Goodell’s Silence on Saints-Rams No-Call Is Deafening

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We’re now five days removed from one of the worst officiating mistakes in NFL playoff history. The fallout has been as ridiculous as expected.

The Saints released a statement basically saying they’d be in the Super Bowl had it not been for this call, willfully ignoring another critical (though much less egregious) no-call against the Rams and some tactical decisions that may be worth revisiting. A local attorney capitalizing on the soapbox is threatening to sue the NFL. We wondered if the commissioner would invoke his red telephone powers to play the game over again. The governor wrote the league office, as if our politicians have nothing better to do right now.

Thankfully, clearer heads have prevailed. Saints tight end Ben Watson, on Thursday, made the most reasonable request to date: Have the commissioner talk about it publically. He wrote:

“Commissioner Goodell. We all realize that football is an imperfect game, played, coached and officiated by imperfect people. What occurred last Sunday in New Orleans though, was outside of that expected and accepted norm. Your continued silence on this matter is unbecoming of the position you hold, detrimental to the integrity of the game and disrespectful and dismissive to football fans everywhere. From the locker room to Park Ave, accountability is what makes our league great. Lead by example. We are waiting.”

Basically: Own up to it, dude.

While we all know how this is going to play out—Roger Goodell bundling his first public comments on the Saints into his yearly Super Bowl address, with the ability to evade any journalistic momentum with the appearance of a conveniently located “Kid Correspondent” or single-issue reporter from out-of-town needing a pressing answer on some provincial football matter. It would be nice to get something specifically devoted to the pressing concerns surrounding officiating.

As I wrote last week, we’re reaching a point where the game is going to get too fast and deceptive to properly officiate. In fact, we might already be there. Here’s an opportunity to get proactive ahead of the league meetings. Set an agenda. Open people’s minds about what is to come technologically, and do your best to soothe a state full of angry fans who feel like they should have something better to do this week than watch the 2010 Super Bowl on replay.

For once, get ahead of something. Watson’s request isn’t outrageous like the rest of them. This really shouldn’t be that hard.

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