Although the NFL is run by grown men, there are times when it seems just like a day in a hectic middle school. So let me be the first to welcome you to Roger Goodell Middle School. Here’s your class schedule:
Period 1: Physics (Deflategate)
You probably have had a class that has had one particular kid that was way smarter than he acted and was always making trouble. And since that kid was in fact very smart, the teacher could never bust him for his actions. This year, that kid was Tom Brady and that teacher was Roger Goodell.
In January, the Patriots were accused (and essentially caught) taking air out of footballs and the league burst into chaos. This sparked a yearlong saga with head coach Bill Belichick suddenly acting like he had a PhD in physics, and star quarterback Tom Brady acting like he didn’t know what a football was. But Brady was smarter than he appeared and was able — through a series of court cases — to avoid punishment.
With all this crime and lack of punishment, first period appears to be a chaotic class with nobody in control.
Period 2: Elective: Theater (Acting)
Break out the Oscars. Injuries and exaggerating minor contact to draw penalties are only two of the ways NFL players use theatrics to impact the game. With such acting talent, the NFL Middle School production of Wicked: The Story of Roger Goodell is sure to be a smash!
Period 3: Math (Crazy Salaries)
This season, backup quarterback Ryan Nassib played exactly one game and compiled a whopping six snaps. But Nassib is currently being paid $453,600 A YEAR. Ndamukong Suh is a star lineman for the Dolphins. Last year he was a bona fide star and the Dolphins paid him a mind-boggling $114,375,000 over six years, with more than $59 million GUARANTEED to sign him in free agency. This year, Suh has turned in exactly six sacks, leaving Dolphins fans wondering, “We spent that much money on Ndamukong WHO?” With these kinds of numbers, you better be sure to pack your calculator for third period.
Period 4: Writing (Journalists in the game)
Picture this: A routine press conference in Houston is going well until star lineman JJ Watt steps up to the stage. “I'm heading to the CFL,” states Watt. The crowd gasps. The conference room is silent. But not for long. In seconds, the news would be all over Twitter. Nowadays, the media have a massive role in the game and can do everything from spreading news to giving players and coaches inside info. The role of journalists is pivotal in helping the information world of sports run smoothly. With the NFL season coming to a close, students will be rushing to turn in their columns before the NFL Post goes to press.
Period 5: US History (Washington’s Team Name)
Should the Washington Redskins change their name? The current opinion is that the term “Redskins” is derogatory and offensive. The people Washington was named for (Native Americans) are protesting the use of the term “Redskin.” Yet owner Dan Snyder refuses to change the name, turning period 5 into a polarizing classroom debate.
Period 6: Lunch (PEDs)
Over the last few years, the NFL and many other leagues have been involved in a series of conflicts involving PEDs (Performance Enhancing Drugs). PEDs can do a variety of things that would give players a competitive edge, including making them bigger and stronger. Just this year, several big-name players have already been accused of using PEDs including former pro-bowler LaRon Landry and Chargers star tight end Antonio Gates. NFL players, like schoolchildren, need to eat right and grow naturally to succeed. But in many schools, kids make bad choices and often decide to eat nothing but junk food. In the NFL, this junk food is PEDs. They both involve a rush and make the person feel happy (junk food by it’s taste, PEDs by its ability to make the user feel more confident in their muscle mass). With all the scandals about PEDs, The RG Middle School lunch ladies will be scrambling to improve the menu.
Period 7: Study Hall (Crazy NFL Rulebook)
Study hall is often used as an extra learning period where students can attempt to figure out a particularly hard or complex subject. Well, if there really was an NFL school, the referees would need to take a good, long look at the NFL rulebook. In recent years, catches that would generally have been ruled completions have been obliterated by a complex set of rules that govern a reception. An example: The Giants essentially lost a key game against the Patriots because of a critical overturned call. While it appeared to many that receiver Odell Beckham Jr. had made a game-winning catch, the officials saw it differently. The call was changed and the Giants lost a pivotal game in the playoff race. NFL officials really need to start using their study hall to master the confusing text that is the NFL rulebook.
Period 8: Gym (Concussions)
In gym, there is always a risk of getting hurt. It’s rare that one escapes a year in gym without an injury. However, over the last few years the NFL is becoming more and more involved with one of the worst injuries a player can obtain: a concussion. Recently, the NFL has become more immersed in accusations that they are not protecting their players enough. Will the school nurse be able to keep the students’ heads in one piece?
Congrats! You survived your first day at The RG Middle School! Whether you can survive the rest of the year remains to be seen...
Photos: YouTube (classroom), Elise Amendol/AP (Brady), Adam Hunger (reporters), Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images (referee)