NFL's saving grace – the game – is turning ugly

Dec 1, 2015 3:00 AM

The NFL has taken some PR hits as it battles several high-profile issues off the field like deflategate and domestic abuse. But basically they just amount to just a few blips because the saving grace was the game itself.

Until now.

The game is starting to erode with some very poor officiating in big games and some not-so-big. Even using a curve, I give the officiating a D-minus grade. As a handicapper, I try to see everything, and while cappers know officiating is part of winning and losing, there’s been an epidemic of bad calls.

Mike Pereira, former vice-president of officiating in the NFL, and currently the Fox Sports maven of officials, hasn’t been impressed with the officiating and yet some of these guys continue to work as referees.

The second reason the NFL is faltering is the poor play. Realistically there are maybe six very good teams. When a Monday night matchup is Cleveland (2-8) vs. Baltimore (3-7) and there’s no Johnny Manziel or Joe Flacco to draw interest, there isn’t much to hang your hat on.

Thank goodness for gambling and fantasy because no one would watch. Quality tackling seems to be disappearing and it’s due in part to lack of practice.

Tyson Fury, the new heavyweight champ, said he beat Wladimir Klitschko because he was in better shape and more fit than his opponent. Do you think Fury only sparred twice a week to prepare for the fight? Of course not.

NFL players are hurt now more than ever while their practice time has diminished. See the connection? But honestly it really doesn’t matter, I still watch every week. Just don’t tell me it’s the top game because the colleges are much better!

Mike North has been in sports radio 20-plus years. He is heard weekly on the national FoxSports Radio network, writes a twice-weekly column for the Daily Herald newspaper and does videos for their website three times a week. Listen to his podcasts at Twitter: @North2North. Email: [email protected]