NFL’s New Conduct Policy Still Needs Work

Hardy
Hardy

Greg Hardy deserves every bit of his suspension but is the NFL still missing the point?

I’m really tired of the National Football League’s personal conduct policy. It’s already in its’ new phase and wouldn’t you know it? It has wasted no time in creating controversy. Earlier this week the NFL suspended newly signed Dallas Cowboy Greg Hardy for the first ten games of the 2015 season. Hardy has appealed as he should have and I believe he will be successful in his appeal.

Don’t for one second think that I’m glad his suspension will be shortened; the problem isn’t in what Hardy did but with how the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell doled out the punishment.

Last season, Hardy played in one game and was then suspended for the rest of the season but was still being paid. Not exactly a “stern” punishment but that was what the NFL had in terms of its’ discipline policy. Hardy will argue that he’s already served his punishment because the games missed last season but is that really a punishment when you’re making millions of dollars for doing nothing?

The National Football League Players’ Association will argue on Hardy’s behalf that he’s being punished twice for the same crime. They will also claim that Hardy isn’t even guilty of the domestic abuse for which he’s being suspended for which is laughable.

Let’s remember that Hardy was cited in four different acts of domestic abuse against the same woman. Hardy was found guilty by a judge in what is called a bench trial. Under North Carolina law however, he exercised his option to have his case tried in front of a jury of his peers. When the state went to find and prepare his former girlfriend, she was nowhere to be found.

What ever could have happened to her???? She didn’t disappear into thin air my friends. She took a very handsome monetary payoff from Greg Hardy and away she went. For some reason, many people are claiming that this means Hardy’s original verdict from the judge doesn’t matter. Perhaps it doesn’t legally in the state of North Carolina but in the eyes of the NFL, you can’t hide from what has been proven.

RG

If I'm Roger Goodell, I'm pushing for marijuana legalization since my guys can't seem to stop using it.

So how would I go about fixing the problem with the NFL’s personal conduct policy? I’m glad you asked.

First of all, I would start immediately pushing for the nationwide legalization of marijuana but I would do so behind the scenes until it happens. It’s obvious to me that many of the players already in the league and getting ready to enter the league (Hello Randy Gregory) are users of marijuana. Why continue to fight it? If it truly is worth fighting then players who use marijuana should be suspended longer shouldn’t they?

They know it’s illegal and they know it’s against the league’s personal conduct policy but why do they continue to do it? Until the drug is legal in all 50 states then I would punish it much more harshly.

The same goes for these persistent cases of domestic abuse and violence against women. Again, they know it’s wrong and they know it violates the law and the league’s personal conduct policy but they continue to do it.

Here’s an idea… Do it once and you’re out for a full 16 games. Do it again and you’re banned for life. Too harsh? Why? Why shouldn’t players be able to comprehend what is right and what is wrong?

Aren’t we in the rest of society supposed to know this?

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Odds to Win Super Bowl 50

SB 50
SB 50

Super Bowl 50 Odds are out and there are few surprises among the favorites.

You’ll notice immediately I used the term ’50′ instead f the Roman numeral ‘L.’ This is because the National Football League recognized the potential issues by having their marquee game represented with a big ‘L.’ This often stands for “loser” or well…. You get the picture.

Anyway with the season officially over, here are your odds for next season already.

Odds to win the 2016 Super Bowl  

Seattle Seahawks                            5/1 – Can they overcome perhaps the toughest loss in Super Bowl history?

New England Patriots                   7/1 – As usual, this team will look different in several areas as they attempt to repeat.

Green Bay Packers                         8/1 – Another team struggling to get past a horrible loss. At least it wasn’t in the Super Bowl.

Denver Broncos                             10/1 – Keep an eye on this, if Manning doesn’t return, the odds will drop considerably.

Dallas Cowboys                             14/1 – Can they repeat the success of this past year and what about Dez Bryant’s contract?

Indianapolis Colts                         14/1 – Must solidify the running game and the running defense to build around Andrew Luck.

Philadelphia Eagles                      20/1 – Late season swoon should be forgotten as Nick Foles returns under center.

Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick must avoid these situations in 2015 and under a new coaching staff how easy will it be?

San Francisco 49ers                      20/1 – With Harbaugh gone, can Jim Tomsula get Colin Kaepernick back on track and can the defense get younger?

