Two pieces of news from this week can only lead to one conclusion: The NFL very well might have lost its mind.
Let’s start with the light-hearted: League owners are going to discuss a whole bunch of rule changes when they meet next week. A lot of the rules are worthwhile considerations, such as amendments to how replay works. In all, the league’s competition committee will present 23 proposed changes for discussion.
One of them, though, is so ridiculous that it seems like satire. Per ESPN.com:
The Indianapolis Colts proposed a scenario that gives teams that successfully convert a 2-point conversion the chance to immediately add another point with a “bonus field goal.” Under the Colts’ proposal, if a team converts a 2-point conversion it would then line up from the 32-yard line to attempt a 50-yard field goal. If the kick is good, the team would receive a total of nine points on that possession — six for the touchdown, two for the 2-point try and a point for the extra field goal.
What? So a nine-point possession would be possible? This is wacky beyond words. The Colts GM is apparently NOT optimistic it will pass. We aren’t optimistic the rest of the owners will make it through the proposal with a straight face.
And now the serious: A neurosurgeon who works for the NFL’s Steelers gave a short interview about brain injuries in the league that, again, feels like satire.
Dr. Joseph Maroon downplayed the safety issues in both youth football and the NFL and said, among other things, that riding a bike or a skateboard is more dangerous than playing youth football.
This is classic NFL, doubling down on its own rhetoric in the face of transition (in this case the Chris Borland retirement) instead of attempting to engage in rational discussion.
This type of defiance and arrogance has served the league well in growing to insane levels of popularity, but this week feels like another drop of poison that will ultimately kill the goose laying the golden eggs.
The ESPN headline indicates that only cheese tops Aaron Rodgers in a public opinion survey of Wisconsin residents. Cheese gets an 80 percent approval rating, while the Packers QB is just below it at 79 percent.
That’s all well and good, but here on this blog, we have been known to cheapen things from time to time. So we’re taking information from the top of the story and the very bottom to cobble together the real headline: Rodgers’ approval rating has dropped 10 percent in the last four years.
Yes, in 2011 — after Rodgers led the Packers to a Super Bowl title — his approval was at 89 percent in the same poll.
Since then, he’s won two MVP awards … but a return trip to the Super Bowl, let alone a victory in the big game, has eluded his grasp. If you delve into the comments section of Packers game stories, you will find fans hyper-critical of Rodgers (which is crazy because he’s thrown 226 career TDs and just 57 INTs).
So whereby it used to be roughly 9 of every 10 Packers fans who approved of their QB, now it’s not even 8 of 10. Tough crowd. He’s barely ahead of Bo Ryan (76 percent) and Barry Alvarez (71 percent). Everyone is crushing Bret Bielema (17 percent) and Gary Andersen (15 percent), recent defectors from Badger-land.
President Obama, who is listed at 6-foot-1 but in fact might be taller, has almost exactly the same approval rating in March of 2015 that he had in March of 2011.
The NFLPA announced today that veteran Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway has won the Byron “Whizzer” White Award, given to the NFL player who best “serves his team, community and country.”
Greenway, who has spent his entire career with the Vikings, founded his Lead the Way Foundation in 2008. The foundation, which serves families in Minnesota and his home state of South Dakota, provides resources and opportunities to chronically and critically ill children and their families.
Greenway, the team’s Man of the Year for 2014, is involved in other charitable endeavors, too.
Greenway was nominated by his teammates and edged out four other finalists — Dustin Colquitt, Malcolm Jenkins, Jameel McClain and Charles Tillman — to win the award, along with a $100,000 donation from the NFLPA to his Lead the Way Foundation.
“I can’t tell you what an honor this is. There are so many good guys in this league, and it is such an honor to be part of this group of men,” Greenway said today while receiving the award in Maui. “This foundation is something that my wife Jenni and I wanted to do as an example for our children, to use this platform of the NFL to do better and do more.”
Greenway is the second Vikings player to win the award since it was established in 1967. Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter also won it back in 1999.