
This league thrives off of gambling – a vice which is considered illegal in most of the country because of its supposed detrimental effects to society. Not only does the league thrive off of it, but it institutes rules forcing teams to clarify injury situations well ahead of time – just so the gamblers (excuse me, “viewers and fans”) can be aware of the circumstances before they watch.
This very league is in the middle of an enormous investigation claiming that it covered up years and years of evidence dealing with concussions just so it could make more profit off of its greatest and most important players.
The NFL has been marred by scandals, steroid use, greed, and legitimate physical dangers for years.
But now that it affects us as fans, we are ready to draw the line in the sand of “integrity.”
Let’s not get too righteous.
Today, fans are calling for NFL players to go on strike until the “real” officials come back. The “integrity of the game and the safety of its players” are in jeopardy.
Instead, the replacement refs should go on strike. Why should they keep putting their reputations on the line for something that is clearly impossible for them? The NFL asked these men to bail the league out. Mission unaccomplished.
Don’t blame the new zebras.
Blame the zookeepers that thought collegiate sophomore zoology students could run the zoo at 100% efficiency and nobody would notice.
Last night’s call was terrible – and terribly confusing – even to those in the stands as this video shows. But bemoaning the fact the NFL game has lost its integrity? Please. That shipped sailed decades ago.