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Entries in NFL (4)


Safety First: Fix The Rule, Then Worry About Video

Picture Of James Harrison

NFL + Violence =
Great ESPN Highlights

One Great Season

It's slightly comical this week reading countless columns about NFL helmet safety, some by writers calling for the league to prohibit ESPN and other broadcasters from including hard hits in their highlight packages.

Aren't we talking about the most popular professional sport in a country whose current No. 1 movie is "Jackass?"

I'm not trying to be clever here. Americans love car wrecks. We can't get enough of collisions and

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Big Ben Gives NFL Another Chance To Side With Fans

Ben Roethlisberger

Charade Continues For
Pro Sports Leagues

One Great Season

Frequently when an athlete gets in trouble and embarrasses his employer, he'll offer up a public apology to his team, his family and of course his fans.

I'm currently thinking about Ben Roethlisberger. Last week it was Tiger Woods and I forget who it was the week before. I'm anxious to see who it will be next week.

And then when the owner or some other high-ranking team official reacts in his tedious corporate language, he, too, always seems to cite the importance of upholding the team's traditions and standards "that our loyal  fans have come to expect" or some such thing.


+ GOLF: What Tiger Could Have Said After The Masters
+ GALLERY: Images From The Kentucky Derby
+ FREE AGENTS: Dear New York, LeBron Doesn't Want You
+ HORSE RACING: Your 2010 Kentucky Derby Survival Guide
+ SEX & SPORTS: Is Traci Lynn Johnson A Homewrecking Pro-Ho?
+ NBA DRAFT: It's A Mistake For Lance Stephenson To Turn Pro
+ LOOKING BACK: Complete NCAA Tournament Coverage
+ INTERACTIVE: Follow Me On Twitter | Subscribe | Donate

League commissioners, no matter what the sport, often cite how important the fans are, but is that just lip service?

I'm certain that it is.

If sports were truly for the fans the way the rich, old, white men in suits like to say they are, then:

+ Baseball would still play some of its postseason games in the afternoon and they sure as heck wouldn't end after midnight.

+ Pro football would still play its games on Sunday and one on Monday night. Unless there's a turkey in the oven, no Thursday or Saturday games.

+ College football would have an undisputed national champion every year.

+ College basketball would not consider expanding its perfect tournament.

+ NBA and NHL playoffs wouldn't last for two months. How about a best-of-three in the first round and a best-of-five in the second before a best-of-seven in conference finals matchups? And in the NBA, how about no four-day layoffs between opening-round games?

+ Boxing wouldn't have shit its pants and made a huge mess of itself. Can you name all the divisions or more than two of the sport's organizations?

Every aforementioned ill is rooted in money and I can accept that. But while I know the leagues want to remain profitable, does everything always have to be about maximum profitability? Can't the margins just be good enough? Or is the NFL in danger of being run out of business by that other American pro football league that seems to be enjoying so much success?


Jets Are The Lone "Hot Goalie" Left In Playoffs

Rex Ryan

"The Chargers are the only home/fave I like this weekend. Other than that, it's Cowboys, Cardinals and Ravens." -- Me, on Saturday, via Twitter

One Great Season

The above statement proves a few things, one of them being that it's very difficult to predict the outcomes of professional sporting events.

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But more accurately, what's been proven here is that I'm a terrible handicapper, at least when it comes to the NFL playoffs.

If you didn't pay much attention to football over the weekend, you might not know that all of those predictions were incorrect. The four teams mentioned above lost over the weekend.

What I'm reminded of by the Jets' upset win at San Diego Sunday is their big-brother Giants' surprising postseason run just two years ago. The Giants won all three of their playoff games on the road before winning arguably the most exciting Super Bowl in history over the unbeaten New England Patriots.

And now the Jets have a chance to win their third straight postseason road game this weekend at Indianapolis. Such a feat would send the Jets to the Super Bowl in Miami, where Joe Namath boldly -- and correctly -- guaranteed a win in the Jets' last Super Bowl appearance 41 years ago in Super Bowl III ... over the Colts.

If you've ever followed the best pro tournament of them all -- the NHL's Stanley Cup playoffs -- you know that sometimes logic is a ridiculous notion. Many times a team that enjoyed a much better regular season, a team that seems on paper much more likely to win a series with its undermanned and overmatched rival, won't get it done because said rival has "a hot goalie."

"A hot goalie" is a term often used in April and May and can describe a team that otherwise has no chance to advance in the postseason. But the team does advance because none of its postseason opponents are able to get the puck past this hot goalie.

I think the Jets are one gigantic hot goalie right now. They're surprisingly well-coached by first-year boss Rex Ryan, they rush the ball better than anyone and they play good, solid, physical defense. That is often a formula for winning games any time of year in the NFL, but especially in a one-loss tournament in January.

A rookie head coach, a rookie quarterback and a rookie running back usually accomplish little more than what you see in places like Cleveland in recent years. But in New York, the home of the hot goalie, they add up to a trip to the AFC title game.


Sorry, NFL, But This Is Not The Best Weekend In Sports

One Great Season

The arrival of college football season to me is the best time of year, but that actual opening weekend isn't necessarily the best the sport has to offer, what with its many lopsided games between powerhouses and weak sisters.

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And pro football fans have reason to bark about the second weekend of the NFL playoffs. You've got the Round 1 winners taking on division champs, a Saturday and Sunday each filled with at least seven consecutive hours of football at its finest.

But the real weekend in sports has always been somewhere in the middle of March, the first weekend of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

No other weekend in sports brings what those opening two rounds offer. First of all, the tournament begins at noon on Thursday, so the weekend consists of four days, which is awesome. That's a lot of beer and pizza.

Secondly, 16 games on Thursday and 16 more on Friday give fans plenty of opportunities to witness thrilling buzzer-beaters, heartwrenching upsets and miracle comebacks. And eight more games on both Saturday and Sunday bring a better quality of matchups. Forty-eight games in four days? Can sports seriously get any better?

And here we are talking about this weekend's four football games over a span of about 27 hours. Sure the NFL playoffs are fun to watch, but this weekend falls well short of what we'll be able to enjoy in less than nine short weeks now.