Episode one of HBO’s much-hyped NFL-based show Ballers debuted on Sunday night. The early ratings, and reviews, are strong for The Rock’s latest project but one organization has been a little tight-lipped about the show — the NFL.
The show never technically asked permission to use the name and logos of the Miami Dolphins but the No Fun League let it slide because it’s in bed with HBO on programs like Hard Knocks and Real Sports. But now that the Goodell bunch has seen the premiere episode, and the way the show makes the NFL look less than pristine, the NFL might take it’s ball and go home.
Former Dolphins coach Don Shula, who made a cameo appearance in the pilot with former Dolphins running back Larry Csonka on the boat of the fictional Dolphins coach, had this to say to the character played by John David Washington, son of Denzel: “You’re an asshole.” While the NFL and/or the Dolphins presumably won’t opt for profanity, they may at least be thinking something along those lines based on the depiction of NFL players in the opening episode.
And it doesn’t get much better in the next three episodes.
Oh, man, he used the word asshole! That makes the NFL look so, so bad. You don’t want to tarnish the good image of the NFL! They’ll stand for domestic violence, child abuse, rape, murder and drugs but an NFL player using profanity?!?! Not in this world OR the world of scripted TV.
So far, the NFL has been mum, but as PFT points out “memba Playmakers?”
Apart from any legal questions, HBO and the NFL enjoy a business relationship through the Hard Knocks series. So if the NFL lets HBO slide a dozen years after the NFL bullied ESPN into scrapping a fictional series that didn’t infringe on NFL team names or logos, here’s hoping ESPN immediately green lights Season Two of Playmakers.
If The Rock is suddenly a former star of the Miami Mammals of the American Football Association in episode four, Goodell and his goons officially laid the smackdown.
[via ProFootball Talk]