Acclaimed sports journalist Robert Lipsyte once wrote of the former NBC Sports host, “No one has ever walked so gracefully the line between journalist and shill as Costas.” To put it bluntly, Costas helped make the NFL as big as it is today, despite his reservations in a recent ESPN report, says Deadspin's Dom Cosentino. "Fans of the NFL and the reporters who cover it (ahem) all have varying degrees of cognitive dissonance about the sport of football," says Cosentino. "But NBC isn’t some independent entity watching or chronicling the NFL from a passionate perch or dispassionate distance. It pays billions of dollars to provide a platform that showcases the league. It then sells ads against those broadcasts to make billions of dollars for itself. Costas’s intermittent on-air critiques of the NFL were instantly undone every time he threw it back to Al (Michaels) and Cris (Collinsworth) for the start of the second half. And it ain’t like Costas is giving back the gobs of money he made helping the NFL sling its product."