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League has far bigger stake in future of game than players

2011 NFC Championship: Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears Getty Images

Saturday’s antics in Cincinnati created a bad look for the NFL, there’s no doubt about that. But as blame is assigned and, more importantly, adjustments to behavior are made, there will be a debate over whether the fault lies with the NFL’s players or those who employ them.

Peter King of has penned an open letter to players that urges them to consider the impact of their behavior on the future of the game. But a different batch of letters is needed, because today’s players have no stake in the future of the game. The league, its teams, and its owners do.

They would go like this. Dear teams, don’t covet talent so zealously that you put guys like Vontaze Burfict on the field, who was undrafted for a reason. Dear owners, realize that the behavior of your coaches and players will affect the manner in which you and your team are perceived in your home city and beyond. Dear NFL, you need stronger disincentives for the kind of behavior we saw on Saturday night, because your current arsenal of options isn’t working.

Pacman Jones got it right when he told Dan Patrick that coaches should be held to a higher standard. Almost always older and presumably wiser, they shouldn’t be pulling hair or chirping at players. (And maybe, if their boss didn’t constantly project the unreasonably angry-faced, chest-thumping demeanor of a player, the assistant coaches wouldn’t be.)

The coaches are, for many players, the fathers they never had. The coaches set the example, at every level of the sport, on what is expected and what won’t be tolerated. Unless and until teams make it clear that the stuff that happened on Saturday night won’t be tolerated, it will keep happening.

Plenty of teams already don’t tolerate it. Rodney Harrison of NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk explained on Monday’s show that players like Vontaze Burfict would have been long gone from New England by now.

But not every organization understands the connection between having reckless players and failing to achieve the broader goals of pursuing championships. So it’s on the league to make that connection more clear, by throwing flags, issuing ejections, levying fines and imposing suspensions.

Balanced against the desire to clean up the sport is the reality that plenty of people like it dirty. As King notes, 27.5 million people were watching the game between 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. ET. They weren’t sufficiently revolted by what they saw to change the channel; they were enthralled by it.

That said, there’s a balance that the league must strike between brutality and sound business judgment. But it’s for the league, not the players, to care about that. The players aren’t the stewards of the game; they’re the people among us with sufficient youth and athletic gifts to become the current ingredients in the NFL’s meat grinder. Unless and until players are given equity in the league or its teams, it’s not for the players to care an iota about the future of the sport.

It’s for the players to make as much money as they can, just like the owners do. And it’s for the owners to worry about their ability to make as much money as they can in the future, long after today’s players no longer have sufficient youth or athletic gifts to be among those who are inflicting potential injury upon each other in the crucible that the NFL has created and maintained for nearly a century.

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68 Responses to “League has far bigger stake in future of game than players”
  1. ballistictrajectory says: Jan 12, 2016 11:02 AM


  2. gbartell22 says: Jan 12, 2016 11:04 AM

    Yeah long gone from New England I seem to recall a certain murder being employed by them…

  3. jayhawk6 says: Jan 12, 2016 11:05 AM

    “Balanced against the desire to clean up the sport is the reality that plenty of people like it dirty.”

    This could also explain Donald Trump’s poll numbers.

  4. bbfe says: Jan 12, 2016 11:05 AM

    I hate to say that I laughed out loud watching this game. I would have fired Lewis that day if I owned the Bengals. If any staff member tried to stop me, I would have fired them as well.

    If your team hires turds, you get poop. Marvin Lewis is a good coach, but he has lost control. He needs to go, and a couple of the players also need to be cut.

    But the Bungles won’t do it. So next year it can be 8 playoff losses in a row.

  5. dasmol says: Jan 12, 2016 11:07 AM

    Does Rodney Harrison even remember how undisciplined and dirty he played while a charger? Geez.

