By ALFRED DICOCHEA III
When the New England Patriots wrapped up a 28-24 Super Bowl victory against the Seattle Seahawks on Feb. 1, the NFL finished its worst PR season ever.
New England won its fourth title while the NFL was conducting yet another investigation of the controversial franchise, ruining the integrity of the game.
Before the scoreboard hit zero in Super Bowl XLIX and before the NFL could pack up and try to fix its image next year, a fight broke out on the field.
At that moment, the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell were officially tainted — possibly past repair.
During the 2014 season, 20-plus NFL players had serious run-ins with the law.
After two high-caliber players were suspended by their teams in connection with domestic violence cases, the NFL initiated a new domestic violence policy that was never used during the remainder of the season.
The controversies began when superstar player Ray Rice was arrested two weeks after the 2014 Super Bowl.
Surveillance video showed Rice punching his fiancé in the face and dragging her unconscious out of an elevator.
The NFL played judge and jury, first giving Rice a slap on the wrist. After the video went viral, the NFL violated its own policy and suspended Rice indefinitely. Currently, Rice has won his appeal to be reinstated into the league, and has filed a lawsuit against the NFL.
It remains to be seen whether he will ever play professional football again.
The 2014 playoffs were also littered in controversy, topped by the now-infamous DeflateGate scandal.
Conspiracy theories abound as the league investigates suspicions that the Patriots deliberately used underinflated balls during the AFC championship game.
At press time, the NFL was still investigating the accusations.
Goodell and the NFL saw the 2014 season burst into flames before it started and continuously snowball from there.
Now the league will try to salvage its image.
When the NFL airs season highlights filled with Odell Beckham Jr. and a ton of Aaron Rodgers bias, remember that the real highlights involve courtrooms and investigations.
It will be interesting to see how the league and Goodell address the issues they faces this off season and what kind of new rules will be put in place. At this point it will take a lot to get the focus of the press and fans back on the field.