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NFL Season Preview

With John Harwood in for Tom Ashbrook.

The NFL pre-season kicks off. We talk football with two women who know more about the game than most men.

The Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins line up in the fourth quarter at the Pro Football Hall of Fame exhibition football game Sunday, Aug. 4, 2013, in Canton, Ohio. (AP Photo/David Richard)

The Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins line up in the fourth quarter at the Pro Football Hall of Fame exhibition football game Sunday, Aug. 4, 2013, in Canton, Ohio. (AP Photo/David Richard)

It’s time for another season of America’s most popular sport. And there are plenty of  National Football League story lines: Tim Tebow in New England, RG3 back from knee surgery, Peyton Manning trying to take the Broncos all the way.

But even football fans find it hard to ignore the toll the game has taken on those who play – brain damage, and crippling  injuries. We’ll talk to two of the game’s top experts – women who know more than most men – about the upcoming season, and the game’s existential crisis.

This hour, On Point: the race for the Super Bowl and football’s future.


Andrea Kremer, chief correspondent for Player Health and Safety Issues for the NFL Network and correspondent on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.” For five seasons she was sideline and feature reporter for NBC’s Sunday Night Football. (@Andrea_Kremer)

Amy Trask, former CEO of the Oakland Raiders. She resigned in May of this year.

From the Reading List:

Yahoo!: Concussions Pose a Real Threat to the NFL’s Future: An Interview with Andrea Kremer – “Player concussions have been a hot topic in the NFL over the past several years. In fact, the issue was a primary reason for the NFL Network’s pursuit of Andrea Kremer, who joined the network in October 2012 as the Chief Correspondent for Player Health and Safety Issues.”

Charlotte Observer: NFL teams score big on getting public money for stadiums – “As the Carolina Panthers scramble for public money to upgrade their stadium, other NFL teams are getting significant help from state and local governments.”

Los Angeles Times: Recall bid against Pasadena official who backed possible NFL games fails – “The effort to recall a Pasadena councilman who supported the possibility of having professional football at the Rose Bowl has failed. Residents opposed to having a National Football League team use the city-owned stadium pulled papers in January to recall Councilman Steve Madison but failed to submit the recall election petition by a Monday evening deadline, Pasadena City Clerk Mark Jomsky said.”


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  • Guest

    I think football is going to dry up from the bottom — the NFL has the resources to try and “manage” this problem for a long time.

    As the medical evidence piles up, insurance costs are going to skyrocket, making football programs more and more unaffordable for high schools, and colleges. Eventually, the NFL is going to pay the price for outsourcing their farm system to academic institutions, and see that pool of new talent evaporate completely.

  • 2Gary2

    Football is the most boring pointless waste of time. I had the misfortune to get talked into going to a green-bay packer game at the lambow field. It was boring to tears. How can any intelligent adult get any pleasure watching grown men run around in the dirt?

    Football fans need to get a life. football and all sports are right up there with here comes honey boo boo. Such mindless trash.

    • HonestDebate1

      Let me guess, you’re a soccer fan.

      • adks12020

        Hey, I resemble that remark but I love football too.

        • HonestDebate1

          That’s cool, I watch a little soccer too. I think you got my point, there seems to be an elitist attitude against football and for soccer.

          • 2Gary2

            I hate all sports and thing ALL sports are a pointless boring waste of time.

    • adks12020

      Sorry that you are so above sports. I hate to have to tell you but you are in the minority in this world. Did you play sports in school? I did. They are a great way to reduce stress, teach teamwork, help people stay in shape, teach hard work and dedication to achieving goals, and, oh yeah, they are really fun.
      -Former soccer, baseball, and track and field athlete.

  • RolloMartins

    The WSJ tallied up the time spent on this “action-packed” game: 11 minutes. And they say baseball is boring.

