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NFL Owners, Not Roger Goodell, Should Be the Focus of Your Anger in This Replacement Referee Mess

Roger Goodell is the whipping boy. He’s out in front of a lot of issues, from player suspensions to the Bounty Gate thing that both deserve plenty of your critique. One area I am fully confident he is not driving the bus, though, is on this referee dispute. This is squarely between the owners and the regular officials. Gregg Doyel wrote a piece putting the blame on Roger Goodell and the regular officials, but it’s not Goodell, man. I’m pretty sure Roger would be just fine with cutting a check if his bosses OK’d it on this issue. He is a high profile figure as league commissioner, but on this one he’s just an employee doing what he’s told.

No, it is up to the owners here. Mark Maske of the Washington Post just said that “the owners of the 32 NFL teams are firmly against making any further compromises in the referee negotiations, according to a source.”

Oh good, solidarity! The players are close to an open revolt, the coaches are hitting a boiling point. I underestimated how bad these officials would be – not on the major calls, but on the routine stuff and game management. Players are pushing the envelope with borderline hits, scrums after way too many plays.

The Packers owner is in support? I assume they don’t mean like every single shareholder. The first team to start a storm here is of course the one without a single owner in this fight. Let’s wait and see what happens when the Patriots or Giants are on the receiving end.

You would think an owner who has been a football player might step up here. Jerry Richardson? Not sure he’s the guy. Maybe Jerry Jones? He’s out in front on a lot of stuff, has one of the most profitable franchises, and the Cowboys will be on Monday Night Football and could be the next victim.

Where, though, is Bob Kraft or the Rooneys? I have low expectations of Mike Brown, Clark Hunt, the Bidwells, or the Fords. Mark Davis’ bowl cut and Shahid Khan’s rocking ‘stache aren’t going to be leading the way on this one. If you are viewed as a top owner, though, come on. Protect the Shield.

I rated Kraft #1 in the offseason, but he must be too busy cavorting with models and acting to care about the integrity of the game anymore. If you haven’t noticed, Bob, your coach is a little annoyed right now and will be paying a fine soon. If all 32 owners are digging in, that includes the Rooney family in Pittsburgh, which is usually known for having a broader view of what’s good for the game. Where are the Giants ownership of Mara and Tisch?

You can’t get lauded for being among the game’s best owners and then not take the hit for this. This mess is on the supposedly “good” owners and not taking control. It’s not on Goodell. You have plenty of other things to get pissed at him about.

[photo via US Presswire]

 

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