Betting on Bad in the NFL

National Football League logoTime was, when it came to picking winners and losers in prof football, the experts would look at the records, the players, the coaches, and maybe the weather conditions. Pretty simple gig.

Then came factoring in injuries, and other disruptions in a pro’s playing time.

Now, they bet on bad. Bad behavior, that is. And with the recent incidents involving NFL star quarterbacks Ben Rothlesberger and Brett Favre, we’ve gone beyond simple arrests for DUI or domestic violence. With the NFL ‘s new personal conduct policy, almost any sort of bad behavior could result in a player’s suspension.

In part, it reads:

It will be considered conduct detrimental for Covered Persons to engage in (or to aid, abet or conspire to engage in or to incite) violent and/or criminal activity. Examples of such Prohibited Conduct include, without limitation: any crime involving the use or threat of physical violence to a person or persons; the use of a deadly weapon in the commission of a crime; possession or distribution of a weapon in violation of state or federal law; involvement in “hate crimes” or crimes of domestic violence; theft, larceny or other property crimes; sex offenses; racketeering; money laundering; obstruction of justice; resisting arrest; fraud; and violent or threatening conduct. Additionally, Covered Persons shall not by their words or conduct suggest that criminal activity is acceptable or condoned within the NFL.

That covers a pretty large swath, in our opinion, especially since it suggests that even talking about criminal activity in anything but a positive manner could also result in punishment. The league doesn’t even want you to THINK about doing something bad, or that someone else might do something bad that you approve of. Damn. You can’t get away with anything these days. And the days of the media covering for your sorry ass are long over. You’ll be lucky if your kid doesn’t turn you into TMZ.com.

We hear from fans and those who bet on NFL games all the time asking for any inside information we might have (sorry, we don’t) or even insight into future behavior. Seriously, who is LIKELY to do something bad?  In the past the best indicator we had from following bad jocks for more than ten years was their past behavior. A player who got in trouble with the law in high school or college was more likely to get in trouble as a pro. But now, you’ve got pretty boy quarterbacks who are better known for their jeans commercials getting into trouble. At  stake, possibly a game or two, at worst: an entire season could be spoiled because of a night of partying at a small town bar or some unwanted text messages.

Should we care about players personal indiscretions when it comes to setting NFL odds? Unfortunately, as the NFL tries to sell itself as a female friendly and family friendly entertainment options, the old boys club that was the sport is going to have to clean up its act.  Want to ogle a hot Latina broadcaster? Best to do it in the privacy of your own home like the rest of us, than in front of other players, fans or the media.

The new game in the NFL is betting on bad. And right now, business is too good.