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NFL Unfiltered Week 3: Despite league controversies, fans will always watch

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell deftly avoided questions from the media throng last Friday.  

In doing so, he made two things abundantly clear.  

First, he is not resigning, nor is he imposing any kind of suspension on himself for his clumsy handling of the Ray Rice case.  And secondly, the nation must wait for the pound of flesh it so badly wants from him and/or others, for several months.  

There it is folks, the leader of one of the most powerful and profitable business entities in the country thumbed his nose at you.  He defiantly dismissed any notion he ought to step down and refused to admit any prior knowledge of the contents of the now infamous elevator video.  

For his part, Goodell did make a point to apologize several times for “getting it wrong” in regards to Rice.  And he tried to assure you the NFL plans to take domestic violence, sexual assaults and other off-field transgressions more seriously, effective immediately.Photo: Blacksportsonline.com

Did his press conference disappoint you?  If so, are you going to do anything about it?  

Goodell, and the thirty-two owners he works for, don’t think so.  In fact, they are counting on you doing nothing and frankly, their strategy makes perfect sense.   

Without specifically saying so, the NFL is daring you to find alternative entertainment on Sundays, Monday and Thursday nights. And thus far, their gamble is paying big dividends.  

Consider, despite all the recent bluster from the moral majority, the week two Sunday Night Football game between the Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers rose eight percent from the 2013 Week 2 game between the 49ers and Seattle Seahawks.  

That means in the midst of one of the most polarizing scandals in league history, in a game that featured a player (the 49ers’ Ray McDonald) arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, more people watched than the year before.    

Why would the NFL do anything rash like fire Goodell when the numbers say fans still don’t care enough to change the channel?

Here we are, three weeks after the nation saw Rice’s brutality, and interest in the league is growing.  It seems the country’s outrage festers throughout the work week, but ends shortly before kickoff.  

The NFL knows this.  

They know stadiums are full and are daring you to do something other than devote several hours to tackles and touchdowns. That is why Goodell confidently stood in front of the masses and expressed the obvious. That is why he simply offered a mea culpa, asked for forgiveness and vowed to get it right next time.  

The fact is, the NFL sees through our collective hypocrisy.  They understand media, fans and advertisers are emotionally and financially committed to professional football.  

Mostly, they know abused children, women knocked unconscious and bumbling leadership isn’t enough for folks to sour on their league.  

THINGS THE PUNDITS COULDN’T OR WOULDN’T SAY: Week 3

-Perhaps the slight uptick in off-field violent acts by NFL players is partly due to the league and NFLPA’s insistence on longer off-seasons, lighter training camps and fewer practices?  Fatigue often lends itself to a certain amount of calm.    

-It is easy to point a sanctimonious finger at an organization like the Baltimore Ravens after a player misbehaves, but why isn’t there more criticism of a team for employing a player with a lengthy arrest record?  The answer is the league’s Teflon coach—St. Louis Rams’ Jeff Fisher—employs that player (wide receiver Kenny Britt)LeSean McCoy photo by Paul Sancya.

-Eagles’ tailback LeSean McCoy talked his way back on the field after an obvious blow to his head. Proving once again, the NFL’s concussion protocols are mostly for show. This is what you get from a lack of transparency.  

-Eagles’ cornerback Cary Williams deserves credit for saying what he feels.  He didn’t give away trade secrets.  He simply opined his boss is grinding on him and his teammates unnecessarily by “playing a game before a game.” A refreshingly honest, albeit misguided, point of view.  

-Against competitive NFL defenses, quarterback Peyton Manning’s lack of arm strength is a major problem.  

-The Arizona Cardinals could go 16-0 and their quarterback situation still makes them underdogs. The same goes for the Cincinnati Bengals.  

-Seahawks’ cornerback Richard Sherman gets beat just like every other good defensive back in the NFL. To believe otherwise, is foolish.  

-Hard to say which sideline facial expression is more humorous: 49ers’ head Coach Jim Harbaugh’s angry explosions? Or Seahawks’ head Coach Pete Carroll’s bewilderment.

-One of the oddest scenes from Sunday’s games: Seahawks’ backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson going to midfield alone for the overtime coin flip.  

-Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is on his way to Canton. However, these days, he misses some throws because he doesn’t trust his teammates, particularly his offensive line.  You won’t get that from Greg Cosell.  

- Running the football effectively in the 4th quarter produces wins.  Credit Detroit Lions’ head Coach Jim Caldwell for figuring out what former coach Jim Schwartz never did.    

-Penalties are the defensive equivalent of a turnover.  Every week, a personal foul, unnecessary roughness or unsportsmanlike conduct call on 3rd down decide games. It doesn’t matter if a player actually commits one these infractions.

-After a game’s worth of action, it is obvious Minnesota Vikings rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is already better than 25% of the league’s starters. 

 

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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Photo: blacksportsonline.com

McCoy photo: Paul Sancya