Only in the NFL: League-owned network grills prominent coach over league-created controversy
NFL's hypocrisy proves integrity of its game is not its motive
By Steve Kelley | The Seattle Times
Pete Carroll: 'We all gotta move on from controversy'
By Dan Hanzus | NFL.com
I don't know if I should be aghast or impressed at the NFL Network's interview of coach Pete Carroll Tuesday.
On the one hand, Lindsay Rhodes bluntly phrased a question that many people across the country were asking: Should the Seahawks in general -- and their coach in particular -- feel at least sheepish over the nature of their victory over Green Bay on Monday night?
On the other hand, this is a network owned and operated by the very same league that was responsible for creating the dubious circumstances of that victory by locking out the regular officials and using replacement referees.
Consider it one more example of the Teflon marketing power of the NFL. The league seems to expand its brand and business in spite of itself sometimes.
See if you can follow the layers at work here:
1. The NFL gets anti-trust status to operate what is by the strict definition a monopoly in the form of pro sports league.
2. The NFL subsequently starts its own cable channel, which is probably not what anyone had in mind with that anti-trust status. Said network gradually carries more and more of the league's games, becomes part of most basic-cable packages and provides another revenue stream to already abundant TV contracts.
3. This year, that league with its own network locks out the regular officials in a dispute over a total of $3.3 million in what is estimated to be a $9 billion business annually.
4. When the replacement referees show they are clearly not up to the standards of the regular officials, the league sends a couple memos to its member franchises telling coaches to cool when it comes to haranguing, shouting at or appearing to bully the replacement officials.
5. When the already-revealed-to-be-inadequate replacement referees dubiously award Seattle a touchdown on the final play of its Monday night game against Green Bay, the league's network gets an interview with one of the league's highest-paid coaches and basically asks him if he's ashamed of a victory whose validity is tainted largely because of the lockout precipitated by the same league that owns the network carrying the interview.
Aghast or impressed? Like I said, it's hard for me to decide whether to be horrified at the way that the NFL can -- indirectly through its network -- ask a coach to answer for the debacle the league itself created with this lockout or should I be impressed at the sheer hubris that allows the league to profit from the debacle it has created, getting programming out of all the controversy.
Either way, here's a transcript from the most tense part of the interview, the full video of which is available on the link at the top of the page:
Q: If, when you watch that tape, you think, 'Oh boy we got away with something, that was not a catch. That was the wrong call.' Do you have any responsibility to say anything?
Carroll: "To whom? We're going to look at it and tell the truth of what happened. We were fortunate in the situation. What was really cool is that the ball was up in the air, and Golden Tate and their defense went after the football. And they came down, and the decision is made. We bought the opportunity to compete all the way to the very end. He competed to the very end. He competed to the very last moment, and the call went our way. That's it. We're just fortunate that it happened that way. There's nothing anybody can do about it now. And I feel bad for the people who feel bad, and there's nothing more we really can say about it."
Q: Do you feel good about the win?
Carroll: "Yeah, we feel very fortunate that we got the win. We're very fortunate here, and we understand that. It could have gone the other way just like that."