The NFL has been in the headlines recently, and mostly, for all the wrong reasons. Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, Deflategate, concussions, and the recent PR snafu with Junior Seau’s upcoming Hall of Fame induction have made many stomachs churn, but the NFL is unbreakable. It is unsinkable. Why?
Yes, it is by far the best on-the-field product of any level of football. The parity makes every week interesting across the board. Yes, it is the best administered sport of all the professional leagues. The games are quick, but not too quick. They are fast paced, but not hard to follow. The NFL, on the field, is as good as it gets.
But that’s still not the reason for it’s invincibility.
The reason? Gambling.
More specifically, fantasy football.
It’s probably the only type of gambling that your wife is ok with. Heck, she might even play with you every year. And whether you are disgusted by Ray Rice or not, if picking him in the 12th round of your fantasy football draft is the difference between finishing first or second in your league, you’ll have eyes on Ray Rice come game day.
Fantasy football makes us care about every game, not just the teams we follow. It makes for strange bedfellows, and weird alliances. It makes for fan conundrums. Do I want my favorite team to get scored against if it helps my fantasy team? Do I want the division rival’s QB to have a big game because it helps me in fantasy football? More often than not, the answer to both of those questions is yes, and that’s why the NFL is invincible.
By all means, be upset about Rice, Peterson, Hardy, and all the other knuckleheads that make the NFL look bad, but don’t go thinking that things are going to change any time soon. With sites like Fanduel and DraftKings offering weekly fantasy games now, the league is becoming more and more Teflon.
Even Roger Goodell couldn’t screw this up.