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NFL Unfiltered Week 6: Green Bay Packers, Eagles, Ray Lewis, concussion ignorance?

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Because of its popularity and huge revenues the National Football League has a conundrum other violent sports don’t share.  Consider the fact that fistfights are still permitted in hockey and the goal in boxing is to temporarily incapacitate the opponent. 

 

But while executives, players, fans and media perpetuate a false narrative, the truth is nobody really cares about player safety. 

 

In a week where the national consciousness centered on applause for football’s unconscious, we celebrate the play of Robert Griffin III without wondering why he played at all. 

 

In the interest of full disclosure, let me be clear: I couldn’t care less about player safety, either.  I like knockouts during prize fights and hard checks in hockey games.  And I want to see bruising hits in pro football.  Admittedly, my moral compass probably points Robert Griffin III photo: nfl.si.comin the wrong direction, but I am no hypocrite.

 

I want RGIII out there, shaken brain be damned. I want an 18-game schedule. I want as much pro football as I can get. 

 

It isn’t wrong to want more hits and touchdowns.  It’s wrong to take a sanctimonious stance on player safety while reaping pleasure and monetary gain from the injuries they cause.  

Sure, Commissioner Roger Goodell appears concerned about the issue, but neither he nor his bosses really give a damn.  If they did, they wouldn’t play weekly Thursday night games or continue to push for an expanded schedule.  And they would institute a rule making players ineligible the week after sustaining a concussion.  Does anyone think that will ever happen?

Still, the owners aren’t the only ones guilty of fraudulence. The NFL players’ association and its members are also unfazed.  How else do you explain Griffin III’s choice to play rather than sit?       

Griffin III, like most players possess an otherwise admirable quality in that they don’t want to abandon their teammates.  But they must live with that decision.  They know the risks inherent to concussions, so if they forget names or drool in their laps in their 40’s or 50’s, it isn’t the NFL’s fault.  

Why can’t we simply acknowledge the fact that we all want our football?  Fans spend their time and money.  Players play shortly after suffering head trauma and everyone involved in the game is happy to let them.  If some suffer irreparable brain damage, so be it.  


That’s the inconvenient truth of the NFL.


WEEK SIX OBSERVATIONS

What the pundits can’t or won’t say

  

-Alex Smith wouldn’t have played as well as Aaron Rodgers if the Packers had drafted him, but there is no way Rodgers wins a Super Bowl and becomes league MVP if the 49ers take him with the top pick in 2005.

 

If Falcons’ defensive coordinator Mike Nolan gets another head coaching gig, the team that hires him deserves the failure he’ll provide.

 

-Mike Mayock manages to inform viewers without pretending every player is an all-pro.  Are you listening Jon Gruden?  

 

-Teams with top 5 quarterbacks have gotten almost nothing from their last two draft classes.  I don’t think that is a coincidence.  I think it speaks to the arrogance that comes from knowing you have a good quarterback.  .   

 Eagles photo: delawareonline.com

-If a head coach settles for a 50+ yard field goal to win a game he is afraid of something or someone.  

 

-Mike Munchak obviously attends game management seminars with Jason Garrett and Mike Tomlin.  

 

-The Steelers are dealing with injuries to valuable players, but their biggest problem is a failure to address a decrepit defense.

 

-Defensive coordinator Dick LaBeau merits hall of fame consideration but he has struggled since Tim Tebow torched his squad last season.  Not that anyone would ever say so.  

 

-The Eagles’ and Lions’ style of play is far more disappointing than the respective results it achieves.  

 

-A little more than six weeks ago ESPN’s NFL insider John Clayton said Michael Vick worked tirelessly this off-season and “Andy Reid had to kick him out of the Novacare Complex.”  Care to share the specifics of all that work, John?

 

-Just because an NFL coach or executive takes your calls doesn’t mean your football analysis is worthy of consideration.  

 

-You can’t maintain weight loss unless you change your lifestyle and you can’t consistently run the football unless you change your team’s culture.

 Ray Lewis photo: Getty Images

-Ray Lewis is a great leader and future Hall of Fame inductee.  But he can’t play anymore, despite all the weight his hype men say he lost this off-season.  

 

-Somewhere, deep down, John Harbaugh is very happy to avoid an awkward conversation with Lewis, at least until next March.    

 

-Now do you see why some Chiefs’ fans are angry?  Put that mess in any city that cares about its pro football team and you’ll get the same fury.    

 

-The Giants spanked the 49ers, but they’ll still struggle to make the playoffs.

 

-Nice performance by the Packers, but they aren’t going to win the Super Bowl playing that way.

 

-Most troubling for the Texans is the fact they couldn’t take advantage of the Packers’ weak offensive line.

 

-Peyton Manning is my least favorite player, but he is showing a level of grit I didn’t think he had.  

 

-Apparently, Philip Rivers’ stats are too good to mention he’s 3-4 in playoff games and hasn’t played in one since 2009.

 

-Aaron Rodgers tells the media to be quiet. Tom Brady won’t utter a word about Wes Welker’s value but has plenty to say to opposing cornerbacks, and Drew Brees is more concerned with breaking records than winning football games.  

 


Remember when these three were praised for being humble, regular guys?

 

 Top 4 this week (rankings disclaimer: my top four will always feature two AFC teams and two NFC teams).

  

Atlanta Falcons

New York Giants

Baltimore Ravens

Houston Texans

 

Earl Myers is a freelance writer from the Philadelphia area.  He closely follows North America's four major sports leagues but just about any sporting event gets his attention.  His goal is to provoke a little thought in his readers.

 

Contact Earl at emyersiii@hotmail.com

 

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RG III photo: nfl.si.com

Ray Lewis photo: Getty Images