NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Pete Carroll calls for an investigation

Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks argues a call with referee John Parry #132 during the first half of the game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 10, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The NFL is back, and we’d like to imagine if the league added a hotline for players, coaches and GMs to call to complain about penalties, get clarification on rules and ask what exactly constitutes a successful catch in the NFL – just like the NBA. Of course, emperor-king Roger Goodell could overturn any phone messages at any time. 

All responses are about as authentic and real as the Bills’ chances to go 16-0. We know when that hotline blings, it can only mean one thing: The Seahawks’ coach is dialing up a conspiracy theory.

Seattle at Green Bay

Dear Pete Carroll,

You called to complain about Jeremy Lane’s ejection against the Packers. While we agree that the officials on the field missed the initial contact from Davante Adams and seemingly saw a punch that wasn’t there, we strongly disagree with your contention that this was “just another conspiracy surrounding 9/11.”

First of all, the game was played on Sept. 10. Next, there is no reason there would be a leaguewide effort to prevent a giant offensive lineman from scoring a touchdown just because of the NFL’s Play 60 fitness program. Nor is the league promoting Aaron Rodgers on behalf of State Farm — or as you call it, Big Insurance. Nor is the Discount Double Check a government surveillance program!

Coach Carroll, just because a questionable penalty call negates a Seahawks touchdown, that doesn’t make it a “false flag operation,” as you put it. You also asked, “How do you think Lane fell all by himself? He’s a defensive back, not Tower 7!” and we prefer not to dignify that with a response. Just because a tragically bad call happens, that doesn’t mean it’s a conspiracy. And besides that — you’re not above a high-profile, well-orchestrated public fake yourself.

Let’s Roll, NFL Referee Hotline

Philadelphia at Washington

Dear Kirk Cousins,

One of the most difficult calls in football occurs when a quarterback is hit as his arm is moving forward. Even before the Tuck Rule, it’s hard to determine, especially in real time, whether a quarterback successfully attempts a forward pass or if the defensive player has forced a fumble. Upon viewing the tape multiple times, we have determined that you indeed were throwing a forward pass. It should not have been ruled a fumble, and you should have been given the chance to continue the last-minute drive. And then, you know, throw a pick-six, fumble or take a knee for no discernible reason. Whatever it took to lose. You’re still Kirk Cousins, after all.

Relatively yours, NFL Referee Hotline

Indianapolis at L.A. Rams

Dear Ted Cruz,

Senator Cruz, we see by your Twitter account that you’re a big fan of football, among other things. And while this hotline is specifically intended for team personnel, the NFL believes that it shouldn’t answer any and all questions from Congress, as long as they aren’t about concussions. That being said, we aren’t sure if your question was about officiating as much, or game strategy, because all you could talk about was beating Goff.

Honestly, we had no idea you were so invested in the Indianapolis Colts or Jared Goff, the Rams’ young QB — we would have taken you for a Texans fan. But your message repeatedly insisted that the Colts weren’t focused. They needed to concentrate on beating Goff this week. They should have been studying film, because nothing else mattered except beating Goff. Why, you said you and your staff had spent all weekend searching the Internet for material for beating Goff!

Now it’s true that last year the Rams all suffered because Jeff Fisher kept jerking Goff in and out of the lineup. During the preseason, he came close to whacking Goff in front of the whole team! And you’re right that Indianapolis knew Goff was coming and they still couldn’t keep Goff from scoring at will. We know you like to watch people scoring!

Senator Cruz, we are happy to send you some All-11 game film, though that may not be what you think it is. Still, you might be better served taking your Colts issues up with Senators Young and Donnelly from Indiana, or even Vice President Pence. Because if you keep focusing this much on beating Goff, you’ll go blind.

Respectfully Yours, NFL Referee Hotline

San Diego at Denver

Dear City of San Diego,

We know it’s difficult to have the Chargers suddenly move out of your fair city after 55 years. And so we truly apologize that the referee mistakenly said “San Diego Chargers” almost immediately in the Monday night game against Denver.

Truly, the officials weren’t trying to rub it in. We know you’ve suffered losses over the years, losing teams to Los Angeles that no one even likes there! The Clippers have been in LA for 33 years and their biggest celebrity fans are Billy Crystal and Frankie Muniz! The Chargers left home to play in a 30,000-seat stadium and still can’t sell it out! Hollywood actors tried to ruin San Diego’s Sea World with their Oscar-winning documentaries. L.A. is even full of San Diego’s two most beloved exports: fish tacos and bros.

And to make it worse, the gaffe reminded you of the Achilles heel of the Marty Schottenheimer era: screwing up time-outs. Please accept our apologies and for the next week, any San Diego residents can use promo code LADAINIAN to get 25% off on all Baltimore Colts, St. Louis Rams, and Houston Oilers merchandise in the NFL Store. And hey, the Padres aren’t going anywhere! No matter how much you mgiht want them to move.

Chargingly Yours, NFL Referee Hotline

Jacksonville at Houston

Dear Doug Marrone,

Congratulations on the first win of the year, Coach Marrone! The defense looked amazing, Leonard Fournette was impossible to tackle, and Blake Bortles wasn’t quite as Bortlesy as usual. It’s rare that we get to say this, so let’s savor it: The Jacksonville Jaguars are in first place.

The reason for your call was not officiating, however. You wanted to copyright the phrase “Sacksonville,” which the team was hashtagging incessantly in the aftermath of the game. While Calais Campbell and his four sacks were very impressive, copyrights are not an issue for the referee hotline. Though we would counsel rethinking our use of that phrase too much. As you probably know, “Saxonville” is the title of Kenny G’s unreleased album of nu metal-jazz fusion, recorded in Jacksonville with Fred Durst and Wes Borland of Limp Bizkit. You also may want to wait until you play a team that isn’t starting Tom Savage at QB. Between J.J. Watt and Mario Williams on defense, and David Carr and Savage in the pocket – the Houston Texans are clearly the most sacked and sacking team in NFL history.

All we are saying is, wait and see if this is a trend before printing thousands of t-shirts with that slogan. Though looking at the schedule, your team has upcoming games against Brian Hoyer, Josh McCown, Andy Dalton, rookies DeShone and Deshaun, and two games against Scott Tolzien. You know what? Why don’t you go ahead and print those up and send us a couple?

Jaggedly yours, NFL Referee Hotline

Indianapolis at L.A. Rams, Part Two

Dear Scott Tolzien,

We apologize for not getting back to you earlier. But your calls never got to the hotline – we aren’t sure if you misdialed, got a bad connection, or refused to look off the other numbers in your phone, but the completion percentage on these calls was very low.

Anyway, the Rams intercepted your messages and returned them all the way to us. If we hear them correctly, your first message said “Help!”, the second message said, “Why me? Oh God no!” and then your third message was a well-reasoned defense of Donte Moncrief’s face mask penalty, which we still are going to uphold. Sorry, you’re out of Luck.

Please tell T.Y. Hilton that the Rams recovered his lost message, too, but he should send trade requests to his GM.

Best Regards,

NFL Referee Hotline

Sean Keane is a comedian residing in Los Angeles. He has written for “Another Period,” “Billy On The Street,” NBC, Comedy Central, E!, and Seeso. You can see him doing fake news every weekday on @TheEverythingReport and read his tweets at @seankeane. In 2014, the SF Bay Guardian named him the best comedian in San Francisco, then immediately went out of business.

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