I've written many times that I believe the NFL to be on borrowed time. Concussion issues and the media attention that follows them, increasing high profile injuries, aggression related legal troubles for players. All of those things will eventually turn off the fan base of this sport. That is why I react so harshly to the actions last Sunday of Odell Beckham Jr. Here we have an up'n'coming league star, flamboyant and talented, who in a fit of rage, turned himself into a human helmet missile for the singular purpose of hurting another player. I have a hard time expressing as fan and a human person how disappointed I am with all parties involved in this, most especially OBJ. Don't mistake me for being naive; it is a certainty that players go out of their way to hurt each other with alarming frequency. Nor does anyone need to clarify that Football is a violent game. What Beckham did, however, could have resulted not just in pain, but in severe injury, or frankly death. You can noodle the physics. A 200+ pound object flying through the air at at least 5 MPH striking a person in the temple, fortunately a protected one. Josh Norman was lucky, and *right* to react as violently as he did. My questions and concerns go well beyond OBJ and Josh Norman, however.
Ron Rivera was seen talking to Norman on the sidelines, trying to de-escalate the conflict. There is no evidence that Coughlin had a similar conversation with Beckham. According to the "rules", the officials can and should eject a player who throws a punch at another. Beckham had already thrown a punch (several) at Norman, and Norman responded in kind, before OBJ launched himself. Yet even afterwards, neither player was kicked from the game. Beckham has been suspended for one game, for an infraction that anyone else outside of a GAME would be facing felony assault charges for. The consequences of his actions, to a player of his talent, are pathetically minuscule. The consequences to the Giants, to the game, to the league may be severe. Fans see this and fans know this. It was an entertaining, if overly sad, step on the path of NFL obsolescence.
Injuries are changing the game and having an impact. No fewer than 49 quarterbacks have started games for only 32 teams this year. This is not lost on fans, or parents of future players. It will not be lost on the future of the NFL.
I don't mean to be so somber, but that needed to be said. At least for me.
Merry Christmas, Happy holidays. I wish every reader the best.
San Diego (4-10) at Oakland (6-8) - Raiders (20-23, Raiders)
Woodson's last hurrah in the coliseum.
I'm surprised it went to overtime.
Washington (7-7) at Philadelphia (6-8) - Taterskins (38-24, Taterskins)
Or the Eagles. That team is the most schizoid I've ever seen.
My bad on the prediction. Washington goes from worst to first.
San Francisco (4-10) at Detroit (5-9) - Lions (17-32, Lions)
Still futile, but at least San Francisco looked competitive for a half.
Pittsburgh (9-5) at Baltimore (4-10) - Steelers (17-20, Ravens)
I hope for the Ravens only because the Steelers in the playoffs should scare everyone who follows the AFC.
Even if the Steelers make the playoffs, that defense will doom them in round 1.
Dallas (4-10) at Buffalo (6-8) - Bills (6-16, Bills)
I'm picking them only because I want Dallas to win.
It was a hope.
Chicago (5-9) at Tampa Bay (6-8) - Buccaneers (26-21, Bears)
I think they have a bright future, and Cutler is back-sliding in an awful way.
I'm surprised Chicago did enough, but rule 3: A win is a win.
Carolina (14-0) at Atlanta (7-7) - Panthers (13-20, Falcons)
White and Jones can dis Norman all they want. What was the score of the first meeting between these teams? Oh yeah, 38 to nothing, Panthers.
I'm certain Georgia will celebrate for weeks, watching the playoff Panthers from their couches.
Cleveland (3-11) at Kansas City (9-5) - Chiefs (13-17, Chiefs)
The other team that everyone in the AFC playoffs should be afraid of.
Manziel actually looked ... good?
Indianapolis (6-8) at Miami (5-9) - Dolphins (18-12, Colts)
I really think that Indy is that bad.
Apparently, the Dolphins are worse.
New England (12-2) at New York Jets (9-5) - Jets (20-26, Jets)
Upset. They are not afraid of the Hatriots, and Ryan Fitz' ain't a noob.
This wasn't conspiracy. It was Darth Belichick's ego writing a check his defense couldn't cash. (And the phrase is "this fix is in", moron.)
Jacksonville (5-9) at New Orleans (5-9) - Saints (27-38, Saints)
I expected much better from the Jaguars last week.
The stupidest thing Tom Benson could do is let Drew Brees leave town.
Green Bay (10-4) at Arizona (12-2) - Cardinals (8-38, Cardinals)
Unless this the game in which Palmer goes down, ruining the Arizona playoff run ...
That is the most complete team currently playing. Palmer for MVP!
St, Louis (6-8) at Seattle (9-5) - Seahawks (23-17, Rams)
I like Gurley and favor him for ORotY. Still. Bloodbath.
Oh it was a bloodbath, alright. Fisher wielded the knife.
New York Giants (6-8) at Minnesota (9-5) - Vikings (17-49, Vikings)
I take nothing away from Eli Manning, but OBJ just hamstrung his 'team'.
The boys in purple are the second or third best team in the NFC right now.
Cincinnati (11-3) at Denver (10-4) - Broncos (17-20, Broncos)
McCarron looked good last week, but he wasn't facing 4 defensive Pro-bowlers, and 2 others who should be Pro-bowlers.
I'm not complaining, but it would be nice if the Broncos could put a good first half and second half together. Osweiler is maturing quickly.
Last Week's Score: 12 - 4, 75% Overall: 140 - 84, 63%