Another weird story from ESPN NFL insider extraordinaire Adam Schefter. Earlier, Schefter gave us the Condoleezza Rice-Browns coaching interview non-story. On Sunday, he had a strange one that four officials who blew the Saints-Rams pass-interference call were from near Los Angeles.

When you hear the initial headline, your reaction is: “Ooh, here we go. This sounds juicy. Conspiracy!”

Then you read Schefter’s story, and he says there was no impropriety and no one in the NFL claims there was. A bunch of unnamed sources say it is bad for perception, and they could change how they assign referees and subordinates.

Even if it is unintentional, it slimes the officials. Since the story says they did not do anything wrong on purpose, what is the point?

I emailed Schefter.

“If there were a Miss America contest and Miss California won even though she was the most impressive, how would it look if four of the judges were from California?” Schefter said. “As others around the league told me last week, you want to remove that perception however possible. And they believe this will lead to changes in officiating assignments in the future, so this won’t happen again. That’s news to me.”

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NFL concerned four Rams-Saints refs are from California in jaw-dropper


There are some around the NFL wondering if the NFC…

Not to me. ESPN’s and Schefter’s high perch must be considered in these cases. If the NFL changes its policy, then it is a story. But if you are going to impugn the refs’ character, you need more meat on the bone than reporting they didn’t do anything wrong and the NFL might change how it assigns its postseason crews.

In other Schefter news, HBO has a nice feature on him on Tuesday’s “Real Sports.” Schefter is addicted to the high of breaking news, he said.

In the piece, we learn that Schefter and the reporter on the segment, Jon Frankel, both married women who were widowed on 9/11. Schefter sought Frankel’s advice on dealing with the tragedy with the woman who would be his wife.

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