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Roger Goodell got it right.
Topic: Roger Goodell got it right.
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Roger Goodell got it right.
Sep 18, 19, 09:22:54 PM
NFL fans rarely feel that way. Right now
, they should.Many times, perhaps most of the time, the NFL commissioner is doing the bidding of the owners. That's led to plenty of criticism of Goodell when it's the guys who run the 32 franchises who deserve more bad reviews than he does.When it comes to league probes, the NFL so often has fallen short -- Ray Rice, Kareem Hunt, Saints bounties -- that Goodell takes the arrows rather than the investigators who should be blamed.And yes, there are instances, particularly when it comes to handing out discipline, in which Goodell is the correct target.So when the guy uses his power for the good of the game, for the players, the coaches and, indeed, the fans, then praise is due.Two months after one of the most embarrassing moments of his regime -- or that of any other commissioner -- Goodell pretty much made sure a deeply necessary change to the rules was passed.Don't underestimate the significance of the addition of pass interference, whether flagged or not
, to the video review officiating system. Such calls and non-calls now can be challenged by coaches and reviewed by officials. It was passed for one season, by the astounding margin of 31-1. It almost certainly is here to stay, and Goodell is a major reason."I told the owners we need to get to a place, and I felt strongly we should have OPI and DPI and that we should be able to throw flags (that were not thrown on the field)," Goodell said Tuesday. "Everyone in there finally got to understand through a long process and a lot of discussion, everyone wanted to get it right. Some had to remove themselves from long-shared views."A short-shared view among fans, especially those in the Big Easy, has been that an egregious missed call in the NFC championship game cost the New Orleans Saints a trip to the Super Bowl. Their case was strengthened by this decision.Yet, in a way, this is a more important victory for the Who Dats and for all pro football fans. The sport has become so fast, so complex and so wide open that the officials struggle to keep up.Even worse, technology is so advanced that the errors made in real time become exacerbated when examined in the close-up, super-slow motion shots available to viewers.The NFL needed a leap forward like this. Indeed, it's more like a long Drew Brees to Michael Thomas touchdown pass than an Alvin Kamara run for a first down. Both plays move the ball, but the TD throw can be an instant game changer.Credit Goodell for laying down the law to get the video review rules enhanced. Also credit Saints coach Sean Payton
, who helped lead the charge to progress not only because he was the victimized guy with the head set on the sideline for the blown call, but for catalyzing the movement."There were just a lot of great healthy discussions about our game," said Payton, along with Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin the only coaches on the powerful competition committee that recommends rule adjustments. "When you are on this committee there is a little bit of a responsibility just to the game and football fans in general."Anytime, I think, if we have gone through a process like this and with an open heart tried to look at doing what is right, and after much discussion came to a conclusion where ownership, league office, coaches, general managers felt real good about, certainly fans won, knowing that, man, those guys are working hard at the right decision." ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The Pro Bowl has long been considered a laughable representation of the NFL game.It reached a new level of comedy Sunday as several players swapped positions during the annual all-star game.Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey caught a touchdown pass in the final minute
, capping a dominant performance for the AFC defense in a 26-7 victory over the NFC in steady rain. It was the third consecutive victory for the AFC, all of them at Camping World Stadium.The last two were played in sloppy weather, with the latest one also coming amid temperatures in the mid-50s. It was far from ideal conditions, raising speculation about the game's future in Orlando, but fairly fitting considering the effort players provided. It was two-hand touch most of the day, with officials blowing plays dead at the slightest hint of contact."Who cares, man?" New York Jets safety Jamal Adams said. "At the end of the day, we're like little kids out there just playing in the mud, playing in the rain."Regardless of the elements, the AFC made the plays the NFC didn't.Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes completed an 18-yard touchdown pass to Indianapolis' Eric Ebron on the opening possession, helping Mahomes earn the offensive Most Valuable Player award. Mahomes pleaded with voters to give it to Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman, who caught three passes for 92 yards and ran for a score."Sherman had my vote. Sherman had my vote," said Mahomes, who completed 7 of 14 passes for 156 yards. "I thought I told everybody on the camera. He made some plays out there. For a fullback, we have one of the best in the league so I'm always happy to try to get him a little vote like that."Adams
, who made headlines for sacking the New England Patriots mascot during a Pro Bowl skills competition, was named the defensive MVP thanks to an interception and a sack."It's a great achievement, but the main thing was to come out here and get the victory," Adams said. "That was the main thing, just to get the money, man. That's what we wanted."Mahomes and Adams each got a luxury vehicle.AFC players will get $67,000 each for the victory, $8,000 more than the guys who lose the Super Bowl next week in Atlanta. The Pro Bowl losers will get $39,000 each.The AFC defenders earned their share of the pot. The conference allowed the NFC 148 total yards and 10 first downs while intercepting three passes and notching seven sacks.Ramsey got in on offense late, catching a 6-yard slant pass from Houston's Deshaun Watson with 19 seconds remaining. Los Angeles Chargers rookie safety Derwin James failed to haul in the 2-point conversion."Man, me and Deshaun, that's my brother from another mother," Ramsey said. "We've been plotting and scheming all week, manifesting
, and it just came about."New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott, Tampa Bay receiver Mike Evans and New Orleans' Alvin Kamara all got in on defense for the NFC. Evans notched an interception.The AFC led 20-0 early in the fourth quarter, looking like it might record the first shutout in Pro Bowl history. But Dallas' Dak Prescott found Atlanta's Austin Hooper for a 20-yard score on fourth down with 9:09 remaining.The NFC had plenty of chances before that. The conference failed to score on a fourth-and-goal run early. Chicago's Mitchell Trubisky, Minnesota receiver Adam Thielen and Prescott threw interceptions.Trubisky was sacked by Adams on a flea flicker, and Dallas' Amari Cooper had a wide-open touchdown pass bounce off his face mask.Seattle's Russell Wilson also was sacked four times.MASCOT MADNESSAdams' hit on the Pats mascot went viral, leading to false reports about the guy being hospitalized."It's dying down now," Adams said. "He never went to the hospital. They blew it up. It was all for the fans. I gained some fans and I gained some enemies, put it like that."IN-GAME HIJINKSIndianapolis Colts tight end Eric Ebron had his phone tucked into the pocket of his sweatshirt and used it between the third and fourth quarters. Ebron took pics with opposing players, working his way around the entire NFC defense.ANOTHER NO-CALLAdams hugged a line judge who didn't throw a flag on an obvious pass interference play against Green Bay receiver Davonte Adams. Davonte Adams dropped to the ground in disbelief, and several NFC teammates protested.Players from both conferences spent the week lamenting a now-infamous no-call in the NFC title game.INJURIESPittsburgh Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and Los Angeles Chargers receiver Keenan Allen left the game with bruised knees. Neither was considered serious, although Smith-Schuster was limping on the way to the bus and declined comment. Allen caught four passes for 95 yards before sitting out.UP NEXTNew England and the Los Angeles Rams play in the Super Bowl next Sunday.
Roger Goodell got it right.
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