Here’s my problem with Roger Goodell: He talks out of both sides of his mouth.
I haven’t followed the labor negotiations between the NFL players and the owners that closely. I hear about it on radio from time to time and understand how far apart the two sides are in trying to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement. I get it that the 2011 season is threatened, although I’m not in panic mode yet. Common sense tells me the two sides will work something out.
But Goodell is starting to irritate me with his decree that an 18-game regular season is all but a done deal and that if the players want to fight adding two games to the regular season, it’s going to be a fight they can’t win.
This is the same NFL commissioner who says – says, mind you – that he’s concerned about the substantial injury risk in the league and the growing number of head injuries. This is the commissioner who has instituted rules, good rules, that help protect players from helmet-first blows. This is the commissioner who seems to be looking out for the league’s players. They are, after all, the lifeblood of his league.
So why is Goodell so determined to add two more games?
It’s the economy, stupid.
Two more games generates more money. Television contracts can be re-negotiated. The NFL is the most popular entity in sports, so Goodell probably figures why not go for more, more, more.
Except that it flies in the face of his supposed concern about player injuries. More games means more injuries. A lot of teams struggle to make it through a 16-game schedule. Just look at the Green Bay Packers, whose injured reserve list took longer to read than “War and Peace.”
Because of the violent nature of football players – a good thing or we probably wouldn’t watch much – injuries happen with regularity. While you’re watching a game sometime, write down all the instances in which play has to be halted while an injured player is attended to.
If the players union is as strong as I suspect it is, it won’t budge on the issue of 18 games. Are fans really clamoring for two more regular-season games? None that I’ve heard from are. The current NFL season is plenty long enough, what with four preseason games, a 17-week regular season and a month of playoffs.
True, an expansion of the regular season would cut two games from the preseason schedule, which is a point in Goodell’s favor. Preseason football is a waste of time.
But I’m in favor of cutting the preseason while keeping the regular season the way it is. That would be the proper gesture toward keeping players safe on the field of play.
So, Mr. Goodell, tell us: Is it about player safety or the bottom line financially?
Forget it, I think we know the answer.
* Every year, college football coaches say the same thing: They’re pleased with their recruiting class.
Can you think of a time a coach expressed disappointment and disgust with a recruiting class? No, because it’s never happened.
Yet, it only makes sense that some recruiting classes are really good, some are really bad and most are in the middle. That’s sports. Heck, that’s life.
I’m in the middle and I accepted that a long time ago. Most of you who are reading this are in the middle, too. Some are a bit lower. It’s doubtful that any of the real winners out there read this blog, but I suppose I can hold out some hope.
The guys who follow recruiting closely, for Rivals.com or other recruiting websites, are paid to know their stuff. I’m not saying they don’t. I just regard recruiting as a roll of the dice. It’s nice that schools can recruit four-star players and occasionally slip a five-star guy into the fold. And, yes, it’s usually the traditionally-strong schools that are at the top of recruiting lists.
I just think recruiting is very hard to judge. How many times has a great high school player gone bust at the next level? How many times has a so-so high school player become a really good player in college?
So forgive me on this national signing day for college football if I keep to my wait-and-see attitude. Congratulations to Kansas and Kansas State for the general optimism that exists regarding their recruiting classes, though. I’m not here to rain on anyone’s parade, although I do feel a few sprinkles.
My Facebook friend
Chris is one of my most-recent Facebook friend additions. One of the highlights of my life is a new friend request on Facebook, which I suppose says a lot about the quality of my life. I don’t really know Chris, but I don’t really know most of the people on Facebook. Yet, we’re able to have wonderful times together.
Here is what Chris had to say about the whole Facebook thing and a little bit about him:
I was a guest on your show one time when you were doing a remote at Office This. I also was part of a donation of apparel to several groups that we did thru your radio show. So that, along with listening to the shenanigans of you and Bruce on the radio, is how we crossed paths in this wonderful world.
Now, I am co-owner in a company called Real People Real Opportunity. It is an online company that aligns individuals with ways they can market their own business online or come and join us as an affiliate business partner and they can grow within our business model. Check us out at www.realpeoplerealopportunity.com
Thank you Bob for the opportunity. I hope to get to keep in touch and maybe cross paths soon.