NFL Week 3: The League Stumbles Again While Bringing the WOW
The show’s over; time to get back to football. Wasn’t that the preferred storyline put out by the National Football League last week? After the topsy-turvy reverse-thrill ride brought on by the domestic violence and child abuse charges against numerous NFL stars, the League had learned its lesson.
Just check out the words of Commissioner Roger Goodell, the point man/punching bag on this issue. In a Friday press conference, he promised that an unnamed panel of experts would be appointed to study how the NFL’s disciplinary actions are handed down. As he said, “They should also consider the current system for determining violations, including my role in the process. There will be changes to our personal conduct policy. I know this will happen because we will make it happen. Nothing is off the table.”
The usual praise for Goodell’s every utterance did not automatically follow this pledge. I suspect it has to do with the nature of the words. Goodell, the son of a politician (a former congressman and senator from New York) sounded like he was channeling his old man. As in, “mistakes were made” instead of “I made a mistake.” This reliance on weasel words does not inspire confidence that things have changed. Rather, it looks like the League has decided to bury the scandal in the approved Washington way: appoint a commission and hope everyone forgets by the time it issues a report.
In that spirit the football-loving public tried to settle in for a weekend in which we only had to care about the action on the field, not the courtroom. Two great games on Sunday pointed the way forward to a post-litigation season. In one, the Arizona Cardinals won a tough defensive battle against the San Francisco 49ers, 23-14. The Cards, a traditional NFL doormat, made a furious charge for a playoff spot last season, coming up just short. The 49ers, a playoff team the past three years, can attest Arizona will not be so easy to beat.
The other premiere matchup came in Seattle in a Super Bowl XLVIII rematch. The defending champion Seahawks again beat the Denver Broncos, but not in the one-sided smackdown we suffered through last February. This time a late Peyton Manning touchdown pass and two-point conversion tied the game at 20-20 and sent it to overtime. Unfortunately, the OT was anticlimatic: the Seahawks took the opening kickoff and methodically marched down the field for a winning touchdown. If the Broncos can take anything from another loss to Seattle, it is that a few less mistakes (a late Manning interception, for one) may have been the only reason they lost. If these teams book return engagements for the Super Bowl we may get the close game we all expected last year.
Yes, the league looked to be turning the corner. Then, on Monday, Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti opened his piehole. A lengthy Friday report from ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” revealed the team and the League engaged in “a pattern of misinformation and misdirection employed by the Ravens and the NFL” in dealing with the Ray Rice arrest during the offseason. He pointed out, with great accuracy, “Our integrity has been brought into question.” He then made the shocking argument that the story was now being blown out of proportion as part of a way for the disgraced running back to win reinstatement in the League this season. He claimed to be surprised that the commissioner only suspended Rice for two games initially. This did not keep him from endorsing Goodell, saying that “If I’m asking people to give me another shot, then I certainly would ask you to give the league office another shot.”
Bisciotti’s confidence, almost cockiness, in answering questions put him in a different league than the on-script Goodell. Because of that, I’m able to name him the first winner of this site’s brand-new award. Yes, Steve Bisciotti, you are this week’s WOW. That stands for Weasel of The Week. I expect the competition to be fierce for several weeks, but the first award was not tough to choose at all. For his unique approach to damage control, he is the NFL’s biggest weasel. We’ll see how long he can hold it.
[Editor’s Note: I am happy to announce that Louis Burklow has now been promoted to Senior Staff Writer at Phoenix Genesis. Congratulations, Lou! I have really enjoyed reading and editing your movie, television, and book reviews and your weekly sports and lifestyle commentaries. I look forward to many more in the upcoming year.]
– Louis Burklow (aka, Hollywood Country Boy), Senior Staff Writer, Phoenix Genesis
Feel free to link or print this: just include the PHOENIX GENESIS URL: http://phoenixgenesis.com/
copyright (c) 2014 – All rights reserved.