Sports Fan Fiction: Goodell Covers for the Ref's Mistake

Welcome to Sports Fan Fiction, a weekly showcase of fake stories involving the real athletes and decision makers of the Dallas sports scene. Sports Fan Fiction logoLast week: The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Detroit Lions 24-20 to move on to the Divisional round of the playoffs. In the days since the game, fans of both sides have focused less on the win and more on the curious decision of head referee Pete Morelli to negate a pass interference call made by his crew mate. This has brought attention to a strange NFL regulation by which referee crews are inexplicably mixed up for the postseason. Many expect the NFL to adjust the program after the season, but here’s a fake account of what might happen if they did not.

Monday 1.26.15 [2:30 PM] NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stands behind an NFL emblazoned podium to deliver his state of the league address.

Roger Goodell

Good afternoon, I’d like to start by thanking all of you for being here. This Sunday we will complete another amazing season thanks to the efforts of our players, teams, and most importantly, fans.

[The room full of reporters responds with courteous applause.]

Roger Goodell

Today I’d like to introduce some new rules that we know will help us grow football to the number one sport in the world.

[Additional applause.]

Roger Goodell

One of the biggest successes of this postseason was the call made by referee Pete Morelli to pick up a pass interference penalty flag. We feel Morelli was empowered to make his decision, because he was working with a fresh crew. It’s our guess that he was trying to impress his new coworkers. Therefore, we are going to expand that scramble program to the rest of the NFL.

[Murmurs of confusion fill the conference room.]

Washington Times Reporter

Does that mean that referee crews will be switched up every week?

Roger Goodell

Haha, no, that’s not what I meant; effective in 2015 we will scramble the roster of every team after the regular season. We feel the position of quarterback is very similar to that of a head referee, so we will completely change the lineup around each playoff quarterback after Week 17.

[Every reporter raises their hand.] Reporter

Wait, what?

Roger Goodell

If Pete Morelli wasn’t leading a crew of referees that he’d never met, he would not have been able to make the correct call. We feel like allowing teams to do the same thing will only strengthen the game and our brand. Reporter

Is that the only change you plan on making?

Roger Goodell

Great question. Another reason we feel that our referees were so successful this year was that most of them are not even full-time employees of the NFL. Starting February 1, all NFL players will be considered part time.

[By now all of the reporters are fighting to get Goodell’s attention.]

Conde Nast Reporter

But that means that many players will have to get full-time jobs outside of the NFL to make ends meet. Not to mention the safety concerns.

Roger Goodell

We’re going to save so much money! That brings us to the change that I’m most excited about. Effective immediately, defenses will only be allowed seven players. If our referee crews are able to cover an entire field with only seven people, why can’t a defense of the best athletes in the world do it?

[More uproar, now booing.]

Roger Goodell

Oh come on, these are great ideas. And plus, what’re you gonna do, watch Arena league football? They’re so poor that if the forty reporters in this room tried to go to the AFL website at the same time, the damn thing would crash. The NFL is your only option.


Cleveland Plain Dealer Reporter

Mr. Goodell, any plans to change the domestic violence policy?

Roger Goodell

Nah, we’re good.

David Allison is a comedian based out of Dallas, Texas. You can follow him on Twitter @MrDavidAllison or keep up with his attempt to guess the jokes on Weekend Update @AlternateUpdate. He also performs regularly at the Dallas Comedy House, and this week can be seen Friday (1/9/15) at 10:30 p.m. with David & Terry and Saturday (1/10/15) at 9 p.m. with The Rift. Tickets at