It was another week of unpredictable results that saw the New York Giants win their first game of the season on the road and the injury of another of the NFL’s marketable stars with Aaron Rodgers going down with a broken collar bone.
There has been some contention that it was a late hit on Rodgers by Vikinings linebacker Anthony Barr and that he drove Rodgers into the ground. To me it looks like he took a step and made a form tackle. It is a big blow to the Packers and the league to lose a player of Rodger’s standing, but in this instance I think it was a football play.
The continuing narrative surrounding the league is a worry about marketing and viewing figures as well as playing standards. Yes we are seeing a generation of quarterbacks who we are very familiar with come towards the end of their career or retire, but with players like Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott and emerging rookie Deshaun Watson I would not give up on the young group of quarterbacks just yet. And that’s ignoring the future years of Russell Wilson and the aforementioned Aaron Rodgers who should have some very good seasons ahead of them.
I am also not so worried about viewing figures given that no one seems to be able to take into account for more fractured way people watch television and sport. The American ratings don’t take into account those watching digitally, so a decline should be taken with a pinch of salt.
The participation levels in youth football however, must be monitored, but given all that we are learning about head injuries it would be a good thing to delay the playing of tackle football until children are big enough. The big change will be when a test for CTE that can be performed on players whilst they are still alive is available, and this is when the seismic changes could take place.
The NFL is heading into a period of flux, and yes I do think the NBA can challenge them with their marketable stars who are not hidden behind a helmet. However, the intricacies and skill of football are still as interesting as ever.
There are things that are affecting the quality of play in the collective bargaining agreement. Maybe coaches do need more practice time, but the days of two a days and endless hitting are behind us. It will require innovation and insight, something that has repeatedly occurred in the league but usually though the vision of a single coach or owner and then picked up across the league.
There will be much to discuss when the next CBA is drawn up, but it would help if the process was less adversarial. I really don’t think it is good for the sport that the relationship between the players union and the league is so fractious. However, it is interesting that at the league meeting this week that despite the comments on the anthem in Roger Goodell’s memo, the focus in the meeting was on what the league could do to further the players who are protesting agenda. This strikes me as a more productive route than demanding players stand for the anthem, although I’m sure as the discussions progresses that they will circle back to tackle that topic.
Still, it useful to remember that even for a sport as conservative as American Football, the world is a place of constant flux and for the league to survive it will have to find a way of existing in that flux.
Not so very different to the rest of us.
Gee: Week 6 7-7 Overall 53-39
Dan: Week 6 7-7 Overall 42-50
Chiefs @ Raiders (+2.5)
The Oakland Raiders’ offence has just not come together this season, and whilst I like the signing of NaVorro Bowman to bolster the Raiders’ linebacker group, I’m not sure it is enough to help them hang with Kansas City Chiefs’ offence. The Raiders will be desperate for a win to rescue their season but even as a home underdog I can’t pick them in tonight’s game, although it would not exactly surprise me if they were to win.
Gee’s Pick: Chiefs
Dan’s Pick: Chiefs