President Trump may not be invited to deliver his State of the Union address before congress. However, it appears that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell could be getting an invitation to speak before members of congress very soon.
On Wednesday, Congressman Cedric Richmond (D—LA) expressed his strong feelings over the blown call in the NFC Championship game. Which played such a crucial role in sending the Rams to the Super Bowl, and not the Saints.
“What the entire nation witnessed during this past weekend’s NFC Championship game was an upset as a result of an unfair penalty, and I join Saints players, coaches, and fans far and wide over this disappointment,” Richmond said in a statement. “The Saints should be on their way to Atlanta to play in the Super Bowl. Instead, they are left with the memory of officials who failed to create an equal playing field and deprived them of that opportunity. Officials should not have the ability to determine the fate of a team who rightfully earned their place in NFL championship history.”
There are very few NFL fans who would disagree with what Richmond says here. Though, the congressman didn’t just express his pain and sorrow as a fan, he also said he wants Commissioner Goodell to come to Washington so he can convey these sentiments directly.
“I have since spoken with colleagues on the Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee about inviting NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to answer some important questions about the unfair call against the Saints,” Richmond said. “A call that he has the jurisdiction to overturn. I stand with Saints owner Gayle Benson on the urgency and significance of having this issue addressed so that it does not happen again. The Saints got the short end of the stick, and I am proud to witness the strength of the franchise and the unswerving support of Who Dat Nation. I look forward to conveying these views to Mr. Goodell soon.”
The rule which Richmond refers to, is Rule 17, Section 2, Article 1 of the NFL’s rule book:
“The Commissioner has the sole authority to investigate and take appropriate disciplinary and/or corrective measures if any club action, non-participant interference, or calamity occurs in an NFL game which the Commissioner deems so extraordinarily unfair or outside the accepted tactics encountered in professional football that such action has a major effect on the result of the game.”
Whether Goodell ever testifies before congress, there are some warning signs that the threat of government intervention brings and that the NFL should take very seriously. As Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio points out, “As legalized gambling begins to proliferate, the NFL should be concerned that any given controversy could be the controversy that prompts Congress to conclude that the NFL isn’t capable of taking care of its own business — and that Congress should do it for the NFL.”
The NFL has given no indication that it plans to enforce any rule which would force the Saints and Rams to replay the final moments of the game.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn