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Roger Goodell’s NFL completely under betting spell

According to Greg Olsen, the latest untreated yack on the Fox, the key to the Giants’ Sunday win was the Vikings’ inability to establish “rush lane integrity.” Thought for food.

Six NFL playoff games since we last met, friends, and we hold these truths to be self-evident:

The overwhelming commercial message throughout the telecasts was to bet, bet, bet, bet, bet, then bet some more. Bet with both fists, every game, all game. Parlays, prop bets, first-one’s-free bets (read the fine print in tiny TV print).

Bet with the paid encouragement of wealthy celebrities, from the Fab Four Manning Football Family to Kevin Hart, Wayne Gretzky and Jamie Foxx, all further enriched by enticing mostly young adult males to invest their money — all major credit cards accepted! — in a business predicated on investors losing their money, then whatever else befalls them as a result.

As for Roger Goodell, the $64 million per first-class phony who serves as the financial front for team owners and the bogus, selective public conscience of the NFL, selections from his previous high-ground convictions on legalized sports gambling:

“The NFL’s position is that to involve our games [creates] an additional threat to the integrity of our league and the public good …

“Simply put, we do not want our games used as bait to sell gambling; it threatens the character of team sports. Our sports embody our very finest traditions and values. They stand for clean, healthy competition. They stand for teamwork. And for success through preparation and honest effort.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell
Getty Images

“With sports gambling, our games would instead represent the fast buck, the quick fix, the desire to get something for nothing. Legalized sports gambling would change — for the worse — what our games stand for and the way they’re perceived, and magnify the ever-present risks of corruption and scandal.”

My favorite: “Our players cannot be expected to serve as healthy role models for youth if they are made to function as participants in gambling enterprises. And legalized sports gambling sends a regrettable message to our young people that ‘anything goes’ when it comes to raising revenues … that we might as well legalize, sponsor, and promote any activity so that the state can get its ‘cut.’ ”

But as states, desperately reliant on vice, legalized sports gambling, Goodell & Associates decided to “get its cut,” be it through licensing — the NFL has sold its logo to three gambling operations’ to enhance their status — TV revenues (ratings and commercial), and now the addition of betting kiosks at NFL stadiums.

Cry for the children, Roger? Cry me a river, you four-flushing, counting-house phony.

After gambling ads (and Minnesota’s inability to establish “rush lane integrity”) the dominant theme of the six playoff games was the replay rule, now with the surprise “expedited replay review” additive to more quickly provide a second opinion, right or wrong.

Five of the six playoff games — Giants-Vikes, the exception — were denuded of football to undergo micro-inspection of what just occurred, allowing TV to cut to more gambling ads.

What the late George Young, who joined the NFL office after righting the Giants, filed in a fattening folder on which he had written, “The Monster Grows” — additions and corrections to “instant” replay rules — now further render the games tethered to long, unintended delays and examinations to reach debatable adjudications.

Such matters were never a fan-breaking issue during those years when many of us became football devotees. Crazy as it seems, we used to turn on football games to watch football games, not delays for replay rule decisions or for the sole come-on to track our gambling action. But you can’t stand in the way of progress.

Maher PAT attempt coverage nearly blown by ESPN

As for those six playoff games, the TV coverage, especially with networks’ top crews in place, was what we’ve come to expect: negligence, stunning unawareness of on-going circumstances.

By the time the Cowboys, Monday night, defeated the Bucs, 31-14, there was only one thing left to see: After Dallas made it 30-7, would Brett Maher miss his unfathomable fifth extra point in the game.

Cowboys kicker Brett Maher missed an NFL-record four extra points in their wild-card win over the Buccaneers.
Cowboys kicker Brett Maher missed an NFL-record four extra points in their wild-card win over the Buccaneers.

Had terrorists invaded ESPN’s truck, they’d have ceased gagging and blindfolding the crew to first see if Maher made that kick. For crying out loud, both my sister-in-law and Stephen A. Smith would have stopped talking in order to watch.

ESPN nearly missed it.

Awash in three replays of the TD that preceded the PAT, ESPN nearly missed it as the ball was in the air and through the uprights.

Then ESPN blew its coverage of the disturbing and too familiar — both teams solemnly gathered around the prone, unmoving victim — injury to Bucs’ WR Russell Gage. When Gage was finally stretchered from the field, ESPN was in commercials.

That could have been forgiven had ESPN shown it on tape. Was Gage moving? Conscious? ESPN showed us nothing.

After SF’s Christian McCaffrey broke a long run, a Fox close-up showed his eyes glancing upward, apparently at the large in-stadium video screen to check for the closest Seattle defender. Great shot. Naturally, Daryl “Moose” Johnston was too busy talking to notice.

Christian McCaffrey
Christian McCaffrey

Interesting, how Saturday’s next telecast, Chargers-Jags on NBC, the one-game team of Al Michaels and Tony Dungy received radically mixed reviews.

But given that it was preceded by three hours of Johnston, I’ll side with reader Peter Dowd: “Nice not to have some jerk explaining every play to the last detail trying to show how smart he is with modern football-speak.”

Fox A-Team analyst Olsen, at the top of Giants-Vikes, said,“The biggest thing for the Giants is that they want to be a play-action pass team, not a drop-back pass team.”

The Giants then beat the Vikes, all game, via drop-back passing, little play-action. But Olsen talks so much, how can he remember “The biggest thing”?

Then there was Olsen’s assessment of Giants’ $72 million pass-dropping free-agent bust Kenny Golladay, as “a bit of a disappointment.” And Lizzie Borden was “a tad eccentric.”

Kenny Golladay
Kenny Golladay
Noah K. Murray

Fox’s “Next-Generation Stats” didn’t bode well for any generation as they noted that Daniel Jones had run “23 yards over expected.” Expected by whom? Calvin “The Add-and-Divide” Calculator?

After Bengal Sam Hubbard’s 98-yard TD fumble return, NBC’s Mike Tirico calmed himself to take a shot at it: “One of the longest plays in terms of a return in playoff history!”

As Ray Goulding from the old radio comedy team of Bob and Ray, said, “George Washington was one of our first Presidents.”

Networks missing NFL’s ugliest behavior

As for those six playoff games, well, professionalism is now totally optional, a matter of indiscriminate personal choice, nothing higher. Nearly every game included at least one episode of players doing their best/worst to be tossed for misconduct.

In the first half of Dolphins-Bills, a multiple-player fight ensued with Bills players in the midst of the hassle wearing their Goodell-issue “Choose Love” social messaging helmets.

A multiple-player scene erupted after Seahawks’ DB Johnathan Abram followed a tackle of Deebo Samuel by wrenching his previously injured leg — a play and point initially missed by Fox because it cut to its latest witless crowd shot.

And in another “Thoughts and prayers,” “This puts everything into perspective” tribute to Damar Hamlin’s on-field near-death episode, Niners DB Jimmie Ward only had to tap fallen Seahawks QB Geno Smith to give the Niners a 14-13 halftime lead. Instead, he tried to behead him with a helmet-first, unguided missile shot.

And so the half ended with Seattle up, 16-14, a field goal on the final play after a mindless 15-yarder against a 31-year-old college man. Viewers even without bets were again left to wonder how what they just saw could possibly occur in a pro football playoff game.

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