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Old 09-26-2012, 07:38 AM   #1
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Goodbye, Mr. Goodell

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/26/op...?smid=pl-share

MONDAY night’s blown call during the Seattle Seahawks-Green Bay Packers game — in which a Seattle receiver clearly shoved a defender to make a disputable catch that, nevertheless, was ruled complete and thus resulted in a last-second win by Seattle — is already one of the most infamous moments in the history of the National Football League.

But it is only the latest in what has been three weeks of near chaos at the start of the N.F.L. season: thanks to a lockout against the league’s regular referees, replacement referees have overseen game after game scarred by bad calls, inconsistent judgments, misunderstanding of the nuances of the rules and, too often, a failure to rein in player and coach conduct.

Don’t blame the referees, though — blame the league leadership. The most basic standard of ethical leadership demands that leaders act with a concern for the good of the whole. By that standard, the handling of the N.F.L.’s labor dispute with its referees has been an epic failure. In response, the league’s commissioner, , must step down.

The labor dispute revolves around referee compensation, with the major sticking point being the league’s proposal to move from a defined-benefit to a defined-contribution pension plan for the striped shirts. It’s estimated that the owners’ proposal would allow them to save $3.3 million a year in pension contributions — savings that amount to pocket change for an organization that generates over $9 billion a year in revenue.

By playing hardball with the referees, the league has jeopardized something far more precious than $3.3 million: the integrity of the game itself. The N.F.L. has prioritized getting tough on labor over protecting the value of its core product.

Like all sports, the drama and intrinsic interest of football depends on everyone — fans, players, coaches — believing that the games will be fundamentally fair and will be decided by the actions of players on the field.

Football is an especially difficult game to officiate. The rules are complex and ever-changing, and the pace of play is extremely fast. Genuine skill and experience are needed to see the game accurately and interpret the rules correctly.

Moreover, football is a game that unlocks the aggression of athletes and directs it, via the rules, into specific actions on the field. It is a game of controlled violence. But the line between controlled violence and uncontrolled violence is a fragile one, even during the best of times. Without strict and consistent enforcement of rules, cheap shots and other “extracurricular activity” will quickly become the norm rather than the exception. The result will be to make the game more dangerous than it should be for the participants.

And the N.F.L. is one of the most competitive professional leagues on the planet, in any sport. The league’s commitment to parity has successfully assured that on any given Sunday, any team in the league can defeat any other. This is great for the watching public but extremely stressful for coaches and players who are under pressure to succeed week after week in tense, tightly contested games. It’s not reasonable to expect coaches and players who have become accustomed to a high level of professionalism and competency not to get frustrated with replacement referees who, while doing the best they can, just aren’t cutting it. No one likes to see coaches verbally berating or grabbing referees, as has occurred on multiple occasions this year, but it is a predictable result of the N.F.L.’s poor handling of this situation.

Over the decades, the N.F.L. has been an innovator in professional sport worldwide in the use of instant replay, precisely because it recognized the importance of getting things right.

That worthy tradition has been disgraced over the past three weeks. Indeed, it is stunning to witness the lack of understanding N.F.L. leadership has of the nature of its own sport.

The N.F.L. needs to settle the lockout, immediately. But it also needs to do some serious self-examination about how it could have made such catastrophic decisions over a relatively small amount of money. And that examination must begin at the top, with Mr. . He has failed in the first responsibility of any league commissioner, which is to safeguard the integrity and credibility of the game. After the chaos during the Week Two games, Mr. should have admitted his mistakes, settled the strike and issued a public apology, in that way retaining a shred of credibility as the sport’s steward.

It’s too late for that now. Mr. should offer his resignation, and the owners should accept it.

From there, the league needs to rethink its entire governance model. If owners and commissioners can’t be trusted to safeguard the game, then the players, coaches, referees and, yes, the fans — in short, all the stakeholders in pro football — should be given a voice in governing the game.

That’s an easy call.

