If the past couple of days has taught us anything, it's that America's second-favorite pastime is offseason NFL football.
The first, of course, is in-season NFL football.
As much as I'd still like to think otherwise, baseball hasn't been the country's favorite sport in years. Extended network coverage of the NFL draft -- and by "extended" I mean "overkill" -- has been well received by the masses, a clear indication of just how popular off-the-field football has become.
And just like the prettiest girl at the prom, the NFL is well aware of its popularity. Consequently, it can sit back, bat its eyes, fix its hair just so and set all the rules.
In fact, we've seen the league dictate everything from how players must wear their socks, to the force with which they tackle each other. It regularly gets involved in players' off-the-field matters, even when such matters are not necessarily illegal.
Why? Well, first of all, because it can. And secondly, because commissioner Roger Goodell has become quite protective of the league's image.
As a sports fan, I've often sided with Goodell. I appreciate his willingness to polish the NFL's well-known "shield" logo by ruling with an iron fist. In recent years, the commissioner has been called a dictator by fans, media and even players.
This, of course, is silly because everyone knows dictators don't have Goodell's nice hair and winning smile.
The truth of it is, the man's got an unbelievable amount of chutzpah and he frankly doesn't care who objects.
Chances are pretty good he's not going to read today's column. Chances are, even if this was published in the New York Stinkin' Times, he still wouldn't read it.
Fine, whatever. But after watching all the pageantry surrounding last week's draft, I was struck with this thought: The NFL is so big and so powerful, it can essentially do whatever it wants.
And if that's really the case, why can't it do something about coaches like Seattle's Pete Carroll and new Philadelphia boss Chip Kelly?
You'll recall, Carroll took the Seahawks job a few years back, just months before the NCAA threw the book at USC, his old college program.
Carroll might argue otherwise, but it sure seems like he fled the college game for the NFL so he could avoid the fallout coming the Trojans' way.
And it appears Kelly has done the same thing in Philly.
After turning down the NFL's advances for the past couple of years, the highly successful, highly innovative Oregon coach left the Ducks for the Eagles in January. Oddly enough, however, Oregon officials recently announced they were placing self-imposed restrictions on the school's football program due to major violations committed during Kelly's time there.
The NCAA is currently investigating and it doesn't look good.
In other words, it appears the Ducks were dirty under Kelly's watch, but, like Carroll, he got out of town before the stuff hit the fan.
How can this possibly be OK? And how can the image-conscious NFL sit back and let another tarnished college coach slip safely into its coaching circles?
I mean, c'mon, this is the NFL we're talking about. The NFL, where hard decisions are made and hefty fines are levied. The NFL, where former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor was suspended before he even played a down, ostensibly because of violations he committed while playing for the Buckeyes.
In the name of keeping the NFL's image pure, Goodell has shown a willingness to come down hard on players and coaches. And yet somehow questionable characters like Carroll and Kelly are given asylum behind its shield?
Three words: That. Ain't. Right.
As evidenced by the popularity of its draft, the NFL now comprises America's two favorite sports: real football, and non-football football.
Surely it can pick and choose who it dances with, right? After all, it's the prettiest girl at the prom.