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NFL managers contest the blame for the NFC championship game



A report from Adam Schefter of ESPN reveals that several high-level NFL executives have privately talked with the head coach of New Orleans Saints, Sean Payton, each delivering the same unified message: We Are Not Responsible for Your Team Being hosed down in the NFC championship game is a call that officials should make. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell also contacted Saints owner Gayle Benson on the same company line.

The people who throw the referee Bill Vinovich and his crew under the bus are the same people these officials report to: Senior Vice President of Officiating Al Riveron, Executive Vice President for Football Operations Troy Vincent, Rick McKay, Chairman of the Competition Committee and Of course Goodell himself.

This is a weak statement from Goodell's office and followers, but typical of his administration. Goodell has misunderstood every crisis he has come from, from drug abuse suspensions and domestic violence to protests during the pre-match national anthem. He oversaw the relocation of several franchises from their historic venues. This answer has by no means satisfied the Saints organization, and it should definitely not satisfy the fans who support the NFL's business model. In no case may Goodell and his associates dismiss this systemic problem as the fault of their employees.

However, this is probably the last thing we'll hear from Goodell until the next series of league meetings in March. There is little to no chance that he will position himself to be grilled by reporters before the NFL Competition Committee, where Payton is based, has the opportunity to formally meet and discuss the controversial no-call.