  6. bbfe says: Jan 12, 2016 11:07 AM

    gbartell22 says:
    Jan 12, 2016 11:04 AM
    Yeah long gone from New England I seem to recall a certain murder being employed by them…


    FYI: He was cut after the first murder that was known to the team. Marvin Lewis has been murdering the Bengals playoffs for years and he stays.

  7. mikermiker says: Jan 12, 2016 11:08 AM

    What is dirtier than have a team get tagged with the 2 largest cheating scandals ever? the history books will be peppered with asterisks in new england.

  8. duanethomas33 says: Jan 12, 2016 11:10 AM

    Rodney Harrison… Pot meet Kettle. He had over 300k of fines in his career due to dirty hits and play. Vontaze Burfict would be tolerated by all teams, because he makes plays. He is not a issue off the field, so as long as he is productive on the field, he has value…just like Harrison did. That’s a fact of the NFL.

  9. harrisonhits2 says: Jan 12, 2016 11:14 AM

    “Yeah long gone from New England I seem to recall a certain murder being employed by them…”

    Unlike the Bengals players, Hernandez was a good citizen in the locker room and on the field. He never once created problems like this with the team.

    No one can argue he wasn’t a psychopath off the field, but in the locker room and in game he behaved himself.

  10. gr365 says: Jan 12, 2016 11:16 AM

    Well, after Brady wins his appeal will the Commish do the right thing and return the Draft Picks and the 1 million they stole from the Patriots? No? Why not? Because there’s a group of owners who are pissed the Patriots win too much… Aaaw I can’t tell you how much IDGAF!

  11. juice08 says: Jan 12, 2016 11:17 AM

    “Dear teams, don’t covet talent so zealously that you put guys like Vontaze Burfict on the field, who was undrafted for a reason. Dear owners, realize that the behavior of your coaches and players will affect the manner in which you and your team are perceived in your home city and beyond. Dear NFL, you need stronger disincentives for the kind of behavior we saw on Saturday night, because your current arsenal of options isn’t working.”

    I don’t agree with King’s point, but I do agree with this. Too much winning at all costs – and not even succeeding at it – has soured me on Dallas (with Hardy) and now Cincy because they refuse to address habitual linesteppers. The NFL continues to punish players more for weed than they do repeated on- and off-field transgressions. Until they address this problem, they’re nothing more than a bunch of hypocrites.

  12. scrimshawturtle says: Jan 12, 2016 11:20 AM

    “Cleaning up” the game would require the owners to be upstanding, honest and ethical people. There may be exceptions, but overall the owners are just as dirty in their own way (at a much higher level) and there is no accountability or consequence for their actions.

  13. crazyallives says: Jan 12, 2016 11:20 AM

    Why single out Burfict? I watched that game and saw vicious, nastiness on both sides of the ball. In fact, I would say the Steelers are the gold standard when it comes to playing with that kind of attitude and teams know that when they play the Steelers, they better come ready for a fight. Burfict was just trying to fight fire with fire.

    That hit Shazier put on Bernard (that wasn’t even flagged) was almost identical to the play that Chris Culliver had on Greg Olsen earlier in the year and Culliver got a 15 yarder. When you see your teammates getting knocked out and the refs don’t do anything, you’re going to go out and play the same way. If you really want to clean it up, get the refs to call the games consistently and fairly.

  14. trubroncfan07 says: Jan 12, 2016 11:20 AM

    The NFL needs to stop letting Vegas and the refs dictate these games if they want what is best for the league. Getting tired of watching the refs control the entire game. No need to even watch, I can look at that line and figure out what is going to happen in the games.

  15. Cavs2016NBAWorldChampions says: Jan 12, 2016 11:20 AM

    First of all i loved the game, with the exception of the Steelers, as usual being the dirtiest team yet never get penalized yet every other team does.

    Second big mouth Joey Porter & whatever the Hair puller’s name are an embarrassment to coaches and are the typical bush league antics the Steelers engage in every year. Hell the HC tripped Jacoby Jones on a TD, yet the Steelers organization somehow always seems to escape unscathed. They are the dirtiest team in the NFL always taking cheap shots after the whistle.