New Orleans Saints                       22/1 – Rob Ryan returns despite a brutal defense in 2014 but the offense needs some work too behind an aging Drew Brees.

Pittsburgh Steelers                         25/1 – Offense was prolific, but defense needs serious upgrades. Ben Roethlisberger contract situation a top priority too.

Arizona Cardinals                          33/1 – Imagine what this team could do with consistent QB play? Larry Fitzgerald contract also an issue.

Baltimore Ravens                           33/1 – Ravens blew 14-point lead to eventual champion Pats; pieces are there but depth needed.

Detroit Lions                                   33/1 – Big step for the entire organization in 2014, but Matthew Stafford must play better on a consistent basis.

Atlanta Falcons                             40/1 – Team has addressed defensive liabilities by bringing in Dan Quinn; now the talent must get better.

Carolina Panthers                         40/1 – Under .500 division title likely saved Ron Rivera’s job but team must improve in 2015.

Chicago Bears                                 40/1 – John Fox will bring in some stability but can he do anything to make Jay Cutler better?

Cincinnati Bengals                        40/1 – Andy Dalton is now in a must-win situation. Getting to the playoffs is nice, but 0-4 is unacceptable.

Houston Texans                              40/1 – Who is the QB entering the season and can J.J. Watt get some help on the defensive end?

Kansas City Chiefs                          40/1 – Chiefs must get more out of wide receivers and keeping Justin Houston on D a priority.

Miami Dolphins                              40/1 – Somewhat surprisingly, Joe Philbin is back but he’ll need to find more consistency from his entire team.

Minnesota Vikings                         40/1 – There’s a lot to like in Minnesota but still many pieces to be put in place by Mike Zimmer.

New York Giants                             40/1 – I’m a little surprised to see Tom Coughlin back and his fate will rest on Eli Manning’s shoulders.

San Diego Chargers                        40/1 – When is the last time Philip Rivers won a huge game? Chargers’ fans would like to know.

St. Louis Rams                                 40/1 – If this team gets consistently good QB play are they a team to watch in 2015?

Buffalo Bills                                      66/1 – Kind of an odd hire in Rex Ryan. Defense wasn’t the problem in Western New York.

Cleveland Browns                          66/1 – One QB (Hoyer) is a free agent and wasn’t great. The other QB (Manziel) is now in rehab.

New York Jets                                   100/1 – Will Todd Bowles stick with Geno Smith or does he have another agenda?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers                  100/1 – Mariota or Winston? There are risks and rewards for each.

Tennessee Titans                             100/1 – If they decide to go QB, they’ll likely be stuck with whoever is left over after Tampa selects.

Washington Redskins                    100/1 – My gut tells me Jay Gruden would love to move on from RGIII but he won’t. Can he stay healthy is the question.

Jacksonville Jaguars                       200/1 – Don’t be a bit surprised if this team is greatly improved. Skill players needed but there is a decent nucleus.

Oakland Raiders                               200/1 – I’m not overly impressed with the Jack Del Rio hire. Someone to groom Derek Carr would have been better.

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The Casino Review sportsbook blog provides news and analysis on the online sports betting industry, helping experienced and recreational bettors get the most out of their online betting experience.

Some Super Bowl Betting History for You to Consider

SBXIII
SBXIII

Super Bowl XIII has become known as "Black Sunday" because Vegas took a beating.

As we have now entered the official “Super Bowl” week, I think it’s important to share some history of betting the big game. Obviously, there is no event in America that has more action in a given year than the Super Bowl.

The amount of money wagered on this game every winter is enough to run most nations for a calendar year if not longer. If you are going to be one of those millions of folks who are going to lay money on the championship of American Professional Football then let’s check the history books for some perspective and analysis. Any piece of information you can get your hands on is is crucial.

Favorites in the Super Bowl have gone 33-15 straight up in the previous 48 games. They are also 26-18-2 against the spread. The National Football Conference holds a 26-22 advantage and has won five of the last seven Super Bowls.

The largest upset in the game came way back in Super Bowl III when the New York Jets defeated the Baltimore Colts 16-7. The Jets entered as 18-point underdogs.

Seahawks

Seattle entered last season's Super Bowl as an underdog and it looks like more of the same this season.

In terms of the Over/Under, the Over has ruled in 25 of the 48 games. Super Bowl I did not have an O/U so means the Under was the right play 22 times. The Over has won three of the last four and is tied with the Under with five victories each in the last ten Super Bowls.

