Tag Archives: Roger Goodell

WordPress is way better at counting than the NFL

Early this morning — much too early, in retrospect — I published a post castigating the NFL for grossly misrepresenting the meaning of the word “anniversary”.

Later this afternoon, WordPress sent me the following notification:

Continue reading WordPress is way better at counting than the NFL


Aaron Hernandez Will Be Referred to Substance Abuse Program For Violating NFL Substance Abuse Policy


COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL notified former New England Patriots tight end AARON HERNANDEZ today that he will be referred to the league’s Substance Abuse Program for violation of the league’s Substance Abuse Policy following his 2013 arrest.

Continue reading Aaron Hernandez Will Be Referred to Substance Abuse Program For Violating NFL Substance Abuse Policy

Has the NFL finally decided to stop bullying Marshawn Lynch?

The Seahawks’ victory in last Sunday’s NFC Championship Game proved costly after the NFL levied penalties against several members of the winning team. The fine that has attracted the most attention was awarded to Marshawn Lynch for “excessive celebration (inappropriate gesture) against Green Bay (GB)” (which was later discovered to have been excessively celebrated by the NFL itself).

That penalty was handed down after the NFL warned Marshawn that if he wore non-regulation cleats on the field he would be sent back to the locker room, and that if he repeated his obscene gesture in the Super Bowl the Seahawks would be handed a 15 yard penalty. All this to say nothing of his repeated fines for failing to cooperate with the media, plus the looming threats of an additional $250,000 hit for continued uncooperative behavior this coming week and for wearing his own goddamn hat.

The league’s persecution of Beast Mode has gotten so outrageous that several fans launched a petition asking the NFL to stop ‘bullying’ Marshawn Lynch. And it seems the league decided to listen. That claim might sound farfetched, but consider that two other Seahawks received the following fines this week — and that Marshawn Lynch didn’t:

Continue reading Has the NFL finally decided to stop bullying Marshawn Lynch?

John Oliver’s evisceration of Miss America shows he doesn’t understand beauty pageant winners

In John Oliver’s acclaimed evisceration of the Miss America pageant, HBO’s new host investigated the pageant’s oft-repeated claim that it makes $45 million in scholarship money available to contestants on an annual basis. Unsurprisingly, he concluded that the stated figure substantially overstates reality.

But he was wrong,* and it’s all because his fact-finding elves didn’t dig deep enough into the types of people who compete in the pageant — and particularly, into their educational proclivities (emphasis added):

Continue reading John Oliver’s evisceration of Miss America shows he doesn’t understand beauty pageant winners

Malcolm Gladwell thinks the end of football is near. How the NFL and Microsoft could prove him wrong.

Two weeks ago, Microsoft announced a partnership with the NFL to “upgrade interactive TV viewing of pro football games”:

Fans will get new television viewing innovations, including the ability to watch games, Skype video chat with other fans, view statistics, access highlights in real time and gather fantasy information about players and teams — all on a single screen. For those who prefer multiple screens, fans can get an even deeper experience on mobile devices and tablets with SmartGlass technology.

The agreement was announced at Microsoft’s Xbox One reveal, which allowed day one reviewers to gush about how the new device can be so much more than just a video game console — you can also use it to experience football, or more excitingly, fantasy football [emphasis mine]:

The company is also working with the National Football League to develop an app for Xbox that lets players interact with their fantasy football teams while watching a live game. – NYTimes

Microsoft is clearly determined to sew up some of the best content for the Xbox One: it just revealed a special, multi-year partnership with the NFL. The two are working on an optimized experience that better integrates fantasy football, including score displays, onscreen updates and Skype. – Engadget

Xbox and NFL Will Bring Fantasy Football to Life – Mashable headline

Xbox and the NFL even got in on the act. In a promotional video featuring a conversation between Roger Goodell and Xbox President Don Mattrick, the NFL Commissioner asks, “So Don, how will this experience be better on the Xbox for NFL fans?”

Mattrick replies, “With Xbox, we’re gonna have exclusive content that we will use with smart glass, with Kinect, with some of the innovations our creative teams are doing, to bring fantasy football to life, to be able to interact with others, to do things using all the devices in your living room as you’re participating with your friends.”

But don’t let the emphasis on fantasy fool you: the partnership’s impact will not just be felt on Season 5 of The League. Microsoft is also coming to the sidelines of real games, as they happen:

The next step after that, perhaps as early as 2014, will be bringing technology to the sidelines on tablets.

“When you think about the sidelines, what is most important for us is how you make the game of football better, make what the coaches and players do better, using technology but preserving the competition,” said Brian Rolapp, chief operating officer of NFL Media. “The challenge is how to bring technology to make it a better experience for them and for the fans.

“You can start with how we communicate with each other, whether it’s game officials or coaches. Coaches can look at formations as they develop. We’ll look at how do you do the still photos better, get more into real time? Is there a more efficient way to give replay officials a way of doing reviews better through technology?”

So pretty soon, Microsoft technology is going to be helping coaches call plays and referees review calls. How much is the NFL paying Microsoft for all this helpful technological wizardry?

The deal is worth $400 million over five years for the NFL, according to a person familiar with the agreement. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because financial details have not been made public.

In other words, the NFL isn’t paying Microsoft for its technological expertise — rather, Microsoft is paying about three teams’ worth of salary cap to the NFL for the privilege of providing this service. So what does Microsoft get out of the deal? Well, the exclusive Xbox content, and of course, publicity:

Branding of Microsoft products on the hoods of the referee’s on-field instant replay station and other sideline areas will begin this season.

On the one hand, the entire NFL will look more like Sounders FC. On the other hand, NFL replay booths and the league’s referees in general are definitely the sort of associations Microsoft should be paying big money to establish…? What’s the over/under on how long before some play-by-play guy blames a badly-reviewed call on the blue screen of death? [As I’ve noted before: the infamous Seahawks-Packers MNF game that brought back the original refs was supposed to be backstopped by a replay booth manned by a non-striking replay official. But go ahead, keep blaming it on the replacement refs.]

Questionable as this last call may be from Microsoft’s perspective, I thought the NFL’s decision not to take the agreement even farther was possibly even more puzzling. The NFL, as you know, is deeply worried about its potential liability to former players who suffered head injuries while playing in the league. It has been desperately changing rules left and right to shield itself from that liability, most recently banning running backs from contacting defensive players with the crowns of their helmets. But that won’t be the last rule change you’ll see in the NFL, and I believe the league’s partnership with Microsoft points in the direction of the future: now that every Xbox will come with built-in Kinect, why expose your players to actual hits when you could always just make the entire league look like this:

Continue reading Malcolm Gladwell thinks the end of football is near. How the NFL and Microsoft could prove him wrong.

Another NFL Coverup?

No, I’m not talking about the recent spate of NFL player body-snatching, or even the Drew Brees/Vick’s Nyquil-related conspiracy I identified a month and a half ago.

This conspiracy goes to the top.

Commissioner Roger Goodell recently expressed his approval over NFL All-Stars’ play in Sunday’s Pro Bowl. What he meant was, the football players on the field actually hit one another like football players.

All of them, that is, except one:

Continue reading Another NFL Coverup?