    If the owners cared so much about the Leagur then why did they lie out their donkeys go after Tom Brady who didnt cheat.

    Lastly this is football Media not Church. I love the battles bAttles like the Bengals and Steelers had as long as the corrupt refs call it both ways and dont miss ejecting a coach for being on the field

  16. weepingjebus says: Jan 12, 2016 11:25 AM

    Behavior is important, but a larger (and sometimes related) issue is the college talent drain. Between kids coming into the league too soon, concussion fears, and a lack of QB skill development in college the quality of play has noticeably declined over the last 10 years. Parity was originally sold as a means of ensuring all teams would be decent and have a shot, but instead it delivered 20+ bad teams being lorded over by a half dozen well run franchises. The league office should be focusing on ensuring the next generation of stars are brought in and developed properly, and not drafted 2 years too early when they are immature and then ruined by a perpetually high picking team like the Browns or Cowboys.

  17. buccaboo says: Jan 12, 2016 11:26 AM

    Obviously he has never played sports. Nobody is thinking about the future of the game when the adrenaline is pumping and they are competing.

  18. purpleguy says: Jan 12, 2016 11:27 AM

    Those who misbehave should be punished, and will be punished, but it’s not like the guy shot the president. Sometimes the self-importance of the league and its national writers gets to be just a bit much.

  19. jonathankrobinson424 says: Jan 12, 2016 11:30 AM

    ……gotta give Mark Cuban credit…..he’s right on track about the NFL quickly losing a great product because of greed, stupidity, and not relating to the fans or caring about the integrity of the game. It’s like watching some young kid speeding & passing a car on a curve…….all you can do is wait for the crash.

  20. ateeezzz says: Jan 12, 2016 11:30 AM

    I resent the implication that not changing the channel due to incidents like that implies the viewers approval of dirty plays. Some of us are football fans, interested in the outcome of the game. We watch in spite of the headhunting idiots and undisciplined coaches and players. Your assumption that we are “enthralled” by these actions is misguided and assumes by some stretch of your imagination that to continue to watch implies approval.

  21. cymbaline6 says: Jan 12, 2016 11:30 AM

    Peter King addressed the players. Good. Fine. You addressed the owners. Also fine. Where, exactly, are the refs in all of this? They bear as much blame as anyone else.

    It was the refs’ selective enforcement of the rules that caused the game to get out of hand. If the players could trust the refs to enforce the rules evenly and protect players from both teams, there wouldn’t have been so much mayhem. But when they fail to call fouls on illegal, dirty hits – like the one on Bernard by Shazier, or the one on Burfict by DeCastro – then it sends a very clear message: open season. If the refs won’t protect the players from each other, then the players will protect their teammates the same way that players do in hockey: by beating the snot out of each other.

    The refs failed on every level, simple as that. Add them to the list.

    Speaking of, the league office needs another letter entitled Don’t Make the Same Mistake Twice, and it can be about appointing the same reffing crew to that game that completely failed to control a game between the same teams a few weeks earlier. Idiocy.

  22. barryblogs says: Jan 12, 2016 11:31 AM

    The league is getting dangerously close to putting on a spectacle with no boundaries. It’s like watching a combination of a brutal video game and pro wrestling – seriously, coaches pulling players’ hair???
    It is good for ratings now, but won’t last. I think Mark Cuban got it right.
    One other point, the league needs to hire full-time game officials who are in shape and probably former players. It was laughable watching a bunch of overweight officials in the middle of that Cincy-Pittsburgh game. Totally over-matched and lost control.

  23. nhpats says: Jan 12, 2016 11:32 AM

    A guy like Burfict can make some big plays…..heck he had the interception that should have cinched the game. But he also makes some really…..really stupid plays. And those can and many times do outweigh the big plays. His hit on Brown was a prime example. The ball was already past Brown…..there was no reason for the hit. Burfict was unable to measure the downside for an illegal hit with the pleasure he got by laying out Brown. He put himself before the team…..and that should not be tolerated on championship teams.

