State Of The NFL's "Union": There's Reportedly Concern Around The League That 4 Referees From The NFC Championship Game Have Southern California Ties
If I have learned anything from the NFL's return to Los Angeles it's that living in Southern California is only as sure a sign that your rooting interest lies with one of their football teams as it is a sign that you spend your Sunday afternoons surfing. Other cities maybe, but - as a collective - the City of Angels is far from riding with the Rams come hell when there is high water nearby.
Therefore, where they happen to call home is pretty far down on my personal list of reasons to reprimand the referees from the NFC Championship game. If you want to argue that the success of a team in a massive market that's about as tapped as your local dive bar's stale keg of stout, as its target audience doesn't much care for it, while they try to finance the type of multi-billion dollar abomination capable of appealing to celebrities matters more to the league than their own integrity then you might have a point. You're just not going to convince me that the blindness of an officiating crew was as regional as it was cowardly. In my opinion, sharing the fear of all-but-ending a playoff game with a penalty (no matter how obvious), as opposed to sharing either a conflict of interest or an area code, was the inspiration behind their incompetence.
That being said, having even the hottest of air get breathed back into this controversy is, for lack of a better phrase, a breath of fresh air. The NFL, who has basically just watched the "shield" get pelted as they stood behind it during a week-long game of hide-and-meek, simply doesn't deserve to be let off the hook here. So while the Saints and their fans are being chastised for a failure to get over having a Super Bowl appearance stolen from them, the "concern" of third, fourth, and fifth parties serve as evidence of exactly why they haven't.
I don't own a tin-foil cap, but teams that weren't even affected by the non-call are apparently looking everywhere, address books included, for an answer. If you don't think that speaks to just how inexcusable and unforgivable it was then you might actually be deaf, because it's not like Roger Goodell has spent any time occupying your ears this past week. The failure to throw a flag more than likely wasn't the result of a conspiracy, but that doesn't mean the collective decision not to isn't worthy of a handful of conspiracy theories. Everyone on the planet immediately identified it that helmet-to-helmet hit on a defenseless receiver as insanely illegal, except the three people standing within spitting distance who are paid to do so. Mathematically speaking, odds are there was a little more to it than professional officials all simultaneously making the worst "judgement call" of their lives at the worst possible time. Even if I couldn't care less of their residential radius to the Rams.