NFL Week 10 Picks and Why Thursday Games Prove Goodell's Hypocrisy

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 12, 2010

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - FEBRUARY 05:  Commissioner of the NFL Roger Goodell speaks to members of the media during the NFL Commissioner Press Conference held at the Greater Ft. Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center as part of media week for Super Bowl XLIV on February 5, 2010 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

As human beings, we have this incredible ability to deal with the waves of hypocrisy that we encounter on a daily basis.  That is, at least, partially due to the fact that we dole out a lot of it ourselves.

We have doctorate degrees in schadenfreude, as the lives of stars like Tiger Woods or Brett Favre crumble before our eyes, yet we commit the same types of mistakes in our own personal lives.

We complain about the unoriginality in music today and bemoan the popularity of acts like Ke$ha, yet the piracy of music is at an all-time high.

We disparage the rise of health care premiums and the meteoric rise of obesity, yet we shovel unhealthy meals from McDonalds and Burger King down our throats on a daily basis and avoid exercising like it's sex with Snooki. 

And do we really care about any of this?  Not really. 

We simply want to criticize our celebrities, listen to our music and eat our horrible food.  We avoid the ugly underbelly of hypocrisy that reigns supreme in our culture simply because it's easier to do so. 

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And trust me, I'm not trying to be the moral police here.  I've made a multitude of mistakes with women.  I'll call overweight friends "fatasses" while shoveling down another deathburger.  I'll pira....um, I don't pirate music.  Because that's wrong.  And illegal.

However, those among us who won't admit their faults and pass the hardest judgment are the most hypocritical without even realizing it.

One example is the commissioner of our most popular and physical sport, Roger Goodell. 

Commissioner Goodell is the judge, jury and executioner of players, despite being a representative of the owners' agenda.  He condemns players for actions unbecoming to the league regardless of whether the player was convicted of a crime, or in the case of Ben Roethlisberger, even charged with a crime.

He does so without consistency and often times reasoning simply because he can.  Goodell's justice system reminds me of the episode of the 1990's cartoon "Hey Arnold" where Phoebe, the nerdy girl and constant butt of jokes, is named hall monitor, becomes drunk with power and alienates her peers. 

Only, in this instance, the media is not alienating Goodell. They're encouraging him, and in turn, enabling his reign of hypocrisy to continue. 

For instance, last night was the beginning of the league's most glaring example of hypocrisy—Thursday night football games. Yet, no media member went out on a limb and disparaged this outrageous exhibition.

You see, after overwhelming evidenced forced the NFL to be proactive in their anti-concussion efforts (posting signs for players warning of concussion symptoms, forcing teams to consult outside physicians in order for a player to return to action, etc.), most were satisfied with the measures being taken. 

That is, until the infamous rash of big hits during Week 6 games. 

It was in the aftermath of Week 6 when Goodell took his hypocrisy to new heights, subjectively fining players under a set of newfangled rules when the previous games had been played without any "new" rule in place.

Goodell levied a total of $175,000 in fines against three players (Steelers linebacker James Harrison, Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather, and Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson) and most media members applauded the steps being taken to "clean up" the game.

(A few exceptions that I saw, though I am sure there are more:  Foxsports.com's Jason Whitlock, Pardon the Interruption's Michael Wilbon and ESPN.com's Bill Simmons.)

In the coming weeks, many players came out in defense of their fellow warriors, including Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, who wondered how a man who never played the game of football, who never had to make a split-second decision on where to place his head to brace for contact, could arbitrarily pilfer money away from players. 

All solid points, but the problem does not lie in Goodell taking a hard-line stance on concussions.  In fact, the league's proactivity to concussions was long overdue.

Where the problem lies is the hypocritical notion that the league is taking an aggressive approach to preventing concussions while also subjecting players to participate in late-season battles on three days' rest simply for the sake of justifying the league's cash cow television network. 

You're telling me that it's safe for offensive and defensive linemen, whose jobs are basically to be human battering rams, to be playing on three days' rest when the season already has nine weeks under its belt? 

And that's not even including positions like running back, where the average shelf life is only 2.6 years.  Call me skeptical, but I don't think carrying the ball 40+ times in a five-day period is improving that average.

(Note:  Michael Turner carried the ball 41 times combined between Sunday and Thursday.  Ray Rice touched the ball 44 times.)

Not only is Commissioner Goodell putting the safety of players at risk, he is also delivering fans an atrocious product. 

Anyone who watched the first half of Thursday's game witnessed two of the league's seven best teams play like unprepared JV squads in their first game of the year. 

Offensive line assignments were constantly missed.  Run blocking was nowhere to be found.  Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco looked like a drunken Matt Leinart against one of the league's worst passing defenses. 

The two teams looked absolutely unequipped to be playing a professional football game.  In the second half, the pace picked up and produced an exhilarating finish, but couldn't we just conclude that the defenses were exhausted after their first half adrenaline rush? 

Either way, it doesn't matter.  These games are an unnecessary, irresponsible, dangerous farce that should be stricken from the schedule—especially if the league expands to an 18-game schedule. 

But I'm sure they won't be.  Because if we've learned anything today, it's that hypocrisy reigns supreme.

Week 10 NFL Picks

Last Week:  7-5-1

Season Record: 59-63-6

This Week:  0-1 (picked Baltimore)

Indianapolis (-7) over Cincinnati

Houston (+1.5) over Jacksonville

Tennessee (-2) over Miami

Minnesota (-1.5) over Chicago

Detroit (+3) over Buffalo

NY Jets (-3) over Cleveland

Tampa Bay (-6.5) over Carolina

Kansas City (-1) over Denver

San Francisco (-6) over St. Louis

Arizona (-3) over Seattle

Dallas (+13.5) over NY Giants

Pittsburgh (-4.5) over New England

Washington (+3) over Philadelphia