Leading Off

Can anything damage NFL’s Teflon shield?

Former New England Patriots star tight end Aaron Hernandez is on trial on murder charges.

Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice is a man without a team after video showed him punching his wife unconscious in an elevator.

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is on the NFL’s “commissioner’s exempt list” and on suspension after being accused of beating his son with a tree branch.

From Jan. 1, 2014, to last Sunday’s Super Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., 47 NFL players were arrested, though several charges were dismissed or dropped.

And the Super Bowl champion Patriots were accused of using illegal deflated balls in the AFC Championship Game.

The off-field troubles, negative headlines and bad public relations haven’t put a dent in the NFL’s shield, because it is by far the most popular professional sport in America.

The Super Bowl certainly proved that – 114.4 million people tuned in to watch a dramatic 28-24 victory by the Patriots that still is the talk of every sports bar from Seattle to Boston.

By comparison, the seven games of the 2014 World Series between the Giants and Kansas Royals combined to draw 97.4 million viewers – an average of 13.8 million.

This week, three more NFL players were arrested, another was suspended for the 2015 season and one of its most popular players, Johnny Manziel, entered rehab.

But none of that seems to matter much to NFL fans, who can’t wait until training camp begins in July, exhibition games are played, fantasy league teams are filled and the regular season begins.

The NFL shield, it appears, is made of Teflon.

– Victor Contreras


What to watch

NBA, Miami at San Antonio, 6:30 p.m., ESPN: Much has changed since these two teams played in the 2014 NBA Finals.

Twitter chatter

@dandibley (Dan Dibley): “Tiger Woods withdraws from Torrey after being ‘unable to activate his glutes.’ This stuff writes itself!”

On this date

1958: Ted Williams signs with the Boston Red Sox for $135,000, making him the highest-paid player in major-league history.