In a league that has had its share of "[Fill in the blank]-gate" moments, who can blame anyone for being a little frightened about what lies ahead for expanded legal gambling and the NFL?

Yes, it's true that illegal gambling always has been a big part of professional sports, especially the NFL. But the league used to publicly distance itself from and discourage others from gambling. It never embraced it the way we've seen in recent times with Jerry Jones and other owners investing in fantasy sports betting.

And now, just imagine the potential perception pitfalls that await if/when the league actually partners with legalized gambling. Right or wrong, everything from questionable injury reports on Wednesday to the safety whiffing on a winning walk-off touchdown on Sunday will be scrutinized through a more skeptical lens.

On Monday, the NFL called for backup — Congress — to stay clean even if things start to look dirty.

Mark Craig