Commentary: NFL Tries to Put Troubles in Its Past

After a lousy off-season, fans hope the 2013 season brings what’s been in short supply: calm.

Posted: 09/06/2013 10:37 AM EDT

Sometimes, it’s just best to get on with things and leave it at that. That’s not always easy to do, though, and it sure isn’t for Roger Goodell’s troubled National Football League.

With all three of the major sports leagues having had lousy off-seasons, the NFL can lay claim to the worst of the lot, which tells you how bad its off-season was when you consider all the high drama that Biogenesis and Major League Baseball created.

From a string of drunk-driving cases to legal problems over post-career injuries and concussions to a sordid Aaron Hernandez story about murder, the NFL hit what amounts to rock bottom in the public relations department.

The good thing, if anything is good about such a mess, is that the games start in earnest Sunday. OK, the league kicked off action Thursday night with the Denver Broncos and the Baltimore Ravens, but the real deal begins Sunday afternoon at a jam-packed, taxpayer-built stadium near you.

The issue of concussions remains troublesome, of course. Yet it moves into the background now because of all the excitement about a league that is ready, as Peyton Manning and the Broncos proved, to explode in points. From a defensive league in recent years to an offensive one today, the NFL has remade itself, offering to put to shame what Big 12 Conference teams do to high-tech scoreboards.

With exciting Black quarterbacks like Russell Wilson, Geno Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Terrelle Pryor, EJ Manuel and, the most exciting quarterback in the NFL, Robert Griffin III, teams should score points by the truckload. Touchdowns, like home runs, put butts in the bleachers, signaling more profits for the team owners.

Griffin, Wilson & Co. promise to silence all the off-season chatter and focus attention on what football fans, Vegas bookies and Madden 25 addicts want to discuss most: the end-to-end action.

The action is all that matters. It matters to NBC, CBS, FOX and ESPN executives; it matters to deep-pocketed advertisers; and, most of all, it matters to the myopic legions, who worship at the altar of Goodell.

So let the football games begin. Let the football games push all that happened in the months leading up to the 2013 season into the back of people’s minds.

Let the football games make everything else a sideshow — not because those other issues don’t count for anything, but because it is the games that endure for the fans, even as all that swirls around them threaten to undermine what has become America’s game.

For this is their NFL.

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.

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NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 02: Professoinal football player Robert Griffin III attends the 2nd Annual NFL Honors at the Mahalia Jackson Theater on February 2, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

(Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

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