and I wrote this BEFORE the stupid NFL debacle over the weekend….crazy.
I hate to say this, much less actually believe it, but I’m starting to actually think the NFL is on a pair of skis wearing a ridiculous leather jacket and heading for the ramp.
Not that my opinion matters, as the League continues to gobble up market share, merchandise dominance, fan base, etc. As a matter of fact, the league is so confident in its invincibility, it would allow high-school referees the opportunity to stain the integrity of the game…but, that’s another blog.
For someone of my generation (40-something), we’ve now seen 20 years of Fantasy Football, televised drafts, and ESPN; and the asinine impact each has had on the sport. It used to be kinda cool to be a sports geek ~ you had to actually KNOW the teams, the players, the coaches, the match-ups; you knew where every player played his college ball, followed them thru the League & had your favorites. Now, my 5th-grade son is in a 400 student Fantasy Football league sponsored by his school as a math exercise. Cool? Very. But that’s MY hobby, not a bunch of pre-pubescent knucklehead boys and girls picking cool uniforms.
It used to be Christmas Day when the NFL draft was first televised. All 50 of us watching the draft enjoyed watching that greasy-haired geekazoid, Mel Kiper Jr., and his frantic style of channeling information only a geek could love. Now it’s a Miss America pageant, takes 3 days, has half the rounds, and the Commissioner is giving “daps” to the players coming to the dais. Now we have 8 or 9 “experts” giving us the Kiper treatment ~ and, ironically enough, they cleaned up Mel Jr., too. He’s no longer “our” geek, he’s just another hack making a living off the draft.
ESPN was a wet dream to us when we were in college. How many of us actually watched Australian Rules Football back in the day? It was awwwwwwesome. Bob Ley, Chris Berman (before he became a cartoon character), Tom Mees, Charley Steiner, Dan Patrick (before he became a douche), Keith Olbermann (ditto, multiplied by 10): these were our dudes. Now we have Stuart Scott, Trey Wingo, and………who? The biggest sin ESPN is guilty of is over-saturation. The specialness of a Monday Night game was spoiled shortly after the birth of ESPN; now there’s games, college and pro, day & night starting on Wednesday. I’ve seen entirely too many Ball State and Eastern Michigan games as a result ~ the NFL went hand-in-hand with the ESPN expansion, multiplied it with the addition of the NFL Network, cubed it with Direct TV, and begins pre-game discussion a full 6 or 7 hours before the first game of the day on Sunday. How I long for the days of Irv, Brent, Phyllis, and the Greek: now, you have a 4 or 5-man studio crew assisting another 2-man
crew at the game site for EVERY freaking game.
Fantasy Football used to be the most incredible hobby a guy could have…the way the game is now, there’s zero strategy outside of managing injuries and an incessant onslaught of Bye weeks. I hate it, but I’ve just seen too much. I’ve heard too much yammering from knucklehead know-it-alls ranging from Brian Baldinger to Michael Irvin (Michael Irvin????), seen too many celebration dances, waited through too many 4 minute commercial breaks before AND after kickoffs, seen too many flowing locks and extensions hanging from helmets, heard too many “BOOYAH”‘s, seen too many terrible rule changes and interpretations (even before the replacement ref’s)…it’s exhausting to watch the NFL.
Thankfully, October is upon us, so the great game of baseball can take center stage again ~ at least in my house.