His upcoming film, titled “Not in My House!” will document what happened in that microsecond of certain penalty/ targeted hit/ No Call and then attempt to discern “why?”
That was the message he delivered to USA Today in an article that appeared Tuesday, from which the following is excerpted: “New Orleans filmmaker Steve Scaffidi, who often tackles serious subjects like the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the death penalty, knew what his latest documentary project would be about 30 minutes after the NFC Championship Game ended. Like many of his fellow fans, Scaffidi’s outrage largely focuses on the fact that four officials who were part of the crew that day live in Southern California including crew chief Bill Vinovich, down judge Patrick Turner, who was closest to the play, and two others who were in position to help correct the mistake, inside judge Gary Cavaletto and back judge Todd Prukop … (and) whether or not implicit bias played a role in the decision not to throw a flag.”
For “Not in My House,” Scaffidi has met with former NFL players, executives and others to discuss the story he wants to tell. He also has written a letter to Saints owner Gayle Benson requesting a meeting. As Scaffidi says: “It is important that she understands our intention is not to take down the NFL or produce a half-baked conspiracy theory film. In fact, our goal is to produce a powerful and entertaining documentary that is a thorough examination of the process that led to the most controversial missed call in the history of the NFL." Mrs. Benson has not responded.
Although a passionate Who Dat, Scaffidi has also tackled difficult non-sports assignments. His film on the death penalty titled “Execution” was screened to large audiences both in this country and abroad. In his production “Forgotten on the Bayou,” Scaffidi accompanied a survivor of Hurricane Katrina to the Oval Office to meet with President George W. Bush. He also wrote and produced “Ain’t Dat Super,” a celebration of the Saints’ 2009 Super Bowl victory that played to large crowds at the Mahalia Jackson Theater.
Scaffidi has the plan, the website (www.ghostriderpictures.com) and the theme song performed by local artists Lynn Drury and the Dat Pack. What he does not have yet is the toughest hurdle for any independent filmmaker - the required funding. His goal is to raise $750,000 to make the film, and he has been meeting almost daily with potential investors, both in New Orleans and elsewhere. Scaffidi hopes the funding is in place soon so he can begin shooting with his crew to interview Goodell, the game officials, the players and anyone else who can shed light on what happened on that infamous play. He wants to travel to Los Angeles prior to the Saints and Rams game on September 15, which he sees as “the ultimate springboard to kicking off our production.”
“Believe it or not, a bunch of my friends have told me I should just move on,” Scaffidi said. “But there’s 5 million people in the Who Dat fan base and according to social media I’ve been doing, 80% are on my side and we can’t move on. Football isn't just a game, it’s a multi-billion dollar industry that takes taxpayer money to build stadiums and holds cities hostage to give them stadiums so why should they not be held responsible just like any other business? If a waitress made the mistake those officials made of that magnitude it would be like putting arsenic in your food and mistaking it for salt.”
For the sake of full disclosure, Scaffidi approached me several months ago to introduce the project, and I have been in touch with him since. My son, C.C., who is in his final semester to earn his degree in the film studies program at the University of New Orleans, has been helping Scaffidi on the project.Jim Miller's new book, "Integrated: the Lincoln Institute, Basketball and a Vanished Tradition" is now available from the University Press of Kentucky or at Amazon.com.