Since the beginning of this month, coming off vacation, it’s been difficult for me to get back into the swing of blogging. Traffic has gone way down, and I can’t blame visitors for staying away. It must seem as though I’m not even trying anymore. Kinda like Roger Goodell.
Roger’s not even trying to come across as truthful, rational, sane. I think it has finally dawned on him that he’s The Commissioner, damn it, and what he says, goes. It’s an ex officio thing. Reality waits at his beck and call. He can command the tides, expand the season to 18 games, install a team in Los Angeles. And he doesn’t care if you agree with him or not, because you want it. He knows you do, even if you don’t. Stop being an obstructionist.
Turns out, for instance, that those embarrassingly bad replacement officials are exactly what’s Good For The Game right now. Roger says so, so it must be true:
While the NFL and officials disagree on some financial matters, Goodell also characterized the differences as “philosophical.” The NFL’s proposal includes making some refs full-time — currently all game officials work part-time with outside jobs — and adding more crews.
Increasing the pool of officials would allow the league to replace individual officials or entire crews that are not performing well, Goodell said.
“Then it’s based on performance, which is what fans all want, players all want, coaches all want,” he said.
See? You want it. So does everybody. Roger knew that. But Roger also understands that, in your small-minded, proletarian way, you may be feeling a soupçon of angst regarding the competence of the replacement officials:
“We have controversial calls. Officiating is an imperfect science,” he said. “They’re not going to be correct all the time, but we have systems in place to try to help. We have instant replay, as an example, to try to help correct those mistakes. … It’s like any game. We get calls every Monday from fans, from coaches, from teams upset about a particular call. That happens. And it will happen going forward regardless of who’s on the field.”
Translation: shut the fuck up.
Seriously, you guys better get with the program. Roger is starting to lose patience. When he says, “We think they’ll do a very credible job,” we includes you. It’s time y’all got your minds right.
Ignore, for instance, that performance is exactly the issue that has fans screaming ’til their uvulas bleed: these refs are epically not good. Ignore, also, that the NFL can already replace individual officials, entire crews, or even every last goddamned one of them, as the league has amply demonstrated this spring. Stop making sense. It would be wrong, for instance, to believe that if the NFL is so hot to hire officials based on performance, they should turn to a certain pool of qualified applicants. You would be mistaken to think that Roger should do whatever it takes to make good on this clusterfuck: send Mike Hochuli some roses, stand outside Jerome Boger’s window with a boombox, gaze into Al Riveron’s candlelit eyes and tell him you think his accent is cute (“Fi’ yar’ PEH-nul-tih..”). Please, God, anything to stop this train before it blows past the “Bridge Out” sign.
No, see, that’s the same mistake bitter clingers always make: they believe they know better than their betters. They think their pathetic opinions—being, you know, reasonable—should actually count for something. That’s why the current strategy is to replace the market with a more pliable one, as quickly as possible.
Now, on to another matter: the looming Aaron Kromer era. I’ve said all long (granted, along with virtually everyone else, but hey) that Kromer was the logical successor to Vitt, since it was important that both Carmichael and Spagnuolo not be distracted from their new jobs as full-time coordinators. Apparently Benson and Loomis agreed with me, which is a point in their favor. Good going, guys.
But something Jeff Duncan (yes, that Jeff Duncan) wrote in the Times-Picayune has me feeling decidedly queasy:
Circumstances dictate one major difference. Under Payton, the Saints were an autocracy. Under Kromer, the decision-making will be more democratic, a collaborative effort between himself, coordinators Pete Carmichael Jr., Steve Spagnuolo and Greg McMahon. Even the duty of challenging officials’ calls will be shared, with Spags handling the defensive challenges in collaboration with him.
Bad idea, guys. One of the primary duties of a head coach is to take command on the field on game days. There is essentially no such thing as a “defensive challenge”; there are just bad calls, and you challenge them not according to how bad they are but according to the particular tactical situation on the field. That includes such things as time remaining, number of timeouts, and of course the score. A defensive coordinator is responsible for countering the opposing offense—he should not be given the additional task of deciding on challenges, “in collaboration” or not. That’s the function of a head coach. If you split it up, you have essentially not replaced your head coach, but simply removed him. Kromer needs to be an autocrat—however much Jeff Duncan may despise Sean Payton for being one. The Saints need a general, not a warrant officer.
On the Jukebox
When Lloyd was standing outside Diane’s window, it wasn’t actually Peter Gabriel that was playing on the boombox…that was added after the fact. No, it was this. Funky-ass bass!