  • RolloMartins

    My brother had Alzheimer’s-type disease; he died too young. He was known for his head tackles in high school. This is a pointless, mindless, boring waste of time and a criminal treatment of kids. It should be banned from all high schools and colleges. And as for Pop Warner leagues? Child neglect and endangerment.

  • HonestDebate1

    “…two women who know more about the game than most men.”

    You say that like it surprises you. Just wait until Condi becomes commissioner.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      Hey, at least it’ll keep her from doing more ruinous things. If only they’d made Shrub Commissioner of Baseball.

  • Bill98

    “The NFL pre-season kicks off. We talk football with two women who know more about the game than most men.”

    Why can’t we just have a football preview, without making it a gender issue? If these women are football experts, fine. Let’s hear what they have to say.
    On Point did the same thing with their discussion on craft breweries on yesterday’s show. One guest was introduced, multiple times, as the “only woman to win an award at the last beer competition”. What matters is that she makes a good product, period.
    I felt bad for yesterday’s guest for the same reason that I feel bad for the women appearing on today’s show. Stressing their gender gives the impression that these women would not merit inclusion on the show, if they were not women. It comes across as pandering to the females in the audience, and it demeans both the guests and the listeners.
    Can’t On Point, and the rest of us, get passed looking at someone’s gender, and focus instead on their capabilities?

  • HonestDebate1

    As a kid, I remember sitting in the nosebleed section of the Orange Bowl watch the George Wilson coached Miami Dolphins get creamed (something like 53-3) by the Kansas City Chiefs. We stayed until the final whistle. We were fans.

    Now I live in NC and have been to a few Panthers games. It’s striking how much difference it makes when football comes to a city with no tradition. The seats empty if they get down by 7 in the 3rd quarter.

  • HonestDebate1

    It must have been in the early 70′s that TV star “Flipper” was in a giant pool behind the end zone of the Orange Bowl in Miami. When the dolphins scored he would do flips. When the ball landed in the pool after extra points and field goals he would fetch it and throw it back. Those were the days…

  • J__o__h__n

    Isn’t there enough coverage of sports on the radio? A season preview isn’t news or a singularly occurring event. Please don’t make this an annual show or expand it to other sports.

  • hypocracy1


  • HonestDebate1

    My father was a referee but not in the pros. He did however run the yardage chains for NFL (actually AFL at the time) from time to time. Back in those days the losers of the championship games that did not make it to the Super Bowl played each other. My dad was working the chains for one of those games between the LA Rams and the Dallas Cowboys and I got to be the ball boy on the sidelines. I had a huge bag of footballs and when the quarterback (Craig Morton I think) came off the field I’d give him one and he would play catch with a receiver to keep his arm loose. One play broke my towards me and I barely got out of the way to avoid being bulldozed. I guess one of the Ram players did not appreciate my slow reaction and had to adjust a bit to keep from decapitating me. I was laying on my back as the players returned to the field of play. He stepped over me and with one leg on either side he looked down at me and growled then ran back to his team. He had a huge mustache that stuck out of either side of his helmut. It scared me to death, I still have nightmares.

    • NonnerDoIt

      Cool story. It sounds like maybe he was having some fun at your expense!

  • Shag_Wevera

    Against my philosophical beliefs I continue to be a Packer fan. The strength of my fanatiscism seems to decrease a bit every year. My goal is to give my patronage to local high school teams and leave the corporate NFL behind. There is something wrong with the income of the NFL, it’s players and it’s owners.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=745185020 Cory Heaton

      go pack go!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      The Packers are community-owned. I don’t think they’ll threaten to move should Green Bay the city not ante up $500m for stadium stuff.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    Where’s Paul Lukas to talk about uniforms?

    The new Dolphin logo is sweet, but they seemed to borrow the number font from UMiami.

  • skelly74

    Whoa! Football and female double teaming…should have combined the craft beer discussion with this and you’ll have my vote for show of the year…no seriously m…Pats will go to the Superbowl again this year and win…unless they play the Giants.

