If you want to fix a problem, the first thing you have to do is admit you have a problem.
But it is not the style of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to admit the league has any problems, at least when it comes to officiating.
He made the stunning comment Wednesday at the commissioner’s annual Super Bowl press conference that the officiating has never been better. Although he added it will never be perfect.
He is right about the second part because it is a difficult game to officiate.
But the officials still make too many mistakes, like in the Kansas City-Cincinnati game when the Chiefs’ game-winning drive was kept alive when the officials failed to call a block in back on a punt return and missed an obvious holding call on Patrick Mahomes late scramble. And then there was the do over.
Goodell pointed out there are 42,000 calls, but many of them are routine. They miss too many at critical times.
Aaron Rodgers has even speculated one of the problems is that the league loses too many good officials to TV and that they should pay them more. The NFL isn’t likely to go for that idea even though it is likely a good one.
The one thing we do now is that the end of the Chiefs-Bengals game and Gooell”s comments put even more pressure on the refs not to make any big mistakes in the Super Bowl.
Carl Cheffers will be th referee for the second time in three years, and his crew called the most penalties in the league for the second consecutive year although only one member of his regular season crew will be on the field for the Super Bowl.
Mike Pereira, the former director of officials who joined Fox in 2010 and will be in the booth, admits there will be pressure on the officials, but said they like the challenge.
We do know one thing. No matter what the officiating is like, Goodell will say it has never been better.