Thad Williamson is an associate professor of leadership studies at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond.
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Old 09-26-2012, 07:41 AM   #2
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I understand the hate for , but does anyone think he's not doing what the owners want? I can't see the owners wanting to end this, but Roger telling them no. He works for them.
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Old 09-26-2012, 07:49 AM   #3
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Thad Williamson.

Well done, sir.

I couldn't agree more.

People can say that the lockout is not the fault of the commisioner's office all they want, but I think Roger has completely screwed this pooch with his appalling lack of leadership (at least) in this matter not to mention his many short-sighted failures over the years that have diluted the sport to the point where it is almost unrecognizable as professional football. He's too busy trying to carve out a personal legacy to care about the actual sport.

I hope he gets canned or quits, but I'm not holding my breath for the last part. Rog thinks that Rog has done a splendid job, but the truth is that he totally sucks as a commissioner.
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Old 09-26-2012, 07:49 AM   #4
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I think we all agree that the original refs need to come back. But why is the prevailing thought by media and fans that the NFL is a cheap evil money grubbing enterprise and it's all their fault? For one, did anyone know that the reason we don't have division 1 refs who would be better is that they were strongarmed by the locked out refs not to do NFL games (per Florio who is pro labor, so why would he make this up?) I can't recall what was held over their heads, but it was in the form of a threat to their livelihood as division 1 officials.
For #2, they are resisting checks and balances that would hold them accountable for their performance and keep the crews younger by adding officials, and benching guys who don't grade out.
For #3, in this economy, they are resisting changes to their retirement plans. The NFL has shifted their employees to 401ks,& they are trying to do this with the refs. The refs want to retain their pensions (of course they do, one has to pay into one's 401k, and not one's pension). They already make 6 figures and this isn't most of their primary jobs.
The NFL has also done things wrong here, no doubt, but you don't get to be financially successful by overpaying for things. Think in terms of the Pats and how they handle salaries. WW is extremely important player..BUT...he will never get a dime more from the Pats than the value they've set for him.
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Old 09-26-2012, 07:55 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by tehrick67 View Post
I understand the hate for , but does anyone think he's not doing what the owners want? I can't see the owners wanting to end this, but Roger telling them no. He works for them.
Jonathan Kraft was on the radio the other day and stated, in no uncertain terms, that the referees are the complete responsibility of the league office.

Even if the labor dispute is owner driven, he is ultimately the guy that was responsible to see that replacement officials were adequate to do the job and that has been a total disaster. Even the regular officials were a disaster under his watch-- just not quite as bad.

Add that to the total silence from his office in the face of a firestorm of criticism from all corners and a major hit to the league's prestige and it all adds up to an extremely poor example of executive leadership. Roger is an asshole, in my opinion.

If the owners make him a sacrificial lamb to appease the fans then you won't see me crying about it.
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Old 09-26-2012, 07:59 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Hawg73 View Post
Jonathan Kraft was on the radio the other day and stated, in no uncertain terms, that the referees are the complete responsibility of the league office.

Even if the labor dispute is owner driven, he is ultimately the guy that was responsible to see that replacement officials were adequate to do the job and that has been a total disaster. Even the regular officials were a disaster under his watch-- just not quite as bad.

Add that to the total silence from his office in the face of a firestorm of criticism from all corners and a major hit to the league's prestige and it all adds up to an extremely poor example of executive leadership. Roger is an asshole, in my opinion.

If the owners make him a sacrificial lamb to appease the fans then you won't see me crying about it.
I have zero love for and if he loses his job I wont shed a tear. i agree his leadership sucks and I'm not defending him.

I just don't but this guy is telling the owners what to do. He may have given them bad advice. I heard Jonathan and I think he's full of it. If Bob, Jerry Jones, Dan Snyder and so on wanted this over, it would be over IMO.
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Old 09-26-2012, 08:09 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by tehrick67 View Post
I have zero love for and if he loses his job I wont shed a tear. i agree his leadership sucks and I'm not defending him.

