Roger Goodell: Player Safety Super Big Deal, Competent Referees Not So Much

OK, now over there's a hole in the ground, ref. And then right here is your ass. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-US PRESSWIRE

It's been a busy summer.

I've been here, there, over there and not involved in football except to teach the memory foam cushions on the new couch the contours of my ass--an extremely important part of the upcoming NFL season.

I can't properly root for the Saints without a comfortable spot on the couch and a bag of Funyuns.

I have my priorities straight, but I have to wonder if Roger Goodell does.

Let's review Roger's recent record:

In his quest to operate the best, highest-functioning, most perfect entertainment idiom in the world, the Saints have become Goodell's example of what will happen if you jeopardize the integrity of the game. You gotta protect the Shield!

As long as you ignore Goodell's desire for an 18-game season, you can't deny Goodell cares immensely about the safety and welfare of the men who present his product on all of those autumn Sundays (and Mondays). (And, oh yeah, don't forget Thursdays now too, because, well, after all, the problems Thursday Night Football poses the players are nowhere near as important as money to be made by the NFL Network.) I mean seriously, you saw the way Goodell hugged all those kids at the draft. The man is really sincere about the guys on the field!

So, now that I've established that priority number one in Roger Goodell's NFL is player safety, followed closely by the integrity of the game, I think we can look at the referee lockout as little more than a smudge on the NFL shield on the 50-yard line of life. Would Roger Goodell ever consider making a business move that would in any way endanger the health and careers of his beloved players? No way!

Like you, as my little way of thanking him for caring, I kiss the tips of my fingers and press them to my framed picture of Roger every night before I turn off the light.

Let's look at some referee labor-impasse quotes attributed to Goodell in a recent story by the Associated Press:

"We're anxious to get a deal done, but it has to get done [in a way] that it's going to help us for the long term, It's not a short-term issue."

Using the NFL's own math, the league is looking at a difference of approximately $22.7 million between what the refs want and what the league is willing to pay over the next seven years. (citation) This is against a projected income of $70 billion over the same time. If the refs get what they want, the league will only be left with a paltry $69,977,300,000 to spend on things like renting Radio City Music Hall for the draft and investigating line-backers for being tough.

"We think they'll do a very credible job."

Indeed, Roger. Indeed.

It might be funny if the Falcons lose a game on a bad call by a high school ref. It might be even funnier to watch Jerry Jones lose his mind when America's Team gets saddled with America's D-III refs for the opener against the Giants.

But I'm left to wonder what Goodell's culpability is going to be if a player suffers a career-ending injury because of an inept officiating crew.

Think I'm being a little over the top and unnecessarily gloomy about the replacement refs? Talk to me in a few weeks.

Shame on Roger Goodell for not postponing the start of the season until the lockout is settled. To do otherwise proves Goodell places the bottom line over player safety, and anything he says to the contrary is pure nonsense.

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