In the wake of Wednesday night’s deal that ended the labor dispute, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell apologized to fans Thursday for the shenanigans and the tumultuous start to the 2012 season and to the Packers for that Monday night loss. OK, he apologized for everything but the last part….
“Obviously when you go through something like this, it’s painful for everybody. Most importantly, it’s painful for fans,” Goodell said on a conference call with reporters. “We’re sorry to have to put the fans through that. Sometimes you have to go through something like that in the short term for the right agreement for the long term.”
Goodell said the league and representatives for the locked out referees were in “intense negotiations” for the last two weeks, and that the public outcry from the ruling on Golden Tate’s disputed touchdown catch only “may have pushed the parties along.”
But Goodell did not throw the replacement officials under the bus and was adamant that regular officials have blown calls of similar importance, but that the terms of the new labor agreement should help to reduce the chances of future referee gaffes.
During the conference call, one reporter asked Goodell how he could watch the final play of Monday’s game and not conclude that the referees got the call incorrect – a call the NFL defended in the statement it issued Tuesday.
“You obviously have a very strong view about what you think the call was,” Goodell told the reporter (via ESPN’s NFL Nation blog). “… That’s the beauty of sports and the beauty of officiating. There are controversial calls and people see them differently. I understand that. That’s the beauty of sports.”