by Tuesday Morning Tailback
I didn’t realize until yesterday just how messed up it is that the NFL has their own media machine. NFL Network, NFL.com, and a massive social media presence usually seems harmless enough in promoting the sport we all love, but on this day we saw where this media can be used as pure propaganda and call into question the very integrity of the league.
Let’s start with all the Cowboy-boot-licking. Midway through Monday, the top story on NFL.com read; “Dez Bryant and Co.’s win over the Lions proves they’re no longer ‘those’ Cowboys”. Dez Bryant? The guy who had just three catches and was utterly shut down by the Detroit defense? Meanwhile, no mention of Dallas’s real receiving hero, Terrance Williams. Why? Because Only Jerks are Competitive? Elsewhere, the NFL spent a lot of energy trying to convince us that Tony Romo is now an “elite” quarterback who can win “the big one”. Romo was sacked six times and lost 51 yards in this lowest round playoff game.
Of course, anyone who saw that game knows that there was a very controversial play where the referees seemed to turn a blind eye on several Dallas penalties (including blatant “unsportsmanlike conduct” by Bryant that wasn’t called) in order to kill a Detroit drive while the Lions were leading deep in the fourth quarter. When NFL.com did mention this play further down the page, it was with this snarky comment;
The flag that wasn’t, which sparked a controversy. Regardless of how you view the play, it wasn’t why the Lions lost. Fact. End of story. — Kevin Patra”
Last night, NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino (who parties with the Dallas Cowboys in the off-season) admitted that officials should not have picked up the flag on the critical defensive call. Really? Nice to know the day after when it is too late. A conspiracy theorist might look at another headline on the league’s site that previews a “great looking’ Divisional round, citing the upcoming Dallas-Green Bay game as; “Soon-to-be MVP Aaron Rodgers will host America’s Team in a battle of the two best offenses in football.” Apparently, the NFL forgot about the record-breaking Denver Broncos offense. Also, there’s just something wrong when the official media of a league which represents 32 franchises designating one as “America’s Team”.
Changing subjects, another NFL headline read “Back to the Bay?” with the copy tease stating; “Over 25 years after his first head-coaching gig in Oakland ended with acrimony, Mike Shanahan has interviewed with the Raiders.” This intriguing headline would be fine, except for one small fact. Mike Shanahan NEVER COACHED IN OAKLAND! During his short stint with the Raiders in 1988 and 1989, the team resided in LOS ANGELES. Simple fact-checking, NFL? Nah.
Speaking of the Raiders home town, the silver and black apparently want to move back to the City of Angels. But the Rams owner Stan Kroenke may be tripping up those plans by building a new NFL stadium in Los Angeles. The Chargers also seem to want to re-locate. This sets up a potentially devastating situation where three teams are vying to get into a city which once had a rich football legacy but ultimately failed to support its teams in the past. Further, the process will likely disenfranchise the current local fans of the teams that are positioning for a relocation.
The playoffs are a very exciting time and, except for the Detroit-Dallas game, usually portray the NFL at its best. But this will only serve to temporarily mask the cracks in integrity underneath the surface and hide the fact that the NFL is really a wreck.
Tuesday Morning Tailback is a weekly article during football season which take a critical look at the NFL. We do this from the base belief that NFL football is the greatest game in the history of mankind, but some recent policies and the overall direction of the league has chipped away at this greatness. Our primary goal is to spark debate on these subjects, so please leave your own opinion on this article in the comment box below.