In case you haven’t noticed, its been a pretty controversial, adversity-filled year for the NFL.
From player protests to owner comments to star players getting injured or suspended or benched, the NFL has had no shortage of drama.
“These things are resounding in society,” legendary broadcaster Kevin Harlan said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Everything seems to have so many more ripples to it and tentacles because of social media and the way that the media just jumps on these stories and the heavy coverage that the NFL gets.”
And yet, football has a way of winning the day. Harlan submitted Week 8 as evidence. He called Houston/Seattle with Rich Gannon just days after Texans owner Bob McNair likened NFL players to “inmates” in a “prison.”
“Going in, Bob McNair had made those comments, which were pretty insensitive, I guess, and the players were almost to a man on the Texans – we talked to them the night before – they were disturbed,” Harlan said. “And they had a right to be. That was a comment that just had no place, especially in these turbulent times. What was so amazing about it going into the game, there was all this focus and attention on the kneeling players and the sign of support among the team and the coaching staff – and almost directed right at their owner, who wasn’t there. And then they kick off and put on one of the best regular-season games I’ve ever seen.”
Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson both threw for 400+ yards and four touchdowns in a 41-38 Seahawks win. It was the game of the season.
“It just shows you how on just the flip of the switch, you can go from all this social-conscious-protest stuff and you can go right back to the game – which we all love in some form or fashion – and we can be captivated by everything going on on the field and the greatness that is the NFL and football in totality,” Harlan said. “You kind of get signs that through everything that’s gone on, the game is still moving forward. We still get the great performances. It’s still the talk of the water cooler on Mondays and Tuesday mornings. And it still is one of those sports that, even though it’s taken its shots – and it has taken a ton of shots from all sides – they’re still on their feet. Wobbly perhaps a little bit, but still on their feet. Losing stars to injuries, on and on and on.
“But they’re still there and they’re still the No. 1 sport,” Harlan continued. “If that’s the barrage they’re going to take every week, every month, every year, they must feel like we’ve got the wherewithal to take it. We’ll take those punches and we’ll keep moving forward.”