Late yesterday afternoon I was watching a bit of ESPN. Suddenly, the excitement level of the announcers’ voices rose significantly as they began talking about “THE FIRST NFL PRE-SEASON GAME OF THE YEAR” scheduled for later that evening. On August 1st.
Doesn’t this thing ever go away? Heaven help us.
We’re in the midst of a baseball pennant race where, with two months to go, 17 teams are either division leaders or within four games of the two wild-card slots in each league and thus have a legitimate chance at making the playoffs. Teams are going on improbable streaks (I’m looking at you, New York Mets and San Francisco Giants). Strong teams (Houston) just made themselves better with deadline trades, while other teams (New York Yankees and Washington Nationals) left their fans disappointed by their lack of imagination and just plain guts in filling in their weaknesses.
Suffice it to say, there’s a lot to watch (and talk about) around baseball.
But noooo. We have to hear about pro football ad infinitum. Well, I’m (still) sick of it.
Over the past four years I’ve posted four Super Bowl rants to give you my take on what’s wrong with this $10 billion nonprofit (seriously). I started after Super Bowl 48, and continued with Super Bowl Rants II, III, and IV. To spare you from having to read all the reasons in detail, I’ll give you the Cliff Notes version of what’s wrong with today’s NFL*:
- Those stupid Roman numerals. How pretentious can any sport be that lists its championship game by Roman numerals?
- The NFL is a non-profit. (No, seriously.)
- The militarization of football by FOX. I would prefer to watch my sports without being shown countless patriotic scenes, troops in Afghanistan, more renditions of God Bless America than anyone should have to listen to in a lifetime (are you paying attention Major League Baseball?), military flyovers for everything from preseason games to Super Bowls, and so much more. Enough already! It’s a damn game, not some statement on the American psyche and national manhood. (Sorry. I went off on that one a little bit.)
- Concussions. 2015’s Super Bowl (#49) was hailed by many as the “best Super Bowl ever.” What did it feature? One confirmed concussion, and one probable concussion that the Patriots covered up. (The Onion had a telling headline: Super Bowl Confetti Made Entirely From Shredded Concussion Studies.) A horrendous arm injury by one player. Oh, and a fight in the end zone on the next to last play. Yep, that about sums up the NFL these days. (Sorry again. I also have a personal thing about concussions.)
- It’s the damn Patriots. Again. These guys always seem to find their way back to the Super Bowl. Is there anyone more insufferable in sports than Bill Belichick/Tom Brady? (Wait, I’ll answer that. Maybe Coach K. But that’s another post. And I know that Belichick and Brady are actually two people, but I’ve grouped them as one because they synch their grating to perfection.)**
- And finally, the easiest reason of all not to watch the NFL: Daniel Snyder.
Okay. Just had to get that off my chest. Suffice it to say, I did not watch the NFL “Hall of Fame” preseason kickoff game last evening (where, as one announcer put it, “no one good will be allowed on the field”) and I won’t watch whatever Super Bowl comes around in February.
Take your family, friends, and loved ones to the ballpark. Buy them some peanuts and Cracker Jacks (and perhaps a local IPA and a “half smoke all the way” from Ben’s Chili Bowl if you are at Nationals Park.) Relax. Its summer, and that means its baseball season.
More to come…
*I’ve provided 14 specific reasons if you want to go down this rabbit hole with me. Just click on the links.
**I have a good friend from Boston who taught at the school Belichick attended, and this reason always gives him heartburn. He calls the Patriots his “dirty little pleasure.” Other than this slight character flaw, my friend is a terrific guy.
Image: NFL Brain Diagram via SportsPickle.com
Hear, hear, I’m with you, David, and I have been for a long, long time. I had the idea for a book when my kids were at the age where they were in danger of being attracted to playing football (thank goodness they decided not to…). The working title of the book I was going to write was “Moms v. Football.” It never happened. But, a few years ago, a writer I admire a lot (for other reasons), and a former football fan himself did even better, when he published “Against Football.” You probably already know about this book, but if you don’t I bet you’d enjoy it. The author is Steve Almond, and he also recently published another book I love “Bad Stories: What the Hell Just Happened to Our Country?” 😦
Janet, Thanks for the note. Glad you liked the post. I love “Bad Stories” and Steve Almond as well. I wrote a blog post about it shortly after it came out. I thought it was a very good description of how we got into this situation we’re in. I’ll have to look for the “Against Football” book and add it to my pile. All the best – DJB
Janet: Here’s the longer of two posts I wrote about Almond’s book “Bad Stories” – As you can see, I found it very compelling: https://moretocome.net/2018/05/21/bad-stories/.