The opening day of the NFL season gives me an excuse to take a break from men’s issues for a day. I’m going to see if I can get through a whole column without uttering the word, women. Don’t bet on it though.
For a long time, sports was a major part of my life. That probably started changing 7 or 8 years ago. I still read the sports page everyday( errr I mean I go to sports related websites), but I watch very little sports on TV anymore.
A quick list of major sports, and how much I view them…
NFL: All Bronco games and maybe one additional game a week, usually on Sunday. I generally catch most playoff games.
MLB: I attend a few Rockies games a year but rarely watch any baseball on TV. I might watch a few World Series games depending on the teams. This year may be different if the Rockies make the postseason.
NBA: Might attend a Nuggets game or two a year. Watch very little of the regular season on TV. Watch a handful of playoff games depending on the teams. Finals vary depending on who is playing.
College Basketball: A few March Madness games. Thats it.
College Football: A few big games a year and the BCS Championship Game.
Nascar: Only with a family member if it happens to be on at their place.
Hockey: Whats that?
Golf: If Tiger is in contention, and in a major only.
Because I read about sports 20 minutes a day or so, I still am fairly up to speed. My historical knowledge is good because of my youth. I still know more than a lot of people, but it is no longer of significant importance in my life.
The NFL is a slight exception, and I still have enough interest to write about it occasionally.
I think the main reason for this, is because they only play once a week. Much easier to follow and maintain interest in a sport when you only have to devote 3 hours a week to watch your favorite team play.
A few things I like about the NFL…
The complexity. The preparation that is required to learn complex playbooks and carry out game plans is pretty impressive. For a taste of it, try playing the John Madden video game created by EA sports. It does a pretty good job of capturing its essence. Really, I swear.
Players that go 100% all of the time. Only playing 16 regular season games has something to do with this. The major reason though is that contracts aren’t guaranteed. Players don’t have the leverage as in other sports. NFL players, in most cases, don’t make the kind of money that many of their fellow sportsman do. This also happens to be why I don’t begrudge players in the NFL who holdout or demand trades as much as I do in other sports.
Every game is meaningful. Game 8 of the regular season is important for a football team. Game 108 for a baseball team, not so much.
Every game has buzz. See above.
Teamwork. Of the major sports, football requires the most of it. Everything that each player does on offense or defense is connected and necessary for success. One small screw up by the left guard can be the difference in a team getting a 10 yard penalty or a 60 yard touchdown pass.
Parity. I may be a free market capitalist, but I am a sports socialist. Mike Rosen, a talk show host I listen to, explains it well. The Broncos aren’t trying to drive the Raiders out of business, only to beat them on the field. These are franchises not individual entities. The NFL is strong and healthy, in large part, because of parity that is achieved through revenue sharing among the teams. A hard salary cap is helpful as well of course. Bud Selig and the MLB union might want to take some notes.
Most games are played on Sunday. Very easy to get immersed in games on Sunday, and forget about it the other 6 days a week.
Fantasy football. Yes, I admit it. I have a soft spot for this decidedly dorky activity. I don’t have a team this year, but in times past I have enjoyed it.
Brett Favre……df..dfgbc… Sorry about that. John Madden took control of my keyboard for a moment.
Things I don’t like about the NFL…
The incessant commercial time outs. I had the Direct TV NFL package one year and loved it. Don’t remember seeing a commercial the whole season. My thumb got a bit sore though.
Corporate names on stadiums. Yeah I know, it makes economic sense. I’m mostly just venting. I miss Mile High Stadium though. Our new stadium in Denver is called: Invesco Field at Mile High. They stuck the “at Mile High” on to appease the nostalgists. A lame compromise if you ask me. It sounds ridiculous.
75% of the announcers. Usually an arrogant, geeky metrosexual, paired up with an ex-player, meathead type. It’s Mike and Mike in the Morning every damn game. Not my idea of a good combination. I’m old fashioned. I miss Pat Summeral and John Madden (before he jumped the shark).
Sideline reporters. Two types of this species can be found, roaming around the field, offering up innane opinions or trivial “news” items. The barely literate Tony Siragusa type or the big titted bimbo. The interviews they provide uniformly suck. Needless to say, I’m not impressed with either.
Pre game shows. Braggart ex-players still jonesing for an attention fix, and jock stiffing hosts, together, make for a fun-filled hour of shitty jokes, tired old stories from the glory days, and plenty of ass kissing. The self-importance is generally amusing as well. A player will go from near diety status to disgraced non entity in the course of a few weeks. Really guys, it ain’t that big a deal.
For the record, I happen to like The Fox pregame show the best. Plenty of lame jokes, but the other stuff is tamped down a little bit. They don’t seem to take themselves as seriously. This reminds me of another complaint though…
The weather girl reports. You mean its warm in Miami and snowing in Green Bay in November? Wow thanks. Appreciate that. Maybe it’s for the last minute gambling junkies. Speaking of..
Anytime I run into a game being analyzed from the perspective of a gambler. The greasy, and often sweaty, scumbags screaming into the television. Yeah I know, I’ll never lose if I call your 800 number and get your picks and locks and guarantees of the week. I think I’ll quit my job.
On that note here are my predictions for the upcoming season. Feel free to use them to win lots of money in Vegas. These are my locks, guarantees, and super duper, put it in the bank, picks of the week, month, decade and year.
AFC Division winners
East: Patriots 13-3
North: Steelers 12-4
South: Colts 10-6
West: Chargers 12-4
Wildcard: Ravens 11-5, Dolphins 10-6
1st round: Chargers over Dolphins, Ravens over Colts
2nd Round: Pats over Ravens, Steelers over Chargers
AFC Champion: Patriots
NFC Division winners
East: New York 12-4
North: Minnesota 11-5
South: New Orleans 11-5
West: Arizona 10-6
Wildcard: Chicago 10-6, Seattle 9-7
1st round: New Orleans over Seattle, Chicago over Arizona
2nd round: Minnesota over New Orleans, New York over Chicago
NFC Champion: Minnesota
Super Bowl Champion: New England Patriots
With all the money you will win using these picks, I hope you drop a small percentage my way.
A few final thoughts, questions, and predictions…
Am I a bad person for hoping Michael Vick gets “Joe Theismanned” this year?
Am I putting too much faith in the flakey, and increasingly brittle, Brett Favre?
Which is bigger: Jerry Jones’ ego or the new scoreboard at the Cowboys new stadium?
Speaking of the Cowboys…. Wade Phillips will be fired during the bye week and replaced with Jason Garrett. Garrett will have the rest of the season to prove he is a better choice than Mike Shanahan.
Did Chad Ochocinco jump the shark last year, or the year before? (Yes I wanted a reason to type in Ochocinco).
Terrell Owens will have a major blow up by week 4. No, I am not a distant relative of Nostradamus.
If Tom Brady remains healthy, the Patriots will be scary good this year.
Does Peyton Manning make more in salary, or endorsements? I think Manning is on TV more than Obama.
Oh, before I forget…
The Broncos will go 4-12.
Kyle Orton will lose his job to Chris Simms.
Fans will remind McDaniels (and his ego), that Jay Cutler shouldn’t have been traded.
The defense will be improved.
The Broncos will be surprisingly competitive towards the end of the year.
Well I made it, not one mention of the W-word. Perhaps another time I will discuss how sports have become, unfortunately, the last refuge of many men, in a culture dominated by w…..