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Giants Leadership Would Help With Referee Situation

Justin Tuck rips league, but team remains silent

By Josh Alper
|  Wednesday, Sep 26, 2012  |  Updated 8:30 AM EDT
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New York Giants 2011-12 Championship Season

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Football's been good to Mara and now it is time to return the favor.

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The Giants didn't play on Sunday or Monday, which means that they had the same view as anyone who doesn't play professional football for a living for two days of games that have given the NFL a black eye. 

Monday night's officiating debacle in Seattle has drawn responses from far and wide, with even President Obama giving his two cents about the way a bunch of refugees from the Lingerie Football League and other nether regions of organized football have hijacked the game of football. Giants defensive end Justin Tuck was among those making sure his voice was heard. 

"It is unfortunate that the NFL, America’s game, has been reduced to what it is," Tuck said, via Jenny Vrentas of the Newark Star-Ledger. "I think a lot of people are looking at it as a joke, honestly. I saw a lot of people refer to it as reality TV and things of that nature."

Frankly, that's an insult to reality TV. The NFL looked more like boxing over the weekend, with sporting competitions subject to the arbitrary whims of judges who answer to no one and whose qualifications are dubious as best, and more like a dictatorship in its statement supporting the referee's decision to make the Seahawks the winners of Monday night's game. 

The statement quoted three rules from the NFL rule book, two of which directly contradict the ruling on the field in Seattle, and read like something the Director of Protocol for North Korea used to send out when Kim Jong-Il would shoot 18 holes-in-one during a round of golf.

It exists in an alternate reality where up is down and Tom Coughlin is cool with players strolling into meetings late. 

It would be nice if someone in the NFL hierarchy would show the least bit of interest in protecting the integrity of the game that they always claim to love. Someone like John Mara, for example. 

The Giants owner is one of a group of 32 pushing the NFL further and further into farce, so this hardly rests entirely on his shoulders. But Mara, by virtue of his spot on the league's Competition Committee, is in the inner circle of owners and has long used his voice to push measures that he feels are in the best interests of the game that his family helped create when they agreed to share revenues with podunk towns because it was good for the league. 

That kind of leadership would be welcomed here, even if it goes against the Omerta thing that the league's owners have stuck to during the lockout of the officials. It might make him enemies within the league office, but Mara shouldn't care about the opinions of those covering their rear ends. 

Mara should care about the game because it is hurting and needs someone to step up and say that it is more important than getting slightly richer at the expense of the regular officials. Mara once bemoaned the fact that he had to charge fans for huge PSLs when the new stadium opened at the Meadowlands, but said he did it because that's what enabled him to make the best possible experience for the team's fans. 

If that was true then, it is doubly true now. Follow Tuck's lead and stand up for the game that's made your family name. 

Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.

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