With the exception of my wife feeling the need to check in on her beloved Chicago Bears, I haven’t watched the NFL this season.
This has nothing to do with some sort of political stance on the national anthem. If you hate that players are protesting, fine. If you love that players are protesting, fine. Personally, I think singing the anthem before games is unnecessary.
In addition to the drama surrounding the anthem — no matter your beliefs on this issue, Colin Kaepernick was blackballed for daring to take a knee, no question about it — here’s a list of the major stories that have come out of the NFL so far this year: injuries, concussions, CTE, fights, suspensions, lawsuits and end-zone celebrations.
The fact that I’m not watching has nothing to do with how far right or left I lean. The NFL sucks right now. It’s as simple as that.
It’s football, so injuries are a part of the game. But look at the star power currently on injured reserve. Odell Beckham Jr. Andrew Luck. Aaron Rodgers. J.J. Watt. Those are probably four of the 10 most marketable players in the entire league.
Don’t fall in love with that rookie, either. Dalvin Cook was allowing everyone in Minnesota to get over seeing Adrian Peterson in a different uniform — two, actually. Boom, ACL. Done for the season. Deshaun Watson let everyone in Houston breathe a sigh of relief that they’d never see Tom Savage again. Boom, ACL. Done for the season.
Now the Vikings are stuck with Latavius Murray and his 3.3 yards per carry. The Texans are stuck with Savage and his 47.3 completion percentage.
Needless to say, the concussion problem isn’t going anywhere. Neither is CTE. While the NFL isn’t burying its head in the sand like before, players still invent ways to avoid concussion protocol altogether and get back on the field.
We’ve seen an inordinate amount of fights and ejections, which have led to fines and suspensions alike. The brawl between A.J. Green and Jalen Ramsey — Green is usually so mild-mannered, too — was shocking to watch. Vontaze Burfict got tossed last Sunday just for being Vontaze Burfict. Fan violence has to be at an all-time high, as well.
And then we have the Ezekiel Elliott saga. His six-game suspension has been overturned and reinstated too many times to count.
As a result, Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys is threatening to sue the league and some fellow owners if they green-light the recently negotiated contract extension for commissioner Roger Goodell. Cease-and-desist warnings have been made.
At least the NFL relaxed its rules on end-zone celebrations, though. Each and every Sunday, teams find ways — the Pittsburgh Steelers went so far as to pantomime the Green-Ramsey scrap — to one-up whatever was put on display the previous week. Based on how poor the quality of play has been, it’s fair to wonder how much time at the facility is dedicated to dancing lessons.
The Raiders will soon leave heartbroken Oakland for Las Vegas. Nobody cares that the Chargers left poor San Diego for Los Angeles.
Most of this would be acceptable if the on-the-field product was awesome, but it’s atrocious. The collective bargaining agreement the last time around severely limited padded practices and offseason work, which has led to some seriously sloppy play.
We thought the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were going to be dangerous. Turns out, they’re dreadful. We thought the Jacksonville Jaguars were going to be dreadful. Turns out, they’re dangerous. Just about half the league is 5-4 or 4-5. Is that parity — Goodell’s dream is for everyone to be 8-8, it seems — or mediocrity? I can’t tell anymore.
Future Hall of Fame quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger continue to defy Father Time, but they’re unicorns.
In addition to the aforementioned Savage, took a look at some of the starting QBs from Week 10: C.J. Beathard, Jacoby Brissett, Jay Cutler, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brett Hundley, Case Keenum, DeShone Kizer, Josh McCown, Brock Osweiler, Drew Stanton.
I guess it’s a good thing that so many fans are more concerned with their fantasy teams than their favorite teams. Instead of flipping around Sunday Ticket — or simply sticking to the RedZone channel — watching an NFL game start to finish these days is brutal. So many penalties, replay reviews and commercials. And still, nobody truly knows what is or isn’t a catch.
Papa John can blame politics to satisfy his shareholders, but TV viewership and stadium attendance are both down at least in part due to bad football.
To be fair, the college game isn’t a glorious tribute to amateurism anymore. The NCAA is big business more than ever, and it’s become increasingly uncomfortable to see the student-athletes themselves last in line to be compensated, monetarily or otherwise.
Scandal lurks around every corner, as well. Jerry Sandusky left a permanent stain at Penn State. So did Art Briles at Baylor. Recruiting violations, paying players, coaches with extra-curricular love lives — all of the above at Ole Miss. Even if what we see Saturday is more pure than what we see Sunday, but that doesn’t necessarily make it pure, per se.
However, did you see that wild finish of Oklahoma State-Iowa State? How about that insane atmosphere at Notre Dame-Miami?
In the SEC, you’ll never have a better opportunity to rob a bank in the state of Alabama than one week from Saturday, when the Tigers host the Crimson Tide. Not only is the West on the line, but maybe conference and national championships, as well.
Just wait for the last few weeks of the NFL regular season, when a bunch of teams have been eliminated from the playoff race and there’s nothing left to play for — except paychecks, of course. Are you really tuning in for Bengals-Ravens or Texans-Colts? The Egg Bowl, on the other hand, is an annual delight no matter what’s going on in the Magnolia State.
My wife wants to keep watching the Bears, and that’s OK. Saturdays take a lot out of me, so I relish those Sunday afternoon naps.
Source: Saturday Down South