  24. whywerule says: Jan 12, 2016 11:35 AM

    dasmol says:
    Jan 12, 2016 11:07 AM
    Does Rodney Harrison even remember how undisciplined and dirty he played while a charger?

    Did Harrison ever do anything that cost the Chargers a playoff win?

  25. mikerobo1026 says: Jan 12, 2016 11:36 AM

    Why do people buy into whatever Pacman says? People claim to have watched the game and have no clue what happened. I watched the Bengals completely lose their cool. They can make up any excuses they want, but Porter didn’t go onto the field to start jawing at players. He was allowed on the field so that personnel could be put in between the teams because all hell was breaking loose. I saw Pacman Jones losing his mind, and Porter shaking his head with a smile on his face. Pacman is such a child he decided to make firm contact with an official. Porter didn’t do anything wrong besides be on the field, which officials allowed. The story shouldn’t be about Porter. Pacman and all the other mentally unstable players on the Bengals squad should be ashamed of themselves. But they probably won’t because they have brains the size of cashews.

  26. Marshawn Lunch says: Jan 12, 2016 11:39 AM

    bbfe says: “If your team hires turds, you get poop”

    Words of wisdom. You sir, you win the internet today. Well done.

  27. whywerule says: Jan 12, 2016 11:39 AM

    mikermiker says:
    Jan 12, 2016 11:08 AM
    … the history books will be peppered with asterisks in new england.

    Yes they will.

    *Tom Brady – Greatest NFL Player of All-Time
    *Bill Belichick – Greatest NFL Head Coach of All-Time
    *New England Patriots (2001- 2251) – Greatest Dynasty of All-Time (probably being conservative on end date).
    *New England Patriots Fans – Greatest Fan Base of All-Time

  28. brucetrimble says: Jan 12, 2016 11:39 AM

    A similar letter needs to be written to the refs. Cc blandino and Goodell.

  29. dirtdawg54 says: Jan 12, 2016 11:40 AM

    No one who watched that game, and has an ounce of credibility, is entirely happy with the result. As a Steelers fan I will take the win. And I have no issues with how it went down. But I do have issues with coaches getting in on the action – while Munchak’s itneraction with Nelso was relatively “minor”, it was also compeltely unnecessary. And we all know why Peazy was on the field – to create a stir. As he did. And yes, Shazier’s hit could have been flagged. Probably should have been. I also don’t like the constant preening of certain players, especially Gay and Mitchell. And I really didn’t appreciate all of the chest thumping the Steelers were doing after the Bernard hit. Classless.

    But, that doesn’t excuse what Burfict did. If you’re objective you know he aimed to hit AB hard and unnecesarily so. The play was essentially over and Burfict takes two steps and lowers his shoulder. And Pac Man needs to grow up. He bumped an official. And let’s not forget their were Bengal coaches on that field; multiple times. And how about Burfict reportedly spitting in DeCastro’s face – and on the same play takign a swipe at his throat? Burfict also deliberately stepped on Gilbert’s foot; a play Gilbert was flagged on. And Hill taunted William Gay after the Green TD – another flag not thrown. And then Burfict and a bunch of others have as excessive a celebration as I’ve seen – and delayed the game – by running out off the field of play after his pick. Again, no flag.

    Neither team can claim righteousness here. I’m not happy about it. But I’m not unhappy with the win. that part is quite satisfying to be honest. But as a NFL fan; I was disgusted and everyone I’ve talked to about it has a very similar view.

  30. realfootballfan says: Jan 12, 2016 11:40 AM

    People overthinking the game as usual. Because I didn’t watch Bill Romanowski play or Brian Cox play or LT play or the whole 70s Raiders play. No, it’s big bad Burfec and these horrible players today “bringing down the game.” Give me a break. If they had won the other night, he’s the MVP of that game because before that penalty he was far and away the best player on the field on both sides of the ball. It’s kind of what you get when you ask 250+ pound men to run into each other for 3 hours all day. Stop romanticizing the past because some of us remember watching it and know it had just as bad of characters up and down rosters, probably more of them.

