If you are a fan of football in general, and the NFL in particular, then you owed it to yourself to watch League of Denial, an episode of Frontline that aired last night on PBS.  If the title sounds familiar, it’s probably because you originally heard that this would be a joint PBS/ESPN production.

That was until the NFL leaned heavily on ESPN to NOT air the program because of the “bad publicity” it would get.  League of Denial, you see, deals with the crisis of concussions and post-concussive syndrome in current and former NFL players, dealing specifically with the great (and now late) Mike Webster of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

When it comes to marketing, public relations and controlling the message, the NFL is way ahead of the curve.  But when it comes to doing the right thing, showing real (instead of window dressing) concern for player safety and being honest with its fan base, the NFL is 100 years behind.  Show the NFL that it’s fans care about this issue.  Watch League of Denial and then tweet, send an email or post a comment on the league’s website.

I never thought I’d say this, but poor Tony Romo.  For the second week in a row he was brilliant, this time outplaying the amazing Peyton Manning.  Romo threw for 506 yards and 5 TDs.  He put up a passer rating of 140.  And still the Cowboys lost 51-48.  For the first time in my life I actually feel sorry for the guy.


This Week’s Sucked And Won:   Carson Palmer, QB (ARI):  Palmer threw for 175 yards and a touchdown, but also threw three interceptions and posted a passer rating of just 57.0.  If his defense hadn’t gotten three picks right back for him, the Cardinals would never have won.

Is Cincinnati the most schizophrenic team in the NFL?  They beat Green Bay, then turn in a stinker against Cleveland, then come right back and beat the Patriots?  Who are these guys?  Do they even know?


Shocking realization of the week:  The early line is out on Jacksonville at Denver.  It’s 28.

One little thought of effect of the government shut down was that our service people abroad did not get to see this weekend’s slate of NFL games because they were not broadcast on Armed Forces Radio & Television Service.  I never served in the military, but I did do several tours with a band in the late 1980s where we performed for our troops abroad.  In most of these locales, AFRTS is the only English language television, in some cases the only television at all, available.

Spending a significant amount of  time away from home can be draining, and keep in mind that all I was doing was playing keyboards, not doing any of the dangerous work our troops are called upon to perform every day.  NOT having a chance to watch football on Sunday might not seem like a big deal to those of us lounging around our living rooms.  To the men and women serving abroad, it is a little lifeline to remind them what’s waiting for them once their job is done.  It IS a big deal, and everyone needs to know it.


This Week’s Great But Lost:  Alshon Jeffery, WR (CHI).  Are you kidding me with this guy?  10 catches for 218 yards and a touchdown.  How the hell did the Bears only score 18 points?

This week’s brain freeze award goes to Giants coach Tom Coughlin.  He must be pressing.  First he declined a penalty that would have put the Eagles in fourth down.  Instead, they converted the 3rd and long.  Then he used a timeout before using a challenge in the third quarter.  NEVER the right call.  The challenge IS your timeout. Just call it.  It didn’t matter in the end that the Giants wound up using all three of their timeouts in the first 12 minutes of the second half, but it served as a microcosm of just how much is going wrong for New York this season.


Thursday Pick:  NY Giants (+7.5) @Chicago (MGM Mirage)

Seven and a half may seem like a steep spread here, but consider the fact that the Giants haven’t lost by LESS than 8 since opening weekend.  Are the 3-2 Bears better than Philadelphia or Carolina?  Because both of those teams trashed the Giants in the last two weeks.  Chicago, meanwhile, needs to get itself back on track, and a home win against a truly bad team, which is what the Giants are, is just the way to do it.  I’m giving the points here.

Chicago Bears 31 New York Giants 20



“Five and O is like a dream, but this is reality.  It feels really good.” – Chiefs RB Dexter McCluster, on his team’s unbeaten start.

“There are only two ways to finish out this season.  That’s either figuring out some way to right this ship and get some kind of positive momentum going here, or you can sulk and feel sorry for yourself and have the worst season ever in Giants history.” – Giants DT Justin Tuck, on his team’s 0-5 start.

“You can call them ugly wins or any kind of wins you want.  As long as they’re wins, I love them.” – Cardinals coach Bruce Aryans, on his team’s second win in a row.

“That was a great audible.  That’s one of the things you see that you make you go ‘Wow.’  You take the rookie label off that guy.  He made a great check.” – Jets RB Bilal Powell, on rookie QB Geno Smith’s decision to call an audible to a run play on the final offensive play of the game to set up the game winning field goal.

“Things like that are going to happen on the road.  You’re never going to get any calls.” – Seahawks CB Richard Sherman, on a late pass interference call in their game against the Colts.

“Dominic Raiola is literally the worst person I have ever had the fortune to encounter.” – Facebook post from a Wisconsin band member about comments the Lions center allegedly shouted at the band during pregame warmups.  Raiola reportedly called members “fat motherf**kers,” said they sucked, told another member he was a “fat f**k,” threatened to shove a trumpet up a band member’s sister’s you-know-what and called a female member “the c-word”.  Lions President Tom Lewand has apologized for the incident.

“We just have to find a way to stack good things on top of each other.  And it’s our responsibility as coaches to develop players so they’re ready to step in.” – Jaguars coach Gus Bradley, whose team can now add a rash of injuries to the myriad of problems they’re having.

“Every one of these is a test.  I don’t want to say this is the most difficult.” – Broncos coach John Fox on his team’s wild come from behind win over Dallas.

“Hopefully that’s rock bottom tonight.” – Texans coach Gary Kubiak, on the struggles of QB Matt Schaub, who was benched during the blowout loss to San Francisco.