The NFL has outlawed the dunking of the ball over the goal post, and now the NFL is great. Before I did not like anything about the NFL because my son could see Jimmy Graham dunking the ball, and my son would cry. Later, he would break into cars, and in jail would tell other inmates about the day he took the wrong turn in life -- the day he watched a man pretend to play basketball with a football, and his innocence died.
The crossbar can still be toyed with in other ways the NFL must address. The ball may not be used as a prop anymore, but players may still do pull-ups on the crossbar. They may mount it and perform balance beam routines, or even set up model trains along its length. It may be tapped in jest, or even mocked silently. Someone, some deranged deviant, could even perform a muscle-up on the bar, and contaminate the purity of the NFL with Crossfit. This disaster is real. It could happen.
This is what the NFL is now: 12 months of litigation and debate practice periodically interrupted by football. Far from the reputation of being stodgy on the field, the NFL is creative as hell with its legal jiu-jitsu. They sued MIA for over $16 million for shooting a middle finger during the Super Bowl halftime show, are fielding numerous possibly disastrous concussion lawsuits with panache, and are fighting the usual lawsuits from their own players and people hit with ice falling from their stadiums.
There's also players getting arrested-- something treated with a vastly different attitude than the poor, bedeviled owners of the league-- and free agency, and the draft, and talking about the salary cap, and rules decisions like this, and that random Tuesday when Merril Hoge decides Johnny Manziel is going to be a bust. The issues the league's owners may have, like getting arrested for DUI or being investigated for toxic, discriminatory business practices by the FBI, are less publicized, and differently weighted.
And it's all product, at least the parts not focusing on the league's owners and their problems. This is nothing you don't already know, but the NFL manages to make you eat 10 pounds of soy filler for every gram of actual football meat you consume. Calling the NFL "They" at this point seems wrong. Let's call the NFL an "it," an impersonal, monstrous thing that stands somewhere categorically weird: part full-time law firm, part branding consortium, part etiquette council, and part massively gifted real estate scam.
Sometimes they play the distraction of football, and now you understand why you can't dunk a ball over the goalpost anymore. When you become something so inhuman as what the NFL is at its godlike size, the slightest trace of human excitement registers as an error, and must be eliminated immediately. In the end, Dr. Manhattan became so powerful he didn't need Earth anymore. When the godlike corporation of the NFL figures out a way to eliminate humans entirely from their equation, it won't either.