Putting the fun back in the NFL, one rule change at a time

Written by :
Published on : May 25, 2017

 

In an about-face from the way the league has been operating in recent years, the NFL has voted to give its players a chance to express themselves. The league has spent years stifling their players’ creative instincts by penalizing them for end zone celebrations. Instead of embracing something that fans and players both enjoy, the No Fun League has been throwing flags and even fining players for putting a little soul in the game, but it appears that Roger Goodell and the powers that be have seen the error of their ways.

 

At the spring league meeting, the owners voted to ease restrictions on touchdown celebrations and proponents of common sense everywhere rejoiced. What was it about dancing in the end zone or celebrating a touchdown that irked all these owners so bad in the first place? Maybe they were jealous of the dance moves, or maybe they are so far removed from our meager plebeian society that they forgot how normal, non-billionaires have fun and express joy. Either way, they are starting to get their heads out of their asses and come around on this one. I, for one, can’t wait to see some of the pent up celebrations that people have been sitting on during these dark days of prohibition.

 

The obvious winners in this decision are the fans. If football fans wanted to see a bunch of soulless robots they would watch baseball. Pigskin aficionados like the unpredictable nature of the game and want their favorite players to surprise them in new and exciting ways, and with the game being damn near a century old, it’s time to get creative. That’s where celebrations on big plays come in. The players still aren’t allowed to do anything that might be seen as taunting (throat slash), or anything sexually suggestive, but they are allowed to do group celebrations and to use the ball as a prop.

 

 

The players who will no longer have to risk being fined for getting excited are winners in this too. By extension the teams also win because they won’t have to endure ridiculous penalties when players inevitably celebrate regardless of the rules. Guys like Antonio Brown are excited to get the whole team in on the fun and we should be too. I imagine Odell Beckham Jr has a few things up his sleeve and I’m sure Cam Newton will hop on whatever dance trend is happening and then beat it to death.  

 

While the rule change is definitely a step in the right direction, I’m not sure that the NFL went far enough. There’s still a few annoying things, like that you reportedly still can’t dunk the ball through the uprights like Calvin Johnson used to (despite what the below video says). Also, the 40 second play clock starts immediately after a touchdown, meaning that teams could risk a delay of game if the TD scoring player isn’t quick about his celebration. Think of the wonderfully choreographed masterpieces that we will miss out on. For a little more explanation on what is, and what isn’t allowed, check out this informative video featuring former Detroit Lions TE and TD celebrations pro, Joe Fauria.  

 


I say let these guys go to town. Maybe they could even work on dance numbers with predetermined music. The crowd would love it and so would the players. These guys got soul and they need to share it with the world.

 

Let them dance.

 

 


Roger Goodell has got to be pissed

Written by :
Published on : January 24, 2017

 

 

The New England Patriots are heading back to yet another Super Bowl. Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and their band of misfits will play the Matt Ryan-led Atlant Falcons on Sunday, February 5th in Super Bowl LI. By now, everyone outside of New England and the extended fanbase has to be tired of seeing this team play for the Lombardi trophy. I know I am. But there’s one person out there who has to be more sickened by this than anyone else. And that person is NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell.

 

When Goodell handed all-century QB, Tom Brady a four-game suspension for under-inflated footballs it was clear that Goodell had it out for Brady. A ridiculously heavy-handed punishment for such a seemingly minor infraction to be sure. The entire deflategate scandal also cost the Patriots their 2016 first round and 2017 fourth round draft picks, making it clear that Goodell’s witch hunt also extended to the franchise. If it’s true that Goodell had made a point of harming the New England Patriots as an organization – and it seems clear that it was his intention – then he has to be furious at the fact that they are headed for the Super Bowl, despite being without their best player for the first quarter of the season.

