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News » No matter what Goodell says, NFL has issues


No matter what Goodell says, NFL has issues


No matter what Goodell says, NFL has issues
Guns, drugs, life-threatening infections.


Episode 5, Season 1 of The Wire?

No, it's the NFL. It just sounds like Omar Little, Avon Barksdale and Bubbles' needle-sharing pal Johnny.

Roger Goodell's state of the league address was slated for Friday. Now allow me to be the skunk at the garden party. Or another skunk at the skunk party as the case may be.

The NFL's gun problem endures and might be getting worse. When a player's decline phase is interrupted by an unanticipated return to form, fans naturally suspect the un-testable human growth hormone. When a player is mysteriously hospitalized, the terrifying staph infection is the likely culprit.

Throw in a fan base with less to spend on entertainment in a grim economy and parity's logical conclusion — in which a 9-7 team goes to the Super Bowl — and Paul Tagliabue must be very happy to have abdicated the throne.

Guns


Inside the personalities:

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Maybe by "elderly" he meant anyone in the NFL over 30.

The most common reason given by athletes for using HGH is to help heal from injury. Well, considering that 100 percent of NFL non-kickers will suffer some form of injury — minor or serious — that could be ameliorated by HGH, it's safe to say that there is an enthusiastic market for the product in the NFL.

Dr. Rydze has been emphatic that NFL players should have access to HGH. He had access to HGH, having purchased it himself. And he had access to the players.

The league response? Yawn. (The Steelers were allowed to deal with the appearance of impropriety in-house.)

In baseball, as we've seen with Mark McGwire's puny Hall of Fame vote totals, there is righteous indignation for cheating. In the NFL, even after you're busted, no one much seems to care.

Right about now Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds are wishing they had played football.

Staph Infections

Staphylococcus. As tough to combat as it is to spell.

Peyton Manning contracted a staph infection after knee surgery last offseason. Former Cowboy and Redskin Brandon Noble had his career ended by a staph infection that almost cost him his leg. The Rams had an outbreak of five cases in 2003. The Browns have had seven staph infections since 1999.

When LeCharles Bentley contracted staph after knee surgery in 2006 he spent five weeks in the hospital, battling the life-threatening infection. He never returned to action and announced his retirement earlier this month.

A 2007 study revealed that a particularly virulent, drug-resistant form of staph — Methicillin-resitant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) — is killing nearly 19,000 Americans a year, a number greater than those killed by the AIDS virus in the U.S.

With NFL players so susceptible to staph, how long will it be before one of those deaths is a professional football player?

The Economy

Not every fan base is as rabid as the Steelers' traveling horde of full-throated, black-and-gold-clad backers. And this could present a real problem for the league during the global economic meltdown.

Goodell got a little glimpse of what the future might look like on wildcard weekend.

Both the Vikings (who had sold out 114 straight home games) and the Cardinals (who had sold out all 30 games at their new stadium) required extensions from the league when they had not sold out their wildcard playoff games 72 hours before kickoff.

If teams had trouble selling out their playoff games in January, how does that bode for September?

Parity

Be careful what you wish for, right?

As five franchises — the Steelers, Cowboys, Raiders, Niners and Redskins — won 20 of 25 Super Bowls from 1972 to 1996, the league was going through changes designed to spread the wealth and the Lombardi trophies around.

Inverted draft order, free agency and a salary cap would help the have-nots become haves and keep the haves from having it all. It was former commissioner Pete Rozelle's mission that every team have a fighting chance.

Mission accomplished.

The 9-7 Cardinals are playing for a Super Bowl title. I guess we should be happy they're not playing the 8-8 Chargers.

The 12-4 Steelers would be a worthy champ, but their worthiness would have been enhanced somewhat if they'd had to beat the Titans, Colts or Patriots to reach the Super Bowl. Instead they beat a team that was 4-8 heading into December and a team that went 5-11 in '07 before handing the reins to a rookie quarterback.

For all the bellyaching about the BCS, Florida-Oklahoma produced a more legit title game than the NFL's vaunted postseason playoff, which included four teams with nine or fewer wins.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 30, 2009

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