NFL shows up late in dealing with integrity
The story of Tom Brady, the New England Patriots and underinflated footballs has become so overinflated that little discussion is happening over the fundamental nature of the infraction.
The team broke the rules. Throw a flag if you catch them doing it; if not, then train the officials to be more vigilant.
Deflategate stories occasionally surface, like the Raiders fumbling the ball forward against the Chargers in the late ’70s, or the Patriots (coincidentally) in the early ’80s ordering a snow plow to clear a spot for the holder before the team’s field goal attempt.
Each of these incidents, like Deflategate, gave one team an unfair advantage over the other; each influenced the game’s outcome; each was outside the rules of the game or the rules’ spirit; and each of them was the focus of some media attention; yet neither of them resulted in fines, suspensions and lost draft choices.
But the NFL is a jumpy league, closely watched and criticized for its handling of players who violate the law. Now to show its integrity, the league is going to harshly punish those who break the rules.
It’s a silly fix.
Players break the rules all the time and get away with it: holding, pass interference, maybe an illegal block. The past response has usually been a terse “bad call,” rather than a more than 200-page, poorly written, investigative report.
Apparently there were some lies (some sources say Brady even lied as a child to his mother about eating his vegetables), but professional sports is not my moral compass’ magnetic north.
Let Brady play. Let the team keep their draft picks.
If the league really wants to punish the Pats, then penalize them by walking off 10-yards on their opening kickoff this season and call it a day.
NFL’s focus turning away from the field
Every year I enter a pool where you have to pick every game with the spread every week. Now that I feel the NFL is more entertainment than fair play, I will no longer enter. Because of this I no longer feel compelled to watch as many games as I used to because I only have an interest in the Bills games.
If the NFL wants to continue to be a $10 billion business, they have to hope more fans are like Jerry Sullivan than me. As he said last week, “Sports fans will tune in as always.” From now on, count me out unless the Bills are playing.
Bills need to solve quarterback situation
If the Bills are to make the playoffs, they need a quarterback. With the uncertainty of EJ Manuel getting worse, they need to stress this position even more.
Even with the added weapons of LeSean McCoy and Percy Harvin, if the Bills don’t have a legitimate franchise quarterback they are not going very far.
With Pegulas in charge, penny-pinching days over
In spite of the failure to sign Mike Babcock, it is striking to me how much the sports ownership philosophy has changed in this city.
Anyone over the age of 50 will remember the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s when our owners were considered “fiscally conservative” and never seemed to be in contention for any of the free agent plums whether they were players or coaches.
It was a depressing period of time for most sports fans with few playoff wins. Even our Buffalo Braves were flipped to out of town owners for a quick profit. And the clearest memory for me is when Chuck Knox wanted to blend in some higher priced veterans for the Bills and was met with a negative response from ownership.
Examples abound and this went on year after year. Now, under the Pegula regime, money appears to be no object. For those of us that lived through the bad old days, these are days of heaven. It is great to know that if the right player or coach becomes available, money will not be an issue. What a contrast from the bad old days.
Nine Stanley Cups worth a lot more than one
I wonder how much Scotty Bowman would be offered today? He has nine Stanley Cups as a coach compared to one for Mike Babcock.
GM Murray a roadblock in coaches coming here
No good coach will come to Buffalo after what Tim Murray did to the Sabres team and Ted Nolan. Murray should be fired.
Try to get Ted Nolan to come back with a four-year no-cut contract and let him recommend a GM. The young players will play for him. You’ll be looking at a possible hockey dynasty. If Tim Murray stays, it’ll be another five years before the Buffalo Sabres get into a playoff game. Mr. Pegula, please wake up.
Make the net bigger for more hockey excitement
When you watch a football game, do you want the final score to be 34-31 or 10-7? In baseball or hockey, would you rather see a 5-4 game or 2-1? There is something to be said for a good pitchers duel or goaltending battle, but I believe the vast majority of us would much rather see a game with a lot of scoring.
Baseball realized this many years ago and reduced the height of the pitching mound to increase scoring. Long ago football was smart enough to change some rules to protect quarterbacks more, and thus make scoring a priority. Hockey, on the other hand, has done little to improve in this area. Oh sure, they installed the shootout so that every game would have a winner. But why should a gimmick decide a game? The shootout is the equivalent of football having a field goal contest to decide a tie game. Or baseball breaking a tie with a home run-hitting contest. These options (including hockey’s current shootout solution) go against the very nature of the particular sport.
Scoring is generally increasing in football and baseball. Sadly, hockey scoring keeps decreasing each year. Is there anything more depressing in sports than paying big bucks for tickets and going home having seen your team scoring just one goal? Or worse yet, none?
So what’s the solution? With hockey goalies (and their equipment) getting bigger every year, it makes sense to me that the size of the hockey goal should increase. Make the net a foot wider and six inches taller. The fans will be happy to see more goals scored, and the NHL can finally join the 21st century.
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