Six seasons of great football, lucrative television deals and a stress on player safety. The NFL's era with Roger Goodell as commissioner has been reached extreme heights. One major scandal and a pair of lockouts, however, have put quite the black eye on what could have been considered the highest point in NFL history.
At what point do the negatives outweigh the positives?
Is it when the players and owners could not come to a conclusion on how to split a pot of over $9 billion? Maybe not.
What about when a coach decides to pay his players to deliberately hurt the opposition? Probably not.
But try to run a league without a piece that is as important as the officials? Now we have a problem.
When the referees are doing a good job, they are nearly transparent. Sunday is filled with football games and highlights of incredible athletes showing off there skills on almost every television in America.
Now, Sunday has become a day to watch referees comically miss calls, give too many yards on a penalty or look utterly bewildered on a football field. But now things have gotten worse. Now we're watching players get hurt and the outcomes of games change, and its an issue.
Roger Goodell has been all about safety since he took over in 2006. But how can someone be all about safety watch injuries like the ones to Matt Schaub or Darrius Heyward-Bey and sleep at night. The hit that cost Schaub a chunk of his ear was flagged and rightfully so, but the referees tendency to miss calls has players pushing the limits of what they can get away with and it cost the Texans quarterback.
The Heyward-Bey injury is another story. It was obvious that Steelers safety Ryan Mundy led with his helmet, something that has been cracked down on since Goodell took over. There was no flag thrown on the play.
The commissioner of the NFL has two main responsibilities. The first one is to keep the players safe. When the referees on the field cannot control the game nor can they enforce rules in place for safety, the commissioner is failing.
His second responsibility is to maintain the integrity of the league. Monday night's game was a clear display of failure in that regard. The refs changed the outcome of this game. This game changes the outcome of the season. If the Packers miss out on home-field advantage for the playoffs, everyone will look back at Monday night. If the Seahawks earn a playoff spot by a game, guess where the finger will be pointing.
Goodell has said all the right things and has done what he can to make these issues transparent. But he has failed. From this point on, the landscape of the entire season has changed. Issues that should never have come to be are now on the front of our minds. These problems are inexcusable. Roger Goodell has done some great things for the NFL, but his failures have become too much. 2012 should be the end of Roger Goodell.