  31. mrjdon says: Jan 12, 2016 11:40 AM

    “Pacman Jones got it right when he told Dan Patrick that coaches should be held to a higher standard.”


    Isn’t it funny Pacman Jones is now the voice of reason and righteousness?

    This is one of the players right here (maybe the main one) that made the NFL have to get tougher on off-field issues in the first place (his behavior was so bad and repetitive). Yet he is now some kind of authority to speak on higher standards? His is the voice we should be listening to when it comes to proper code of conduct?

    His recent behavior just shows he is nothing more than a criminal wearing a team uniform as he is unable to control himself.

    While it may have been true that Joey Porter shouldn’t have been on the field, Adam Jones should have been taken off the field FOR GOOD a long time ago.

  32. frlock says: Jan 12, 2016 11:44 AM

    I too remember when Rodney Harrison was the dirtiest player in the history of the San Diego Chargers. He cleaned up his act in NE, to his credit. And, Mike from Pittsburg, Keith Rivers (broken face courtesy of Heinz Ward) and Kevin Huber (broken jaw courtesy of the Steelers)-how do you break faces and jaws without hitting someone in the head? Celebrating while Bernard is unconscious on the turf? I get that the game has changed, but the hyperventilating over this kid (do you hear me, Stephen A?), amuses and angers me. He will have to learn from this, surely, but the smug pontificating about the “good of the game” inferring Burfict should be thrown out of the league is ridiculous. Time to go to confession, Mike, again.

  33. kssportsfan says: Jan 12, 2016 11:45 AM

    Shame on you Florio.

    There is only one standard – Do the right thing while treating others as you wish to be treated. No one is perfect but everyone should at least try.

    I was amazed that Coach Lewis said he did not see what was happening. He has the best sight line in the house. If he is not paying attention to the game, what is he doing?

  34. imurfallguy says: Jan 12, 2016 11:46 AM

    Cavs, while I agree with most of what you said. Yes, Tom Brady did cheat! He knows he did. I don’t care that he did, but he did. It’s the same as a pitcher in baseball rubbing pine tar on balls. He cheated. He also plays for the biggest cheating organization in all of pro sports.

  35. factman66 says: Jan 12, 2016 11:49 AM

    Why not apply this logic to the Patriots serial cheating?
    I have yet to see this hard-line stance or snarky critique at the end of articles about NE, yet every other team gets a backhanded comment.
    The hypocrisy is blatant.

  36. suhmonster90 says: Jan 12, 2016 11:49 AM

    Forget the on field conduct of the players, as you admit there a lot of fans, myself included, who give a care

    The real problem is when wondering if games are fixed by the NFL changes into believing games are fixed. Everything some phantom flag comes out on 3rd and 18 saving a drive for the favored team (or a team thats behind but close to meeting the spread) it whittles away at the integrity. If the games aren’t real this sport is nothing.

  37. mogogo1 says: Jan 12, 2016 11:59 AM

    Peter King is a shameless shill for Goodell so naturally it’s going to be all the players’ fault with him. But it takes two to tango and coaches/management talk a far better game than they play. Reality is if you have talent you’ll land a job unless you’re in jail. Burfict is STILL a Bengal after umpteen violations and helping to lose them a playoff game. Greg Hardy was going after coaches in Dallas and still kept his job.

  38. keleko5 says: Jan 12, 2016 12:01 PM

    “Sufficiently repulsed to turn it off”? I’ve watched live, real horror on TV my whole life, never turned any of it off. I don’t think “millionaires being violent idiots to each other” is more repulsive than the the towers coming down, or tsunami footage. What nonsensical, bullsh!t language. Goodness Edna, the way these men treat each other! I am sooo repulsed! I am going to turn it off now, and wait until the next game.

