There was a time when the only thing fans of the NFL cared about was football. However, that doesn't seem to be the case anymore. The NFL is at a point where sports lines offered by sportsbooks don't matter as much as they used to. And the reason is that the NFL is constantly mired in drama these days. The Cowboys exemplify this recent trend in the NFL.
When Jerry Jones opened the Cowboys training camp on Sunday, he was probably dreading another conversation with the media because he knew the questions he would field would have very little to do with football. And that is odd considering the performance Dallas has been delivering.
Their thirteen victories in the previous season not only put them in a favorable position for a Super Bowl run but they also tied for a franchise record.
However, no one seems to care much about that, as Coach Jason Garrett and vice president Stephen Jones will attest. The drama has dominated the Dallas headlines as of late and it is largely the fault of Ezekiel Elliott and Jourdan Lewis.
The league has been looking into Elliott for quite a while now because he supposedly breached their domestic violence policy. The fact that the investigations have been running for so long is a source of frustration for some people, especially when it is still unclear as to whether Elliott will be suspended.
Lewis, on the other hand, will actually go to court to answer a domestic violence case. That isn't the sort of press Dallas wants. But that is exactly what everyone wants to talk about. And Jones can attest as much because the Sunday press conference saw him spend the first twenty minutes discussing anything but the activities on the field.
Jones didn't dismiss the worries of fans and pundits. He accepted that the Cowboys had to be open to the voice of the fans and that the team was working hard to change the reputation they are starting to garner.
It is clear that a portion of the training camp will be spent dealing with the off-field drama, probably to the detriment of the Cowboys in the long run. For now, fans just want to know what will happen to some of these players because their presence or absence matters.
Elliott hasn't made things easy for his team. Besides the domestic violence charge, the athlete's reputation has taken a hit for being present during an incident at a night club that saw a man's nose get broken. The speculation of his involvement has run wild.
And that is just months after another incident involving Elliott and a woman's top.
If those two weren't bad enough, linebacker Damien Wilson is also on the chopping block, dealing with assault charges of his own.
Dallas needs to get its act together. They have to escape the banner of controversy, which is problematic for their brand. They cannot be seen to tolerate some of the uncouth mannerisms of their players. However, they cannot afford to spend so much time dealing with off-field drama.
The worst thing to come out of the Dallas controversies is the fact that all their players are being painted in the same colors as the likes of Elliott and Lewis.