NFL having a week no league wants to have

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee


National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell would probably like to strike the last seven days from the record book.

It all started Saturday afternoon when Denver Broncos head coach John Fox suffered symptoms of a heart attack while golfing in Charlotte, N.C. He had to have a heart procedure done, and will miss several weeks of work as a result, according to ESPN.com.

Then, during halftime of the Houston Texans’ Sunday Night Football game against the Indianapolis Colts, head coach Gary Kubiak collapsed on the sideline and had to be rushed to the hospital. It turned out he had a mini-stroke, and, as Deadspin reports, raises Kubiak’s chances of suffering a bigger stroke in the next 12 months.

When more than one of your head coaches suffers a major health scare within a week, it’s not a good look. When one of those events occurs on the field of play, it’s even worse. The sad reality is these men work extremely long hours and don’t rest as much as they should, and most NFL coaches are middle-aged or older. It’s a lethal combination for workaholics whose jobs are constantly put on the line.

The NFL is a league built on parity, so maybe it’s time to also mandate the hours in which each franchise can operate every day. If they can force the coaches to go home at a decent hour, maybe they will spend a little more time resting their bodies and, hopefully, lowering the risk of collapsing.

(Also read: What does Florida State have left to prove on the football field?)

Incognito’s failings brought to light

The Miami Dolphins were rocked by a major bullying scandal when offensive lineman Jonathan Martin left the team, and it was revealed he quit because teammate and fellow lineman Richie Incognito was harassing him. Big, tough football players should be able to stand up to bullies, you say? To that I’d say psychological bullying can break down anyone.

Incognito was sending incredibly offensive texts and voice mails to Martin, according to an ESPN.com report. Then, when a group of teammates got up and left a table where they were eating lunch as Martin sat down to join them, the second-year professional decided he had enough. He left the team and the state of Florida, trying to get as far as he could from the situation.

The veterans also used the rookies as ATMs, demanding the youngsters fork over cash to fund lavish vacations or dinners. On one occasion, the vets stuck at least one rookie with a $30,000 bill at a dinner outing, according to FOXSports.com.

For reference, the rookie minimum salary for this season is $400,000, and Spotrac reports Martin’s base salary is $607,466. So for those of you who make $60,000 a year at your job, imagine your boss sticking you with a $3,000 dinner bill after the company took you out to dinner. Some might be able to afford it, and some might be in major financial trouble for a couple of months.

Martin has yet to return, and after a league investigation, Incognito was suspended indefinitely by the Dolphins.

I must say it’s interesting to see the league cracking down on a man’s racist text messages to a teammate – which they were right to do, in my opinion – while they deal with criticism from the outside world about Washington, D.C.’s football team still using the “Redskins” nickname.

But I do respect the Dolphins for their response, because it’s not easy to suspend one of your best offensive linemen after another has left the team. It leaves a pretty big hole, especially for a Dolphins team that is very much in a playoff race with a 4-4 record.

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