Replacement Refs Did “Outstanding Job,” Says Roger Goodell With Straight Face
The NFL’s replacement officials, hired during the offseason by the league to replace the locked out regular referees, did an “outstanding job last night,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday with an absolutely straight face.
Speaking from the league office in Manhattan, Goodell never once broke out in guffaws while explaining to reporters that he was proud of the replacement refs. “They were all fantastic, just really first-rate. I was thrilled with the high quality of officiating they gave us,” he said without once smirking or rolling his eyes sarcastically.
“These folks are pros,” Goodell continued, without mentioning that a referee in the Falcons-Ravens game not once but twice actually referred to Atlanta as “Arizona.” Nor did Goodell speak of the moment in Buffalo when an official called a touchback on a ball downed at the four yard line, when he said, “We’re truly lucky to have refs of this caliber step in for us at a time of need like this.”
Goodell reiterated that he remains open to a return by the league’s normal officiating crews, but expressed frustration at the current standstill in talks between the parties. “We’d welcome our regular guys back, of course,” said the commissioner of the most successful and wildly popular sport in the nation. “But their unreasonable demands have simply forced us to turn to the fine men and woman you saw out there tonight.”
The locked out officials are asking for a pay increase from the league commiserate with the raise they received from their 2006 contract. “That’s simply not realistic,” said Goodell, who currently pays his officials tens of thousands of dollars less per year than any other major professional sports league. “We’re simply not in a position to meet such ludicrous demands.”
“And besides,” concluded Goodell, who negotiated a television contract for the NFL worth 20.4 billion dollars in 2011, “these greedy officials have clearly lost their leverage with us, in light of the outstanding jobs that their replacements did last night.”
When asked to comment on allegations from CBS Sports’ Mike Freeman that one of the replacement refs was fired from his teaching job after it was discovered he sent threatening and racist letters to co-workers, Goodell simply replied, “Sorry folks, that’s all the time I have,” and left the building to be chauffeured via limousine to the Adour Alain Ducasse at the St Regis where he dined with fellow millionaires on grenadin of veal, truffled vegetables matignon, and a delicate velours sauce.
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