 

 

It must make Goodell even more furious to know how badly the Patriots and their fans want to embarrass him. The NFL commissioner made it a point to avoid viewing a Patriots’ game in person during the NFL playoffs, opting instead to attend two games in a row at the Georgia Dome. And the fans in New England took note. Multiple times during the Patriots 36-17 thrashing of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship, the crowd in Foxborough called out the NFL commissioner by name with chants of “where’s Roger?” and “Roger,Roger.”

 

Everyone in New England wants to see Roger Goodell suffer through having to hand the Super Bowl trophy over to the Patriots. And rightfully so. After all, he did put that franchise and their fans through months of hell while dealing with such a stupid scandal. Even better, if Goodell does end up having to hand over the championship trophy to the Patriots there’s a good chance that he will have to hand over the MVP trophy to Tom Brady himself. Wouldn’t that be sweet? I can just see the look on his stupid face right now.

 

 

Honestly, I hope that the Atlanta Falcons are able to pull out the victory in Houston. Their offense is down right amazing and as I said before, we’re all tired of seeing New England win all the time. But that high-flying Atlanta offense has yet to see a real test in the playoffs. The Seattle team they played at home is awful when playing on the road and the Packers team that they dismantled in the NFC Championship was deeply flawed on defense. This will be a whole new ball game for the Falcons and it won’t be clear if they are up the task until the big game gets underway.

 

Should the expected come to pass and New England wins Super Bowl LI, we can all take solace in the fact that no one will be more upset about it than Roger Goodell. As much as people dislike Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots, people dislike the commissioner more. So no matter who is rooting for who, we are all rooting to see Goodell squirm. And there’s a good chance that we will get to see it. The Patriots are going to the Super Bowl, and there’s no way Goodell can hide from that.

 

 


Has the NFL and its product gotten stale?

Written by :
Published on : December 10, 2016

 

 

For years, NFL has been king. It is an entertainment giant that has dominated the media in the US for as long as I can remember. Not only the most popular sport but also the biggest draw in cable television. But this season has not been the boon that the NFL is accustomed to and there are some indications that people could tuning pro football out. The NFL used to be the cream of the crop but now it seems as though the product may be getting stale. Some have blamed the Colin Kaepernick national anthem protests for turning people off, but that firestorm seems to have calmed for the most part. Let’s look at a few realistic reasons for why people may be turning their backs on America’s favorite sport.

 

Too Much of a Good Thing

One of the NFL’s biggest problems is the over-saturation of the market with their product. Simply put, there is just too much damn football, too damn often. During the offseason, we get nearly nonstop media coverage. The league and its media juggernaut are constantly feeding us stories wherever they can find them. And manufacturing them out of thin air the minute that it seems like people might be taking their mind off of football. It’s like the league and those in charge think that people will somehow forget football during the spring and summer. Big football is like a clingy boyfriend who is scared that his way too hot girlfriend is getting bored with him. “Hey, whatcha thinkin’ bout?” I mean jeez, can we get some space or what? Such a turn off.

 

 Brian Hoyer added to the list of Thursday Night Football injuries.

 

Keeping the fans engaged in the game, even when the games are not being played is one thing. I respect the fact that the NFL is huge and people want to know about their players and teams year round. But once the season starts, it gets even worse. Once upon a time, pro football was a special event that happened twice a week. The lion’s share of the games took place on Sunday, with the grand finale, the beloved weekly holiday of Monday Night Football.

 

Nowadays, we add Thursday games to the slate of weekly games. And the result is pretty awful. The Thursday games are routinely unwatchable. Not only is the play sloppy, but it increases the risk of injury for players. Having to play on Thursday after playing a game the previous Sunday is brutal for both fans and players alike. If I was running the player’s union, I would make this a big negotiation point when it came time to renew the CBA. It dilutes the product and puts people’s livelihood at risk. There simply isn’t enough time for the body to recover between Sunday and Thursday.

