NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Philadelphia makes an emergency call


Corey Perrine/Getty Images

For the final time, Yardbarker takes a look at the NFL’s referee hotline, a number set up for players’ questions and concerns about officiating. We’ve obtained access to the responses, which are about as real as Justin Timberlake’s affection for Prince. We know when that hotline blings, it can only mean one thing: The government of Philadelphia is calling for backup. 

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney 

Dear Mayor Kenney,

The release of all the pent-up desire for a first Super Bowl, combined with the baseline drunken hooliganism of any Philly resident can lead to nothing but a riot. After all the footage has come in, we have compiled a list of violations committed by celebrating fans in the City of Brotherly Love. These will not affect the outcome of the game, but are recorded for posterity and legal liability.

The fans trespassing onto a ledge four stories above a Wawa were guilty of encroachment, as were the fans who scaled a fire truck. The mob of hoagie-wielding shirtless fans who went over the fence of City Hall were an illegal formation, and doing trust falls off of the awning of the Ritz-Carlton is the definition of illegal motion. Seventy-five percent of all physical contact during the celebration counted as illegal touching, and nearly every hand to every face was illegal. There was tripping, there was unnecessary roughness, and judging by the bloodshot eyes and thick clouds of smoke, nearly everybody was holding.

In terms of the concussion protocol, this is difficult to determine. The official head injury standards don’t really work when a subject’s blood alcohol level is above 0.25. And many people in the city with no head trauma at all would fail questions like, "What day is it? Who is the President of the United States?" It’s not Jon Bon Jovi, as many of the revelers argued.

Please don’t take this as a criticism. We were impressed by your city’s efforts to stop climbing attempts by smearing light posts with substances ranging from Crisco to hydraulic fluid. But as we saw when Stephen Gostkowski missed some easy kicks, and Rob Gronkowski couldn’t corral the game-ending Hail Mary, the Poles were no match for Philly.

Congratulations to all of Youse, NFL Referee Hotline

Robert Kraft

Dear Robert Kraft,

We can’t believe it either. A Patriots opponent caught a touchdown pass and the ball came loose. The referees reviewed the play, and they upheld the touchdown? Not only that, the video review took a reasonable amount of time, and the decision matched what everyone saw in real time? We assure you the the replay technician was fired after the play, and he’ll be sent to that same weird panic room where the NBA makes Steve Javie sit during telecasts.

If America can trust that an obvious catch will actually count, what other obvious things will they start to believe? That global warming is real? That pets shouldn’t fly in the cabin of planes with people? That no one would ever confuse a DiGiorno’s frozen pizza for one delivered from an actual pizzeria? It boggles the mind.

We do think it would be a nice gesture to give the president an AFC Champions ring. And don’t worry, he’s already planning his own parade.

Heuristically Yours, NFL Referee Hotline

Justin Timberlake

Dear Justin Timberlake,

Thank you for your apology, but although you did perform at the Super Bowl halftime show, and there was indeed a “strip sack,” this was not your fault. You didn’t strip the football out of Tom Brady’s hands, and then let him take the fall publicly for the error. Nor did you sing a song about cataclysmic turnovers right before the play. Yes, the Patriots lost the Super Bowl, but at least Viacom will not stop playing Patriots games on its properties for years.

What you do need to apologize for is your outfit. What was going on with that bandana? You looked like you were leading the saddest gang of bank robbers the Old West had ever seen. And why were you wearing camouflage? Were you playing paintball later? Or were you so ashamed of projecting Prince’s face on a damn bedsheet that you wanted to blend into the background?

Also shame on you for not inviting a single member of ‘NSYNC on stage with you. Joey Fatone cried himself to sleep Sunday night!

Bye, Bye, and Bye NFL Referee Hotline  

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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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