  39. RE LEE says: Jan 12, 2016 12:02 PM

    Owners put up and support Goodell why won’t the coaches put up with the likes of Burficts? Goodell plays dirty to take out Brady, not much difference with the way dirty players take out other players. If the coaches are the father of the players, Goodell is the father of the teams. You wonder why dirty players thrive.

  40. ajgreenhof says: Jan 12, 2016 12:02 PM

    Only one team had coaches that were out of control.

  41. Mike says: Jan 12, 2016 12:02 PM

    The NFL is not unlike any other “big business”. The individual is expendable so long as the collective can be sustained.

  42. edukator4 says: Jan 12, 2016 12:02 PM

    Yes they will.

    *Tom Brady – Greatest NFL Player of All-Time
    *Bill Belichick – Greatest NFL Head Coach of All-Time
    *New England Patriots (2001- 2251) – Greatest Dynasty of All-Time (probably being conservative on end date).
    *New England Patriots Fans – Greatest Fan Base of All-Time


    the first two are hard to argue, the third clearly in jest. But the 4th point, you should put years on that one (2001-current) The fan base in new england pre brady was laughable at best. Couldn’t ever sell out your stadium and never knew an open new england fan, even in the bledsoe years, especially prior to that.
    its remarkable how many new england “fans” think the nfl started in 2001

  43. notmanning says: Jan 12, 2016 12:04 PM

    If Marvin lasted this long, he will out pace this as well. I think they need to cut ties with these guys, but in the end, this is on the players. Cannot fault Marvin to a degree where you let him go. What is your alternative? Who’s going to come in and get them over the hump?

  44. ebdug says: Jan 12, 2016 12:06 PM

    If this was 10 years ago, the flag would not have been thrown, the Bengals would be advancing, and people would have been talking about what a great comeback it was. The state of the game, along with Antonio Brown, would be healthy.

  45. dockeyhog says: Jan 12, 2016 12:07 PM

    Who are you media folks trying to fool? The NFL and everyone who makes $$$ from them, LOVED that Steelers Bengals game. I guarantee that next season this matchup will be a PTime game in probably the first 2-3 weeks of the season before this story line loses any luster. The NFL Network won’t be able to do a show between now and next season that involves these 2 teams, without mentioning the brutality that we can expect the next time they face off. The advertising and marketing departments will be drooling over this game. Think of the MONEY. The media will have so many story lines leading up to this game I can almost start counting the web hits now. Saturday nights game was not an embarrasment to the league it was fantastic publicity that they’re just not allowed to acknowledge in this litigous and PC world we live in now a days.

  46. general47 says: Jan 12, 2016 12:09 PM

    2 interesting comments:
    1) fans like DIRTY

    2) prime telecast intrest time- 10:00 – 11:00 just past half time when probably more than 50% are well primed –

    what else would you expect
    choir boys cheering

  47. torebear says: Jan 12, 2016 12:17 PM

    I think the inconsistency of the refereeing decisions are part of the problem. I think in College they review bad hits or something, and I think that whatever the judgment, the players are more confident that “justice was served”, than they are in an NFL game.

  48. granadafan says: Jan 12, 2016 12:17 PM

    Teams like the Bengals, Steelers, Browns, Cowboys, and my Niners are the SEC of the NFL. They’ll hire anyone they think can help them win and damn all the rules, morality, and criminal pasts.

  49. cardinalsfan20 says: Jan 12, 2016 12:18 PM

    @ateeezzz -No need to feel offended, he’s not addressing you specifically.

    The 27.5 million viewers is low compared to the total number of people who are entertained by watching their fellow humans injure and maim each other. Society promotes one woman kicking another in the head, for example.

    Football within the rules is close to barbaric. Outside of the rules it’s Death Race 2000.

