by Hunter Dawkins
Certainly, I realize that all of the readers are not football fans and a few may even find the sport vile. Last Sunday, a travesty happened in this professional sport and a lack of competence from officiating displayed how this truly inspirational game is only about money at the top.
I will not go into many personal details, other than I have been a player, coach, or journalist covering football for most of my life minus a few years. Above everything in this narrative, everyone should remember this game is about fun and unity as a team trying to accomplish a victory for the organization, fans, and town.
Bad calls by officials are a normal trait of any game with a human aspect. Professional sports, especially football, have become complicit with entertainment, media hype, and large amounts of money for franchises, contracts or the building of stadiums.
Where is the sport that you could play on sandlots, drawing up plays in the dirt? As an understatement, the lack of blatantly obvious pass interference call by the Los Angeles Rams against the New Orleans Saints should have clinched the game and Super Bowl birth, which brought these thoughts to my mind.
Let’s take a few perfect examples why the New Orleans Saints punishment could be turned around to litigation.
1) Bounty Gate
The National Football League came down hard on the organization after the 2010 Super Bowl victory, suspending New Orleans Coach Sean Payton for a year and key players. Was this cruel and unusual punishment? Due to the NFL attempting to present a cleaner image, the penalty may have outweighed the crime.
2) Sports Betting
Professional sports invested so much time to prevent gambling from being infiltrated into any athletic material, yet an NFL team will be moving to Las Vegas soon along with last year’s United States Supreme Court decision that legalized sports betting. Instead of continuity, professional sports, including football jumped on this. Since NFL officials are part-time anyway, what’s stopping them from getting into this now?
3) Contract Bonuses
This may be the biggest reason for the potential credible lawsuit. Every member of the 54-man roster, coaches, staff, and employees for the Saints organization would all receive Super Bowl bonuses in their contracts. These numbers surmount to millions, which the $Billion-NFL industry should compensate for the lack of review or the competence and compliance of the officials chosen. Additionally, investments by season ticket holders should be refunded.
To be honest, I am not a grumbler about officials, but each professional, college, high school, or recreational should be trained, qualified and reviewed before they participate. As long as the NFL hires only part time officiating, the referees will not receive enough extensive training to avoid scenarios like last week.
Time to step up to the plate Roger Goodell or the Gulf South region will for you.