Lewis: Proposed changes to NFL out of touch with sport


Lewis: Proposed changes to NFL out of touch with sport

So NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says the league is looking at expanding the playoffs, which comes on the heels of him saying he would consider removing kickoffs from the game. Those are two drastic moves that would have big impacts on the game and its players.

Let's start with the kickoffs. I'm not sure why the commissioner feels he can just change a game that was around long before he ever got his powerful position. Kickoffs are an integral part of the game and it makes no sense -- including injuries -- to simply remove it.

Several players enter the league and later thrive in other positions becuase of playing on special teams. The play itself can be one of the most exciting aspects of the game. Think of Devin Hester returning kicks for touchdowns.

You can't just decide to change the game. Imagine the NBA taking free throws out of the game because they thought it slowed the game down. Ridiculous, right? It's just amazing that this is even being considered.

If that's not bad enough, Goodell wants to expand the playoffs from 12 teams to 14 or 16. C'mon man. Stop the madness now.

We already have seasons when 8-8 teams make the post season. Now he thinks that adding teams will somehow benefit the game, the shield the league talks about? He should say it's about money, which it is and it still makes it wrong.

Making the playoffs is and should only be a reward for the very best teams in the NFL. The battle of the NFL season is special for that very reason. Why dilute it with teams that didn't earn the right to play in the playoffs? This isn't pee-wee football, where everybody gets a trophy. The is big boy, grown man football. Some teams just are not good enough to be included. Period.

If the league office talks about the integrity of the game and the shield, well part of that should be making the value of the product mean something, not selling out for money. It certainly can't be sold to real football fans.

Look at the college game. Everybody plays in a bowl game that nobody watches or cares about and most schools actually lose money by going to bowl games when travel costs are finally tallied. Six-win teams are now rewarded, why? Because they reached mediocrity, it's a shame.

When I played in college at Arizona there were only a handful of bowl games. Sometimes top 25 teams didn't make a bowl game. It actually meant something. Seven-win teams were left out and we only played 11 games then, not the 12 that schools play now.

So now the NFL wants to celebrate mediocrity too? It's enough to make me become a curling fan...

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Doug McDermott scores career-best 31 to lead Bulls past Grizzlies

Doug McDermott scores career-best 31 to lead Bulls past Grizzlies

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Doug McDermott scored a career-high 31 points, Jimmy Butler had a pair of key baskets in the closing minute and the Chicago Bulls beat the Memphis Grizzlies 108-104 on Sunday night.

The Bulls broke a 104-all tie with 25 seconds left on a 15-footer from Butler and a pair of free throws by McDermott. Butler also had a go-ahead 18-footer with 53 seconds left and finished with 16 points to help Chicago win its second straight.

Taj Gibson finished with 18 points and eight rebounds for the Bulls.

Mike Conley led Memphis with 28 points and eight assists, and Marc Gasol had 24 points and 11 rebounds.

Chicago was without second-leading scorer Dwyane Wade, who did not play on the second night of a back-to-back after the Bulls beat New Orleans at home Saturday.

The game featured 16 lead changes and 11 ties, with neither team holding a double-digit lead.

Most of McDermott's damage came in the first half after the Bulls struggled shooting in the latter part of the first quarter. McDermott came off the bench to reverse the trend.

McDermott scored 20 points in the first eight minutes of the second quarter, moving Chicago's lead to eight. He had 22 points for the half and the Bulls led 52-46 at the break.


Bulls: Nikola Mirotic missed his fourth straight game dealing with an illness. ... F Paul Zipser, a rookie from Germany, started his second game and second straight after coming off the bench in his first 10 appearances this season. ... McDermott converted a four-point play in the second quarter. ... McDermott's 22 first-half points were more than his total for the four previous games (21). ... Chicago scored 14 points in the first quarter, a season low for the opening frame. ... The Bulls are now 4-5 on the second night of back-to-backs.

Grizzlies: Gasol made a pair of 3-pointers in the first half, marking 17 games this season he has made multiple shots from outside the arc. ... Memphis made 11 3-pointers in the game and has converted at least 10 3s in 20 games this season, including 11 of the last 14 games.


This is the 15th season Memphis has hosted a game on Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend. The Grizzlies are 6-9 in the holiday game.

In recognition of the holiday, Memphis wore special MLK50 Pride uniforms. The black jerseys have sea foam blue numbers, letters and piping with the full T-shirt look instead of the normal sleeveless. The piping replicated the railing in front the rooms at the Lorraine Motel, where King was assassinated in 1968, and the blue color was similar to the doors on the rooms.


Wade's absence meant missing a reunion with Memphis coach David Fizdale. Both left the Miami Heat organization after last season - Wade signing with the Bulls and Fizdale getting his first head coaching job in Memphis. Fizdale said he is sort of a "basketball romantic" and would like to have seen Wade retire in Miami. But he predicted after the player's career "his statue will be out front and (Wade) will be remembered as the great player that he should be."


Bulls: Return home to face the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night.

Grizzlies: Memphis travels to Washington to face the Wizards on Wednesday night.