The 2012 Pittsburgh Steelers began Thanksgiving weekend with a 6-4 record, not world beating but something to be built upon, and finished the season at 8-8. In contrast, the '05 Steelers and '08 brethern put the pedal to the metal between Thanksgiving and New Years.
While it remains to be seen if the Steelers can right their ship to 8-8 once again at Heinz Field vs. the Browns the Steelers post-Thanksgiving experience has made one thing abundantly clear:
- The NFL’s hypocrisy and Kangroo Court nature of justice under Roger Goodell are plain for the world to see.
- But the Steelers, like the rest of the NFL, are victims of his mercurial whims and rules that defy logic.
In front of a national TV audience Le’Veon Bell scored a touchdown vs. the Baltimore Ravens on Thanksgiving night. Four officials signaled it.
- Except he didn’t score.
The officials were sticking to the letter of the law. Declaring a play over when a helmet comes off makes sense. To allow helmetless playing to continue would open players to serious injury.
- But in this case it creates a perverse incentive.
This is a hard case to legislate, and wouldn’t be a “Big Deal” if it were the worst. But its not….
Tomlin Sideline Shuffle Squared
That same Thanksgiving game saw Mike Tomlin step out on the field illegally. No flag was thrown, but Tomlin was fined, as he should have.
- But of course in Goodell’s NFL, justice neither fair nor or consistent.
- At least that was the early word.
See for yourself:
|Darren Rizzi is illegally on the field vs. Steelers|
As the photo reveals, the official collided with Rizzi. Yet no flag was thrown. The NFL did announce a 10k fine.
- So a head coach almost bumping into someone on the field is worth 100k, but a special teams coach actually bumping into an official is only worth 10k?
- That means the Steelers were denied a shot at a 43 field goal – not a gimmie in the snow, but makeable
- This doesn’t excuse the Steelers poor play which led the loss.
Charging Defenders Are Defenseless Players Too...
As everyone knows, the Steelers first return for a touchdown in eons, thanks to Antonio Brown, was made possible by an illegal hit by Terence Garvin on the Bengals punter. Garvin made contact with the helmet, but that wasn’t his only infraction.
- Kickers and punters are considered to be defenseless players, and hence cannot be hit above the shoulders.
This is totally inane. There’s no way kick return teams can be expected to stop and check to see if a would-be tackler is a kicker or not. That’s not even good science fiction.
The rule defies logic. Don’t expect it to change soon. This is Goodell’s NFL.
What? Change of Possession Not Reviewable?
Then of course there was a blocked field goal vs. Green Bay. You know the sequence of events:
- Steve McLendon Bocks the kick
- Ryan Clark recovers, albeit in contact with another player while his knee is down, he laterals to Ike Taylor
- Taylor can’t get the lateral,
- Ziggy Hood bats it out of bounds
- No, argued the ref, possession on this play is not reviewable. What?
Sadly that’s the case.
Justice in Goodell’s NFL Not about Fairness
Justice should be blind and impartial. Yet, justice in Roger Goodell’s NFL, vision is selective and it is very partial, partial to Goodell’s whim of the moment.
There’s an ugly fact that NFL fans might we wise to accept:
- Roger Goodell wants it that way
Goodell is not concerned with "fair." He's never said he doles out "fair" punishment. He doles out punishment intended to make headlines and deter players/teams from repeating similar behavior.But as the above incidents highlight, Goodell’s not having that effect. These Steelers-centric examples of illogical rules, uneven punishment, and blown calls have plagued the rest of the NFL this entire season.
Goodell would do well to begin focusing on being fair, because his arbitrary administration of justice combined with illogical rules have reached a point where even the most avid NFL fans are questioning the integrity of the game.
Does Roger Goodell really want that as his legacy? Because right now this is the direction he is heading in.
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