THE GAMES -- The NFL is a lot like our government, entrenched in a period of stagnant momentum.
In Washington the status quo remains the status quo because there is no real leaders willing to tackle the tough issues, preferring instead to bask in power while kicking the can down the road for the next guy. In the NFL, few in the league see the glaring flaws in the product because virtually no one is changing the channel on what is quickly becoming a less-than-entertaining way to spend three or four hours.
The NFL simply can't see the forest for the trees. It is too busy watching the money roll in, cashing the checks and keeping the eye on the golden goose, which may seem like a sound business plan on the surface until you understand the league is slowly destroying itself from within, devoured from a fundamental misunderstanding of what the game is at its core -- entertainment.
Most can agree that the NFL is over-legislated, yet realize the attempts at correcting certain flaws in the game were designed to help. The devil is always in the details, however, and the road to his lair is almost always paved with good intentions.
For instance -- protecting quarterbacks sounds like an altruistic idea with no discernable downside until you understand you've made passing the football so easy for top-tier signal callers, the butterfly effect for most opposing defensive coordinators became the realization that pressure is their only remaining option.
That resulted in more blitzes and more vicious hits taken by the very people you were trying to protect in the first place, along with a distinct de- emphasis on the strategy of the game.
Or how about those defenseless receivers coming over the middle and taking the monster hit from a Ronnie Lott-type? Keeping them safe is certainly a prudent idea with everything we now understand about concussions, and the majority of those hits are gone by the decree of a 15-yard penalty, a substantial fine and the disdain of one's coaching staff and fan base for the evil-doers.
Of course, now all the Lotts of the world have been replaced by heat-seeking missiles aimed directly at the lower extremities and we all know how much football players love taking shots to their knees.
The bad decisions aren't all about safety, either. Take Calvin Johnson, who can haul in a catch by leaping inside the 5-yard-line, make a move in mid-air worthy of the Flying Wallendas but have the subsequent TD taken away because the ball nudges a bit on the ground when he lands in the end zone, meaning he didn't complete "the process" of the catch.
Some mediocre running back, meanwhile, can ignore fundamentals and years of coaching, stick the football out in a pile like a loaf of bread and have the tip of it touch the plane before it's swatted out by the defenders. He's a hero.
And don't even get me started on the renewed emphasis on taunting calls. You haven't lived until you've seen ex-director of officiating Mike Pereira's explanation of how to spin the football legally after a big play.
"You can spin the ball but not at the feet of the opponent," Pereira explained on Twitter. "Have to turn away from any opponent."
If you're heading across the pond to watch the Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend, try explaining those inane contradictions to someone at the pub who doesn't understand American football.
And why should anyone in the U.K. comprehend anything about the game we all love when its own officials can't?