 

All of that adds up to a drop in quality of the fan experience. The NFL needs to reel itself in or it risks making a joke out of what was once a high-quality product. Chill out on the year round coverage and dial back the games to taking place on Sundays and Mondays only. There was a recent rumor that the league was going to explore the possibility of doing away with Thursday Night Football. The league came out and said that the rumor was false but I think it would be to the benefit of the game if they at least explored the concept. Do it for the fans, the players and the overall product.

 

Damn Zebras

I’ve touched before on just how bad the officiating in the NFL has become. Maybe it’s the advancements in coverage and instant replay but it seems like there are constantly game-altering blunders on the part of the officials. These blunders seem to be changing the outcome of games every single week. And this year has been exceptionally bad.

 

 The blind zebras in their natural habitat.

 

The NFL needs to do something about this immediately. If you ask me, it’s the single biggest factor contributing the the degradation of the product. When there is wild inconsistency from week-to-week, game-to-game and officiating crew to officiating crew, it’s time to do as much as you can to remove the human factor from that part of the game. And the league has the ability.

 

There needs to be widespread review-ability of every facet of the game. The NFL claims they are scared of slowing the game down too much, even though there are endless commercials that do more to ruin the viewing experience than actually getting the calls right ever could. We’re talking penalties, turnovers, missed calls, no calls, the whole nine yards. Get the calls right so that the people can be confident in the integrity of the sport. When there is such a wide spectrum of how games can be called, people like me over in Lionsfanville end up coming up with wild conspiracy theories about how the league is out to get us. I mean, how else can you explain that flag that got picked up by the refs in that 2014 wild card game in Dallas?

 

Slopfest

This next part is a little harder for me to wrap my head around. If you’ve watched NFL football regularly over the last decade or so, I think you can argue that the quality of the play on the field has gone down. Maybe it’s that the talent pool has gotten too spread out with the new teams in the league, but it seems like there are very few rock solid, fundamentally sound football teams and way more sloppy, undisciplined teams these days. Most of the organizations are fielding squads with tons of flaws that make tons of mistakes. This disparity between the haves (Patriots, Steelers, etc) and the have nots (Browns, Jaguars, etc) is bigger than ever. It seems that pro football needs its own version of Bernie Sanders to promote roster equality.

 

 

I have an interesting theory as to why the play might have gotten so much worse in recent years. Back in 2011, when the current collective bargaining agreement was approved by both owners and players, there were some new rules implemented in regards to how many full contact practices teams were allowed to have. The number of these full contact, padded practices during the season were greatly reduced. In addition, training camp two-a-day practices (a staple of football culture from high school all the way to the pros) were taken away completely.

 

With this loss of hard-hitting, full speed practices, coaches back in 2011 were concerned that defenses would suffer. It appears those fears were well founded, as sloppy tackling and lack of defensive chemistry are problems for many teams, especially in the first half of the season. There also seems to be variation in offensive chemistry for many teams week-to-week. It seems like these restrictions on practices is a good place to start pointing the finger.

 

The big reason that these new rules were implemented was concerns that all of these full contact practices were contributing to higher rates of player injury. But it doesn’t seem like having less practices has done anything to improve player safety. On the contrary, it seems as if major injuries are happening now more than ever. Could it be that the players’ bodies aren’t properly prepared for the beating that they take during games? They are essentially getting their bodies used to being hit in game, as opposed to in training camp. This CBA is good for another 5 years or so, and I find it hard to believe the players would ever allow the number of practices to rise again, but maybe they should consider it, for the health of the game and for their own personal health.

 

No one likes a tyrant

NFL owners around the country should perhaps begin looking at the man they have installed to run the league for the past decade. While Roger Goodell has done many good things for the NFL and made the owners a ton of money, he has also destroyed his own image. Players despise the tyrannical manner in which Goodell handles league business and player discipline. And it seems like most fans genuinely hate the guy, myself included. The deflategate Tom Brady witch hunt was the final straw and it seems almost inevitable that Goodell will be handed his walking papers sooner rather than later.

 

 See what I mean?

