WHITE PLAINS, NY – It’s getting pretty hard to watch NFL football in good conscience these days. My list of grievances is growing. The NFL has treated its players poorly, including denying for years that the sport caused brain injuries. They have turned a blind eye or been slow to react to issues like domestic violence and rape. It’s been difficult to interpret rules, like the Tuck Rule or whatever constitutes a catch these days. (I’m told you have to get both feet down, make a football move, secure the ball through the catch, hand the ball to the ref, enter the catch in a log book, then call Roger Goodell). And there’s all the dang commercials.
The number of commercials they are now jamming into a game is intolerable. Do they really need commercials before and after a kickoff? Between one usually non eventful play, almost always a touchback, we have to watch two sets of commercials. And if game circumstances line up badly, it can be a brutal barrage of ads:
A drive stalls and a team kicks a FG. Commercials.
3 yard run – end of quarter. Commercials.
5 yard completion. Coach’s Challenge. Commercials.
Upheld. Incomplete pass. Injury. Commercials.
We saw a few boring plays horseshoed into 20 minutes of commercials. I’ve wondered if one reason popular international sports like soccer and rugby have faced resistance in the USA is because they have running clocks and can’t squeeze in enough commercial breaks. In the Giants Rams game in London, Larry “Why is he Still Starting” Donnell fumbled a ball on the Giants first possession. When it was announced the play would be reviewed, the Brits booed soundly. Apparently, when Londoners go to a sporting event, they expect to be watching the athletes do athletic things, not stand around in a huddle. The owners can try to blame the declining TV ratings on sideshows like the Kaepernick protest, over-saturation, crotch grabbing touchdown celebrations, Tom Brady’s suspension, Peyton Manning’s retirement, or something else, but the entertainment experience is in decline. There have been some really ugly games. But I’m not even sure if the quality of the game is the main concern for many people anymore. The NFL has become fantasy-driven, with fans more interested in watching their individual players on the Red Zone Channel over watching their favorite teams play. Catering to the gambling junkies over actual fans is recipe for trouble. If you watch a 3-hour football game, how much of that time is the ball actually in play? Google says 11 lousy minutes. There’s more action than that at Different Matt’s place on a Tuesday.
Speaking of the NFL’s blundering, there’s the Josh Brown incident. It came out last week that he admitted to abusing his wife many times, including while she was pregnant. The NFL claims they didn’t have all the details as they were stonewalled by the King’s County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff, John Urquhart, has said that the NFL did not follow proper protocol and they only received the request via email from a person who did not identify himself as an NFL representative. Said Urquhart, “NFL, National Football League, he could have said any of that. Robert Agnew, Comcast.net, post office box in Woodinville. We had no idea who this yokel is.” Why does the NFL have so much trouble getting information? Didn’t they have the same excuse about the Ray Rice video? Maybe they should hire someone from TMZ? When you take into account that Brown already admitted to the organization that he had abused his wife in the past and that the NFL knew about the drunken hotel incident in the 2015 Pro Bowl, it seems indefensible that he only got a 1 game suspension. The NFL implemented a mandatory 6 game ban for domestic violence in 2014. The NFL claims that without more information from the Sheriff or from wife Molly Brown, who refused to speak to the NFL, they based their decision on the one incident.
Sane person: Why didn’t you get more information before you suspended him for only 1 game?
NFL: Hey, we sent an email. What more could we have done?
In its own statement in defense of the slap-on-the-wrist suspension, they said Brown was found to have violated the personal conduct policy. The stated mandatory suspension of a violation of the domestic abuse personal conduct policy is 6 games. I don’t get it. You’re supposed to be cracking down on this. He did not play in London and it looks like he won’t play for the Giants again. Too late Giants. It must be attached to John Mara’s legacy that he gave a man a contract extension after he admitted to abusing his wife. The Giants are supposed to be a class organization. They’re making me want to start an NFL boycott. Bring back the USFL. Get me Trump!