Roger Goodie Goodell is treading into really stupid territory with this ref situation. Maybe the refs don’t deserve more for their pension fund, but really, the game last night was a debacle by any take on it. Last night was hideous. John Fox apparently got an unsportsmanlike call for screaming at a ref, yet the ref picked up the flag, no explanation was given either way, and the game went on. Later in the game, Matt Ryan was hit late by the Broncos, but the penalty didn’t come until 15 seconds after the play ended and the Atl sidelines were yelling at the refs. At some point in the near future a game will be blown because of a bad call. Someone will get seriously hurt and/or crippled, and we may see a full-scale riot between two teams out there on the field because these guys offer little to no decisiveness in their calls, and they often are swayed by the crowds they play in front of. Case in point was the Niner Packer game. There were 2 illegal blocks in the back on Cobb’s punt return yet the refs picked up the flag and offered no explanation.
The biggest problem, however, is what Goodie Goodell himself has been preaching about for lo these 10 years. Player safety. Integrity of the game. Goodell can no longer even pay lip service to player safety after seeing what these players are getting away with. One of the more blantant plays was the 20 yard run that Alex Smith ran the other night. After gaining 20 yards and angling for the sidelines, safety John Wendling hit Smith directly in the facemask as Smith started his slide. Regardless of the fact that QBs are supposed to be protected when they slide, as Smith was attempting, Wendling hit Smith with his forearm directly at Smith’s head. The announcers barely made note of it, Smith was cut over his nose, and a penalty was called. Unfortunately it was for holding on Delanie Walker. I was a little surprised at the non-reaction by the 49ers, but it wasn’t on their sideline, so maybe they didn’t see it. The point being, if this had happened to Peyton Manning, and it resulted in a possibly serious or career ending injury, the repercussions would huge, and the impact to the impasse would be immediate. As it was, it was Alex Smith and it didn’t warrant even a mention. Total hypocracy in my book.
Integrity of the game? Please. The 1st quarter fumble which took 6 minutes to figure out was a complete joke. Players were grabbing refs and dragging them off the piles. Players were screaming at refs and barely acknowledging their presence. The refs had no control of the situation, and no one is really sure if they even got the call right. In the end ’93 red’ was penalized for something, and the game went on. No ejections and no repercussions for the melee.
I’m not to sure on what the refs even want. All I can tell is they want more pension money ($16 mill?), but Goodell is very blase to the matter. Why? Because for the most part, people don’t give a shit. They’ll watch either way. Until a big-name player gets carted off the field on a stretcher, or, say, the Cowboys have a call go against them that costs them a game, Goodell has no reason to resolve this. Until players start dropping like flies due to late hits or out of control situations, the sponsors won’t care because the fans will still come. But until someone like Tom Brady or Drew Brees gets knocked unconscious on a late hit that isn’t penalized, these hacks will be the ones deciding games and making calls.
So much for safety and integrity.