ATLANTA (AP) — Faced with a blitz of officiating questions and queries about the effectiveness of the Rooney Rule, Colin Kaepernick’s football unemployment, and the cancellation of a news conference for a Super Bowl halftime show that has drawn hefty criticism, Roger Goodell scrambled.
The NFL commissioner did provide some nuggets of news on Wednesday, including establishing a quarterbacks summit at Morehouse College in June to help get more minority coaches into the pipeline of higher-level assistant coaching jobs that are quicker pathways to head coaching opportunities. Otherwise, Goodell generally ducked the rush at his annual State of the NFL appearance as effectively as Russell Wilson.
Naturally, Goodell was peppered with questions, some bordering on demands, to upgrade the officiating 10 days after a non-call late in the NFC championship game pretty much cost the Saints a spot in the Super Bowl.
While noting game officials missed the helmet-to-helmet hit and pass interference penalty by Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman — league officiating chief Al Riveron called Saints coach Sean Payton after the game and admitted the blown call — Goodell said the league will re-examine the officiating process.
He didn’t rule out adding such plays to the video review system, and he definitely didn’t endorse such a move.
“We will look again at instant replay,” said Goodell, who added that league executives recognize the frustration of Saints fans. “There have been a variety of proposals over the last — frankly 15 to 20 years — of should replay be expanded? It does not cover judgment calls. This was a judgment call.
“The other complication is that it was a no-call. And our coaches and clubs have been very resistant and there has not been support to date about having a replay official or somebody in New York throw a flag when there is no flag (thrown). They have not voted for that in the past. It doesn’t mean that we won’t. It’s something that we’re going to put to the competition committee to see if there’s an answer to that, but the reality is that’s been at least an opposition philosophically for many clubs.”
Goodell completely ruled out any use of commissioner’s powers to change the call or resume the game; a lawsuit was filed in New Orleans seeking that. He also stressed that he and the competition committee will examine a potential expansion of replay to include helmet-to-helmet hits.