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Peyton Manning's Denial & Chip Kelly's Green Mile? NFL Unfiltered Week 16

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There is a certain silliness and naiveté offered by some media and fans every time news of performance-enhancing drug use hits the landscape.  

In this case, Denver Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning found himself in the middle of a storm based on a story that has more holes in it than a Hillary Clinton explanation. But whether Manning did, or didn’t partake in the use of human growth hormone isn’t the point.   

At this stage, neither Manning nor any other professional athlete should have to deny using HGH.  Instead, the National Football League, as well as the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League ought to simply make it a part of doing business.  Just as they have in the case of Toradol, Xylocaine, OxyContin, and other painkillers and anti-inflammatories.  Photo: Photo: www.usatoday.com

In addition, we must stop pretending we really give a darn who takes what. Fans are only concerned about two things: How their favorite teams fair, and the success of their fantasy rosters. Whereas, media will cover the games whether the athletes that play them are “clean,” or not.  

All the righteous indignation every time a news outlet publishes a story which links a player to performance-enhancing drugs, is like nails on a chalkboard. It’s as if people think athletes pop a few Advil, get a massage from the team trainer and they’re ready to go. It’s maddening.  

In fact, it is hard to decide which is more galling, the piety heard from those who prefer athletes refrain from any and all drugs. Or, the hypocrisy from folks who ignore a culture of pain-killing injections and prescription drug use, while pretending those things have little or nothing to do with enhancing a player’s performance.  

If you think cortisone injections, and the regular use of Vicodin and Percocet fail to enhance performance, you probably believe Donald Trump is genuinely interested in the well-being of all Americans.  

Rather than vilifying athletes, both fans and media should recognize the impact of a drug-free NFL.  Are you really so eager to see the beginning of the Brock Osweiler era?  

Clearly, Manning has his issues, but he is one of the best quarterbacks in league history.  Therefore, IF he had taken HGH and it permitted him to play at a respectable to good level for another two or three years, the league, its partners, and the fans all benefited

Above all else, football is about one man crashing into another with as much force as his body will allow.  And to pretend needles and pills fail to enhance that ability, won’t change the fact players need them to play.  

So celebrate these men, who willingly shoot up, pop pills and do what they must to enhance their performance and keep their jobs.  

Either that, or stop watching because if they quit doing it, we might have to find more productive ways to kill ten hours every fall weekend.

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THINGS THE PUNDITS CAN’T OR WON’T SAY: Week 16

 -Wow, I figured Chip Kelly would balk at the mere suggestion he relinquish power as was reported by ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio.  But the fact Jeffrey Lurie even bothered to ask, proved me dead WRONG!  Kudos to Lurie for willingly paying someone not to work.

Now that Philadelphia is free of Kelly’s web, pay attention to who is charged with putting together the roster. Tom Donohoe is probably a nice man, but there is NOTHING in his résumé to suggest he has the wherewithal to acquire good football players.  

In truth, Kelly would make a terrific offensive-coordinator in the NFL, but his ego likely won’t allow it.  

With $6-million dollars committed to a head coach, you have to wonder how much salary matters in the new search.  Another $1-$2-million likely gets you a young guy who isn’t quite ready, or an NFL retread.

 -When the NFL’s free agency period begins in March, do yourself a favor: temper your enthusiasm. Spending large loot on big names doesn’t work, and hasn’t worked in the 20 years since the league adopted a true player-movement format.  

-Speaking of free agency, isn’t it fascinating how the Eagles’ new running backs failed to surprise?  Ryan Mathews made good use of his always limited carries, and DeMarco Murray flamed out as a misfit in Kelly’s offense.  

-The question isn’t whether Seattle beats Washington should they play during Wild Card weekend. It’s whether Kirk Cousins gets hurt in the process.  

-Does St. Louis head coach Jeff Fisher deserve credit for the Rams’ strong finish, or criticism for winning games when nobody is paying any attention? No doubt it’s the latter, because his squad has done this for four straight years.  

-By this time next week, quarterback Matt Ryan will have attempted over 600 passes for the fourth straight season. Meanwhile, the Panthers’ Cam Newton has only thrown over 500 passes once in his career. But you go on thinking the NFL is a passing league.  

-Here’s hoping the next wave of good, aging quarterbacks do whatever they have to do to stay on the field and play at a high level. That means you Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers and Eli Manning. 

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: www.usatoday.com