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Quick Inside Slant: Week 15

Impressions of the 2012 NFL Season as perceived by a Creative Writing graduate student, part-time amateur stand-up comedian and collegiate intramural flag football legend.

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Those suspensions for the bounty scandal that we all know were handed out...yea, those never actually happened.

Those suspensions for the bounty scandal that we all know were handed out…yea, those never actually happened.

Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue agreed with current NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s findings with regards to the Saint’s bounty program. In other news, Roger Goodell’s wife also agrees with him.

Justice Isn’t Blind, She’s Embarrassed

I understand that there probably isn’t a person better suited to appreciate the situation Goodell is in and whether the sanctions are fair or not, but there also aren’t many people more biased than the former commissioner, who happens to be a partner at a law firm involving Jonathan Vilma’s bounty case. However, though he found that Goodell’s intel was good, he still vacated all suspensions. The suspensions that never happened? Yes, those suspensions.

Honestly, I still don’t really know what the hell happened, but here’s what it looks like. It looks mom found out that their son Johnny broke the chandelier during a rager over the weekend when she was away and grounded him for a year without his Play Station. Johnny claimed his innocence and asked for an arbitrator. Mom agreed on dad. Dad also found that Johnny broke the chandelier and through a kickass party and smoked all his good weed, but a year without Play Station is a little harsh. So instead, Johnny got nothing but the guilt of having thrown a party and gotten away with it. And now mom’s authority is completely undermined and the whole family knows that dad agrees with all 32 kids that her punishments are ridiculously harsh and she is way too power-hungry.

In this scenario, Roger Goodell is the mother whose authority was publicly undermined and whose punishments are being seen as too harsh by dad.

So what happens next time Goodell tries to punish somebody? Is there anybody that wouldn’t appeal his decision? Heck, I’d appeal a parking ticket if he gave it out. Maybe Tagliabue thought he was doing Goodell a favor by saying that the Saints’ organization muddied the water so much that he couldn’t see who was at fault anymore. But Goodell saw that same water and decided to throw a few darts at a team photo to send the message that if you may have been involved, you are guilty because I need to send a message that this bounty stuff will not continue regardless. This sounds eerily similar to his stance on head-to-head contact.

He has lost all his existing credibility, which I don’t believe he should have in the first place considering how he’s decided to handle pretending to cut down on concussions. It’s as if he didn’t suspend Suh for kicking Schaub in the groin because he couldn’t prove it was intentional, but then fined Suh for the kick because it might have been intentional. But he’d never do that.

Year of the Rookie

This past week, five rookie quarterbacks won their respective football games. And yes, I’m counting two from the Redskins. I understood when they drafted RG3, even if it sent them into astronomical debt. After all, D.C. is used to debt. But then to turn around and draft another rookie quarterback in the third round? I was laughing once again. These are the Redskins I know. Causing a needless quarterback controversy before the draft was even over. Thank God we’re in their division. Little did I know what the plan was.

So those two guys, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson and even Napoleon Dynamite got a win for my pathetic Eagles for the first time since the Phillies last win. No, that’s not a misprint. Only Ryan Tannehill from the rookie class lost last week and he has a hot wife, so he wins that. Even Brandon Weeden won and he plays for the Browns.

So what does this all mean? I’m not sure why this year happened to be the anomaly it did. Certainly, we all saw the chance that Luck and RG3 would be special players, but we didn’t see five starters and a backup all able to not embarrass themselves. So I don’t know why it happened, but I’ll tell you what it means.

The levee has been broken and the floodwaters are coming. Any team that doesn’t categorically have a playoff spot in the bag next year will be drafting and starting a rookie quarterback next year. This includes the Jets, Bills, Titans, Jags, Raiders, Chiefs and Browns again. And that’s just the AFC. Coaches likely would rather go with a quarterback with experience who knows how to play the position. But owners aren’t stupid and they know that the combination of some new guy and hope will make for more ticket and merch sales. And it’s not like Matt Hassellbeck is not a guarantee of any more victories anyway.

The second thing that will happen is that all these quarterbacks will get caught. Coaches have film on these guys now and just like how defenses caught up to the Wildcat once New Orleans showed how to shut it down in year two, defenses will figure out a way to stop that read option pistol offense that skyrocketed the Skins to a seven-victory season. Of course, it’s not like Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden are scaring anybody with their five wins. And I still have no idea how Russell Wilson is winning games. But they will all suffer that very real sophomore slump next year. Except Andrew Luck. He’s pretty good.

And I wouldn’t count on any of these new guys winning it all this year. They’re great stories, but let’s be realistic. The road to the Superbowl still goes through Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and the Mannings. And thanks to Goodell’s vindictive, scorned woman-sense of justice, not Drew Brees.

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Dustin Fisher is an amateur standup comedian, storyteller, freelance writer, and stay-at-home dad, all of which are just better ways of saying “unemployed.” He worked in the area of collegiate recreation for the previous 14 years at UMBC, Miami University and the University of Baltimore. There, he became somewhat of a folk legend on the flag football field and actually got paid to play fantasy football. Dustin is currently in the MFA program at the University of Baltimore seeking a Masters degree in Creative Writing. He has made contributions to various publications including The Good Men Project and the Baltimore Fishbowl. For more about Dustin, check out his stay-at-home dad website, Daddy Needs a Nap. Dustin lives with his wife and daughter in New Carrollton, MD in a house surrounded by too many trees to get the Dish Network.

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