The NFL and NFLPA announced Sunday that the two organizations are currently in the midst of an investigation. The purpose? To determine whether or not the Panthers and independent medical team members responded correctly to the big hit quarterback Cam Newton took against Broncos late in the fourth quarter in Thursday night’s game. By utilizing the procedure outlined in the collective bargaining agreement, the findings of the investigation will reveal whether or not the league’s concussion protocol was properly executed. Appropriate parties will be interviewed and film will be watched and re-watched.

Thank goodness.

Actually, let me rephrase that: Gimme a break.

Doesn’t this feel a bit disingenuous? It seems a little funny to me that on Friday, the day after the game, the NFL said that protocol had been followed. That morning the NFL issue this statement: “There was communication between medical personnel on the Carolina sideline including the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant, and the two independent certified athletic trainer spotters in the booth. During stoppage in play while on-field officials were in the process of administrating penalties, the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant and team physician requested video from the spotters and reviewed the play. They concluded there were no indications of a concussion that would require further evaluation and the removal of the player from the game.”

Good enough, right? Well, not really. Better launch a formal investigation on Sunday (rather than whatever took place between the game and the league’s announcement on Friday).

Here’s how the NFL under Roger Goodell tends to work: First, make a statement (or a call or a decision – call it what you want). Second, wait to hear the collective reaction from all of America (in this case a groan, or perhaps a sarcastic chuckle). Finally, go back, and reconsider the problem and how it should have been handled (thus Sunday’s announcement; seriously, go back to pretty much every major controversy in the past two or three years, and you’ll find that’s how it works all too often).

A little backwards, right? Ah, but it’s so typical.

Here’s a little secret: The NFL doesn’t really care that much about player safety. Still. The truth is, the league mostly just wants you to think it cares.

You don’t need to be an official, coach, trainer, doctor or “unafilliated neurotrauma consultant” to conclude that Darian Stewart’s hit on Cam Newton deserved another look – at the very least, a little precaution. True story: No sooner than Newton hitting the turf, I said out loud, “That one should launch the protocol.”

Surely, wherever Roger Goodell was watching the game, he said – or at least thought – the same thing. It was a violent hit, a direct blow to the head, that resulted in Newton being visibly shaken up.

But hey, this was a game for the ages. Why stop the fun? Newton’s not going to voluntarily leave the game; he’s a tough guy trying his damndest to pull out the win. Team trainers know what’s at stake too; if Newton says he’s okay, well, he’s good to go. And in the waning moments of the season opener, with every football fan in the country watching and less than a minute left on the clock, do you really believe that “unaffiliated” guy has the stones to suddenly become the biggest wet blanket in America? Me neither.

Funny thing is, Newton was checked four times after the game. If he showed no signs of a concussion according to all those experts on hand, why check him so much? If the play looked bad enough to check him after the game, why not check him during the game? This reeked of the situation last November, when Case Keenum was allowed to stay in the game (the final minute, no less) with visible signs of a concussion.

Let’s face it, if Newton’s hit would have occurred in the first quarter, the tests would have likely been performed. Or, if Newton was named “Jordan Norwood,” the test would have been performed (the Broncos’ Norwood and Brandon Marshall were both tested during the game).

Believe this: The NFL’s concussion protocol is very situational.

And oh by the way, the penalties for not adhering to protocol is a complete joke. For a first violation, a team is fined $150,000. For the sake of comparison, that’s roughly 1,748 tickets at an NFL average ticket price of $85.83; or, it’s what Von Miller will make every three days for the next six years if he plays out his entire new contract. If the commish determines that “competitive consideration” was the reason (would there really be another reason?) protocol was not followed, he can swipe draft picks. Let’s see if Carolina, a team the league credited for properly handling protocol on Friday, faces any of these penalties following the “investigation.”

Sadly, I’m probably stating the obvious.

The NFL cares far more about getting a call correct than making sure its players aren’t in danger. The average instant replay review takes 3 minutes and 37 seconds. Heaven forbid a few minutes are spent checking in on Newton’s health. You can bet that if a call or no-call occurred in that final minute, the league would have performed complete due diligence to make sure it got it right. Winning a game fairly, getting every call as correct as humanly possible, now that’s worth making America wait. Potentially saving a life, or at least the quality of it, well, that’s a lot of time and effort and something that makes for bad TV.

Why not allow one of those league-hired “spotters” to throw a red flag? Heck, they don’t even have to be right – let someone else decide – and they don’t have to penalize the team or player in question. Don’t make the player in question sit out a play, just get them tested, right there, on the spot. For a league that first and foremost cares about its image, that would at least showing its massive viewing audience that protocol was indeed being administered.

Same thing with hits to the head. Every team has a dedicated replay coach who tells the head coach whether or not to throw that red flag. If a hit to the head occurs, but it’s not called, why shouldn’t that be reviewable? In the officiating crew’s defense, the game happens so fast, it’s sometimes hard to tell. Fair enough, let’s just slow it down and be sure. The hit that Marshall levied on Newton – the one where he lunged upward – would have been called on the spot. The game is physical, and unless Goodell decides to go back to facemask-less helmets, players are going to keeping hitting head first. They shouldn’t, but they will. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to continue to discourage those kind of hits (winning and losing quickly changes how players play and coaches coach). It certainly doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to improve the medical practices after those kinds of hits.

Unfortunately, no real solutions will surface. The NFL isn’t interested in that. It’s only interested in appearing that it cares.

What you’ll hear following this so-called investigation will only be rhetoric, baloney, PR spin – all just head games with its players and fans.