Tag Archives: Roger Goodell

Just How Bad Did Roger Goodell and The NFL Screw Up?

Finally the NFL did what was right.

Finally Commissioner Roger Goodell practiced what he preached.

And finally, the real referees will return to their jobs.

It took a national televised debacle, one the likes the NFL has never seen before, to end the stalemate between the NFL and the league’s referees.

That now infamous play has changed this NFL season forever.

The Packers are 1-2, tied for last in the NFC North instead of being 2-1 and tied for first place. Meanwhile, the Seahawks are 2-1 and in position to make a run at the postseason.

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One referee signaled touchdown while the other referee signaled timeout, which usually happens after an interception.

For the NFL and Goodell, it can’t get any worse. Their refusal to budge and send competent referees to the job has altered the seasons of the both of these teams, and the entire playoffs. Now the league has to hope that both the Packers and the Seahawks miss the playoffs by more than one game so that playoff spots, playoff seedings and home field advantages aren’t impacted. If not, then the whole season has been tainted and compromised by referee mishaps.

While that stain on the season has a chance to fade, the stain on Roger Goodell’s legacy is permanent.

Goodell, commissioner since 2006, built his reputation on protecting the integrity of the league and making player safety a cornerstone of rule changes. He delivered heavy punishments to players like Adam “Pacman” Jones and the Michael Vick for disgracing the game. He instilled rules that banned late hits on the quarterback, head-to-head hits and the hitting a player up high.

However Goodell’s decision to allow heavily outmatched replacement officials to referee NFL games went against both of those principles.

By not putting the highest quality of officials on the field, Goodell disgraced the reputation of the game and allowed the failures of those officials to make the league a laughing matter on television networks nationwide.

The replacement referees weren’t even from the highest level of college. Rather they from non-BCS conferences in Division 1, lower college divisions, junior colleges and high school.

Aside their overuse of pass interference penalties though, the replacement referees penalties called relatively the same amount of penalties as the actual referees did up until this point in 2011.

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Hines Ward has some competition for league’s dirtiest offensive player…

Instead, the problem was their inability to control the game. From numerous after-the-play cheap shots to unnecessary player scrums, control was far from the norm.

Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III told the media that St. Louis Rams defenders hit him several times after the play ended. Video evidence confirmed his remarks.

In week two, Golden Tate delivered a vicious hit on a defenseless player while his quarterback broke the pocket to run the ball. Tate, who wasn’t flagged, should have been called for block-in-the-back. A week later, Tate pushed a defenseless Green Bay defender on the final play on Monday Night’s game.

In all these situations, player safety remained second to Goodell and the league’s dispute with the regular referees. Luckily no player was seriously injured.

The replacement referees put the NFL players’ safety in danger, and Goodell and the league allowed that to happen.

This weekend the regular referees will take over but the damage has been done.

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Dolphins Cut Chad Johnson and Set New Standard for NFL

It’s been a rough month for the player formerly known as “Ochocinco.”

First he had to bid his last name goodbye, returning to boring, plain old Chad Johnson in order to give his new wife a normal surname. Perhaps the name change was the source of the argument that led to Johnson head butting his wife, sending her to the hospital and him to jail after being arrested for domestic violence. His arrest then led to the Miami Dolphins choosing to release him, hoping to create a culture change for the organization. To top it off, VH1 decided to cancel their reality show, Ev & Ocho centered on Johnson and his wife Evelyn. Now, not only is Johnson’s NFL career possibly over, his future in TV may be in jeopardy (pun totally intended).

The St. Louis Rams could be a perfect fit for Chad Johnson.

Given that this is his first arrest during his 11 year career, Johnson seems to have been dealt a bad hand with this move. One arrest in over 11 years is practically unheard of in the NFL. Sure Johnson has made himself a distraction to his teams in other ways, be it over the top touchdown celebrations, fines for said celebrations, and ridiculous name changes, but he’s always been one of the better citizens in the NFL. Certainly a nowhere near the criminal his formate teammate Adam “Pacman” Jones was.

But despite his clean record (until this incident), Miami was quick to dismiss Johnson from the team, a move many teams wait much longer to make. It took two arrests in the span of a month for the Lions to part ways with Aaron Berry, and he was likely to have less of a role on that team than Johnson would have for the Dolphins. This, of course, in no way is condoning Johnson’s actions, but given the somewhat lenient precedent NFL teams set regarding run-ins with the law, the Dolphins releasing of Johnson seemed like a harsh punishment in comparison.

Another world famous head butt heard round the world.

But the Dolphins deserve credit for trying to change that precedent, however. Perhaps this will start a new trend in football – one the NFL desperately needs – of holding players accountable for off-field decisions and reducing player crime.

Commissioner Roger Goodell must know his league isn’t in a great place PR-wise when the majority of news in the offseason involves DUIs (Kenny Britt, Nick Fairley, Marshawn Lynch, Darius Heyward-Bey, Justin Blackmon), domestic violence (Johnson, Dez Bryant) and assault charges (Berry, Elvis Dumervil).

NFL player arrests have steadily risen as of late. In 2010, there were 42. That rose to 44 in 2011 and is already at  48 in 2012 with a few months left to go. Goodell is well aware of this trend and met recently with NFL Players Association head, DeMaruice Smith to find a way to begin reducing these numbers and clean up the streets and the NFL’s image in the process. If Goodell and Smith reach the right decision, these discussions will end in stricter league punishments for any run ins with the law.

If the rest of the league follows Miami’s example, Chad Johnson could be the catalyst of a new, crime-reduced NFL.

While the league seems to be headed in this direction, teams can also add to the cause in their own way, just as the Dolphins have done. While coach Joe Philbin insists Johnson’s release was not solely for his arrest but for his “body of work,” it just as well should have been. If more teams installed this type of no-tolerance policy, players would quickly get the message from their lack of paychecks that law enforcement hasn’t been able to get through to them.

Chad Johnson was shown a harsh reality after his first offense that many others are allowed to escape from. At some point, enough is enough, and it seems Johnson was made a martyr for players to see the consequences their actions make on their careers.

For someone who has been a model citizen off the field for so long, it’s a shame Chad Johnson made the mistake he did.

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