‘I don’t think it’s ever been better’: Roger Goodell believes NFL officiating is at an ALL-TIME high despite recent crucial errors plaguing the AFC and NFC Championship Games
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has claimed officiating in the league has never been better.
Goodell made the assertion at his annual news conference in Phoenix ahead of Super Bowl LVII — his state of the NFL address.
Goodell touched on several other flashpoints — including minority hiring, player health and safety, the Washington Commanders investigation and potential sale, future plans to flex ‘Thursday Night Football’ and when the site of Super Bowl LX will be announced.
On the topic of officiating, Goodell said mistakes are unavoidable but threw his full support behind the crews.
‘I don’t think it’s ever been better in the league,’ Goodell said. ‘There are over 42,000 plays in a season.
Roger Goodell defended the state of the league’s officials in a press conference on Wednesday
‘Multiple infractions could occur on any play. Take that out or extrapolate that. That’s hundreds if not millions of potential fouls.
‘And our officials do an extraordinary job of getting those. Are there mistakes in the context of that? Yes, they are not perfect and officiating never will be.’
His comments come less than two weeks since controversial calls in both championship games.
The Kansas City Chiefs were awarded a replay third-down after an official tried, but failed, to stop the initial play due to a clock error. Patrick Mahomes and Co. were short of a first down but on the second attempt converted thanks to a holding penalty.
Officials also wrongly awarded DeVonta Smith a touchdown in the Eagles-49ers NFC Championship Game on a fourth-and-three. It should have been ruled incomplete but San Francisco did not challenge.
‘We may not agree with every TV announcer or officiating expert, but we think our officials are doing a great job,’ Goodell said.
Reacting to recent comments from Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who said the officials’ inconsistency was due to several referees leaving for network TV roles, Goodell said that wasn’t a factor.
On a January 17 appearance on The Pat McAfee Show, Rodgers remarked; ‘Listen, the best refs we’ve had in the league are on TV now. They’re not working in the league office. They’re on TV.
NFL officials have come under immense scrutiny at stages this season by fans and media alike
‘Gene Steratore, my favorite ref of all time… Gene is on TV now. Why? Because they pay more.’
Goodell replied to the observation on Wednesday. ‘Are we losing people from the field to the booth? There are some that never even officiated on the NFL field, and so we didn’t lose anyone,’ he said.
‘We may have lost them from our office, but we didn’t lose them from officiating on the field. Others are taking on that responsibility at the end of their careers. So, I do not think that’s a factor at all. Zero.’
Some calls during the AFC Championship Game infuriated Cincinnati head coach Zac Taylor
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