February 20, 2009
If you checked the very back pages of your sports section today, you found the story tucked in among the daily transactions that the gutless NFL has decided to fine Steelers’ wide-receiver Santonio Holmes $10,000 for his end-zone celebration following his game-winning catch in Super Bowl XLIII. This fine, coming a full nineteen days after the fact must be music to the ears of referee Terry McAulay, whose crew was responsible for whistling a whopping eighteen penalties on game day, and now gets to tack on another for shits and grins. And on the nineteenth day, GOODELL created a nineteenth penalty.
Goodell, the tough-talking commissioner of the NFL, who wasn’t heard from the day after the game, when Cardinals fans were rightly upset at this missed call from a crew that hadn’t missed so much as an untied shoelace all day, snuck this fine through in typical NFL fashion…behind closed doors and under cover of night. Had the penalty been assessed during the game, as it should have been, the Cardinals would have been in excellent position to drive the field and win the game. But the NFL has long been in the business of apologizing for screw-ups that cost team games, usually throwing their own sacrificial lamb, Mike Pereira, the Vice President of Officiating, to the wolves.
This time, Goodell himself decided to woman up and offered the following feeble explanation. “As you know, part of this rule is to avoid having a reaction from opposing players and, from what I could see, only seeing it once, it didn’t seem like it was anywhere near that.” Sort of like saying the point of homicide laws is to prevent people from getting killed, but since Nicole Brown didn’t complain afterwards, we’ll let O.J. walk free. Oh, wait a minute–.
But don’t you worry….Goodell and Pereira are putting the finishing touches on a new rule that will fine players for wearing their socks too high. You can close the barn door now, Roger, the cows are gone.