Totally Biased Presents: An Open Letter to Roger Goodell

Dear Mr. Goodell,

My name is Travis Rand. Let me tell you a few things about myself. If you asked people close to me to describe me, they would probably say I’m loud, boisterous, and most of all, passionate. Besides a strong love for my friends and family, I have what some people would call an unhealthy obsession with everything football related.

Since as far back as I can remember, I’ve watched Vikings games with my dad, Cowboys games with my mom, and Giants games by myself, since it’s hard to be in the same room with me when my beloved Big Blue take the field.

I have purchased hats, jerseys, shirts, sweatpants, and just about everything else with an NFL logo. I even went so far as to attend the NFL Draft last year, although 20+ hours in line only got me into the second day, rounds two and three. You know the crazy thing?

I’d do the whole thing again tomorrow.


Because everyone loves the NFL. Just surrounding myself with what seemed like thousands of people who were all [almost] as passionate as I am. I mean, we’re at a point in society where if I know a 21 year old guy who ISN”T a football fan, I’m actually surprised.

And let’s not limit this to just men either. My friend Justin has a girlfriend, Ashlei, who knows more about the Patriots than most guys I know. My friend Shamus’ girlfriend Christine became the first female member of our fantasy football league, something I didn’t think would ever happen. My girlfriend Adrienne enjoys nothing more than putting on her Giants shirt and getting loud for the game.

Now, I know this has all been good so far Mr. Goodell, but… Well… It’s not.

Last year, I was ecstatic. I thought we we’re done with collective bargaining agreements [CBA] for at least 7-10 years. But I was wrong.

Many people thought this referee lockout would end well before the regular season games kicked off, but here we are, three weeks into the season, and still dealing with replacement officials.

Listen, Roger, I get it. They want to get paid. They’re only making an average of $78,000, and your 6% raise from 2005 until now just isn’t good enough. Plus, the asking price of $100,000 that they’re asking is crazy right? I mean, where would the NFL even get that extra money?

By now, you know sarcasm when you see it Roger. I know you’re busy with the Bountygate procedures, meeting with a different player or official every week. I commend you for that. You wanted to lay down the law about concussions, and player safety, and you’ve done just that, even if I feel your punishment was just a tad too harsh.

That got me thinking, you know what make for good player safety? Some kind of consistent referee system. Players are launching themselves into receivers and quarterbacks at an incredible rate. We wait long enough here, and you might see someone be seriously injured and end up in the hospital.

Oh? Darrius Heyward-Bey is being held overnight in Oakland for a neck injury? This happened after a hit from Steelers safety Ryan Mundy, you say? Yikes.

I get it Roger. You want to strong arm ’em. Not give in. If you give in this time, you’ll set a precedent you don’t want to start. But here’s a crazy idea.

Sit down with the refs, and give it to them straight. They want a pension plan? Doesn’t matter. Give it to them. They want to be paid 100k? I’m sure the NFL has the money to make it happen. When your business is a 6 billion dollar industry based on a GAME, you should probably make sure the referee’s that are out on the field are the best of the best.

These refs don’t just work one day and call it a week. Most of them have another part time job, even though a poll of referees says they average about 25-30 hours a week preparing for their next game, and studying any rule changes.

If you want to prepare for the next movement, make it a staple of the new CBA that these refs would have to hold a camp in the offseason to prepare the next crop of referees, since you seem concerned with the lack of young talent when it comes to the black and white stripes.

The sad part is, they’ll come back eventually. You know it. I know it. You could strong arm them until the Super Bowl if you had to, and you’d still win, because the day will come when they throw in the towel and take their 78k.

You’re not concerned about losing fans, because, let’s be honest, nobody is going anywhere. Everyone is going to keep watching games, keep buying new Nike jerseys, and continue to root on their favorite team.

But these last few weeks have seen horrible calls. Absolutely zero consistency for pass interferences, holding calls, and even how many time outs a team may have, or awarding teams extra challenges. Watching games is getting harder and harder.

Don’t we have a problem when the league has a whopping 20 teams 1-1 after two weeks, the Saints are now 0-3, the Arizona Cardinals are 3-0, and yet instead of talking about just how awesome this sport is, we’re talking about the refs? We’re talking about the only people on the field we shouldn’t even know are there.

I don’t even know what the real score of Baltimore and New England’s game would’ve been with actual referees, because it turned into such a fiasco, I don’t even know which team was more effected by the horrible calls. I can confidently say it was the worst game of organized football I’ve ever watched in my whole life.

The NFL was like an MMA fighter. Any problem they had, they attacked. They devastated it. It was over before you knew it happened. They could fight another one after a short recovery. They ended skirmishes in plenty of different ways.

Concussion problems? Start handing out heavy fines. Is it totally fixed? Of course not. But an NFL victory nonetheless. Win by decision.

A bounty scandal? Handled a little messy, but still, taken care of rather quickly. Victory by submission.

The NFLPA lockout? Still had every game played in the 2011 season, some absolutely crazy playoff games, and you even had Brady and a Manning in the Super Bowl in another thrilling game. First round KO.

But now the NFL looks like a boxer.

Taking jabs left and right from media members everywhere. The fight is in the 12th round, and even if it ended now, you’d be mending black eyes for a few weeks, and probably couldn’t fight again for a month. Your face looks mangled, and you’ve gone through a thorough ass kicking.

The crowd is chanting against you [it sounds similar to the “BULLSHIT” chant that was echoing through Baltimore last night], and it’s time to end this.

I just want normal games back Roger. Me and everyone else. We’re fans. Without us, you are nothing. You wouldn’t have a job without the dedication and obsession of millions and millions of fans.

So I’m asking, no, begging you, Mr. Goodell. Get the refs back to work.

Be Jon Jones. Not Floyd Mayweather.

Sincerely, a big fan,


One Response to “Totally Biased Presents: An Open Letter to Roger Goodell”
  1. Justin Yattaw says:

    I honestly never would wish for a superstar or two or twelve to go down with a season or career-ending injury, but I honestly think that’s what it’s going to take to get the refs back. Either that, or a big-time boycott.

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