NFL commissioner Roger Goodell defended the league's officials by saying they are doing "an extraordinary job" after a season filled with numerous on-field controversies.
"I’m proud of our officials," Goodell said, via the Detroit News. "I think they do an extraordinary job. They aren’t perfect — they’re making decisions out there in a matter of seconds — but what we’ve seen in a variety of circumstances this year, without getting into any specifics, is they get it right and they’re still criticized."
The Lions/Taylor Decker incident in December still hits raw in Detroit. The Lions' social media team was making "reporting" jokes weeks after the play which cost the team a 2-point conversion and resulted in a Dallas Cowboys win.
Nearly every week this NFL season has included a bad call or perceived bad call that has taken life and overshadowed the play on the field. But when you're the NFL commissioner, you're going to go out of your way to protect the integrity of the game and ensure that your officials are not publicly criticized by anyone from the league side of the business.
Referee controversies will never go away. There will always been a team with a bone to pick with an officiating decision. But discussions of punishment or of fixing a broken system won't come in the public if you're the commissioner of the league.
“What we’ve seen in a variety of situations this year — without getting into any specifics — is they get it right and they’re still criticized,” Goodell said. “And you know, there are two teams out there, so — [for example], is he offsides or not offsides? That’s just part of their job. They are the hardest-working people I see. They take great pride in it. There are individuals who work to try to make sure they’re contributing to the game, but we have technology to try to do that, too.
“I’m very proud of what they do.”