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Rozelle spinning in his grave/Paul Peterson

November 3, 2010
By Paul Peterson - For the Gazette

The late Pete Rozelle must be spinning in his grave. The former National Football League commissioner guided the league to the prosperity it currently enjoys (this past Sunday Night's game outdrew the World Series game), but he wouldn't be happy with the way league is operating nowadays.

Case in point: The Randy Moss controversy in Minnesota.

Now, just about anyone knows that Moss has had a long history of being a drama queen. He shows up when the game plan calls for him to be involved in it ... and takes the day off when it isn't.

Over the years, Moss has gotten away with a series of misadventures. There was the incident in Minnesota during his first - and longer stay - when he bumped a Minneapolis police officer with his car.

If that's you or I, we're looking at some time behind bars, with a large fine to boot. Moss was slapped on the hand for the incident.

After Moss took to criticizing the Vikings after a loss to New England this past Sunday, Minnesota coach Brad Childress finally had enough of his non-productive, whining ways. He was released but almost certainly will wind up with another team willing to overlook his faults.

Speaking of the Vikings, how did they manage to acquire Moss for the price of a third round draft pick in the first place? A strong commissioner like Rozelle would have stepped in and vetoed the deal on the grounds of collusion.

In today's NFL, the hierarchy definitely favors the so-called glamour teams (New York Giants, Dallas, Minnesota) and the glamour players, icons like Brett Favre, who happens to be with the Vikings in his latest curtain call.

With an eye on the television ratings, it's a good bet that league officials felt that adding Moss to the Minnesota roster would give Favre the target he needed to make a Super Bowl run.

There has to be much gnashing of teeth by NFL officials now that the Cowboys, and very likely the Vikings, will not be contending for a title this season.

Another area that is killing the league is the inconsistent officiating going on at most league games.

Penalty flags fall on just about every play, and are killing the continuity of the game. That fact was noted by disgruntled football fans in a recent poll taken by a New York newspaper.

The Detroit Lions have been hurt as much as any team by the officiating. The call that cost them a victory in the season opener against Chicago ranks as one of the worst I've seen in my many decades of watching football.

I'm not buying the argument that it was called the way the rules were set up. Anytime a receiver has the football in his possession as long as Detroit's Calvin Johnson did, it's a touchdown seven days, 24 hours and 365 days of the year. No dispute.

That's just one of many lousy calls I've seen watching games this year.

I'm sure that Rozelle would have called league officiating heads into his office and told them bluntly to start having their crews make the correct calls.

There's been a lot of headlines about head-to-head collisions, and that is an area of concern.

But unless the current commissioner starts doing his job, the greater threat to the league will be fans walking away from the game in droves.

 
 

 

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