Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Not quite so 'super' bowl

Still    #UnmissableCall

1. It is a strange and spurious argument put forward on behalf of the NFL by Joseph Sinclare in his affidavit that the heavy potential cost to the NFL of any remedy should trump any attempt at attaining Justice for the plaintiffs. This could easily be seen as an attempt by a hugely powerful corporation to intimidate the plaintiffs, their council and even the court. Indeed if money is so important to the NFL’s thinking what actions are they willing to take to mitigate the financial loss to the plaintiffs, the Saint’s, and the City of New Orleans caused by Roger Goodell’s inaction?


2. It beggars belief that Roger Goodell and the NFL go into hiding, make no comment, take no action and give no details of any ‘investigation’ being undertaken for several days and then have the nerve to complain that there is no time to address any possible remedy prior to the Superbowl. It is not reasonable to create a time constraint problem yourself, then complain about that self-same problem.


3. Prior to the game were the referees instructed by officers of the NFL to apply a higher standard of foul play before throwing a flag?  It has been suggested that this might have occurred in an honest attempt to keep the game flowing and possibly, ironically, to try and prevent the officials from being involved in any potentially controversial game changing decisions. If the referees were so instructed this could explain the obvious confusion in their minds, conflicted by the extra pressure they failed to call the unmissable double foul. Has Roger Goodell investigated this scenario? Was he aware of, or even complicit in, any such interference taking place?


4. Prior to the game Rams fans were very vocal in their opposition to the appointment of Bill Vinovich and his team as referees for this important game - pointing out 8 losses when Bill and his men had previously officiated. They even organised a petition to have him removed. Did this hostile outpouring have any effect on the referee’s performance? Did they feel under any extra pressure leading to not calling such an important foul against the Ram’s at such a critical point in the game? Has Roger Goodell asked this question?  


5. I assume commissioner Roger Goodell watched the game (on TV). Did he see what everyone else saw – that the missed PI call was clearly unmissable, that crucially, something more than poor judgement had just been witnessed by millions around the world. Did it occur to him that he could immediately exercise his authority to intervene and reverse the dubious call, or order the play to be reset? Did he not subsequently consider doing this at full time, whilst both teams were still on the field? When this horrible calamity could have been undone at no cost and with little or no damage to the NFL’s reputation. Has Roger Goodell asked himself this question?   

Friday, 25 January 2019

The New Orleans Saints were denied a chance at Super Bowl glory by one of the worst officiating decisions in football history.
“It’s a judgment call by the officials. I personally have not seen the play,” referee Bill Vinovich said after the blatant pass interference seen around the globe.

 Firstly, this was not a judgement call – it was an ‘unmissable call’ and I strongly suggest it should only be described as such.

Everybody who saw this incident in real time could easily see it was clear, intentional and obvious. Calling it a ‘missed call’ or ‘blown call’ only serves to trivialise it and does not begin to do it justice. It was in truth ‘Unmissable’ and the fact it was apparently ‘missed’ by two experienced referees who were looking right at it raises serious questions that demand answers. Were the referees subject to outside influence or had they been pre-instructed not to flag on any late, potentially game changing, moments? Both these experienced referees knowingly, materially influenced the outcome of the game and someone needs to find out why.

The timing of the deliberate (as admitted) collision so far in advance of the football arriving, combined with the proximity and unobscured view of the two referees, means one must question why both the referees decided independently not to throw their flags. Add this to the two contradictory and indefensible explanations for no flags given at the time – “The ball was tipped” (it wasn't) and “the ball and player arrived at the same time” (they didn't) – and one can only draw the conclusion that this game changing incident has more to it than meets the eye and demands to at least be the subject of a proper investigation.

New Orleans lawyer files lawsuit against NFL & Commissioner.


Sole discretion also means sole responsibility. There is a clear ‘duty of care’ obligation on the commissioner to maintain the integrity of the NFL as a business. At the very least he must be seen to be asking the relevant questions of the key individuals, or risk being accused of bringing the game into disrepute.

This issue needs to be addressed now, otherwise the ‘#Unmissablecall’ scandal will make the Superbowl missable for millions of disillusioned fans.