In terms of the recent history of underdogs, they have won six of the last seven Super Bowls including last year when Denver entered as a -2.5 point favorite over the Seahawks. The only favorite to win during that stretch was Green Bay in Super Bowl XLV.

The most infamous Super Bowl in terms of betting was Super Bowl XIII. This was the second of three Super Bowl meetings between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys. The Steelers opened at -4.5 but as the game neared, it fell to -3.5 with heavy action on Dallas. The Steelers were victorious 35-31 so Vegas bookies were hit hard.

Many bettors took the Cowboys on that early -4.5 line while many jumped on the Steelers when it went to -3.5. This has since been known as “Black Sunday” to many in the sports gambling business.

As we move our focus to this year’s game, our friends at Bovada currently have the New England Patriots listed as two-point favorites over the defending champion Seattle Seahawks.

If we look at the pattern over the last ten Super Bowls we can come up with the following:

If we like the Patriots as the favorite at -2, then your chances are strong. Winning 33 of 48 is pretty solid.

If we like the AFC team (the Patriots), then we might want to move towards Seattle.

If we are talking about playing the Over/Under then we are going to suggest the Over based on recent results. If we go based on all of the Super Bowls, then this decision really does come down to a coin flip as we’re very nearly at 50%.

Since 2000, the NFC has been the Super Bowl favorite only four times. The St. Louis Rams twice (1-1), the Packers (1-0) and the San Francisco 49ers (0-1). Outside of the Packers win, the other three times saw the Rams not cover against the Titans, the Niners lose straight up to Baltimore and the Rams losing straight up to the Patriots.

With all that swirling around these Patriots, you have to ask yourself whether it will galvanize them or ruin them? That said, you must still look at the history because it tells an awful lot.

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Breaking Down Sunday’s NFL Divisional Playoff Games

Romo
Romo

As vulnerable as Aaron Rodgers is, Tony Romo could be in the same position with his bad back.

On Thursday I gave you the breakdown of today’s games while right now I’m giving you an up close look at tomorrow’s game. Let’s get to it.

Dallas (+6) at Green Bay - If the forecast holds, it’s going to be extremely chilly in Green Bay and that will favor the hometown Packers unless the Cowboys resist the temptation to throw it too much and stick the ground game. DeMarco Murray can in fact lead the Cowboys to victory if that offensive line gets rolling.

The Packers will hope that Aaron Rodgers’ bad calf has had enough time to heal but we’re hearing he hasn’t practiced and the calf is “strained.” This means there are definitely tears in the calf muscle. Either way, I expect them to stay as balanced as they can be behind Eddie Lacy. Of all the games this weekend I think turnovers will dictate more about the outcome than the others. This could favor Green Bay because Rodgers hasn’t thrown an interception at home since Bill Clinton was in office.

OK, that’s an exaggeration but you get the point. One thing we can’t forget here is that Tony Romo has been playing a bad back for most of the second half of the season. One hit in the frigid cold and Romo could be out.

Trends: Dallas is 1-4 against the spread in their last five games at Green Bay… The total has gone OVER in five of the Packers last seven games at home against the Cowboys… The Cowboys is 8-0 on the road in 2014… Green Bay is 8-0 at home in 2014.

Key Injuries: Dallas T Doug Free DOUBT/Knee, Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers PROB/Calf

The Pick: I like Dallas getting the points but Green Bay wins a tight one.

Luck

If Luck gets time to throw, he could be all smiles by game's end.

Indianapolis (+7) at Denver - Don’t be a bit surprised if the Colts come into Denver and pull off the upset. Yes the running game is pathetic and the defense is susceptible to getting beat either on the ground or through the air but if any game has the feel of an upset it’s this one. The Broncos have relied heavily on C.J Anderson in the second half of the season and I’m guessing the Colts will look to take him away first.

That will more than likely give us a passing duel between Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. While I believe Luck will turn the ball over once or twice, I’m also not convinced that Manning is 100% especially with regards to his arm strength. If the Colts can bottle up Anderson enough to force the Broncos into second and third and long situations then that will test my theory about Manning’s arm strength.

The Denver defense could make any of my thoughts useless because if they can force the Colts into sacks and early turnovers then things could ugly early and often but I see a competitive game in this one.