  50. johnc44 says: Jan 12, 2016 12:18 PM

    I wish Dana White was the NFL commissioner!
    He would tell the soft cry babies to go play flag football if you don`t like the violence of it!
    I thought the risk was why players made so much money playing a game.If we`re going to water it down to the point that a football player running into another football player is criminal then do away with the game all together.Otherwise split them into 2 leagues with the players who want to hit in one and the ones who want to be safe in the other and see which league gets ratings.The hitting league players will still make millions and the soft ones will be playing for a few thousands and taking 2nd jobs in the off season.

  51. censorshipstinks says: Jan 12, 2016 12:35 PM

    I like to blame this on the Salary Cap. Wait I know it sounds weird but before the salary cap the players actually loved the teams they were on and loved the league. But in its infinite wisdom the NFL thought we should get make a salary cap. Instead of letting the owners pay for good players or pay the price for fielding a horrible team. Now the owners just want to make a profit. Players just want to make a profit. Fans just want their team to win. No Loyalty. So when a player expresses dissatisfaction with another player they do not care what happens to the team. Most likely they will be playing for a different team in a couple of years at most.

  52. headin4seven says: Jan 12, 2016 12:37 PM

    Agreed, they should not be playing the game, but they are the ones that need to be held accountable. Let’s not blame coaches with grumpy faces and chest-thumping.

    And Rodney must have forgotten about Aaron Hernandez when he claimed their innocence.

    The owners will make the appropriate changes and the players will complain that Goodell is too strict.

  53. watermelon1 says: Jan 12, 2016 12:37 PM

    Well. If this was using the steelers bit on Bernard as an example… I’d be for with it. But burfict did nothing wrong in my book. Play on!

  54. JSpicoli says: Jan 12, 2016 12:45 PM

    The league has looked bad for 10 years+.

    WWE is not far off.

  55. craigruby20 says: Jan 12, 2016 12:50 PM

    This article misses the point. Having violence in the game does not threaten its future it threatens the players long term health. THAT is what they should be worried about. If anything, the decrease in violence threatens the longterm viability of the league.

  56. In Teddy We Trust says: Jan 12, 2016 12:57 PM

    Balanced against the desire to clean up the sport is the reality that plenty of people like it dirty. As King notes, 27.5 million people were watching the game between 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. ET. They weren’t sufficiently revolted by what they saw to change the channel; they were enthralled by it.

    That is a gross oversimplification. People stop to look at a car wreck but that doesn’t mean they like to see them happen. People like drama. There was a ton of drama at the end of the game. Do you really expect people to say, “Well, I never!” and turn the channel because they don’t like cheap shots? You won’t increase viewership by encouraging dirty play.

  57. bchap17 says: Jan 12, 2016 12:59 PM

    As long as it doesn’t affect the bottom line, don’t expect drastic changes.

  58. metalman5150 says: Jan 12, 2016 1:02 PM

    Change the Name 2016.
    Change the Game 2016.

  59. Drexel University Course: Digital Media in Sports says: Jan 12, 2016 1:05 PM

    The NFL needs to start ejecting players and coaches more than they do. The league has allowed this type of thing to go on for years. The standard for professional behavior is completely lost in the NFL. Those who point to dirty play as part of the game have missed the point and what it means to be a professional. When you create a fair system of ejections, suspensions and fines, it will drastically create a professional atmosphere, where tackles are made with strong fundamentals and not head-hunting. The players don’t have to be robotic, but you can really curb the ridiculous or extreme.

  60. mmack66 says: Jan 12, 2016 1:24 PM

    mikermiker says:
    Jan 12, 2016 11:08 AM

    What is dirtier than have a team get tagged with the 2 largest cheating scandals ever? the history books will be peppered with asterisks in new england.

    The Patriots don’t have any cheating scandals.

    The Broncos, though, do own the record for the largest cheating scandal, ever, in the NFL.

    I doubt if New Englanders are wasting much time drawing asterisks in “history” books because of that, though.