  • ToyYoda

    How will the Patriots do considering the lost of Welker, and the loss and media attention of Hernandez?

    • Ray in VT

      I’m wondering if that will open a door for Tebow at TE and maybe H back.

      • Bill O’Brien

        Can Tebow catch? If so, then why didn’t the Jets throw to him?

        • Ray in VT

          I don’t know how his hands are. It doesn’t seem that they could be any worse than his downfield passing. Maybe the Jets would have thrown to him if they had anyone who could throw last year. For the record, I have nothing against either Tebow or Sanchez, although I do sort of have to dislike the Jets as a Pats fan, although perhaps less now than a couple of years ago when they were actually fairly good.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      Welker is the highest-profile player who’ll have gone from being in Brady’s huddle to Peyton’s huddle (or vice versa), isn’t he?

      • Ray in VT

        I think so. I think that a lot of Manning’s big time guys in Indy were “home grown”, such as Marvin Harrison, Pierre Garcon, Reggie Wayne or Austin Collie.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          And a couple ex-Colts were already in Denver when Peyton got there.

          There could be quite a study made about receivers who had once played with Peyton and Tom Terrific, then went elsewhere. But I don’t know how many players will go on the record.

          Deion Branch didn’t have such great outcomes in Seattle. Hope Garcon does well in DC.

          • Ray in VT

            Garcon played for a season in college here in Vermont, so that has always made me root for him. It is interesting to look at how guys perform when they go from one place to another. Welker was a nobody with Miami, and I hope that he puts up good numbers in Denver. I was sad to see him go.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      For me, the Pats are the best team at keeping someone who can be a problem from being the whole team’s problem. If they can get some production out of him, they do. But he doesn’t “wreck the locker room”.

      Of course, I first came to the above realization thinking of how they took chances on Randy Moss and Chad Johnson. I had no idea that something like Hernandez’ situation was in the offing, so that may differ.

  • skelly74

    The only problem with NFL football are the commercials-”touchdown…commercial…extra point…commercial…kick off…commercial…Breaking Bad. I can’t get through a whole game…and going to a game is only good for the tailgating party…unless you are on the sidelines or 50 yard line…

  • ToyYoda

    Well, I’m glad that they are paying more attention to the safety of players, but I must confess, I enjoy a big hit.

    Over the years, however, I’ve lost a lot of interest in football because of the rules have evolved to favor offense so much that defenses are merely speed bumps. It use to be that you need a running back to keep the pressure off your QB, now they are not as important as they use to be either. Sometimes, I feel like I’m watching Madden Football video game. Low scoring defensive chess matches is what I enjoy.

    I don’t think any QB stats after Aikman really count. That includes Brady, and I know I’ll get flamed for that. That’s because of the rule changes over the decades. It’s amazing to me that Dan Marino’s total passing yards in a season held up for so long.

    • HonestDebate1

      Old school, I hear ya”!

  • Ray in VT

    How about the role that the increased size and speed of players contributing to some of these injuries? Linemen in the 1960s could be in the 250 pound range, but now there are some quarterbacks that size.

    • adks12020

      That’s definitely a valid point. I’ve been to the Giants training camp a few times and the players are absolutely enormous. Even watching a game from the stadium doesn’t really show how huge they are compared to standing right next to them. Non-football players just don’t get that big, no matter how hard they train. It takes years of weight training and supplements (protein powder, weight gainer, etc.) to get people to grow so large.

      • Ray in VT

        I heard Danny Kanell on ESPN the other day talking about guys like Jonathan Ogden (6’9″, 345 lbs) and how people think that he (Kanell) is smaller, because at “only” 6’4″ the linemen towered over him in the huddle.

  • truegangsteroflove

    Football is the opiate of the masses. This puts the participants – owners, players, TV networks, “journalists,” and advertisers in the position of being drug merchants.

