Wednesday Morning QB (Week 13)

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The NFL has a nickname that it continues to be a shot at the culture that the league has been creating over the last few years.

The No Fun League moniker is not one that the league is proud of but it is also not one that they are taking great pains in trying to discount.

The NFL is the biggest league in North America as it is the most popular league with the most amount of viewers and the biggest group of fans.

They are the league that sets the standard for most other leagues as things that they do send shockwaves to the rest of professional sports.

A lot of times they make good decisions and that is proven by the fact that they are still the biggest league on the market.

They don’t always make great decisions though and more often than not those decisions are magnified because everyone is watching.

It is understandable that they make mistakes sometimes as some of the things they are dealing with big and complex issues that have big complex answers.

Then there are the smaller issues that seem to be a favourite of the NFL who sometimes make it seem like they are ignoring the big issues to deal with the things that don’t matter.

It comes out at most when the league fines players for trying to have fun and starts to ban any type of individuality in the league.

It started with touchdown celebrations as the league began to clamp down on celebrations in after scoring.

To be honest the celebrations were beginning to get out of hand with players hiding props in their uniforms to celebrate.

The NFL did overcorrect though as any type of dance became something that could get a flag despite not being all that bad.

They continue to correct when they banned the dunk celebration although the reasoning was good, goalposts were being bent, but they didn’t communicate it that well and it seemed like they were just banning another celebration.

Over the last few years, they have continued to clamp down on celebrations as more and more penalties and fines are coming for celebrations with little rules to govern which is good and which is fine-worthy.

Over the last few years, the league has also begun to clamp down on uniform violations which aren’t anything new.

What is new is the fact that the league seems to be applying the rules without any room for anything different.

There have been endless stories of players deciding to wear pink all year rather than team colours and outside of the month of November.

Yet the NFL continues to punish these players many of whom are doing this in support of relatives who were suffering from breast cancer.

Fines built up for these players for simply trying to support a cause that they believed in and it only led to more suppression of individuality.

The most recent of the weird decisions has been their fight against the cleats that players are wearing now.football-sidebar

Many players, knowing that there is little room to do anything that makes them stand-out, began to look to their feet to express themselves.

They started to get custom cleats made that either had something that drives them or just something they like.

Some even made cleats specifically to charities that are close to their hearts but the NFL refused to let the players wear those cleats during games, after all, they have sponsorship agreements for a reason.

They even went as far as to fine players for wearing their cleats during games leading to even more outcry against the No Fun League.

Then the NFL did something uncharacteristic of them as Week 13 became the week of My Cleats, My Cause.

It was a week where the NFL allowed players some bit of individuality encouraging them to get custom cleats based on a charity of their choice.

It was a good move for the league as players had pictures of their cleats circulating as they all seemed to get in on it as a way to support their favourite charities.

It is a step in the right direction as the league finally bent the rules in order to allow the players to be themselves.

For the NFL it is a big step but it was only one week and that is not going to do a lot in changing the attitudes that fans and players have towards the league.

The No Fun League is still in effect and lightening up could change so much for the NFL.

If this is a sign that there is some room to do that then the league could be headed to a new time but if it is just a way to appease players and fans for a week nothing will change.

Fifth Quarter:
(Thoughts on this week in the NFL)

An Early End
The Seahawks have not been having a great year and this week it got worse as one of their top defensive backs, Earl Thomas, went down with injury only to announce that he is now considering retiring

Youngster Getting a Look
The New York Jets have nothing left to play for but they will get a glimpse into the future as they will bench Ryan Fitzpatrick for Bryce Petty who is likely to start the rest of the year getting his chance to prove he can start

Extension in LA
A return to Los Angeles was not exactly what the fans were hoping for from the Rams and after what seems like five straight losing seasons from Jeff Fischer things might have been ready to change until the Rams signed him to an extension this week

No Tie, No Start
When things are going well issues tend to become bigger and players get away with a little less as the Carolina Panthers are seeing what that entails after Ron Rivera benched Cam Newton for not wearing a tie despite Newton not wearing a tie all that often over the last few years

standings-w13-fw

Key Scores:
Dallas Cowboys 17-15 Minnesota Vikings
– It was a tight one but the Cowboys continued to role as they won another game in their great season helping them clinch the first playoff spot in the NFL while the Vikings took the loss and slipped further behind in the NFC North

Kansas City Chiefs 29-28 Atlanta Falcons
– The Chiefs kept things interesting the AFC West as they took a very close game against the Flacons to stay in the hunt for the toughest division of the year and in line for the wild card in the AFC

Detroit Lions 28-13 New Orleans Saints
– In the NFC North, the battle is wide open but the Lions are beginning to close it looking to take home the title and they are making their way there with yet another win to stay on top and begin looking like a real good shot to take the division title

New England Patriots 26-10 Los Angeles Rams
– A loss for the Rams has sunk their playoffs hopes to near impossible disappointing in their first season back in LA while the win for the Patriots was a record-breaker with Tom Brady becoming the winningest QB in NFL history

Next Week:
Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs (Thursday, December 8th; 8:25 pm ET)
– This game could be the defining moment for either team as the AFC West continues to be one of the tightest battles in the league and the winner of this game has the inside track on the division title

Denver Broncos vs. Tennessee Titans (Sunday, December 11th; 1:00 pm ET)
– The Titans are one of the hottest teams right now but they are running out of time and these games are getting that much more important including this one as they get a chance to make up ground on the Broncos

Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts (Sunday, December 11th; 1:00 pm ET)
– It might be the worst division in the AFC but someone needs to win the title and this game will be a big boost for either of these teams as both try to get about .500 and take over first place in the AFC South

Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants (Sunday, December 11th; 8:30 pm ET)
– Can anyone stop the Cowboys? The Giants will try to prove that they can while the Cowboys try to keep their momentum heading into the playoffs as they look once again to their rookie tandem to push them further ahead

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