  61. itsfootballfolks says: Jan 12, 2016 1:45 PM

    I suppose there are a few sadists who would like to see the sport revert back to a savage level, just as there are people who are so motivated by ISIS-servered heads on poles that they rush off to join the ISIS ranks.

    But for me, seeing Daryl Stingley paralyzed for the rest of his life from the neck down by a vicious hit from Jack Tatum was one too many such sights. If eliminating such hits is indeed the wussification of pro football, well bring it on.

  62. wcoastsaintsfan says: Jan 12, 2016 2:12 PM

    If they wanted to clean it up they could. It’s all about contract clauses and cap relief when things go bad. As it is now, teams can’t get out of a contract very easily for this stuff. On top of that it kills the cap for years if they do cut a player. Take the Saints with Junior Galette, they are stuck with 16 or so million that they owe this guy because they cut him for being a turd in the locker room and getting into beach brawls with women. The Saints did the right thing by cutting him anyway, but they’ll be taking the hit for a while in terms of competitiveness due to the cap. If the NFL wants it fixed they would mandate behavior clauses for on and off field behavior and provide cap relief for the teams that do the right thing by giving these guys the boot.

  63. nflofficeadmin says: Jan 12, 2016 2:52 PM

    This a great article that highlights and kings and pawns of the game. The second point is more obvious and is highlighted here. The founder of this blog and Peter King really don’t like each other very much and by that I mean not at all. Would would appear in network tv along side the founder and look like it was the greatest indignation in the world. It’s like the bengals and steelers in suits. I’m keeping an eye on this one.

  64. rootpain says: Jan 12, 2016 3:53 PM

    The league doesn’t care a whit about its future. You have a bunch of owners that are well past their prime who know they won’t be around by the time all this crap sets in and negatively impacts the value of their teams. They can afford to be blind about it. Their attitude is reflected by their lack of action in getting rid of Goodell.
    Nothing will change. The owners are too old, to greedy and too full of themselves to care that they have sold their integrity to the devil. And they don’t give a hoot about what anyone else thinks about it.

  65. bubbahotepp says: Jan 12, 2016 6:41 PM

    That’s funny coming from Rodney Harrison, who was considered one of the dirtiest players in the league when he played.

  66. magnoliasimms says: Jan 12, 2016 6:58 PM

    headin4seven says:
    Jan 12, 2016 12:37 PM

    And Rodney must have forgotten about Aaron Hernandez when he claimed their innocence.

    I doubt it, because the same day that Hernandez was arrested, he was cut from the team, and the team allowed fans to turn in their Hernandez jerseys at the pro-shop for a different jersey for free. They didn’t try to defend him, they didn’t make excuses, they cut him.

    The Patriots have a history of not tolerating any kind of troublemaking, even in a minor way. The Patriots are about the team, and not about any individual player. They have no issue dumping any players that cause more problems than they are worth to the team overall.

  67. internetcommenter7 says: Jan 12, 2016 7:53 PM

    More breathless hyperbole. This was malice in the palace. It was an emotional football game that would have been considered commonplace before the moralists took over. Nothing that happened in this game will cause one football fan to become a non football fan — even the God awful officiating the handed the game to Pittsburgh.

  68. tss1973 says: Jan 13, 2016 8:21 PM

    “The Pittsburgh Steeler Paradox”

    Vontez Burfict or Adam Jones are simply put, younger versions of Joey Porter and James Harrison. If Burfict and Jones played in Pittsburgh they would be kept on the team for “veteran leadership” and eventually become coaches. It’s obnoxious how players like Burfict and Jones are labeled as classless UNLESS, they play for the illustrious Pittsburgh Steelers. Then they are considered valuable leaders. It’s absolutely ridiculous! I’m tired of the elitist organization. I’m sure this up coming weekend, the NFL media will go to great lengths to make sure the mystic of the Steelers is not tarnished by their participation in last weeks Wild Card Game. What a joke!

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