    Indeed, it can be argued that football is worse than drugs. It certainly was for Junior Seau. I used to enjoy the game, but it became too boring and brutal. On TV they lower the sound, and then the various announcers yell constantly throughout the game, hyping it up to substitute hysteria for interest.

    Then there is the professional aspect. If you are a fan of a pro football team you are rooting for a business. It is like rooting for Apple versus Microsoft, or Boeing versus Airbus. The entire Green Bay Packers team could be traded for all the Chicago Bears, and the former Packers would then be Bears, and the former Bears would be Packers. So what fans are cheering for is the players as employees of this business or that.

    The only real question is what bread and circus will replace pro football when it goes out of vogue. The critical element is that it will survive as long as men identify their masculinity with football, and if some new, greater masculinity-inducing sport comes along, it will fade away. The new sport could be worse.

  • Scott B

    Looks at the size and speed of the players in modern age. Besides teams drafting huge players to begin with, it used to be players had other jobs besides the NFL in the off season, and not training 12 months a year.

  • RolloMartins

    Andrea Kremer’s remarks on the various degrees of injuries was pathetic and ultimately mean-spirited/uncaring. She notes “all these players say they would play the game again,” but that is false: Lem Barney and others have said they would never play this “game” again knowing what they know now. And stating that some of these plaintiffs have lesser injuries than others doesn’t take into account what they will be like in five or ten years. Get a clue, Ms. Kremer. This isn’t a game; it’s a blood sport.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    Art Donovan, RIP.

    Seriously, nobody’s mentioned the big galoot yet?

  • ToyYoda

    Have a bad ass name: “Washington Politicians”

    • Jonathan Sklaroff

      Can’t, then everyone would just accuse them of cheating all the time.

  • Jonathan Sklaroff

    Please tell Andrea Kramer there is NO WAY Eli is better than Peyton. Eli has two rings because his defense shut down Brady and the Pats offense twice, not because Eli is superior. It’s a team game. Is Terry Bradshaw with 4 rings better than Dan Marino with 0? Didn’t think so. RINGS ARE NOT EVERYTHING IN THE NFL!

    • Bill O’Brien

      I’m not a big fan (or a hater) of either, but there is no denying that Eli has performed better in clutch situations than Peyton has.

      • Ray in VT

        He really has proven himself after a somewhat shaky start. I remember that during his first few seasons the perception of Eli was that he was a guy who was easily rattled.

        • Jonathan Sklaroff

          As recently as 2010 Eli threw 25 interceptions. He is not a very good QB, he has had a great (and underrated) defense the last 5 years. They have not won because of Eli, they won in spite of him. In the two Super Bowls they won with him, the Giants D held Brady to 14 & 17 points, one of the most prolific offense ever.


          • Ray in VT

            True on all points. He has had a couple of years with bad pick numbers, but overall I think that he’s decent. Elite? Maybe not, and rings will get one a lot of credit, but it’s not like he’s Rex Grossman or something, whom I recall one commentator the worst quarterback to ever helm a Super Bowl team. In some ways maybe Eli’s more comparable to a guy like Culter, who also throws too many interceptions, than to Peyton, Brady or Brees.

          • Jonathan Sklaroff

            Decent QB, sure, but the rings are a misnomer. Again, then best example is Terry Bradshaw who has 4 and has 2 more career TDs then INTs. Rings are not everything as perceived in the NFL when ranking individual players. Whoever said Grossman was the worst failed to remember Brad Johnson with the Bucs and Trent Dilfer with the Ravens who both won the Super Bowl, because they had great defenses. The biggest cliche in sports because it’s true, “Defense wins Championships,” not overrated QBs.


          • Ray in VT

            My point on the rings was more public perception and how a guy gets slack and/or cred if he gets them. That old cliche does certainly ring true. I remember the two Super Bowls that you mention, and I remember just feeling bad for the Raiders and the Giants. Johnson had a pretty decent year that year, although Dilfer’s numbers were pretty lowly.

