Officials try to sort out the final play of the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks game Monday night. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 10:38 PM
Oh, gosh, you NFL loonies.
Now, that’s funny.
Thanks for making my night.
And my Tuesday morning.
I must admit that, laying on the couch watching as Green Bay’s M.D. Jennings cradled an interception, I was giggling lightly as one replacement official signaled game-saving touchback just as his striped straight man signaled (just as hesitantly) that it was a winning touchdown.
Touchdown, touchback, what’s the difference?
For added comedic effect, they were looking right each other with their conflicting signals.
Good stuff. The NFL never lets you down. I was upgraded to major chuckling.
But, like most everybody else, I’m guessing, I composed myself, thanked them for the brief sideshow, and was idly waiting for replay to overturn the call so I could switch off the television and go to bed.
C’mon man, make it official. I ain’t got all night.
“The call on the field stands. Touchdown. Game over.”
I literally fell off the couch, laughing so hard. I mean, my stomach was hurting.
Is this “Monday Night Football” or “Saturday Night Live?”
The replacement white hat seemed so nonchalant about it, you’d have sworn he was an old pro who’d been stealing games for years, not just petty thievery on an interim basis.
But I climbed back up on the couch, still chuckling. I was hooked now. Sleep could wait.
Before long we had the sad spectacle of Steve Young, literally choking up and holding back real tears as he watched the league he loves so much, its sturdy columns already beginning to creak, suddenly going down in a great rush of flames and spitting up tar balls through the ashes.
Young looked like he was an Auburn fan watching the Toomer’s Corner oak trees wither away in terminal distress.
It was about then that a really juicy thought occurred to me.
I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the morning, the NFL finds someway to overturn this game, make the Packers the rightful winners.
That will really make for an interesting day,
Nah, I thought. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they stand by their interim man. Really, I thought, don’t put it past them. They’re just arrogant enough to (try to) spin this thing into a great misunderstanding and dig up some obscure rule that gives possession to a wide receiver who barely touched the ball with a hangnail over a defender who appeared to have two hands, two arms, both legs, his chin, chest, spleen and first-born male child clutching it.
Probably not. That would be insulting everybody’s intelligence.
Maybe they’ll admit the ruling was flawed with good intentions but would lawyer-up a good response that it did not fit into the category of a result that should be overturned under the bylaws of the league as approved by the commissioner with the full support of the league’s owners.
Tuesday morning, ESPN was treating it like a natural disaster, with responses from the White House and Seattle, and its effect on the NFL’s Wall Street (Las Vegas). You expected Jim Cantori to show up in Green Bay to report on the firestorm.
Then, right on cue, straight from the palatial NFL headquarters on Park Avenue:
“The NFL Officiating Department reviewed the video today and supports the decision not to overturn the on-field ruling following the instant replay review.”
They did it. They actually pulled the trigger.
Never mind the panic in the streets.
The release might as well have read: “Everything is hunky-dory. Our news release says so and we are the all-powerful final word. Sorry for the confusion.”
What they’re telling you is an old defense, namely: Don’t believe your lying eyes (or, in this case, also the slow-mo, hi-def replays from 42 different angles).
You want these guys as your attorneys when you and everybody else knows you did it.
Who did the NFL consult before coming to this consensus that the officials got it right, the O.J. Simpson jury?
Anyway, it’s somehow comforting to know that the NFL still has no shame at all.
But here’s the thing, seriously, folks.
If the NFL, with a straight (and arrogant) face, can actually stand by THAT call and expect us to buy into it, it does make you wonder just how dead-solid compelling the Bountygate evidence really was that convinced them that they had enough goods to dismantle the Saints for a season.
If they can stand by THAT call, how do we know that they didn’t look at the Bountygate evidence with the same twisted eye that lets them come to whatever preconceived conclusion they wanted to come to in the first place?
Meanwhile, the Saints are headed to Green Bay, where they will play a Packers team that has a season’s worth of make-up calls coming to them, redeemable on demand.
I don’t usually buy into conspiracy theories, but …
Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org