Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner, has basically given the New Orleans Saints his middle finger. I will translate what he really said into plain English so you have a better understanding of what’s really happening in the biggest scandal in the History of American Sports.
Goodell held his Annual Superbowl Press Conference in Atlanta but for the first time in History, the majority of the questions asked by reporters were not even about the Superbowl nor the two teams involved. In fact, there were very few reporters even interested in the game period. The country is sending a bold message to the NFL right now with reports showing the predicted audience for the big game is already down from last year. The game is only expected to attract a fourth of the world viewing audience and there is one reason behind it all… people can smell coruption a mile away and Goodell has done nothing to lysol the stinch of cheating away. In fact, his speech only made it worse.
Lie #1, #2
“We understand the frustration of the fans,” Goodell explained at the Georgia World Congress Center. “We talked to Coach Payton, the team, the players. We understand the frustration that they feel right now. And we certainly want to address them.
Saying ‘We understand the frustration of the fans’ means… we do this all the time and we hear this kind of rhetoric from fans all the time. They will be mad for a few weeks but as soon the next season begins they will stand in line to buy our tickets like our scandal from last season never even happened. Truth is, Goodell does not understand the fans. The average football fan buys tickets with limited financial resources but they do it to support the representation of their communities through a game that’s presented respectable on the surface but really is a money pool for the elite and wealthy.
The lies were so creative he told them back to back and didn’t even realize it. No player from the New Orleans Saints organization has spoken with NFL Officials, Officers, or even Goodell himself. Not even the Saints future HOF QB Drew Brees, who now holds the prestigious All Time Leading Yardage Record. Goodell’s attempt here is to convince the public that the Saints players understand and have accepted the circumstance and they are willing to move forward. He is hoping the public will follow the idea. No Saints player is ok with this matter but the Coach and the players are being held hostage to league policy and politics and none of them can speak as freely as they’d like to.
Lie #3, #4
“We have worked very hard to bring technology in to try and make sure we can do whatever’s possible to address those issues. But technology’s not going to solve all those issues. The game is not officiated by robots.”
Another lie. Every stadium has mega jumbotron screens which replay over and over and over and over again to highlight close calls. There are replay booths on the sideline and in the press box. The NFL’s New York Office has trained personnel observing every game to the second. Not only does the NFL have every kind of technology you can imagine, it has the BEST technology. They have devices the public isn’t even aware exist yet. The bottom line here is that four referees were on the field. One referee saw the play and attempted to pull his flag. He was instructed by the superior referee to withstain from throwing the flag. It was so obvious that these referees were robots and being controlled by a decision higher than them. They could make another sequel to the 80’s film Short Circuit and center the whole story around these Johnny 5 robots wearing Black and White stripes on their shirts. One reason no referee has been fired or even fined is because the referees obviously did what they were instructed to do by a higher power and if any referee is fired for it the truth will be surely be revealed.
“We have made changes to our rules every year,” he said. “We try to get better and I think that has been very effective. I think the game has never been healthier. The game has never been officiating at this level….”
Goodell’s take away about games like this is that the game is ‘healthy’. I think he put an ‘h’ where he meant to put a ‘w’. There is nothing healthy about a game where a referee’s misjudgement goes unpunished and the leauge waits 10 days to respond with a Commissioner’s address which basically gives the world the middle finger. In a nutshell all Goodell did was say… “You can’t blame me. I’m protected by the rules that we made to protect me if you want to blame me. You can’t blame the referees. I fixed the rules so they aren’t the blame either.” There is nothing healthy about this game except the league uses the fandom of the cities and their populations to make money for a pool of people who are already more wealthier than 98% of the world. The pool of money is the only thing getting healthy here.
“And I want to say about our officials: They are men and women of high integrity. And when people are talking about officiating, they know that’s not the outcome they want. I know they’re disappointed also. But they work hard and I think they do an excellent job.”
When you admit the officials are disappointed and the outcome we have is not the outcome they want you are simultaneously admitting your error and that one of the teams in your final game probably shouldn’t be there. For four Officials, Press Box Personnel, and an NFL Satellite Station in NY to all see this play and nobody throws a flag it’s kind of hard to convince the public that there is any integrity at all in the whole NFL administration. Especially when the league has 124 Part-Time Referees but the four assigned to the Saints Vs Rams game were all California residents. Conspiracy is an understatement.
“It is a play that should be called,” he said. “Whenever officiating is part of any kind of discussion postgame, it is never a good outcome for us. We know that, our clubs know that, our officials know that.”
Let’s just pause after the first sentence. IT IS A PLAY THAT SHOULD BE CALLED. Connect that statement to the fact that he also confirmed Sean Payton’s statement that the league official immediately called him after the game to confess the “No-Call” was indeed a mistake, and partner that with the $27k fine they rendered to Nickell Robey Coleman (the Rams player who made the flagrant hit)… yea when it all adds up, he is bascially saying we did what we had to do to get who we really wanted in the big game. When officiating is part of a postgame discussion it’s not a good outcome for the team who was robbed. It is still a good outcome for the NFL. The league gets to avoid the conversation and wait 7 days for it’s Pro Bowl game to make millions for the league and 7 more days to make over a billion dollars in one day at it’s biggest game. Yea… sounds like it’s really not working of for the NFL.
Why The Rams Over The Saints?
I’m going to ask the Saints fans to just put your fandom aside for a moment and look at it from an entirely larger perspective. NFL Owners all have a stake in the collective league. They all win when larger markets are relevant. The Greater New Orleans Metro population is roughly 1.3M. Not too shabby for a community which was destroyed by a hurricane about twelve years ago. The greater Los Angeles Metro population is 13.3M. It is the second largest US Market and football has never been this close to being functionally relevant there. The New York Metro population has more than 20M people. The league has two thriving franchises in the same metro market. Imagine if they can duplicate that same revenue across the country in Califronia.
The bigger picture is that it’s not necessarily about the Saints directly but rather about smaller markets in general. It’s the smaller markets which make the larger markets stand out. The smaller markets generate expanded views and carry the flow of conversation throughout the week which rallies the country to the games again for the following week. There are more advertising opportunities and sponsorship avenues in larger markets. Stadiums can be much larger to sell more tickets in larger markets. There is no better way to make a statement to the Los Angeles community than to award it with a Superbowl within the first two years of it’s existence.
Let’s not act like this is the first time the NFL has played this game. Did Minnesota not get the Superbowl recently due to the fact that they built a bigger arena which in return helps the NFL make more money for games? C’mon did Atlanta not build a new dome because they were never considered a Superbowl destination without a bigger stadium? They freakin’ tore down the Georgia Dome right in the middle of the business district to build another one which holds more people… and what do you know… they get awarded a Supebowl after decades of being rejected. It’s why the City of New Orleans has been granted 11 Superbowls, tied with MIami for the most of all time. At one time, the Superdome was the elite stadium. It’s not the largest anymore. All you have to do in this league is prove you can make the league more money and you can pretty much write a check to be in the Superbowl. Don’t believe me? Well, what do you think they are they doing in Los Angeles right now? Building a bigger stadium.