JOE BIDDLE: Goodell, NFL toeing thin line with replacement refs - WKRN News 2

JOE BIDDLE: Goodell, NFL toeing dangerous line with replacement refs


Just when you thought it couldn't get any more comical, it did. I'm on my way to my eye doctor. My eyes were playing tricks on me Monday night.

The NFL need to rename Monday Night Football the Monday Night Follies.

Was it a touchdown catch, as one replacement zebra called it? Or was it an interception, as a second zebra called it? They were within a few feet of each other, both had a set of eyeballs on the 24-yard Hail Mary pass on the final play. It was a call that decided the Seattle-Green Bay game and saw an estimated 150 million betting dollars switch hands.

Earth to Roger Goodell. Earth to Roger Goodell. Aliens wearing black and white stripes have infiltrated your precious kingdom.

Out of one side of his mouth, Commissioner Goodell preaches about protecting the (NFL) shield at all costs.

Out of the other side of his mouth, Goodell allows these traveling circus clowns disguised as NFL officials, to continue to make a mockery of the game.

Monday night's final call should have been the last straw. Yet the NFL has come out with a statement that it was (you ready for this?) the correct call.

The NFL must share the same spin-doctor from the White House that for days insisted there was no terrorist involvement on 9-11, an orchestrated attack on our embassy in Benghazi, Libya that saw an ambassador and three other Americans slaughtered.

The White House came clean. It's time for Goodell to give it to us straight. With each passing day, this officiating incompetency will only increase public scrutiny.

It's mind-boggling that replacement crews can not get the simple calls right, yet on the biggest stage, on arguably the most complex call of the season, this crew was spot on, correctly calling the simultaneous catch like it was an everyday occurrence.

Vince Lombardi is spinning in his grave.

With the real NFL officials out on strike, games are left in the hands of lower level collegiate officials who every week continue to bring attention to themselves by their myriad of mistakes.

If Goodell continues to allow this to continue, he is not only putting the players' health at risk, you have to add the coaches to the list of victims.

Seriously, some of these coaches are going to stroke out on the sidelines. Did you see the confrontation New England Coach Bill Belichick had as he tried to stop line judge Esteban Garza from leaving the field after Baltimore kicked what we believe was the winning field goal as time expired Sunday night?

Belichick actually grabbed Garza by his arm. Belichick's face was flush with rage.

It carried into the Pats' locker room where Pats linebacker Brandon Spikes tweeted, "Can someone please tell these (expletive) zebras that foot locker called and they're needed back at work!!!!''

With each week, the comedy of errors is increasing.

Brian Stropolo is a replacement official that is sitting out while the league has his case under review.

What did Stropolo do to incur the NFL's wrath?
All it had to do was check out his Facebook page and see that Stropolo is a card-carrying New Orleans Saints fan. He has since taken down the evidence.

Stropolo also violated league policy by publicly revealing his Sunday game assignment.

Is this the best the NFL can get? In one game, officials gave the two-minute warning not once, but twice.

Eagles running back LeSean McCoy reportedly said on a radio show that one replacement official approached him, telling McCoy about his NFL fantasy team.

In Sunday's Titans game, the officials made a 12-yard mistake that benefitted the Titans on the eventual game-winning drive. But in a game that produced a combined 1,020 yards, what's a mere 12 yards?

Titans tight end Jared Cook reported in one game, he heard an official call his name. He looked at the zebra and remembered him from officiating some of his high school games.

Evidence is mounting that these guys aren't getting the job done. The two sides met Sunday and no progress was reported. Meanwhile, the NFL sits on its mound of money and ignores the seriousness of the situation.

In his second game, Titans quarterback Jake Locker injured his shoulder on a play that was first ruled an interception and fumble. Locker ran downfield to help tackle the opponent. It was later ruled an incomplete pass after a review.

What if Locker had broken his shoulder because of a blown call? It's going to happen -- to someone, somewhere.

You can't blame the replacement officials. The NFL put them in a no-win situation. They are trying their best, but the inconsistency is confusing coaches, players and fans.

Goodell doesn't hesitate to fine and suspend players and coaches. But he is evidently willing to allow injustices to threaten the integrity of the game.

It has been predicted Goodell's legacy will be how he cleaned up the game by disciplining players. If this charade continues, Goodell will be remembered as the czar who killed the golden goose just to prove a point.

Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at

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