 

Roger Goodell’s self-imposed role as judge, jury and executioner in matters of player and team discipline has brought way too much negative publicity to the league. Hell, the Tom Brady thing almost went to the Supreme Court. That’s just ridiculous. While team owners should be grateful for what the commissioner has done for pro football as a brand and cash generating operation, the damage to the league’s image as a result of Goodell’s actions must also be taken into account.

 

At this point, any good business mind could make money for the NFL. People are tired of Goodell and so are the players. If the league really wants to get itself back on track, canning Roger Goodell should be the first move. Nobody likes a tyrant, especially not in the United States of America. After they bring down this despot, they can get to correcting all the other things I’ve mentioned. The NFL isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon, but ignore the warning signs at your peril. The owners need to get in front of this before it’s too late.

 

Save the NFL!

 

 


Understanding Why the Patriots are so Damn Good

Written by :
Published on : September 28, 2016

 

 

The New England Patriots are 3-0. That isn’t much of a headline because the Pats always seem to be good. Why is that? Why does one franchise seem immune to all the regular pitfalls that every other teams falls into? Are they lucky? Or magic? Or are they just cheaters? They are 3-0 with out suspended QB Tom Brady and have wins from the backup and third stringer. They have mostly been without super-monster tight end Rob Gronkowski. Did I mention the third string QB, Jacoby Brissett, is a rookie? And his first start ever was against JJ Watt and the Texans? Where they won 27-0?  It’s kind of insane. Let’s look at all the angles and figure out why New England is so damn good. Those winning jerks.

 

The System

They run a tight ship over there in Foxborough. They believe in a team first philosophy. Most squads preach some version of this idea but it is gospel in the Patriots locker room. That means, each player is a cog in a larger machine and no one is more important than the machine. If a cog stops being effective (or gets hurt) then it’s replaced. Do your job and you look like a star. Anyone remember Matt Cassel? The Pats don’t give huge paydays to free agents who threaten to leave. They draft well and find talent wherever they can. Often giving vets new life in a stripped down role where they can shine. Players like Randy Moss, Aqib Talib and LeGarrette Blount all thrived in Boston because the system only asks them to do what they are great at.

 

 

Competitive Advantage

The Patriots exploit every facet of the game for maximum returns. This hyper-aggressive efficiency has gotten them in hot water more than a few times. Some call this cheating. They broke the rules so yes, it is cheating. Spygate and Deflategate come to mind. Also, we need a new name for scandals, this constant “gate” bullshit is tired. The league issued their punishments and (for the most part) we’ve all moved on. But even in scandal we can see how the team uses each inch and thread available to them. They push right up and sometimes past the edge. This drive is incredible and responsible for their success and their failures.

 

The Coach

Time to stop pussy-footing around and get to the real answer to why the Patriots are so good. It’s coach Bill Belichick. It’s always been Belichick. And the franchise will continue to be successful as long as he is in charge. SBS’ Alex likes to refer to the coach as Emperor Palpatine. Cruel, funny and accurate in terms of his masterful planning prowess but even that is an oversimplification of Belichick’s amazing football mind.

 

Most teams focus on their strength and work to build that identity. This is how they know they can move the ball. New England doesn’t do this. They obliviously have plays and things they like but the basic ideology is different. Bill’s magic is that he molds his team into the exact creature perfect for hunting and killing your team. They change their identity week-to-week. Not only is it difficult to plan for them but they become your worst nightmare. If you can’t stop the run, then they will transform into a power back system and pound the rock. Weak or young cornerbacks? Deep shots all day. Rookie QB? How about a steady diet of all-out blitz? It’s like playing Rock-Paper-Scissors but Belichick knows what you are going to throw and changes his answer to beat you. It’s almost not fair.

 

 

Why doesn’t every team do this? Some try but most aren’t deep enough or well disciplined enough to pull it off. That’s why the Pats have such high standards about who they draft. Bill Belichick is a guaranteed Hall of Famer. Those silly scandals don’t stack up against 190 wins and 4 Super Bowl Championships with the Patriots franchise. He literally changed the game. It’s a trite saying but it legit applies. I take my hat (or hoodie) off to him.

