Peter Jester's NFL headlines for December 1st, 2030

-NFL officials are looking into a disagreement between opposing players during the Paris Texans/Tennessee Titans game last Monday night. Several players on each team allegedly used expletives during the argument, and there was even some pushing and shoving. I think these actions warrant fines and/or suspensions for the players involved. There is no place for behavior like that on a football field.

-In other disciplinary news, look for Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Crash Johnson to be fined a substantial amount of money for his violent shoulder-to-torso hit on Bengals quarterback Stats Mcgee in Pittsburgh's win over Cincinnati on Sunday. Mcgee was "kinda sore" after the hit, but otherwise okay. If fined, it would be Johhson's 4th of the season. Some have said that commissioner Goodell is coming down too hard on Johnson. But with more and more players feeling kinda sore and even a little bruised after games, the safety of the players has to be the league's primary concern. They have to try to do something about the shoulder-to-torso, shoulder-to-back, and shoulder-to-shoulder hits that seem to be running rampant as of late. Otherwise, a player could wind up REALLY sore and SEVERELY bruised following a game. The league wouldn't want to have to deal with that public relations nightmare.

-Speaking of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the NFL needs to step in and do something about the playing surface at Heinz Field. Sunday's Steelers/Bengals game was an embarrassment. Many players complained about the playing surface and said there were a few scuff marks on the field. A number of players said they almost fell several times during the game. The Rooney family has been using a synthetic surface called Soft'n FluffyXO2100 since 2018, but the rest of the league has switched to Soft'n Smooth2500. Sunday's 91-84 game was a snooze fest and marked the 3rd time this season that the Steelers and their opponents combined for less than 200 points in a game at Heinz field. Come on, Rooney family, get with the times! The fans don't want low-scoring defensive battles, they want points!

-Don't expect anything to be done about the playing surface at Heinz Field this week. Not with Al Davis' Oakland Raiders and their high-powered passing attack coming to town. Raiders' receiver, Rocket Richardson, is among the league leaders with 245 receptions and over 3100 yards. Pittsburgh will certainly need the atrocious field conditions to slow the Rocket down. Should be an interesting contrast in styles.

-Regarding contract news involving Rocket Richardson, sources tell me that he is threatening to hold-out next season after negotiations for a new deal broke off between the receiver and the Raiders last week. The Rocket's agent called the team's 7 year, $250,000,000 offer "insulting," and said his client just wants to be treated fairly. Richardson is seeking a deal that will make him one of the highest paid receivers in the NFL.

-The NFL has lifted its blackout in Barcelona for the AFC South showdown between the Barcelona Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts this coming Sunday. The game wasn't initially a sell-out, but the Jags local affiliate purchased the remaining tickets, enabling the game to be televised in the Barcelona market.

-The NFL Network has announced that it will increase it's pay-per-view package to $199 a month starting next year. The NFL better be careful. Paying $199 a month to watch NFL games might not seem that bad, and we'll probably never see a time like the '20's when it was only $140 a month, but another increase after this could turn some fans off. They don't want to kill the Cash Cow.

-At least the league isn't sticking it to the fans on both ends. NFL owners have said they will not increase ticket prices next season. In fact, some franchises will slash season tickets by 10%. Financial analysts say that the average ticket for an NFL game will only be $211 in 2031. Good news for the fans, especially in such tough economic times.

-In coaching news, Ivan Kovelesky, the legendary former head coach of the Baghdad Bears, denied rumors that he's interested in returning to coaching next season. Through his translator, Coach told me he is enjoying his time as an NFL studio analyst for ESPN 17.

-My game-ball for this week goes to Colts' quarterback Cannon Peterson for his heads-up play at the end of the game against the Los Angeles Vikings. Trailing, 122-119, and facing a 4th and 21, Peterson rolled out of the pocket and avoided a sack by throwing the ball away. By doing so, he earned 4 points for his team and a come-from-behind, 123-122 victory. If he's not one of the elite quarterbacks in the game, I don't know who is.

-There was much controversy at the end of the New England Patriots' 142-137 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Trailing with time winding down, Miami thought they had taken the lead on an 83 yard touchdown pass with 52 seconds left, but New England head coach Ray Lewis called a time out during the play which nullified the score. The Dolphins again appeared to score on a 45 yard touchdown pass with 23 seconds remaining, but Lewis again called a timeout during the play and that touchdown pass was also overturned. Miami eventually turned the ball over on downs and the Pats escaped with the narrow victory. The loss left a sour taste in the mouths of the Dolphins and their fans. However, a head coach is well-within his rights to call a time out during a play. Especially if his team is in-danger of losing. This "mid-play" timeout rule should be a pretty hot topic for the competition committee in the off season.

-Speaking of rules, I think something really needs to be done about the overtime rule in the NFL. The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New York Giants, 115-100, in overtime on Sunday. As the rule currently states, if a game goes into overtime, a team can only win the game if it outscores its opponent by 15 points or more. If a team is only up by 14 points or less, the game goes into a second overtime. What if Sunday's contest had been a playoff game? You mean to tell me that the Giants' season would have ended by the margin of one lousy point? Doesn't seem right to me.

-I really like how the San Diego Chargers have come on lately. After starting out 2-10, they've won 9 of their past 10 games and are now at 11-11 with eight games to play. They are playing the best football in the NFL right now, and I look for them to not only sneak into the playoffs as the 12th seed in the AFC, but I think they will be the team to beat in the postseason and will represent the conference in Super Bowl LXV in Seoul, South Korea on April 10th. You heard it here first.

-And finally, there was a meeting this week between NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Fantasy Football commissioner Virgin Thompson to discuss what can be done about NFL coaches continuously taking star running backs out of the game in goal-to-go situations and replacing them with short-yardage specialists. Asked about the meeting, Goodell said, "I had a very productive talk with Virgin. The NFL has had a great working relationship with fantasy football for years, and we're sympathetic with the concerns that fantasy football owners have. We know that points are at a premium, especially for "touchdown-only" leagues and we look forward to working with commissioner Thompson to try and remedy the situation." Should be interesting to see if Goodell really is sincere about changing the way NFL coaches use awesome fantasy football players in key situations.

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