It’s not often you can identify when you’re passion for something disappears, but for me and my love for the NFL, it ended on 9 Jan, 2016.
The love affair had been waning for some time.
I’d grown tired of the never-ending commercials. Truck commercial – beer commercial – fast food commercial -truck commercial – beer commercial – fast food commercial.
I couldn’t understand why the most exciting play in football – the kickoff – had been essentially eliminated by moving the kick to the 35 yard line. Now almost every kickoff is a touchback at the 20 yard line. Goodbye excitement. Hello more commercials. “But It’s about player safety,” the league says. Really!? If they were interested in player safety they’d just outlaw the game entirely. It’s an inherently violent game played by men who understand it and accept the risks.
and the trash talk.
Literally every play now ends in some sort of celebration. Sack the quarterback – let’s have a sack dance, or let’s cross our arms and shake our heads like this is the greatest event that’s ever happened in the history of sports. Make a first-down catch – wave the ball in the defender’s face and make the first-down gesture with your arm. Don’t make the first-down catch – defender gets in the receiver’s face and says, “yeah motherfucker, not on my watch!” Score a touchdown – good grief, here we go. Let’s all gather around and perform some previously choreographed foolishness to celebrate our greatness. Yawn. Whatever happened to respect for your opponent, self-discipline and grace? Where are the Jim Browns, Jerry Rice’s, Barry Sanders’, Walter Payton’s,
Allan Page’s and Mike Singletary’s of the game today? Men who respected the game and played it with dignity.
Oversaturation. The NFL is omnipresent and never-ending. There’s literally a channel devoted to nothing but the NFL 24/7. During the season you can hardly escape the conversation. I think there are four or five or six broadcast channels that have NFL programs beginning at 10 or 11 am to bring us up-to-date on the latest news:
“Okay Erin, what can you tell us about the condition of the middle finger of Big Ben’s throwing hand? Will he be able to get it done?”
“Thanks Ted, I just had a conversation with the team surgeon and he says it’s a category 2 blister, which means it’s approximately 5 to 7 millimeters in diameter. He says he’ll wait until just before kickoff, after Bens had a chance to throw a few practice balls, before he makes a decision whether to lance it or just let it be. Ultimately, Ben will decide if he can play with his finger like it is, or whether it will need to be lanced.”
“Wow! This is a huge story. Thanks for the update, Erin!”
Who gives a shit.
Honestly, by the time the protests began last year, I was already checked out of the game. If the players want to protest, and the owners don’t mind – go ahead. Exercise your First Amendment Right – just don’t be surprised when the viewers exercise their Right not to watch your product.
The reason I checked out was the Bengals-Steelers AFC Playoff game on the date mentioned above. I was a huge Bengals fan at the time and I was praying for a win over the hated Steelers. “Maybe this will be our year,” I thought. So I endured the onslaught of commercials and the endless celebrations, but to no avail. The Bengals lost by snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. They did it by playing in the dirtiest, cheap-shottiest football game it had ever been my displeasure to watch. In fairness, both teams were equally guilty of excessive violence. I’m no shrinking violet. I understand that playoff games are played with a higher degree of intensity. I get it. But this game wasn’t intense. It was a gang fight. It was street violence. It made me sick. When it was over I didn’t even care that the Bengals had lost. I vowed to never watch another game.
It’s been almost two years and I haven’t watched an NFL game since that day. You’d be surprised by all the things you can accomplish when you’re not laying around in front of the TV on Sunday watching football.
In the interest of full disclosure, I do still watch the Super Bowl – more for the spectacle than the game itself.
Exit question – In four seconds or less, do you know with absolute certainty who won the 2013 Super Bowl? (No Googling) If you do – congratulations? and get a life. If you don’t – why do you spend so much time watching a game that doesn’t really matter anyway?
**Originally Posted on 10 Dec 2017**