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NFL Network pulls plug on Vikings-Saints replay

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The NFL currently is tiptoeing through a minefield of hazards that could have a variety of potential consequences ranging from the shattering of public confidence in the integrity of the game to a series of perp walks. And while the NFL must ensure that the response to the three-year Bayou bounty program is swift and decisive and sufficiently strong to ensure that, moving forward, players won’t get as much as a candy bar for making a form tackle, the NFL can’t afford to give credence to the notion that this is somehow a bigger deal than it is.

As to the latter point, the NFL has committed a major blunder.

A replay of the 2009 Vikings-Saints NFC title game had been set for Monday at 3:00 p.m. ET on NFL Network. And NFL Network yanked it.

Let’s repeat that. NFLN yanked the game.

Correct or not, it creates the impression that the league has some concern about showing the game again. Which creates the impression that the league should be concerned.

And that creates the impression that the league fears the outcome of Super Bowl XLIV has been tainted, because it creates the impression that the league perhaps thinks that the Saints won a berth in the game via improper methods.

It was a horrible decision to drop the game, in our view. Though the news of the Saints’ bounty program remains a big deal, the league’s refusal to follow through with a pre-existing plan to re-air the game makes it an even bigger deal -- arguably a bigger deal than it should be.

And so now I’m going to try to find a tape of the game so I can see if there’s something specific the league is trying to hide by not allowing the game to be re-aired. Even if there isn’t, the change in programming creates the impression that there is.