NFL referees can't seem to stay out of the spotlight this season.
In the regular season, there were the head-scratching roughing the passer calls, the controversial ending of the Week 15 Giants-Commanders game and the highly scrutinized Week 18 Rams-Seahawks matchup that reportedly frustrated the competition committee, among other incidents.
The officials drew more ire on Championship Sunday with DeVonta Smith's fourth-down catch not being reviewed and the Chiefs getting a bizarre do-over following a failed third-down conversion.
Does that sound like a banner season for the refs? To Roger Goodell, it apparently does.
During a press conference in Phoenix on Wednesday, the commissioner said he believes NFL officiating has never been better.
“When you look at officiating, I don’t think it’s ever been better in the league,” Goodell told reporters. “There are over 42,000 plays in a season and multiple infractions could occur on any play. Take that out, extrapolate that. That’s hundreds, if not millions, of potential fouls. Our officials do an extraordinary job of getting those. Are there mistakes in the context of that? Yes. They are not perfect and officiating never will (be perfect).”
Officiating is a tough, thankless job, and one that's impossible to be done perfectly. There will never be a time when NFL refs have a perfect approval rating among players, coaches and fans.
It's not surprising to see Goodell come to the defense of the league's officials, either. But better than ever? That compliment was a stretch, and one that didn't go over well with fans: