The NFL is the dark overlord of the universe, or at least that's how the league is portrayed by Hollywood.
Even Sony Pictures Entertainment, one of few film companies with no major strings attached to the NFL, feared what the league's lawyers might have done had they pulled no punches in a movie about the nation's most popular sport, according to hacked emails scoured by The New York Times.
On Monday, Sony released the trailer for "Concussion," a film starring Will Smith as Dr. Bennett Omalu, the neuropathologist who discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) — a degenerative brain disease brought on by repeated head trauma — while performing an autopsy on Hall of Famer Mike Webster. The emails reveal that studio executives, director Peter Landesman and Smith's representatives discussed the idea of "softening some points" about the NFL's reported cover-up of Omalu's science.
In League of Denial by Mark Fainaru-Wada and his brother, Steve Fainaru, they have written about the league's efforts to deny or at least continue to stall on confirming a link between repeated head injuries and CTE.
The Mike Webster autopsy is one of the most significant moments in the history of sports. Desperate for a few moments of peace from the acute pain, repeatedly stunning himself, sometimes a dozen times, into unconsciousness with a black Taser gun. "The only way he could get to sleep," said Webster's son, Garrett.
Tyler Drenon, behindthesteelcurtain:
Limiting the medical jargon, when a brain suffers a direct injury, proteins form around the affected area. Those proteins are seen through a microscope as red specs. Healthy brain cells will eventually devour those proteins, but in cases like Webster's, the proteins eventually overwhelm the amount of healthy brain cells available to clear the brain.
2014 was a rough year for the NFL with decisions on Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy. 2015 got off to a poor start with deflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game. The Super Bowl did provide a few moments of respite following the exciting Seattle Seahawks-New England Patriots' thriller.
Following seven more months of DeFlateGate discussions and potential rulings, the NFL has lived by the phrase that "There is no such thing as bad publicity." It may have worked when one is taking about PSI, Ideal Gas Law and Mona Lisa Vito.
When the subject of CTE, post-mortem examination of the brain, rare phenomena, hacking emails and denials are mentioned, this discussion is beyond the NFL's public relations scope.
There was a time when the anticipation of Christmas was too much. It will be ratcheted up more than a few notches this year waiting for the Concussion movie.
Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire. .