Hours before the Atlanta Falcons face a must-win game against the Carolina Panthers to make the playoffs, a fan has started an online petition to remove a longtime NFL official.
Blake Sorrell is petitioning NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to fire Pete Morelli, who officiated last Sunday's Falcons loss to the New Orleans Saints.
“As a Falcons fan, I have watched the NFL wrong our franchise for many years but more importantly as a fan of this league I believe that all of us could benefit from the immediate removal of Morelli and every one of his crew members to send a message to NFL officials that corruption within the officiating group will not be tolerated,” Sorrell said in his petition. “Morelli has some sort of favoritism towards certain teams and has a personal vendetta against others.
“We have to do something about this to protect the game and to ultimately do away with corruption.”
Morelli penalized the Falcons 10 times for 91 yards on Sunday. He flagged the Saints three times for 30 yards.
“Earlier this season in October, Morelli and his crew enforced 10 penalties against the Philadelphia Eagles, and only enforced 1 penalty against the Eagles opponent, the Carolina Panthers,” Sorrell said. “This statistic speaks for itself that there is obviously some sort of bias going on with Morelli's crew.
“The Falcons and Saints (both members of the NFC South) are competing for a division title and Morelli has shown his blatant bias in favor of the Saints all game.”
The Falcons must win this Sunday's game against the Panthers in Atlanta to earn the NFC's sixth and final playoff slot.
More than 3,500 people have signed the petition, which can be found here, thus far.