It was Sunday afternoon at 2:45pm when I decided the NFL had used up its last opportunity to keep me as a fan. It became clear through its inability to take the 30 free minutes in my day and get me into trouble by extending the half-hour to one hour, the way it used to be. I put up a valiant effort to care yesterday afternoon, but I could not. Me and the NFL have reached the end of the road. The NFL is no longer on my radar screen as viable entertainment.
Oh, it was there last year as well, and the year before that, I just didn’t recognize it. More and more I’ve watched less and less NFL, opting instead for yardwork, a run, a movie, or a book on the porch.
Yesterday was the clincher. Back-and-forth I flipped, trying to find something, anything, to keep me interested. Instead, I got players I’d never heard of, four-yard passing plays, and overanalysis of minutiae that bordered on insult. The announcers breathlessly spoke of the routine, as if it matters.
It was the culmination of a week full of disgust. The horrid previews and opinions. The manufactured drama. Funny how it all fit into the little box the NFL so desperately wants to create. Problem is that the box they created and put me in turned me off. For good.
This is not a trivial revelation. I was “that guy” for a long time–sports bar Sundays because I could watch every game, three fantasy football teams, gear from my beloved Chicago Bears. The Walter Payton signed mini helmet remains prominently displayed in my office, but it also has an extra three layers of dust. It just isn’t important anymore.
The problem is homogenous. Everything about the NFL screams boring and copycat. Uniforms, players, styles, etc. There is nothing that draws interest, those jagged edges that rip into us and force us to follow it. If dressed every team in one version of the Penn State uniform I guarantee you couldn’t name 15% of the players correctly. In a time when the NFL should be celebrating and lapping up the brilliant comedy of Ochocinco and T.O., they are doing everything they can to stifle it. Big mistake.
Tune in to any preview show, television or radio, and what is said on Wednesday is repeated on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and especially Sunday. It’s the same damn thing. All the damn time. We used to have players from the University of Mars and tearaway jerseys. Now, a player is fined if his sock has a rumple. Really, I think that’s all you need to know. Did it start going into the toilet when Madden went from coach to broadcaster?
Here’s my challenge to you: take your Sunday and have a cup of coffee and read the paper. Hang with your family or take a walk. Think about that belly of yours and imagine what a walk instead of another helping of nachos and Miller Lite will do for you. Take care of something. Flash by the NFL telecast to check scores, but move on. It will be worth it and you will be amazed how much better you enjoy your Sunday.
Keep in mind I’m not anti-football. I could watch option attacks and flanker screens all day. There’s something oddly attractive about crowds at Oregon and Oregon State at 11pm on a Saturday. Perhaps it’s the color of college football, or the fact that everything isn’t so uniform. (Dee Dowis, where are you?)
Goodbye, NFL. You blew it.
Team previews will begin tomorrow. Right now, an overall conference view and some nuggets. Note: this is also a tease for this year’s Blue Ribbon book, which will contain all of the information you want.
There is 1,200 to 1,400 words on every team, and we were able to update to include the injuries to Brian Johnson’s knee and Gerald Lee’s elbow.
My choice for: ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM (no different, really, than anyone else):
Larry Sanders, VCU
Matt Janning, NU
Gerald Lee, ODU
Chanrles Jenkins, Hofstra
Cam Long, Mason
1. James Madison
1. Old Dominion
2. George Mason
CAA Tourney trivia: VCU became the seventh #1 seed in the past eight years to win the CAA title (Mason as a #3 in 2008).
Since 1998, only four CAA schools have won the CAA tournament: UNCW (2000, 2002, 2003, 2006), George Mason (1999, 2001, 2008), VCU (2004, 2007, 2009), and Old Dominion (2005). It has been since 1993 since the CAA championship game did not include one of these teams.
George Mason has a 16-game home court winning streak, 8th-longest in Division I.
Only five seniors were among the league’s top 20 in scoring last year, and three of the top six were sophomores—Hofstra’s Charles Jenkins (19.7), UNCW’s Chad Tomko (15.6), and Delaware’s Jawan Carter (15.0).
Drexel dropped its final three regular-season CAA games by one point, and five of its eight league losses were by one point or in overtime.
Hofstra’s Jenkins returns as the only player in the country who averaged more than 19 points, four rebounds, and four assists per game.