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Henican: NFL fans still tuning into gridiron despite controversy

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Bobby Rainey (43)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Bobby Rainey (43) defends against Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Devin Hester (17) during the second half of their teams' NFL game Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014, in Atlanta. Credit: AP / David Goldman

The sponsors are nervous. The consultants are arriving. The commentators haven't taken a breath.

And the fans? Despite all the scandal swirling around football, they're hanging tough with the NFL.

Doubt me? Look at the ratings after one of the worst PR weeks in pro sports history. NBC's Bears-49ers game last Sunday night drew a 14.0 average rating. That's up 3 percent from a year ago and it gave NBC the night's top number -- even among adult females -- over CBS, ABC and Fox.

On Thursday night, CBS easily beat the competition with the Buccaneers-Falcons game.

Still doubt me?

Ask any football fan you know: Would you rather have a really nice guy running the football or a total monster twice as talented on the field?

You know the answer you'll get: Go, Monster, go!

We say we want role models from our professional athletes. We sincerely denounce the wretched things they do. And when the current controversy passes, as it inevitably will, how much different will the game really be?

 

PENALTY FLAGS

 

1. Under investigation

2. Two-week suspension

3. Out for the season

4. Indefinite suspension

5. Find a new job

ASKED AND UNANSWERED: Regarding Monday's Car-Free Day, how many auto-addicted LIers will say to themselves: "Excellent! Less traffic! I'll definitely drive"? . . . National Grid is imposing fines now when the meter reader repeatedly finds no one home? So can homeowners start fining the utility when its people fail to show up? . . . Fortunetellers, palm readers, phrenologists, tattoo parlors -- and now hookah bars? What other businesses would Rockville Centre trustee Michael Sepe like to ban next? Wait, has anyone even asked to open a hookah bar in the village? . . . Have the East End deer been reading Horace Greeley? Why else would they start going west into Huntington, Northport and Smithtown? . . . How "disgraceful" is Suffolk County's public-defender funding? The NYCLU's class-action lawsuit heads to court Oct. 7 . . . How did 10-year-old Dejannah Price get stuck in the washing machine for an hour at her family's Elmont home? Will her mother ever ask her to help with the laundry again? . . . Can't Riverhead merchants make some kind of deal to use the LI Science Center's parking lot on West Main Street -- before another 30 cars get towed? The Science Center's open mainly on Saturdays . . . How will ICE react to Sheriff Vincent DeMarco's refusal to honor warrantless immigration holds? What happens now to the 114 Suffolk inmates being held on immigration detainers? . . . Enterovirus D68 has arrived in North Hempstead? Does that mean we've dodged A to C and 1 to 67 -- or are those strains yet to come?

 

THE NEWS IN SONG: He's drunk again, it's time to fight: Nickelback's "Never Again" tinyurl.com/NFLNEVER

 

LONG ISLANDERS OF THE WEEK: THE MASSEYS

 

There was a time, a couple of decades ago, when the Chester Massey farm produced half a million ducks a year just south of the train tracks in Eastport. As much as anyone from Montauk to the Queens-Nassau line, the Masseys brought meaning to the term Long Island ducks. The farm, lately run by Paul Massey, whose father and grandfather preceded him, is still a quacky place. But not for much longer. After this season, the duck farm will become yet another potential development site and produce ducks no more. That's sad. It makes Long Island less old Long Island. But give the Masseys credit. They hung on admirably for a good long time.

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