1. It looks like people will be taking a little break from arguing about ratings to arguing about the dangers of football. Two prominent voices, Bob Costas and Mark Cuban, have come out this week to offer sobering analysis of Roger Goodell's biggest problem as NFL Czar. Speaking at the University of Maryland on Tuesday night, Costas said, "The reality is that this game destroys people’s brains."
Costas also said the sport could fold if it doesn't come up with technology to make it safer.
“The cracks in the foundation are there,” Costas said. “The day-to-day issues, as serious as they may be, they may come and go. But you cannot change the nature of the game. I certainly would not let, if I had an athletically gifted 12- or 13-year-old son, I would not let him play football.” Costas said he feels more and more people will adapt this same policy, which, in turn, will have an affect on all levels of the game.
“But then where’s the talent pool for college? What happens to college football? The whole thing could collapse like a house of cards if people actually begin connecting the dots.”
"Yeah, absolutely. But not from a TV ratings perspective. But they still have bigger strategic problems in that people don't want their kids to play football. That's huge. That impacts how much football kids will watch. And how much football families watch. You just get the sense that they don't really have a grasp of how to connect to people in the broader population."
Cuban also added that he wouldn't let his son play football, saying, "I get pissed about my brother letting my nephew play. And I know among my wife's friends that they kind of give you the cross-eyed look if you say you let your son play tackle football. That's a fundamental problem. When we were growing up, every family had a team. We watched the Steelers, the Pirates, the Penguins. Hell or high water, we were watching them. That was the big game. You also watched the highlights when they came on the news. Now, my son, if the Cowboys game or the Steelers game is on, I'll say, 'You're sitting right here with me.' But he's playing Minecraft or watching videos."
One of the interesting things about Costas' comments is that this is the first year he is not part of NBC's Sunday Night Football coverage, having been replaced with Mike Tirico. Does Costas now feel empowered to speak out about the NFL since he's not working for Roger Goodell? Would Costas have made these comments if he was still the host of Sunday Night Football?
Either way, Roger Goodell cannot be happy today.
UPDATE: One correction. Costas did not work for Goodell. I made the assumption that all NFL broadcasters had to be approved by Goodell because of the controversy last season when the NFL wouldn't let Tirico call the Thursday night package on NBC. The NFL had say over that game because it was a new package and the contract stated the games had to be called by the network's "A" team. My apologies for the error.
2. The worst trend in sports media by far (SI.com included, so save your tweets telling me we do it, too) is the ridiculous coverage and psychoanalysis of every single LeBron James Instagram post or tweet and then the speculation about whether other players are responding to James' posts that may or may not be sending a message. The latest incident came a couple of nights ago when the sports world was thrown into a tizzy because the King posted a picture of an angry Arthur. I'm convince James does these things to mess with the media and string them along. I'm even more convinced after seeing how brilliantly LeBron responded to stupid questions about posting the meme.
3. Gregg Popovich must have been so damn proud of Kristaps Porzingis when he saw the Knicks center being interviewed after leading New York to a win last night.
4. Yankees haters will not be happy when they see how the Evil Empire made use of the new 280-charaacter limit on Twitter.
5. And here's one to anger the Patriots haters out there.
6. The Ric Flair 30-for-30 was awesome. The teaser for an upcoing 30-for-30 on Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick looks just as awesome.
7. I always enjoy it when the WWE breaks storyline news on Twitter. We learned this morning that John Cena, who is supposed to be cutting back on his WWE work, will be back for the Survivor Series.
8. If, all these years later, you're like me and still want to read any and every piece on the WWE's "Montreal Screwjob," you'll want to read the latest piece from SI.com's Dan Greene.
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