Jerry Jones has a drinking problem, and he doesn’t even get to enjoy the euphoric feeling of intoxication. He just gets to deal with the media storm that follows his players’ stupidity. Less than two months after Josh Brent killed a fellow teammate and was charged with intoxicated manslaughter, Cowboys’ nose tackle Jay Ratliff’s blood test revealed a 0.16 blood-alcohol content two-and-a-half hours after side-swiping a semi on the highway last Tuesday Jan. 22. This is what happens when you draft morons, Jerry.
As predicted, the Pro Bowl sucked, and as predicted, a Minnesota Viking had a dominating performance. I just picked the wrong Viking. Rookie tight end Kyle Rudolph was named Pro Bowl MVP in the NFC’s romp of the AFC on Sunday, 62-35. Although I like Rudolph and think he’s a great tight end, being named MVP of the Pro Bowl is the equivalent of being named Employee of the Month at Wal-Mart, except at Wal-Mart they don’t give you a giant SUV for winning the award. Rudolph replaced Tony Gonzalez on the NFC’s roster. He wasn’t even the top tight end in the NFC, but now he’s got a new car he doesn’t need.
Staying on the subject of football, President Obama questioned the safety of the NFL and Baltimore Ravens’ hard-hitting safety Bernard Pollard countered. Pollard argued that the future of the NFL is bleak because of the safety measures recently taken to cut down on concussions. Personally, I think Mr. President is wrong on this one, and it wouldn’t be the first time. I’m all for current players avoiding injury and former players living longer lives, but don’t do it at the expense of the game or the fans.
Here’s an idea: Increase pensions for former players and give them better health insurance once they walk (or limp) away from the game. One of the most exciting plays in football — the kickoff — has already been destroyed in order to protect players. The Devin Hester types, who run into a maze of 10 players (and a kicker) attacking them at full speed, won’t have a place in the NFL because they’re too small. Remember Michael Lewis, who became the return specialist for the Saints after working as a Budweiser delivery man? Americans love these rags-to-riches stories, real Heratio Alger stuff, and commissioner Roger Goodell is turning the dreams of young men everywhere into nightmares.
The NFL’s future is bleak if it turns into a game played by pansies who are scared of getting hit. NFL players choose to put on the pads, and they are paid handsomely for it. Frankly, I think we should all watch rugby. They don’t wear pads or helmets, and they aren’t paid handsomely, but they are hard as coffin nails and none of them are worried about concussions. In my research, I found that the concussion rate in American football is anywhere between four and seven times that of rugby. In fact, I’d venture to say as soon as we added pads to American football the players found a way to use those pads as weapons. It’s the American way.