 

The Pats play the Buffalo Bills at home this Sunday. Jimmy Garoppolo may be back from injury and will be looking for his third win on the year. Jacoby Brissett hurt his thumb in the last game and may be unavailable. If neither can go then wide receiver Julian Edelman will start under center. Which sounds bonkers but they would probably win. Either way, they get Golden Boy, Tom Brady, back for week 5 against the Cleveland Browns. I kind of feel sorry for the Browns because Tom is going to go ape all over their secondary in his return. Each touchdown will be a fuck you to Commissioner Roger Goodell and I expect it to rain f-bombs that afternoon.

 

A fully healthy and stocked roster means the Patriots should be the favorite in every game for the rest of the season. Don’t be surprised to see them stay nearly undefeated the entire year and probably win the Super Bowl. Again.

 

Gold Standard.

 

 


The NFL is Going to China

Written by :
Published on : July 19, 2016

 

 

The NFL is expanding its international reach. London will no longer be the only non-American location to host a game. That’s right, the National Football League is planning a regular season contest in China. The match is slated for 2018, with the Los Angeles Rams facing the San Francisco 49ers. What does this mean for the future? Should we be excited or skeptical? Here is everything you need to know about the big move to the big east.

 

The league has been trying to pull this off for a while now. Back in 2007, they had plans for game in Beijing that never materialized. This second attempt seems like it will happen. Owners hope this will unlock a whole new demographic of fans and create new revenue streams for the franchises. There is a clear push by the NFL to broaden into the world market. There will be another three games played in London this year plus one in Mexico. Interest is growing globally. Reports are that Germany would love to host an NFL game so who knows, maybe we can add Berlin to the list in a year or two.

 

 

Not everyone is thrilled about the developments. Many players and coaches have spoken up about their displeasure. The main complaint being that the increased travel is really taxing. And squads who aren’t made to leave the states may have an advantage in the long run. Teams always get their bye week after playing in London but what about the fact that one side is losing a home game? From the management side, I could see how the showcase is worth the opportunity but from a local fan perspective, I totally understand the frustration. What if you have season tickets? You just lost one of eight home games. That’s not nothing. Plus, the foreign kickoffs are always 6am or something even less convenient. Expand the league but not at the direct cost of the diehards.

 

Like all things, this boils down to dollars. Players want bigger contracts and the league wants more money. Adding new countries of viewers will pay for all that. The travel may be rough but for the amount of cash these guys are making, it shouldn’t be an issue. So whether or not you like the idea, it is here to stay. The NFL will have more and more events overseas. Maybe all as lead up to London or Beijing getting a permanent team.

 

Beijing National Stadium AKA the Bird’s Nest

 

Look at hollywood. Blockbusters are making huge box office waves in Asia. In some cases, the movies make more money in China than they do here. And the industry is adjusting because of it. The NFL is following this model. They see the capital and the potential that the Chinese market has to offer and they are pouncing on it. We need to start learning to play nice and share the game. It’s going global with or without you so just get onboard now.

 

The world of old school pig skin is not dying but changing. It’s getting bigger, and faster. More mechanized, more advertised and more publicized. New rules that favor higher scoring make a better product to sell. Roger Goodell will do anything he can to increase the popularity of the sport. To any new Chinese football fans, I say welcome and are you ready for some football?

 

Fortunes.

 

 


The NFL’s fight against Tom Brady continues

Written by :
Published on : April 26, 2016

 

I really thought that I would never have to talk about ‘Deflategate’ again, but the NFL just won’t let that happen. The league’s relentless quest to vilify America’s sweetheart, Tom Brady, got a big boost yesterday when U.S. appeals court ruled in favor of the NFL and reinstated a four-game suspension for the Patriots’ QB. The NFL has not yet stated if it plans to carry out the suspension but you have to think that they will. Why go through all the legal trouble if you were going to let it slide.

