Tag Archives: NFL

The NFL’s Problem

Photo via Steelers.com

By Ivan Cole

In my recent piece I wrote this about what I discerned is a problem with the league, as follows:

Inconsistencies on everything from what qualifies as a pass reception to the circumstances surrounding the cause, length and amounts of suspensions and fines has us traveling an axis that ranges from suspicion of incompetence to corruption. Contrast the treatment of Burfict with the constant ‘random’ drug tests that James Harrison must endure. Currently, compare the differing treatment of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Rob Gronkowski and George Iloka. The disparities among the crimes committed and the punishments meted out are stunning. This has led, among other things, to conspiracy theories that there is a New England bias, and that Gronk’s punishment was calibrated to insure his presence for the big game with the Steelers. Steelers Nation has been living by the credo of just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that someone isn’t out to get you as it relates to the league for years. The idea that there might exist biases (let’s break up the Steelers/promote the Cowboys or Pats) where the league places a thumb on the scale for selected franchises or players are incredibly corrosive, and don’t have to be true to be extremely damaging.

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Homer J. On the NFL Protests

Image via Slate.com

As promised, here are Homer’s remarks on the protests, which he kindly amplified for separate publication…Ed.

So the Steelers stayed united by not coming out onto the field for the National Anthem. They showed no disrespect to the flag. Not disrespect to those who would protest or to those who would respond to the President’s comments. Mike Tomlin said they were in Chicago to play football, not to play politics. Unfortunately they didn’t play football very well.

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Steelers Training Camp for Fans, Part One: The Myth of the ‘Knowledgeable’ Fan

by Ivan Cole


Editor’s note: This is a republication of one of the first articles ever published on our site.  Ivan has written many thousands of words in his “Training Camp for Fans” series over the past few seasons, and I thought that rather than expecting him to come up with even more of them, it was worth revisiting some of the older articles, especially as I suspect many of the visitors to the site aren’t familiar with the older content. I personally think this is one of the better pieces he’s written. I hope you enjoy it, and that my occasional editorial comments, all in italics, don’t hinder that enjoyment…

We assume without question that preseason training for players is absolutely essential to any hope for team success. Why not apply the same logic to fans? Read more

What If the Steelers Weren’t Around?


The Steagles—photo from Temple University archives, via Philadelphia Eagles

By Ivan Cole

The inspiration for this came after it was announced that Justin Gilbert was given a year-long suspension by the league. We have become accustomed to players being unavailable for numbers of games, and even entire seasons. But what if that happened to an entire team? What if for some circumstance that is currently unforeseen the Steelers would not be playing for a season or more while the rest of the NFL continued?

This is not as foreign a concept as it might appear at first glance. In the days when the Steelers were, well, terrible, it was common practice for many fans to adopt a more competent, competitive team to root for. No doubt, this is how in current times many people may have come to be followers of the Steelers. Read more

Roasting the Goose

FILE--Red Grange, half-back for the University of Illinois, poses with coach Bob Zuppke, right, during football practice, in this 1925 file photo. Grange is a featured played in ESPN's "Rites of Autumn," a 10-part series about college football that debuts on the cable channel Friday, Oct. 12, 2001. (AP Photo) ORG XMIT: NY353

By Ivan Cole

No, this isn’t the Sunday Food-Related post.  Furthermore, Ivan has spared you from more pictures of my daughter-in-law’s bathroom. For this we can all be profoundly grateful… 

Word is out that NFL viewership is down. Though there may be short term issues that are of influence, we have to consider whether long term trends and decisions may be beginning to catch up with the league and coming home to roost.

The big story in the current news cycle is NFL television ratings have taken a significant dip as outlined in these three accounts published this past week—in the Washington Post, The Atlantic, and SI’s MMQB Nobody really knows the true meaning of what is transpiring, whether this is just a blip caused by transitory matters such as the riveting drama of the presidential debates or part of the technological evolution that allows for viewers to be less dependent upon traditional platforms for game access such as cable and other influences.

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A Saturday Rant: The NFL’s Uneasy Relationship with Alcohol

imageI’m really not setting out to be a buzz-killer here. I’m not opposed to those of legal age partaking of alcoholic beverages. And I definitely understand the desire to have your cake and eat it too. But like most such gastronomic exercises, the NFL is treading precariously in their attempt to walk this particular line.

Who is the largest sponsor of the NFL? According to a fall 2015 article in the Wall Street Journal, that would be Verizon, followed by PepsiCo. But Anheuser Busch is a solid No. 3, and they have been the largest Super Bowl sponsor for the past five years or so.  Read more