Welcome to the Wednesday War Room, where Yahoo Sports’ football minds kick around the topics of the day. Got a question you want us to answer? Email us right here. Today, we’re talking Ezekiel Elliott and the best of Week 1.
Question 1: I hate to say it, but could the Ezekiel Elliott case blow up (get it) into a mess as bad as the 18-month deflate-gate saga?
I don’t think so just because I’m not sure what they can argue that Tom Brady didn’t a year ago, and Brady was ultimately unsuccessful. As our Charles Robinson pointed out, this isn’t about the facts of the case and whether Elliott was innocent or guilty, it’s about the NFL following the collective bargaining agreement. It didn’t work in Brady’s case and I don’t think it will work now.
Yes, I think this is going to drag out for at least a year. Since the start of the NFL’s investigation this thing has been messy despite there being very clear guidelines on the league’s stance on domestic violence. Then, in the days and weeks following the announcement of the suspension, things have only gotten murkier for the NFL as Elliott’s team and the NFLPA fight Goodell. Remember, this is arguably the biggest star on a Dallas Cowboys team with legitimate Super Bowl hype, not Joe Linebacker on the Cleveland Browns. I don’t see how this doesn’t get uglier before it gets completely resolved one way or the other.
I don’t think so. Deflate-gate was different in that we had the definitive knowledge of the “locker room” guy who had access to the room – alone with the footballs – for one minute. In this situation, we now know that Roger Goodell knew one of the investigators believed Zeke should not receive the six game suspension. Goodell has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar and instead of owning up to yet another colossal mistake, he has doubled down. That’s why Elliott is getting the six games and that’s why Goodell continues to be the laughingstock of professional sports. But in terms of a deflate-gate situation, this won’t have the same type of long-term effects on the league.
I can’t see any way this doesn’t spiral onward into 2018. Goodell has the blessing of the owners, but in the eyes of the public, he’s a wounded duck … and that perception is what will allow Jerry Jones and the Cowboys to keep pushing forward like Elliott through the line, only with high-priced lawyers rather than high-priced linemen. Like deflate-gate, this will become a story of process rather than result, which is unfortunate—the issue of domestic violence doesn’t need to be slotted into the same category as some dopey theory about deflated footballs or questions about cell phone sanctity. What did we learn about the NFL and ourselves after deflate-gate? Nothing, and the same lesson will apply here. A year or so down the road.
2. Football’s back! Which of Week 1’s games would you pay to see?
Oakland Raiders-Tennessee Titans
Two good young quarterbacks, last year’s breakout team against the team everyone (including me) thinks will break out this year. This one is going to tell us a lot about where both teams are at as we get into the 2017 season. It’s going to be the best game of Week 1. -Schwab
Jacksonville Jaguars-Houston Texans
How cool would it be to pay for Jacksonville vs. Houston and have all of the proceeds go to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts? J.J. Watt and countless others have already done their part to aid those affected by the storm, but this would be an awesome way to show the generosity of NFL fans across the country and world. Houston has been through hell the past few weeks and while the game will serve as a distraction for the city and Texans fans, this would be a way to go above and beyond. -Sulla
I am really excited for Tyrod Taylor against Josh McCown in this pivotal AFC East showdown between the Bills and Jets. Kidding, kidding! Seriously though, how about the Raiders heading to Nashville? Marshawn Lynch’s first football game in over a year against last year’s second ranked rushing defense is enough to make me watch. But Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota dueling it out is worth the price of admission. Both have greatness in them and both can kill you in different ways: Carr more so from the pocket and Mariota as a dynamic two-way threat. Expectations are sky high for both Oakland and Tennessee, and this Week 1 tilt should be special. -Schultz
Seattle Seahawks-Green Bay Packers
Come on, are you kidding me? This is the best game of 2013! And yes, while time has dulled the edge of the Seahawks, the Packers remain every bit the threat they’ve apparently always been. Great players, great teams, great locale … this one will be well worth watching, and you never know; it might turn out to be decisive in home-field advantage come January 2018. Fun idea, thinking that far ahead. -Busbee
Got a question you’d like us to kick around? Email us here. See you next week!
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.
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