 

So the NFL finally gets its way and Roger Goodell gets to continue being the judge, jury and executioner when it comes to player discipline. Great. As if he didn’t already act like a dictator. I’m sure now that his position of power has been affirmed in a court of law, that he will act more reasonably with it. It still seems crazy how bad the Patriots are getting screwed over some under-inflated footballs.

 

 Tom is about to go full terminator on the NFL.

 

Not only will the team be without its Super Bowl winning signal caller, but the league also took away their first-round draft pick this year. A first round draft pick seems pretty drastic, even if the Patriots are the evil empire and deserve to go down in flames. That might just be my general hatred for the franchise boiling over. Even though I can’t stand them and I’m truly tired of seeing them win every single year, this punishment is far too harsh.

 

But what can the team or Tom Brady do? I highly doubt they will consider taking the case to the Supreme Court, and I doubt even more that the court would ever decide to hear the case. So it seems as though both the team and the quarterback are going to be forced to bend over and take it. Roger Goodell has won, plain and simple, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

 

 Look at that smug bastard.

 

Luckily for the Patriots, only one of the first four games for which Brady will be suspended is on the road, against the Cardinals. The other three games are at home against the Dolphins, Texans and Bills. None of those games are going to be particularly easy but I can see the team coming out with a 2-2 record under backup Jimmy Garoppolo. And after that, you just know Brady will come back with a thirst for blood and burning desire to stick it to the league in the only way he knows how. Winning football games.

 

Goodell may have won the battle but I can totally see Tom Brady getting the last laugh when he sets the league on fire upon his return. Let me just say that I don’t really want this too happen but it totally seems like something Tom and his team would do. And if that makes Roger Goodell even a little bit angry that’s enough reason for me to get behind it. I hate the Patriots but I’m pretty sure that I hate the commissioner of the league even more. Maybe for no bigger reason than that he just gave Tom Brady a big fat chip on his shoulder. A chip that he will use to make the damned Patriots once again an awesome football team.

 

 


ScoreBoredSports NFL Staff Picks: Week 17

Written by :
Published on : January 2, 2016

 

 

Well folks, it’s been an incredible year making picks for the all the SBS staff. We’re a bunch of smart motherfuckers. Though there was a heated competition and I am currently a distant second, I will make my boldest prediction yet: I will become the ScoreBoredSports NFL Staff Picks Champion. In fact, here is an excerpt of my acceptance speech:

 

 

But the real point here is more exposé than anything. What the hell got into SBS Editor and possible PED user Bruno? Here we are in a two-man race between myself and Ryan, comfortable on our laurels, when all of a sudden this dude Bruno gets the Shining and mounts a ridiculous comeback. In the last five weeks he’s been among the top two in picks, including blowing us all (out of the water) this past week. Sick of it. Someone needs to dig up the dirt.

 

Moving on, the trickiest game on the slate this week for me to pick was the Cardinals – Seahawks matchup, mainly because they’re both damn good.  The game is in Arizona, but there’s very little at stake for the Cards, already having won the NFC west, while Seattle and Russell Wilson were straight up Megachurching everyone in their path before that unfortunate Rams loss (yes, when it applies to Russell Wilson on the football field, I believe “Megachurch” can be used as a verb). That loss makes this game critical for the Seabirds, not so much for the Sandbirds, so I went with Seattle.

 

That about does it for the ScoreBoredSports NFL Staff Picks for this year.  Thanks so much to the readers, we sincerely hope that you made money gambling illegally, using our tried-and-true methods of nonsense.  Here’s to a great end of the NFL season, playoffs, Super Bowl, and hopefully a Roger Goodell Satan-worshipping scandal in the off-season.

 

My New Year’s resolution for 2016:

 

 

Week 17

 

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Week 8

Week 9

Week 10

Week 11

Week 12

Week 13

Week 14

Week 15

Week 16

 

 


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