I never thought I'd say it, but this season has really soured me on NFL football. After watching the referees basically hand the Cowboys a win tonight through no calls, phantom calls and reversed calls, I don't think I can take this anymore. There is now no doubt in my mind whatsoever that Goddell, other league brass, advertisers and television networks have all met and decided that it is in their best financial interests to see a Patriot-Cowboy, Brady-Romo Superbowl. To them, this will get the highest ratings, sell the most beer & toothpaste, and help to maintain the proper "order of things" in the league. But as a long time fan, this philosophy is ruining football in my opinion.
Although this is all quite obvious to me, many die hard fans can't and don't want to see this because as long as their team wins at any cost, they are happy. But is that a good thing? It's like baseball fans and steroids. No one cares when the player caught plays for their favorite team and helps them to win. Sports, just like American society has taken the "win and make money at all costs" to the brink.
As for football, the only people who have publicly shown their frustration with what is going on have been some of the announcers such as Madden and Cornheiser. Even Bryant Gumbell was as shocked as I when, time after time, the refs screwed over the Panthers. The no pass interference calls on the Cowboys and the Steve Smith no catch call (that was originally ruled a catch), basically sealed a win for the Cowboys. If you saw what happened, the ref first ruled it a catch. Then the head ref went over to him and admonished him publicly. Here is what I can bet he said: "Are you crazy? You got the Goddell memo...Do you want to work at the Superbowl or at Wendy’s?....Change the damn call!!".
I saw this all coming.
As we all know, for years, the NFL has unfortunately tried to keep Black players from playing the quarterback position, by either: a) not drafting them (even if they have won a National Championship or Heisman), b) changing their position from QB to WR, or c) by refusing to implement an offensive scheme to accent the talents of Randall "ultimate weapon" Cunningham prototypes. But at the turn of the century came the emergence of Vick, McNabb, McNair, Culpepper and Brooks. All of them were winning big and making the playoffs every year. The NFL was now becoming more exciting and took on a new "wide open", "street ball" type look. Blacks were now the leaders of their teams and the faces of their cities. They were also becoming the face of the NFL.
The watershed moment was the 2005 NFC Championship Game when the Eagles played the Falcons. The Vick vs. McNabb match up was up to that point, the most watched NFL game other than a Superbowl according to the Fox Sports TV ratings. Then all of a sudden, weird things began to happen. Rush Limbaugh becomes an NFL analyst, Michael Vick begins to be criticized for his style of play and his coaches try to make him into a pocket passer. Daunte is traded from the Vikings, Brooks is traded from Saints. McNair is traded from the Titans and barred from even using the facilities, etc. In one season, almost all of the starting Black quarterbacks were gone. Then in comes Goddell, the tough "COMMISH", who rides in on his "white" horse to rid the league of all this exciting Black QB play and entertaining end zone celebrations, and bring back good ole days of the traditional pocket passer QBs playing "pitch and catch" and "hand the ball to the ref after scoring a TD" style of play which made the league so popular (pun intended).
Now look what has occurred this season. First, Michael Vick, the most exciting player ever to play football is framed and sent to jail for 2 years for something that should have warranted a fine and community service.
Then, the spy gate scandal appeared and was quickly swept under the rug. The evidence was destroyed so that no one would ever see what Belichick did and for how long he did it. Since then, I have had to sit through a whole season of watching referees basically "throw" games for the Pats. Week after week I am flabbergasted at how blatant it is.
Then, after a few more weeks of closer scrutiny, I began to notice that a similar unexplainable phenomenon was happening for the Cowboys in the NFC. And tonight, it reached mystifying proportions, as I watched the refs give the game away to the Cowboys. The Panthers coach looked like he was about to poke one of the refs eyes out he was so mad. Bryant Gumbel was on the air, asking "what is going on here", but he and Collingsworth already knew.....The fix was in.
The only saving grace here is that Pro Football is so real and pure that it is very hard to plan an outcome of a game, even when the refs have a mandate from the COMMISH to do so. But I'll say this, if they actually get away with ensuring an undefeated season for the Pats in an attempt to nullify spy gate so that they meet up with the "dreamy" Tony Romo and his blond Hollywood girlfriend in the Superbowl, I may never watch another NFL game again.
That's until the incomparable Michael Vick makes his return.