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Week 5 Patriots vs Cowboys: GIF of the Week

New England spanked the Cowboys and now the NFL is getting their revenge on fans everywhere.

Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

Julian Edelman's Best Allen Iverson

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman aligns near the far sideline, across from Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne. The field looks like a putting green, the white line markers immaculate. Edelman is crouched, ready to jump forward and drive down the field, while Claiborne is ready to defend.

In the second frame, Edelman appears to be leaning towards the outside of Claiborne. We have to wait until the twenty-sixth frame to deduce that Edelman is actually just taking faking to the outside, but actually intending to cut back inside of the corner. Between frames thirty-seven and fifty-three, we see Claiborne extending and falling as he over-commit to defend the outside route. When Edelman cut back inside, Claiborne's ankles were broken. In an And1 Mix Tape way.

Rob Gronkowski Throws Byron Jones Out of the Club

In one of Gronk's best plays of the day, he...

Sorry guys. Can't do it. The NFL spent their Monday afternoon trying to have Twitter and Vine shut down accounts of those that host GIFs and Vines of their games highlights, resulting in the suspension of the @Deadspin Twitter account. The NCAA played a role in getting @SBNationGIF suspended. Deadspin's account has been reinstated, while SBNationGIF remains in the ethos.

"The NFL sent routine notices as part of its copyright enforcement program requesting that Twitter disable links to more than a dozen pirated NFL game videos and highlights that violate the NFL's copyrights," the NFL said in a statement. "We did not request that any Twitter account be suspended."

Prior to the season, the NFL entered into an agreement with Twitter, which also owns Vine and Periscope under their umbrella, that would let the social media platform share exclusive highlight footage from the NFL. Twitter's share price jumped 9% after the August announcement.

So it's well within Twitter's reasoning to jump to the NFL's demands in a similar way that ESPN jumps to the NFL's line in the sand. Both companies hold a considerable portion of their market capital value in how the public perceives their relationship with the NFL. The league is that strong.

Part of me understands why the league would want to limit the production of off-hand GIFs and Vines of highlights. The league posts these videos on their archaic video platform quickly enough, and if they want to control the distribution of their content, then we as consumers will have to direct fans to their site to view the videos. It's a terrible system, but it's within their right.

Leagues like the NFL, the MLB, the NCAA, and FIFA have all taken to trying to shut down fan submitted content that draws from the game because these league entities have licensed the footage to certain outlets that should have exclusive control.

It's probably no coincidence that these four entities have been mired in the largest legal sports scandals with Sepp Blatter's blatant corruption within FIFA, and O'Bannon vs the NCAA where the courts found in favor of the players in that the league was incorrectly using their likenesses, or the Mitchell Report that helped crack open the steroid issue in baseball, or the dumbest freaking controversy in the history of sports in Deflarthyism.

That's probably the Mount Rushmore of sports scandals of the past decade, although the Patriots 2007 LocationGate and Lance Armstrong's confession of doping would deserve consideration. These leagues just don't seem to understand what should actually be held important for the sport.

For leagues that are unquestionably at the top of their fields, they're fighting for the bottom line in all the wrong places. They're willfully bastardizing the utility of these GIFs and Vines to close the gates of the content to the public.

These GIFs aren't meant to take the place of watching the game; they're meant to enhance the experience. The only way the GIFs can be generated is if the video has already been shown on the broadcast, so it's not undercutting the league's flow of content. These GIFs and Vines are limited to their file and time size, so they cannot take the place of the full game on television. All of this matters.

The NFL expects every fan to either subscribe to their Game Pass to rewatch key moments (not a possibility for the majority of fans due to the cost), or watch the highlight videos on their website, even if it doesn't contain the same material that the viewer is hoping to find. Of course, the NFL finally created a YouTube channel, but they won't let outlets embed the videos on their individual websites because "we like to control where our content goes."

And that's the crux of their argument and justification. It's all about control. This whole offseason has been about control. This whole league is about controlling the players, controlling the fans, and controlling how the games are consumed.

When NBA commissioner Adam Silver was asked about the league's view on fan generated highlights and content, he simply replied, "Highlights are marketing." The NHL doesn't seem to be in any rush to cut off fan highlights, actively asking their video providers to not overreach.

These GIFs are created by fans for the fans to increase their connection to the game and to enhance their viewing experience. It's not trying to replace the game.

Whether its black outs, or leveraging cities for public funding, or not reacting to severe cases of domestic violence, the league has been deaf to reason over the past couple of years and and to expect anything different from them at this point would lie at the feet of the fans. The league is what it is. And they don't care about the fans.