The next several days are going to be big ones for the NFL. Sure, Thursday night's matchup between Buffalo and Cleveland wasn't exactly one that makes you hear John Fascenda in your head, but every game counts, right?
Beyond this and another Sunday of football (and injuries) is what we've seen on the field. And I mean down on the field.
The image of football this season is one of head-to-head hits, like the one that put Eddie Lacy on the shelf. It's Jake Locker locked up in pain after damage to his hip on a hit that many have questioned. It's Malcom Floyd taking a very scary axial load, then rolling off the field on a cart.
The NFL doesn't want those images in your head. They don't want people asking week after week about Rob Gronkowski. They want the image of Peyton Manning throwing touchdowns after many questioned whether he was ever going to come back. (Funny thing, Gronkowski and Manning shared a surgeon.) They want the deep passes, the long runs, the late comeback.
I've read the advance copy of the accompanying book, and having followed this story for years, not much of this is new information, but it's told in a compelling and often damning story.
I'm very curious how the NFL is going to handle this. It made a mistake pushing ESPN over this since it only drew more attention to the show. While a PBS documentary isn't going to draw nearly the audience of an NFL pregame show, they've already lost a lot of public opinion. My guess is the NFL will attempt to ignore this, but I'm not sure that they'll be able to. Again.
Let's look around the league: