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The dumbed down NFL stumbles on

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Posted: Thursday, November 8, 2012 12:05 am

Now that the bats and balls are put away for the baseball season and the college football season on the local front has been a learn season for Missouri, I asked myself what will I do for my sports fix?

College basketball does not really get into full swing until after the first of the year as many teams will play blood donors that are camouflaged as non-conference opponents in many cases. Then there is the National Football League. You know the nine billion dollar a year sports monster. The one we cannot do without no matter how bad the product is – and man is it bad.

While I know some will say, “Yes, but it's still football” my response is “really?” This league is flawed from top to bottom.

The leadership with Commissioner Goodell is borderline comical as he cannot get out of his own way on a variety of issues. The well documented “Bountygate” has a new twist on a near weekly basis, and with each revaluation you have to wonder how did this mess get where it is?

Think about it for a minute. The commissioner goes from claiming that a team was caught red handed in paying bounties to injure players, where suspensions of players and executives were imposed, to having the pants sued off of him where some players are now back on the field.

Throw in the fact that as the league wanted to keep this in house, Goodell went as far as recusing himself from the case only to appoint a special arbitrator to hear the case. I though it was a good idea until I heard that Goodell appointed former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

If you do the math here, you will realize it is the same Paul Tagliabue that Goodell used to work for and eventually replaced. Pardon me for being so stupid in thinking Mr. Tagliabue would be so fair and impartial on this matter.

What made matters worse, Goodell thought the players would go for it. Not surprised that he would, considering how the players have been hoodwinked in the past by the owners of this league. Yes, that is your NFL off the field.

On the field is the start of what will continue to be a sad story. It’s not the fact that many will be broke before the age of 30. Never mind the issue of concussions will not be resolved anytime soon. How about the quality of play on the field? Few can tackle the proper way anymore and even fewer can now block. Just ask Michael Vick about pass protection.

Here is where the problem lies. The players whined about how practice was too long and too hard. In return, the owners relented and said there would not be as much time on the field, hence no more two a days and now there is more meeting time in the classroom for players to prepare.

I have one question here. How is that these players are going to get better with coaches being required to do more teaching in the classroom instead of on the field? This group of players around the league, mind you, in many cases never went to class very much while in college. Some did just enough to get by when it came to going to class; most never saw what graduating was like as they thought they would play ball forever.

So how can coaches teach players in a classroom environment when many of these players never had any real classroom aptitude to start with? Hence the rap on some players when they cannot get on the field may have something to do with them “having a tough time learning the system.” I think they would have a tough time learning anything for some of these misfits.

Folks, the terminology has changed but the game remains the same, so pardon me if I have little pity on these teams who draft players who are struggling at this late stage of the season learning the system. There is no teaching of how to build a bomb, just pass routes and defensive assignments.

While players and coaches will not publicly agree, there are enough off the record comments that lend the notion that this has been a concern. Some teams are putting more stock in the aptitude test, and it wont be long before transcripts will be part of the evaluation of a player to see if he really is smart enough to know his football assignments. It is a wake up call to the youth of America. You cannot play in the NFL if you have poor comprehension skills at any level.

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