Jake’s Take: NFL Controversies

The Super Bowl has ended, and football fans can now focus on what is really important: the immense amount of controversies surrounding the NFL. Between the questions in Atlanta, Minnesota, Cleveland and others, Roger Goodell has his hands quite full. Grab your hats and boots because this journey through the NFL is going to be muddy with lies and raining with cover-ups.

What’s up with AP?

The NFL Players Association has begun its lawsuit against the NFL on the behalf of Adrian Peterson to appeal against his suspension, bringing us one step closer to putting this whole mess behind us. As I’m sure you’ve heard, Peterson was charged with felony child abuse back in Nov. after news broke that he had injured his son with a tree branch while disciplining him. Peterson also avoided jail time by agreeing to a $4,000 fine and 80 hours of community service. Lastly, he was suspended indefinitely by the NFL for his actions. This was nearly the right thing to do. Peterson definitely deserved to be punished, but the judiciary system could’ve been a little more stringent in imposing a harsher fine. I do agree with the community service and the NFL’s indefinite suspension. With all of the terrible things that have gone on in the NFL this season, it’s nice to see Goodell do something right. As for the NFLPA’s lawsuit, the ruling will likely be overturned, allowing AP to rejoin the NFL as a free agent once the trial concludes.

The “Worst Thing”- Deflategate

As Troy Aikman put it, “[Deflategate] is the worst thing.” Now, he may be a three-time Super Bowl champion and one of the most well-respected NFL analysts, but he clearly doesn’t know what he is saying. He is saying that deflated footballs are worse than coaches placing bounties on other players in order to injure them. He is saying that deflated footballs are worse than a player beating his wife in an elevator. He is saying that deflated footballs are worse than taking performance enhancing drugs. Of course, we hope, Aikman was exaggerating, but the fact of the matter is that this so-called “Deflategate” is not a big deal. The Patriots replaced the footballs at halftime of the game as soon as they were notified of it, and, even if the deflation of the footballs was intentional, the Patriots demolished the Colts 45-7 in that game. The deflated footballs had no effect on that game or the Patriots’ 28-24 Super Bowl victory over the Seattle Seahawks. If there are any repercussions for Deflategate, which there shouldn’t be, it will probably be a slap-on-the-wrist fine for Tom Brady or Bill Belichick.

Piping in Sound? Really?

An investigation has ensued against the Atlanta Falcons for them allegedly piping in fake crowd noise at their home games for the past two seasons. We can make plenty of jokes about this, but it’s actually a fairly serious offense. Crowd noise is a great tool that home teams use because it distracts and rattles their opponents. With fake noise, the Falcons make it much louder and more distracting for opponents, while keeping themselves completely focused on the task at hand. Teams are allowed to use their speakers until 20 seconds remain on the play clock, but the Falcons are being investigated for piping in sound throughout the entire play clock. If it is found that they did so, the Falcons should be punished, but not too severely. The NFL should fine the organization a hefty amount or take away a fourth- or fifth-round draft pick in the upcoming draft, but, as we all know, NFL investigations tend to take a little bit longer than they should, so the verdict may not come out by the draft this summer.

Cleveland, Cleveland, Cleveland

Finally, we have the Cleveland Browns. The Browns’ organization has been involved in everything from alcoholism to drug problems to a scandal now dubbed Text-gate, so it’s hard to pick a starting point. I’ll tackle their players’ problems first. Johnny Manziel has recently checked himself into a rehabilitation institution for his alcohol problems. Manziel was not suspended by the NFL for his problem; rather, he chose to receive help of his own volition.This is definitely a good sign from a young player with some serious off-the-field problems early in his career. Manziel should be ready to go by the time training camp rolls around, and he will definitely be in contention to be the starting quarterback. Next, Josh Gordon, the Browns’ top wide receiver, has failed his second offseason drug test in a row. Gordon was suspended for the first ten games of the 2014 season after testing positive for marijuana, and he now faces a suspension for a minimum of one year after testing positive for alcohol. The way I see it, the Browns should cut ties with him as soon as possible. It’s hard to release your only receiving threat, but it should be easy to release a someone whom has been suspended four times since the beginning of the 2013 season. The best that Gordon can hope for is a one-year suspension and a down-on-their-luck team to sign him next offseason. Lastly, the Browns’ general manager, Ray Farmer, is being investigated for texting play calls to the head coach from the owners’ box. This violates the NFL’s policy of electronic communications, like texting, during games. This is the biggest violation of the three because it indicates a clear disregard for the rules, and it should result in a fairly large fine, a suspension for Farmer, and a loss of a draft pick or two. It is really sad that the Browns have to endure all of this, but that’s the just the way the metaphorical cookie crumbles sometimes.

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