Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 3/13/12
There are certain scenes in life only the NFL can provide.     Last spring it was linebacker Von Miller stepping on stage at the NFL Draft to shake hands with and hug Roger Goodell.  Only in the NFL will you see two men in the middle of legal battle over a nine billion dollar industry embrace each other on television and act like the best of friends.   Just last week it was the sight of Peyton Manning and Jim Irsay holding a press conference.  Only in the NFL do you hold a press conference explaining why you are firing someone with the person getting fired standing two feet to your left.     Let it sink in that the great Peyton Manning was essentially fired from the Indianapolis Colts.   Fast forward to the last couple days and the sights get even stranger.     Only in the NFL does a perennial title contender completely clean house in the wake of its first losing season in a decade.  When mini-camps open up, the last offensive player anyone will recognize for the Colts is...Austin Collie?  Generally teams try to rebuild after a bad year by keeping their superstars.  Instead Irsay is treating the Colts' roster like a disease that must be cut away.  Andrew Luck must be terrified of next season.   Hopefully he can both throw to himself and catch the ball.
Only in the NFL do you see teams actively trying to hire a candidate while the current employee is still employed.  Ask Kevin Kolb, Mark Sanchez, Matt Hasselbeck and Tim Tebow how well they have been feeling as of late.  Sanchez got a cool 40-million dollar deal to make him feel better, but convincing the Jets' locker room now that management doesn't coddle him is a lost cause.  On the other hand, Kolb and Tebow can't catch a break.  Everywhere Kolb goes, a former great quarterback comes in and takes his job. Tebow learned exactly how management feels about him.     Only in the NFL can second-year quarterback miss an entire season of mini-camps, training camps, have to learn a new offense three weeks before the season starts, start a game Week 5 after the team has thrown in the towel, learn another offense mid-season, lead the team to a division title and the playoffs for the first time since 2005, upset the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card game, and find out he will likely be shipped away to Jacksonville in place of a 35-year-old veteran.   Granted that veteran is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game, but that wasn't enough for Irsay to keep him around.   Only in the NFL does an employee get cut or traded from three different teams in a season, retire from the business for a year, come back and wow everyone with his athleticism at age 35, and then sign a contract to be a top wide receiver for one of the best teams in the league.  Randy Moss caught a sweet deal getting signed on with the 49ers.  But to appreciate how impressive this is, call up Terrell Owens and Chad "Johnson" Ochocinco and ask them about their day.  When a Super Bowl-caliber team thinks adding a 36-year-old wide receiver will help their offense, either they are crazy or that wide receiver is one of the best to ever play the game.  Oh, wait...

Let it now sink in that there are two future Hall of Fame players at different positions available in free agency.     Only in the NFL does a company put all its eggs in one basket.  What's happening in Indianapolis and Washington defies all business logic.  These teams are hinging the next decade of the franchise on a single player.  The Colts and Redskins have rolled the dice, and if either Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III fail to pan out Lions fans should start sending sympathy cards to the 317 and 703 area codes.  Washington might keep on being Washington, but Jim Irsay will be run out of town after destroying a beloved franchise.  I can speak for fact that the pitchforks are already gathering in the Hoosier state.  

Only in the NFL is collusion legal.  Dallas and Washington lost a combined $46 million because of legally front-loading contracts to give them more cap space after the uncapped year.  The NFL felt this was unfair, and thus took this money and redistributed it amongst the rest of the league to ensure "competitive balance".  This was decided upon in the new collective bargaining agreement in exchange for the NFLPA not filing collusion charges.  Ever wonder why there are no modern dynasties? The NFL won't let it happen.     Only in the NFL can a company advertise a product, then penalize its employees for embracing the nature of the product.  Two years ago Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison delivered a bone-jarring hit to Cleveland wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi.  Massaquoi suffered a concussion from the hit, however for a short while NFL.com was selling 9x12 photos of the hit for $15.95 on its website.  The picture was eventually pulled.  But for every advertisement glorifying big hits and players getting knocked out of the game with concussions, one can't help but feel the NFL is setting a double standard with the New Orleans Saints' bounty program.  In no way do I advocate the intentional injury of players (I have suffered my own fair share of torn ligaments from the game), but the NFL promotes this behavior just as much as it condones it.  In my opinion, the league is reaping what it has sown over the years.  

In 2009 the Pittsburgh Steelers played the Baltimore Ravens in the Playoffs.  Anyone who watched the game remembered not only how intense it was, but how physical as well.  No less than three players were carried off the field due to big hits.  Several others were injured.  Yet this game was lauded as one of the best games of the year and representative of what the NFL was about.  What the Saints did was wrong, but the league cannot continue promoting the violent nature of the game and not expect players and teams to run with the idea.  It's quickly becoming a broken business model.   Only in the NFL.  

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