Trends: The Colts are 6-1 straight up in their last seven games against Denver… The Broncos are 0-5 against the spread in their last five games against Indianapolis… The total has gone OVER in four of Indy’s last six games at Denver… Denver is 5-0 SU in their  last five games at home.

Key Injuries: Indianapolis LB Jerrell Freeman PROB/Abdomen, Denver LB Brandon Marshall QUEST/Foot

The Pick: The Colts have had pretty good success against the Broncos in recent years and despite leaking oil into the playoffs I like the Colts and the OVER.

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Rodgers’ Calf a Concern for Bettors Plus an Amazing …

Rodgers
Rodgers

This is not where you want to see Aaron Rodgers if you've taken the Packers to cover Sunday.

Wisconsin has long been known as “America’s Dairyland” and that of course means the cheese state possesses a large number of cows. The most important calf in all Wisconsin however has nothing to do with producing milk.

This calf is one of the two inhabiting the body of Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Last we saw the potential league MVP, he was leaving the field on a cart at home against Detroit. He eventually returned to lead the Packers to a division title while being stepped on by the Lions’ Ndamukong Suh.

That will have been two weeks ago this Sunday when Rodgers takes the field in the NFC Divisional Playoffs Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. As of this writing, Rodgers has yet to practice with the team and I don’t think that’s the end of the world but how good will his timing be with his receivers?

It was revealed on Thursday that Rodgers had a slight tear in his calf muscle and while it sounds alarming, anytime you have a muscle strain, essentially the muscle has tears so that wasn’t overwhelming news.

This leads me to two questions: First is how effective can Rodgers be if he is unable to use one of his finest assets which is to be mobile? He can certainly beat Dallas by standing in the pocket and throwing the ball but that isn’t what he or Coach Mike McCarthy wants to see.

Lacy

Eddie Lacy could be the key to Aaron Rodgers' success on Sunday.

The second question has to do with you. Right now this line has dipped to Dallas +6.5 in lieu of the Rodgers’ news. Previously, the line was at +7. If you intend to bet this game, how much faith can you put in Aaron Rodgers’ ability to stay on the field and be effective?

If he were 100% healthy heading into this game then I wouldn’t hesitate to go with Green Bay to cover but now things are in serious doubt. Perhaps this will send the money to the Dallas side and I expect it will. Remember this is a match-up of a team with an unbeaten road record against a team with an unbeaten home record.

What you have to decide is whether you think Rodgers can play the full game and at what level and do you have any confidence whatsoever in his back-up Matt Flynn?

I think the wild-card in all of this is Eddie Lacy. If the Packers can establish him as a viable running threat early on then that will take pressure off of Rodgers. I still like the Packers to cover in this one but I have a whole lot less confidence than I did a few days ago.

 

Did You See this?

Former Miami Dolphins’ running back/fullback Rob Konrad was a nice player during his six-year NFL career but he wasn’t anything spectacular. What he did earlier this week was worthy of a Hall of Fame vote in my opinion.

Konrad was fishing alone in his 36-foot boat when he fell into the Atlantic Ocean while trying to reel in a catch. With his boat on auto-pilot and going away from him, he was forced to swim roughly nine miles to shore. At one point, a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter actually flew right over him.

He eventually reached a beach in West Palm and was being treated for hypothermia.

The only word I have for Rob Konrad is “stud.”

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Fans Share in Responsibility of Pathetic NFL Officiating

Morelli
Morelli

Pete Morelli is yet another example of NFL officials who just aren't doing their jobs very well.

I honestly can’t imagine what it must be like to be a fan of the Detroit Lions today. Even after two full days to let it go, I’m guessing there are many in the Great Lake State who still feel sick about the pass interference call that wasn’t.

They know as do I that one play does not make a whole game but the again how do we really know this? I don’t know what the Lions would have done on the next play had that been properly called defensive holding as Vice-President of League Officials Dean Blandino explained.

At worst, the Lions would have been inside Dallas territory with a first and ten had the defensive holding call been made. But this call and those egregious ones like it aren’t really my point today.

fan

This about sums up Lions' fans following Sunday's loss in Dallas.

As fans, we are the ones guilty of allowing this type of thing to continue happening to professional football. We are the ones who tolerate our teams being cheated out of opportunities and we are the ones who have allowed NFL Commissioner to ruin the game in the name of ‘player safety’ in an effort to save money.

Every time we tune in and every time we buy the newest NFL apparel we just give our approval of what is happening on the field of play.