      • Jonathan Sklaroff

        Clutch, the most made up talking point ever. Look at the below response to Ray. The Giants D smothered Brady, twice. 90% of QBs would have won those games.

  • truegangsteroflove

    I have a solution for the Washington Redskins name. Require that the players have red skin. The Patriots should be required to have served in the military. The Packers should have to have done some packing other than suitcases. The Raiders should have done some raiding. The Buccaneers should have some pirating experience. The Saints should have done something saintly. The Giants should be gigantic. The Bears….

    • NonnerDoIt

      …should have demonstrated the ability to stand in a near-freezing river and catch salmon in their bare hands.

    • Regular_Listener

      My favorite nicknames are the LA Lakers & LA Dodgers. Lakers, from all those lakes in Minnesota, not southern California, and Dodgers, who dodge those streetcars in Brooklyn (that were shut down decades ago.) The Utah Jazz are another good one, referencing New Orleans’s great jazz tradition, not Salt Lake City’s.

  • NineShift

    I regard Mr. Harwood as a racist, placing his sports above denigration of people. If his team name were denigrating women, he would be singing another tune. Come out to the rez and make your case, Mr. Harwood.

  • AvidListener

    A few days ago, a guest host (in for
    Tom Ashbrook) came on plugging the agenda for On Point that I would not
    hear live due to my work hours. His show that day was this story on the NFL and
    looking ahead to the new season, a topic that did not pique my interest.
    Now, I’d like to express clearly that my lack of interest had nothing
    to do with the gender that I identify with–I believe that what a person
    is or is not interested in has nothing to do with their physical
    genitals or definition of gender. The host had a seemingly different
    view than me. He explained that his hour on the NFL would be joined by
    “two women who know much more about football than many men.” I can even see it here as the subline to the title.

    I could not believe my ears. Maybe it is because I am a lazy
    feminist and only prefer to pick small battles that often go unnoticed,
    but this promo infuriated me. First, if the host were to have been
    joined by two men, would he have used the same introduction? I do not
    think that being joined by “two men who know much more about football
    than many men” or even “…than many women” would strike the same
    resonance for a cliff-hanging promo. What angers me even more is that
    those details would not be cliff-hanging because they would be common
    knowledge–oh, two men who are experts on football, no big deal.
    Second, what was supposed to be more intriguing: the fact that the women
    were experts on football (or at least have more knowledge of the sport
    than the common male football fan) or was it the fact that he was going
    to have two women who were experts on anything? Finally, I was disgusted
    by how he did not use their names, as the mere detail that they were
    women who have careers surrounding football was identification enough.
    What would I have liked to hear? “In this hour on the NFL and this
    upcoming season, I am joined by topic experts May Weatherfield* and Teri
    Clough*.” (*names fabricated to make a point).

    Thanks for reading. Despite the criticism, I am a huge fan of On Point.

Sep 2, 2014
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., talks with Mark Wilson, event political speaker chairperson, with his wife Elain Chao, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, at the annual Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky., Saturday, August 4, 2012. (AP)

Nine weeks counting now to the midterm elections. We’ll look at the key races and the stakes.

Sep 2, 2014
Confederate spymaster Rose O'Neal Greenhow, pictured with her daughter "Little" Rose in Washington, D.C.'s Old Capitol Prison in 1862. (Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

True stories of daring women during the Civil War. Best-selling author Karen Abbott shares their exploits in a new book: “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy.”

Sep 1, 2014
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (95) recovers a fumble by Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson (3) in the second quarter of the NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP)

One outspoken fan’s reluctant manifesto against football, and the big push to reform the game.

Sep 1, 2014
This Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 photo shows a mural in in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago dedicated to the history of the Pullman railcar company and the significance for its place in revolutionizing the railroad industry and its contributions to the African-American labor movement. (AP)

On Labor Day, we’ll check in on the American labor force, with labor activist Van Jones, and more.

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