Bitter - Yes I am. Insulted - that too. Dumbfounded at the behavior of the Sport Media - No Doubt. But the other media is no different. Ethics and credibility are so... old school and passe'. What follows are my interpretations of what happened over the past few weeks.
Let's begin with Referee Crew - The Ref Crew selected to call the SB did not qualify. They were hand chosen by the league/Goodell – thru Mike Signora. There Others/Professionals who are more in tune with NFL officials. They wrote about the Boger/Crew appointment. http://www.footballzebras.com/2013/01/15/6661/
Why is this important? Money of course – Ref crew get paid a lot for the SB. Prestige – sure. Diversity - certainly. I contend the league purposely removed the disqualifying marks for a group of NFL officials, and then inserted that ineligible ref crew for the super bowl for a reason. I‘ll let NN readers interpret why this was done – it is unprecedented. There is ample evidence Boger calls games based upon WHO is committing penalty - at least part of the time... when his list of Off Limits players are involved. Boger called a 2012 Panthers game when Cam kicked another players and then bumped an official – Cam should have been ejected. He was not ejected. Cam is too valuable to the league AND Goodell doesn’t need more controversy.
This game was In the bag. I knew it game day on ESPN. Below are the items I found before the SB.
"He's (Ray Lewis) a tremendous voice of reason," Goodell said. "He's someone that has a unique pulse of the players and that's helpful to me. That perspective is important to hear, and he would always share that with me whether he called or I called him. ... He means a great deal to this commissioner, and I could tell you that I will always seek out his input. He will stay involved, I'm certain of it, in football, and that perspective that he has is something I'll reach out for on a regular basis."
Goodell said he and Ray Lewis had regularly kept in touch during the commissioner's six-year tenure regarding pressing issues facing the league.
Ray Lewis is "SPECIAL" to Goodell. Goodell’s relationship and plans for Ray Ray indicated his preference and how the game would play out.
"07:35 PM ET 01.04 | It's been a rough year for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, one that he'll be more than happy to bury with postseason hype. But while the debacle of the 2012 season is almost behind us, the bitter taste it's leaving in our mouths isn't going anywhere. Roger Goodell is the first guy that would like to change that, and he's asking Ray Lewis to help him. He's not a guy who will ever roll over and let the players scratch his belly, but Goodell probably realizes that some bridges need to be repaired. That's likely why he's asked soon-to-be retired NFL tough man Ray Lewis to be his personal advisor. There is a lot of therapy that needs to be done before Goodell and the players union can be in the same room as one another, but by brining on Lewis, Goodell is at least demonstrating that he's willing to try. After his bullheaded 2012 season, that's way more than we could have ever asked for."
Fixing the game? Goodell needs positive press after his recent policy edicts. Goodell can’t have his new personal advisor losing a SB can he? Now Goodell and every pundit introduces Lewis as the 2X SB Champ. Flagrant? Biased? I was not surprised at the outcome. I actually went to bed at half time. Wife woke me to see the last 10 minutes. I was not shocked. It was exactly what I expected once I learned about the Ref Crew and read/heard Goodell’s remarks before the game.