THIS IS WHAT I love about the NFL: On weekends, it puts on the greatest show on Earth, sporting-wise; then, on weekdays, it puts on the greatest show on Earth, sanctimonious-wise.
Case in point - the NFL and gambling.
When it comes to gambling, the NFL always has been - how shall we say? - a little bit pregnant. Let me put it this way: If gambling were the preacher's daughter, the NFL would knock her up, raise its hands plaintively as if it had never touched her - and then go to church to pray for her unborn child.
If the NFL were around in the 4th century BC, Hypocrisy would've been its commissioner.
(Hypocrisy was a spiritual descendant of the Greek god Hypocrates, who never practiced what he preached and purportedly was the first Raiders fan.)
The NFL's spectacular growth over the past half-century has been dual-fueled by television and gambling. The league puts out a compelling product greatly enhanced by broadcasters and bookies, yet the league has always distanced itself from the serious and friendly money wagered on all of its games.
And, thus, we have witnessed the evolution of the NFL's awkward position - it's enriched by sports betting yet condemns it.
The NFL has taken various public stances against gambling interests for years, lobbying, for instance, against sports betting and online poker. Earlier this year, the NFL - along with the NBA, NHL, MLB and NCAA - filed a complaint in federal court in Trenton, N.J., seeking to stop New Jersey from implementing sports betting on pro and college games.
But Couch Slouch is tired of this storefront sermonizing. Because while the NFL's left hand is pointing fingers, the NFL's right hand is pocketing money.
In fact, at the moment the NFL has both hands in a couple of cookie jars full of gambling dollars.
This year, for the first time, the league is allowing teams to display local casino advertising in stadiums, as long as the casino does not have a sports book.
"We remain steadfast in our opposition to the proliferation of gambling on NFL games," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy announced. "There is a distinction between accepting advertising in a limited fashion and gambling on the outcome of our games."
Let's review both parts of that statement.
"We remain steadfast in our opposition to the proliferation of gambling on NFL games."
Translation: "Where would we be WITHOUT the proliferation of gambling on our games?
"There is a distinction between accepting advertising in a limited fashion and gambling on the outcome of our games."
Translation: "Casino millions, come on down!!!"
By the way, what exactly is "accepting advertising in a limited fashion"? Does that mean they only take small bills in unmarked envelopes. A limited fashion? Isn't it UNLIMITED if you keep accepting it? Hah!