I just don't but this guy is telling the owners what to do. He may have given them bad advice. I heard Jonathan and I think he's full of it. If Bob, Jerry Jones, Dan Snyder and so on wanted this over, it would be over IMO.
You are correct that the owners call the shots and I can envision a scenario where they told him they didn't want to settle with the refs and entrusted him with the resonsibility to keep the ball rolling with substitutes for this season.

If Roger felt that wasn't going to work he could have told them that it wouldn't work, that more time was needed for recruiting and training and pushed for an extension to make it work next season. That part of it, at least, was his responsibility.

He didn't. He miscalculated the situation badly.
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Old 09-26-2012, 08:10 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by HSanders View Post
I think we all agree that the original refs need to come back. But why is the prevailing thought by media and fans that the NFL is a cheap evil money grubbing enterprise and it's all their fault? For one, did anyone know that the reason we don't have division 1 refs who would be better is that they were strongarmed by the locked out refs not to do NFL games (per Florio who is pro labor, so why would he make this up?) I can't recall what was held over their heads, but it was in the form of a threat to their livelihood as division 1 officials.
For #2, they are resisting checks and balances that would hold them accountable for their performance and keep the crews younger by adding officials, and benching guys who don't grade out.
For #3, in this economy, they are resisting changes to their retirement plans. The NFL has shifted their employees to 401ks,& they are trying to do this with the refs. The refs want to retain their pensions (of course they do, one has to pay into one's 401k, and not one's pension). They already make 6 figures and this isn't most of their primary jobs.
The NFL has also done things wrong here, no doubt, but you don't get to be financially successful by overpaying for things. Think in terms of the Pats and how they handle salaries. WW is extremely important player..BUT...he will never get a dime more from the Pats than the value they've set for him.
I'm in complete agreement with you, HS.
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Old 09-26-2012, 08:16 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by HSanders View Post
I think we all agree that the original refs need to come back. But why is the prevailing thought by media and fans that the NFL is a cheap evil money grubbing enterprise and it's all their fault? For one, did anyone know that the reason we don't have division 1 refs who would be better is that they were strongarmed by the locked out refs not to do NFL games (per Florio who is pro labor, so why would he make this up?) I can't recall what was held over their heads, but it was in the form of a threat to their livelihood as division 1 officials.
Never trust anything Florio has to say. The reason D1 refs are not being used is because they'd be out of a job once the issue is settled. The NCAA is not going to loan their refs to the NFL and then have to suffer for it themselves. If individuals wanted to take the scab jobs, fine. But their position with the NCAA was going to be filled by someone else.

Quote:
For #2, they are resisting checks and balances that would hold them accountable for their performance and keep the crews younger by adding officials, and benching guys who don't grade out.
Can't speak to this. But from what I've read, the only issue remaining is #3.

Quote:
For #3, in this economy, they are resisting changes to their retirement plans. The NFL has shifted their employees to 401ks,& they are trying to do this with the refs. The refs want to retain their pensions (of course they do, one has to pay into one's 401k, and not one's pension). They already make 6 figures and this isn't most of their primary jobs.
The NFL has also done things wrong here, no doubt, but you don't get to be financially successful by overpaying for things. Think in terms of the Pats and how they handle salaries. WW is extremely important player..BUT...he will never get a dime more from the Pats than the value they've set for him.
The union agreed that all new refs will go into the 401K system. They want current refs to be grandfathered into the pension system. That was what they had under the previous contracts. I personally have no issue with their request for this.

As far as complaining about the money they already make, it's what the market sets. They are being paid for their skill and experience. As we can now see, when the NFL cheaps out, we get what they are paying for.
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Old 09-26-2012, 08:20 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Hawg73 View Post
You are correct that the owners call the shots and I can envision a scenario where they told him they didn't want to settle with the refs and entrusted him with the resonsibility to keep the ball rolling with substitutes for this season.

