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The G-L Review: A Conspiracy Theory Surrounding The No Fun League

Could there really be something more sinister to the NFL’s condemnation of player celebrations? Plus, a look back at the Texans game and a preview of the Bucs game.

NFL: San Diego Chargers at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

I heard an interesting conspiracy theory the other day.

By now, I’m sure you are well aware of the NFL’s attempts to make football less fun, or more specifically, eliminate touchdown celebrations and pretty much all celebrations as a whole. If not, well, just read this article about how Big Ben and the Steelers have informed Antonio Brown that he’s no longer allowed to celebrate.

Now, I understand the qualm some football fans have with the over-the-top celebrating. Some really have an issue with what they believe to be excessive and unwanted performances from players like Cam Newton and Von Miller, and most of these opponents reminisce about the “olden days” when professionals would operate in a professional manner.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Denver Broncos Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

To those fans, the reality of the matter is that the NFL is a company built on glorifying the exploits of a very entertaining sport. With all the testosterone that goes into getting hyped for every game, every drive, every play, dudes just want to let loose once they fulfill their job description and hit pay dirt.

Celebrations are entertainment. Celebrations are fun. And when you watch an ugly, mundane slug-fest—which many NFL games turn into—the rare celebrations remind you of just how great the NFL can be.

Yes, it’s gotten kinda ridiculous when guys point their arms forward after every first down. I certainly do not condone taunting in sports, either, as that just sets a poor example of sportsmanship for younger generations.

But why does the NFL flag and fine players for celebrations once they’re already in the end zone? The play is dead, so it does not hold up the game since special teams players are shuffling onto the field anyway. More importantly, the camera guys are running up to players to catch their reactions to touchdowns seemingly to use in highlights around the interwebs and draw more interest for the sport. When you’re the NFL, more interest means more money, and as we all know, the NFL really only cares about money.

So why take out the celebrations of superstars like Antonio Brown? The segment of the viewing population so disgusted with this new wave of performers cannot be large enough that the NFL thinks celebrations are losing the league money, right?

That’s where the conspiracy theory comes in. It’s common knowledge that the NFL has had its share of off-the-field controversies of late, ranging from Greg Hardy and Josh Brown to the disturbing problems with head trauma and painkillers. With all of these cases being combed over in the media, again and again, the NFL’s product and (god forbid!) Roger Goodell’s reputation seemingly start to go down the stinker.

Therefore, in an effort to not alienate the few NFL fans with morals and further lose revenue, the NFL has decided to inject this season with a new controversy stemming from nothing. Yup, all those penalties and fines being handed out are really just a smokescreen for the deeper problems the NFL wants to see shunned from the national spotlight.

The conspiracy theory sounds crazy at first because...well, that’s the point of a conspiracy theory. It’s fun to postulate that there’s a puppet behind-the-scenes, pulling the strings and we don’t even know it.

But there definitely is some merit to the theory. It’s been well-reported since the start of the season that the NFL’s ratings are down, and many people have linked these ratings to the off-the-field stuff bogging the league down. Other have argued that the reason for the drop in viewership is the refereeing, but to connect the dots between flags for celebrating and fewer viewers seems a little premature since the ratings have been down since the beginning of the season.

My guess is, the NFL will pull back on the crazy fines and flags next season, once they realize it’s ruining the entertainment aspect of the game. Will they reveal their reasoning for doing it in the first place, though? Of course not. Let me know in the comments below whether you think this conspiracy theory is legit or not.

More Thoughts on Last Week’s Game

NFL: San Diego Chargers at Houston Texans Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
  • I don’t have too much to say about the Texans game. If you want some good observations from the game, and you haven’t read Hoyle’s piece yet, I’d advise you to go on over there, because I would most likely reiterate pretty much everything he wrote about, just in my own quirky fashion.
  • I will say this: imagine how good the Texans would be if they a) had a healthy J.J. Watt playing and b) had Philip Rivers as their quarterback. Watching Brock Osweiler stink it up must be quite painful if you’re a Texans fan. I mean, they’ve had great play from just about every unit for the last several years except for the quarterback position. Their defense is still loaded with playmakers, even without their generational talent in Watt, and their offense ain’t bad with guys like Hopkins, Fuller, and Miller. And yet they still prove to be nothing more than mediocre due to horrible-to-average play from the likes of Brian Hoyer, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Schaub, and now Brock Osweiler. Look what Rivers is doing with Tyrell Williams and Dontrelle Inman this year. Imagine how scary that Houston team would be with #17 at the helm.
  • Whoever it was who was saying they weren’t a fan of Kevin Harlan, c’mon man! I’ll take that sweet, honey-dripping voice over the “experts” such as Nantz and Simms any day of the week.

A Look Forward to Next Week’s Game and the Rest of the Season

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
  • You may not know it, but Mike Evans is the hottest receiver in the league right now. Fresh off of burning Richard Sherman for two touchdowns—which always deserves a footnote on Sherman’s Wikipedia page—Evans is starting to hear calls of Pro Bowl, even All-Pro. His matchup with Casey Heyward tomorrow will determine who will win this game because I don’t see any of the other receiving options on the team as a real threat. Then again, that could just be me skipping over a Bucs’ team roster due to the fact that Tampa’s team gets just about as much time in the national spotlight as the Chargers. Regardless, this game will be a close one, and it’s up to Philip Rivers to (as always) lead this team to victory in what could very well be a shootout. These analyses just seem to be the same every week, don’t they?
  • The Bucs are definitely flying under the radar as a solid squad, and I’ll go so far as to say that if the Bolts win this game, I think they could legitimately run the table and have a shot at the playoffs. With a loss, the Chargers are all but eliminated, as if they had a chance in the first place. Nevertheless, I’ll hold out some hope in predicting a Chargers win.
  • This time next week, I’ll be flying down to Charlotte for my first-ever NFL game—more specifically, my first-ever Chargers game! I can’t wait, and it’s funny to see how the storyline of the Week 14 matchup with the Panthers has changed since we bought the tickets way back when.

Some Final Thoughts on Life, the Universe, and Everything

  • Man oh man, no matter what side of the political spectrum you fall on, Donald Trump just can’t seem to stay out of the news. I guess that’s what happens when a businessman-turned-celebrity-turned-politician gets voted into the White House.
  • Interesting to see how Jordan Brand seems to be falling while Adidas rises. The contrast between the hype surrounding the Bape x Adidas NMDs was palpable, while True Blue 3s are still sitting on shelves. Does this mean Jordan will finally stop selling sneakers for ridiculous prices? Of course not. Just because they make more and they don’t sell out doesn’t mean they aren’t raking in quite a lot of cash flow. But with the success of the Yeezys Boosts and NMDs, as well as James Harden’s new line of kicks, Nike’s grip on sneaker commerce will be one to watch in the upcoming years.

Have a great weekend everyone, and go Bolts!