If you read my stuff often then you already know I think instant replay challenges are the worst things to happen to sports in a long time. My basic principle as to why starts with the fact that often, they still can’t get the calls correct.

There’s much more to it than that, but that’s the gist of my displeasure as far as instant replay goes. All officials make mistakes and all officials make poor calls and my contention is that if players can screw up then so to can officials.

Players make errors on every single play in the NFL yet they are not held to the standards of the officiating crews. Maybe in the film room they are but not in the court of public opinion where Pete Morelli has been torched at the stake in effigy.

That’s a far as I can go with defending NFL Officials.

Now that I’m ready to lay the lumber let’s start with the aforementioned Mr. Blandino. By now, you already know the story of him partying with the Dallas Cowboys’ top brass earlier this summer. You want to talk about a poor choice? Bingo.

I’m not saying Blandino can’t have a drink with officials from any team but it doesn’t look good at all when you’re out late boozing it up. That was a very poor decision by Blandino.

His on-filed issues are just as bad and they reared their ugly heads this past weekend. Morelli’s poor officiating over-shadowed the fact that officials in all games suddenly forgot about all those ‘illegal contact calls’ they made at a record pace this past regular season.

Go back and watch any of the Wild-Card games and you’ll see more grabbing than a teenage boy in a high school dance. Why emphasize it so much if you are going to let it go in the postseason?

Let’s also not forget the sudden subjectivity of a rule that penalizes players from coming onto the field without a helmet.  Dez Bryant came onto the field to protest a call while his defense was on the field. Bryant was not flagged and Blandino explained that this call was subjective based on each particular official’s decision.

You know and I know, the official was intimated and wasn’t going to flag Bryant because he’s Bryant and because he’s a Cowboy.

As fans, we have only ourselves to blame for the current product because no matter how bad things are we just keep coming back for more.

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NFC Divisional Playoff Underdogs Face Tough Challenges

casino-13

NFL teams that are compromised offensively have to be play outstanding in other areas in order to cover a January point spread. That was obvious in the wildcard round last weekend.

Arizona suffered numerous injuries to its quarterbacks and running back, which limited overall offensive output. While fearless and talented, the Arizona defense could not hold their own against Carolina.

When the Cardinals special teams finally gave out, the game was over and a 27-16 loss ended their season.

The Bengals similarly needed great play from the defense against Indianapolis. That did not happen and the Bengals lost 26-10.

Teams such as Cincinnati and Arizona do win games and cover numbers, but the wins come tougher when the competition is stronger, such as during the postseason.

This weekend’s NFC divisional playoffs will have a game where both teams are known for their strong defense and one game where both are known for high-powered offenses.

The Carolina Panthers who are 8-8-1 SU and 9-8 ATS visit the Seattle Seahawks who are 12-4 SU and 10-6 ATS.

The current line at Bovada and topbet has Seattle favored at home by 11 points with the point total on just 40.

Carolina’s field position is critical if the Panthers have any hope of winning. With the Seattle defense playing so well, the offense for Carolina will likely have three and out multiple times. The Panthers likely will also struggle finding wide receivers outside and the ground game will be tested.

Greg Olsen the Panthers tight end could become quarterback Cam Newton’s favorite target in the game.

For Carolina to have any upset chance, its defense must dominant. The Panthers defense must stop Seattle from sustained drives.

The Dallas Cowboys 13-4 SU and 10-7 ATS travel to face the Green Bay Packers 12-4 and 9-6 ATS. According to betonline and sportsbook.com, Green Bay is favored by 6.5 points with the point total on 53.

As the underdog, the Dallas Cowboys will need to rush the passer well up the middle. Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay star quarterback has had two weeks to heal his calf injury. However, he will not be the same and will have limited mobility, especially with frigid temperatures expected on Sunday.

Dallas sacked Matthew Safford last week three times in their win over Detroit. They cannot give Rodgers time to look over the field.

Rodgers has such a quick release and strong arm that he often times does not need to set his feet to produce an accurate on-time dart down the field, but he does require space.

If Dallas cannot pressure Rodgers and take away the space he needs, Green Bay will score often, turning the Dallas offense into a pass-first one, which is not their optimal style.

Dallas is 0-6 on the road in the postseason since 1994. Overall, the Cowboys are 4-11 SU and 5-10 ATS in road games in the playoffs since 1978.

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