If Roger felt that wasn't going to work he could have told them that it wouldn't work, that more time was needed for recruiting and training and pushed for an extension to make it work next season. That part of it, at least, was his responsibility.

He didn't. He miscalculated the situation badly.

If the owners do dump Goody, then I know of someone who publicly stated that they wanted to some day be commissioner of the NFL. That person was Condoleezza Rice.
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Old 09-26-2012, 08:23 AM   #11
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As far as complaining about the money they already make, it's what the market sets. They are being paid for their skill and experience. As we can now see, when the NFL cheaps out, we get what they are paying for.
This league makes 9 billion dollars a year. You want the best ref's? pay them. They aren't looking for anything more than they we're already getting.

The NFL took for granted the role they play, they figured they could easily be replaced.
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Old 09-26-2012, 08:25 AM   #12
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Never trust anything Florio has to say. The reason D1 refs are not being used is because they'd be out of a job once the issue is settled. The NCAA is not going to loan their refs to the NFL and then have to suffer for it themselves. If individuals wanted to take the scab jobs, fine. But their position with the NCAA was going to be filled by someone else.
I've read this from more than 1 source. College refs have at least 2 good reasons not to be a scab. 1) be out of a job as soon as it's settled and 2) never get a chance to work NFL game again.

Quote:
Can't speak to this. But from what I've read, the only issue remaining is #3.
The refs are on record not to want more new blood trained than is nec. to replace those who retire. Grades? Who needs em? is their mantra.

Quote:
The union agreed that all new refs will go into the 401K system. They want current refs to be grandfathered into the pension system. That was what they had under the previous contracts. I personally have no issue with their request for this.

As far as complaining about the money they already make, it's what the market sets. They are being paid for their skill and experience. As we can now see, when the NFL cheaps out, we get what they are paying for.
I don't personally have an issue with their pension either. However, if it were my business handing out free money to part time employees, I would have a huge issue with it. The owners' position is completely understandable to me.
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Old 09-26-2012, 08:29 AM   #13
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I don't personally have an issue with their pension either. However, if it were my business handing out free money to part time employees, I would have a huge issue with it. The owners' position is completely understandable to me.
I'm not expert on pensions, but I have one I pay $100 a week into. Also, I was under the impression that 'companies paid into 401K's as well.

These owners hand out free money having 27 family memebers on the payroll who do nothing. If thats what they want to do, it's fine..but atleast the ref's play an important function.

Penny wise and a pound foolish.
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Old 09-26-2012, 08:30 AM   #14
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If the owners do dump Goody, then I know of someone who publicly stated that they wanted to some day be commissioner of the NFL. That person was Condoleezza Rice.
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Old 09-26-2012, 08:32 AM   #15
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bideau has access to the Patriots' locker roombideau has access to the Patriots' locker roombideau has access to the Patriots' locker roombideau has access to the Patriots' locker roombideau has access to the Patriots' locker roombideau has access to the Patriots' locker roombideau has access to the Patriots' locker roombideau has access to the Patriots' locker roombideau has access to the Patriots' locker room
Quote:
Originally Posted by tehrick67 View Post
This league makes 9 billion dollars a year. You want the best ref's? pay them. They aren't looking for anything more than they we're already getting.

The NFL took for granted the role they play, they figured they could easily be replaced.
Quote:
Originally Posted by chevss454 View Post
I don't personally have an issue with their pension either. However, if it were my business handing out free money to part time employees, I would have a huge issue with it. The owners' position is completely understandable to me.
I'm with tehrick on this. Yes, the NFL has the right to make this business decision. But, in my opinion, it's penny wise and pound foolish. And considering the money involved, it really is pennies.

The NFL has cultivated the referees for many years, bringing in skilled officials, training them and compensating them based on what they bring to the product. As we've seen, what they bring is actually pretty good. It makes no difference if they're full time or part time. They earn what the market will bear.
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8/21/06
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