The NFL off-season is always an exciting time with different mock drafts every week, free agent movements, and the constant flow of players screwing up and making the news. This past week, commissioner Roger Goodell, proved that he doesn’t only care about making sure the players have to pay for their screw-ups, but the men that wear the suits as well. The Atlanta Falcons and Cleveland Browns both received punishment for breaking NFL rules and there’s rumors that the New York Jets will be receiving a punishment from the league offices sometime soon as well.
Over the last two seasons the Atlanta Falcons have been piping in excess crowd noise at their home games. Apparently the executives in Atlanta felt that the Georgia Dome was not loud enough to help the Falcons out without sneaking in some extra noise. Roger Goodell and the NFL offices did not take this situation lightly and wanted to make an example of the Falcons because this is a situation that could actually have an impact on the game. It’s difficult to tell if this extra noise actually had an impact on the Falcons’ ability to win games though because they went a disappointing 3-4 at home last season.
To punish the Falcons, the NFL fined them $350,000 and plan to take their 5th round draft pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Rich McKay, the president of the Falcons, also received some repercussions for this whole ordeal. He was suspended from the NFL’s competition committee for a few months. The Falcons organization immediately admitted to these accusations and accepted their penalties without an argument. Owner, Arthur Blank, expressed his displeasure with the situation, saying, “The Falcons and all of our other businesses are built upon a foundation of values that drive our decision making. This issue was a clear failure in that regard”.
The Cleveland Browns also found themselves in a situation that led to some punishment by the NFL. General Manger of the Browns, Ray Farmer, was caught violating the NFL’s electronic devices policy during games last season. According to the report, Farmer was texting one or two members of the coaching staff that were on the sideline during the games. The messages have not been released, but they were believed to be about personnel and strategies regarding the game.
Due to these infractions, Farmer is going to be suspended without pay for the first four games of the upcoming NFL season. Aside from his personal suspension, the NFL also induced a $250,000 fine on the Browns. Although Farmer’s text messages largely criticized coach Mike Pettine and the play calls throughout the games, Pettine expressed his support for his general manager. Pettine was quoted saying, “We both feel like we’re very much on the same page and we’re moving forward to make this team better”. Farmer needs to let go of the reigns a little and allow Pettine to coach his team without worrying about being criticized over texts throughout the games.