To become an NFL player, you must go above and beyond the call of a regular man. In other words, you must go Over the Top.
With that being said, any NFL player that tries their best to portray Lincoln Hawk from the hit 1980’s film Over the Top will be penalized. That’s exactly what happened a few months ago when several notable NFL players participated in an arm wrestling competition at a Las Vegas casino. The result certainly will piss you off (or make you want to turn your hat backwards) as it was no shock that the No Fun League fined all the players for their role in the competition.
The list of NFL stars that threw down resembled that of the cast of misfit extras in the iconic film starring Sly Stallone (or another more recent film The Expendables). Fierce strongmen like Steelers linebacker James Harrison, 49ers linebacker Navorro Bowman, Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey, Raiders defensive end Mario Edwards, Patriots safety Patrick Chung, and newly acquired Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch headlined the event. And of course in the “twink” division other NFL players like Cowboys receiver Lucky Whitehead, Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills, and Raiders punter Marquette King participated as well.
With a dull offseason going on and with nobody really throwing down or flexing their guns (besides those infamous Ryan Bros), this could be an event that everybody would love to see. Can’t you imagine James Harrison chugging a can of motor oil to pump himself off for a showdown against Navorro Bowman? I mean a truck is on the line!
But anybody that knows gamblin’ knows that NFL Commish Roger Goodell is about as cool as a Mormon at a beer fest when it comes to knowing when to hold em’ and when to fold em’. That is unless money is up for grabs. In that case, Ol’ Rog and his army of rich old white dudes are reaching for dollar bills with the tenacity of a 40 year old stripper. Sure the league may have one team that plays in a stadium named after a casino and sure the league just started the process of moving another team to Vegas, but it’s not like they’ve been promoting gambling on their freaking website! Oh wait, they are. So let me get this straight…no fantasy football conventions with athletes present please, but let’s make millions off of a game that people play to gamble with each other on these players? Makes sense.
The truth is that similar to Robert Loggia’s character in Over the Top, Roger Goodell and the NFL brass will always be a blood -thirsty lot that favor the side that is potentially making them the most money. However, fining professional athletes for participating in an arm wrestling contest in their free time during the offseason seems like a monumental waste of time and bad business for the league. With an NFL team entering a city known for its slot machines, it’s a huge double standard to permit any NFL player from participating in an event at a casino or an event that people can gamble on. If a player wants to participate in an MMA fight or boxing match then no problem there, but an arm wrestling competition that likely has some charitable backings…hold the phone! The double standards of the league’s gambling policies is literally a roll of the dice.
The NFL needs to scale back its conduct policies related to casinos and “harmless” gambling in general. And they need to amp up on their bicep curls while driving a semi. But that’s just my two cents (hat turns backwards).