Free-Floating Hostility

Sunday, November 14, 2004

It's SUCK-tastic, part deux

It's Sunday and I'm not watching the NFL. I haven't all year because not even my fantasy teams could keep me interested and I don't gamble on the games. I can't tell if this a reaction to spending my entire day Saturday dealing with college games or if the the mediocrity has finally become more than even I could bear (And keep in mind that I'm a Lions fan--Detroit and Columbia.)

Living outside Sacramento we are bombarded with the Bay Area teams; that's at least part of the problem. To call the 49ers and Raiders bottom-dwelling crapweasels would be charitable. But the quality of football is so bad that the supposed strength of the pro game (that casual fans will watch two teams they don't care about play because the game appeals to them on a visceral level) just doesn't seem to apply. All the teams are mediocre, so you have to pay attention to all of them and yet there's no actual way to follow this stuff because the results, as Jeff'y once said, look like they're coming out of a random generator. Even really good teams, like New England and Pittsburgh just seem so unappealing that I'm can't be bothered to check the TV schedule.

I find myself falling more and more into the "Sports need dynasties" school of thought. Because this NFL stuff isn't very interesting. I miss the old-time Niners or Jordan's Bulls. The Red Wings of the last decade have been deeply compelling, with the added bonus of also being my favorite team. I even find myself missing the Yankees, if only so I can root against them.

7 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at November 15, 2004 5:22 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Let me get this straight you want dynasties but a team that has won 2 out of the last 3 Superbowls and 23 out of their last 24 games is unappealing to you? They couldn't by more Dynasty if a rat was squirming out of the Kung-Po Chicken. They are even having WRs play defense, LB's catch TD's , Kickers throw TD's just in case you need Fox-like absurbity in your weekly dosage of violence and endzone dances.

    The NFL is still the best professional sport to spectate and is interesting and compelling. I think your angst comes from two places. 1) The lack of "Star" players on the better teams. With the exception of McNabb and Owens, all the good teams do not have great names, unless of course Indy makes a run. One of the great things about Dynasties is getting to know a whole host of great players on one given team. The Patriots do not have one or two star players to get you sucked into the team and make you want to wonder what a Bubba Franks or "Moose" Johnson eats for breakfast. (That is unless you are a woman who has not lost her vision, by which you have no alternative to think Tom Brady is a stud. Even my Jets' loving wife cops to this.) 2) The Detroit Lions are 4-5. This is the best of all the sports to follow your own team.

    I will give more explanation to the wonders of the NFL later, when I have more free time later today.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at November 15, 2004 6:32 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I'm curious as to why you didn't include the Cowboys on your short list of really good teams this year. Of course, I haven't looked at the standings since week 4 as I've been afraid that Parcells would yell at me.

    -Julius Jones

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at November 15, 2004 7:37 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I think Bill Parcells said, I mean yelled, "Only foolish people would consider us a good team."

    I love the "foolish people" quotes. Another reason why the NFL does not suck. Coaches are much more likely to go crazy here than anywhere else, except maybe Bob Knight's office.

  •   Posted by Blogger Mike at November 15, 2004 11:22 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • That "Foolish people" quote is an example of why Bill Parcells does not suck. When was the last time Bill Belichick, who is an X's-and-O's genius by the way, said something remotely interesting? The trouble with watching the Patriots is that they have to play another team. I'm aware I picked a bad moment to make this argument, what with three OT games and the Vikings-Pack finish, but I don't think it changes my point.

    The Lions got to overtime after amassing less than 160 yards of offense because of two fluke punt returns. The Ravens got to overtime because Herm Edwards, who is in the Bill Parcells school of interesting coaches, decided to have Lamont Jordan throw the ball rather than Quincy "Big Smooth" Carter. There aren't enough great players to go around and this is especially true when you're sitting through five commercial breaks per quarter. I was doing a 30-minute treadmill run during the Pats-Rams two weeks ago and I think I only saw about 7 minutes worth of game, what with the quarter break, the time-out after a touchdown and then the timeout after the kick-off and then an injury, blah.

    It's football, but it's not particularly good or crisp football. There are lots of reasons, though my opinion is that this year's spate of injuries means that teams have no continuity (which matters more than you can imagine) and therefore just are limited in how good they can be. But to me, it's like turning on NBC at 8 p.m. on Thursday to watch "Joey." It reminds you of "Friends." Matt Le Blanc is there and its the same three-camera sitcom format and Drea de Mateo is hot like the chicks from Friends were.

    But you also know that its not "Friends," that the same quality just isn't there.

  •   Posted by Blogger Rich at November 15, 2004 1:01 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • The three best sports-baseball, football, and basketball-are best enjoyed watching with friends or watching from the perspective of a fantasy gm. I can't speak for other crappy sports. I'll let you know about bull fighting one of these days. Otherwise, you are better off playing video games, IMHO.

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at November 16, 2004 8:47 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • The argument about the Lions seems strange considering that it is coming from the #1 fan of the Epic Giants-Ravens Superbowl. But I will not nitpick. Let us talk about the bigger issues.

    Is football compelling? What makes a particular sport compelling? If it is compelling I bet you would watch no matter how many commercial breaks there are.

    I think sport is compelling because of the matchups it presents. If there are a bunch of talented individuals on both sides of the ball, I can get excited about a game. Consider the Buck-Eagles NFC championship game. As a fan, I knew about the great players on both those teams. I had little idea about who would win. Seeing this clash was exciting and worth anticipating.

    The second reason why sport is compelling is the relationship between the fan and the team. There is nothing like your team going on a playoff run. (Especially in football where you have a week to reflect and speculate.) Winning cures everything and makes you feel good about investing your time. I find this relationship so compelling that I would occasionally go out of my way to watch another fan watch his team, which is why I would spend time watching Joey Samuel watch Maryland.

    The final reason why sport is compelling is the traditional rivilary factor. Throughout college, I was never tremendously interested in college basketball, but would watch the Duke-UNC game anyway. There is so much at stake there and the history is incredible. That is something you can appreaciate no matter what the situation.

    BTW: The ALCS covered all 3 for me as a fan.

    Besides that, you might as well take Rich Goldman's advice and get some beer and some friends and wait for Joe Namath to show up drunk. Football has some problems. There are few teams where you know enough players to get psyched about a match up. Maybe because teams do not stay good for so long. I cannot name one player on the Eagle's defense. I cannot name one non-offensive skill player on the Steelers. This is a problem.

    However, football does provide re-occuring rivalries. Few are particularly good this year. The Jets-Pats game was worth getting excited for at the time. The Vikings-Packers game was in the same sort of situation. But the Redskins-Cowboys, Chiefs-Raiders, Browns-Steelers, Bears-Anyone, Dolphins-Jets....they all have bad teams playing in them. This creates a problem too.

    What is still there for compellingness? The play-off run for your team. Every year starts with your team having just as much a chance of making it to the playoffs as any other. This gives the possibility of winning every year. Is this enough? I am not sure. My team has been pretty good for awhile.


  •   Posted by Blogger Rich at November 16, 2004 9:41 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • My favorite the team, the Giants, haven't fielded a good team since the early 90s. Any success that they have had since Simms I see as the result of the goddess Fortune. I still have no idea how they hell they made it to the Superbowl a couple of years ago. I was in Europe. They sucked when I left the U.S. and they sucked when I came back. I think I need to spend a couple of years in Boston to bring back my love of real sports.

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