Sam

Posts Tagged ‘NFL’

Tough guys don’t have tattoos

In Uncategorized on January 31, 2012 at 3:08 am

Well, the Super Bowl is next week and I must admit that I am looking forward to it – simply because I like the idea of a New York team beating a Boston team. But I really have no interest anymore in professional football as several of my blog posts have made clear. Last weeks Giants-49ers game was a case in point why have I lost interest in professional football. At the onset of OT the head referee explained the new the new OT rules to the captains at mid-field. But the rules were so complicated and the referee’s explication so labyrinthine that I don’t think anyone, not the players on the field, nor anyone watching at home understood him. I certainly didn’t understand him. In fact, all I understood was the part at the end where he asked, “heads or tails?” It was a comic performance by the NFL. The days of “Gentlemen, the first team that scores wins the contest” are officially over.

At one point during the OT the FOX camera panned the 49er bench where four linemen were resting during a Giants possession. Each player had tattoos that ran the length of his arms. I could not see any ectodermal tissue that was not covered in ink. It is as if tattoos are now part of the unwritten uniform code in the NFL (and the NBA I would add). And the code says that linemen should have more tattoos than QBs and receivers – for that is the impression I got while watching the game. Nowadays tattoos symbolize toughness. Funny but in my book it is just the opposite. The truly tough guys in the NFL were those who played a generation or two ago and who simply donned a uniform and a few pads. They didn’t need tattoos to prove they were tough. They just showed up, broke their share of bones against other tough guys and collected a paycheck every couple of weeks. Those days are long gone.

Regrettably.

Enjoy the game !

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The Super Bowl: A monument to American (bad) taste

In Uncategorized on February 12, 2011 at 6:53 am

The Super Bowl was last weekend. I watched the game and cringed at the halftime show, as I suspect did many others of my generation who grew up when the halftime show at the Super Bowl was a marching band-and nothing else. This year’s halftime show was a cross between Disney on Ice and a Kiss concert. The word that comes to mind is gross.

Say what you will, but the Super Bowl has quite simply become a MONUMENTAL monument to American bad taste. If the Super Bowl were personified it would be Jerry Seinfeld’s father, overweight, vulgar, loud, brazen and in-your-face. Hagar slacks and white belt to boot.

And it just seems to get bigger – and worse – every year. In fact, the game nowadays seems secondary to the garish, pyro-spectacular halftime show that we have to sit through while we wait for the 3rd Quarter to start. I often wonder how the older football fans – people of my father’s generation, who grew up on a steady diet of Glenn Miller and Count Basie – must react to the invasion of rock and roll into American professional football ? And how insufferable it must be to actually be there ! ( at least if you are watching on TV you can get up and go get something from the fridge). Moreover, this year we not only had to endure a bad halftime show but a scandalously rendered national anthem as well. No one talked about the game on Monday, but instead the headlines were about Christine Aguilera’s “performance” during the National Anthem. Even if she had not botched the lyrics, her rendition was enough to make one reach for the remote. For such is the Super Bowl nowadays.

And they want American Democracy in Egypt ?

One more reason I can’t watch football anymore: The little red flag

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 4:53 am


I didn’t watch the National Championship game the other night. Mainly because I live in Tokyo where the game was not broadcast. I did check the final score, however, and watched some of the video highlights online. Once again, a big play in college football (or professional football for that matter) hinged on instant reply. This is another reason I rarely watch pro football anymore and watch only a handful of college games in any given season: instant reply.

What is it about instant reply that I don’t like ? Instant reply slows down the game considerably. Some reviews drag on for as much as 5-10 minutes while the officials huddle under what looks ridiculously like a circa 1953 voting machine. It is a process that is seriously flawed, for the TV replay usually tells us immediately if a play has been called correctly or not. I have never understood why the NFL just doesn’t post an official in the press box.

Instant replay also attempts to impose perfection where there can be none. Professional athletes, in spite of their skills, are not androids, and if you scrutinized the play on the field you could probably find violations of one sort or another e.g. holding, illegal formation on every play. Yet these infractions are never called usually because they occur on the line of scrimmage, away from the ball. Big games are often decided because a hold or a false start went unnoticed by the officials. Instant reply gives the false impression that the game has been decided fairly, when it most likely has not.

Most importantly instant replay deprives the game of considerable lore. Ask any sports fan about a controversial play they remember well and they will probably recount several for you. What is the most controversial play of all time ? The Immaculate Reception of course. Did the ball bounce of Frenchy Fucqua or Jack Tatum ? That question is part of our fascination with the play some 39 years after the fact. And it is a question many people in Oakland and Pittsburg will ask themselves up until their last day.

Thankfully instant reply was strictly for TV in 1972.

Another reason I do not watch the NFL anymore: Michael Vick

In Uncategorized on December 27, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Another reason I do not watch the NFL anymore is Michael Vick. Vick should have been banned for life for his involvement in the dog-fighting ring which grabbed national headlines a few years ago. The NFL does, after all, ban players for life for gambling or repeated drug use. Why it would not ban a player who sadistically electrocuted dogs in his swimming pool is beyond me. Not only has Vick been allowed to play again, but he is being celebrated this year for his comeback with Philadelphia and is even being touted as an MVP candidate. And I see this morning that President Obama called Eagles Owner Jeffrey Lurie to thank him for giving Vick a second chance. As the Eagles get closer to the Super Bowl this crescendo of hypocrisy will only get worse.

NFL rosters these days are full of players like Vick. Plaxico Burress, Ben Rothlesburger, Ray Lewis, Terrell Owens are a few that come to mind. Every broadcast has a sub-plot: someone who has been shot, or has been involved in a serious fracas with the law or is under suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

In the glory days of professional football there was drug use, to be sure, but players were for the most part law-abiding citizens who just happened to play football. I think the most controversial player when I was growing up was Joe Namath. However, the controversy surrounding Namath had nothing to do with drugs, or guns or gang violence, what many NFL players nowadays seem to be involved in. Namath was controversial because he was a mainstay of the New York swinger scene who wore panty hose on game days. Though not used with Joe Namath’s name the phrase “role model in the community” was often heard during NFL and other professional sports broadcasts. Sadly, that phrase is no longer in use and when I use it here it seems antiquated.

It is enough to make you want to turn off the TV, which I often do these days when the NFL is on.

Why I no longer watch the NFL

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 7:17 pm

It is about that time of year that I begin to look at the NFL standings. I used to love Pro Football. I grew up in the Bay Area in the 1970s when the Raiders were the most feared and intriguing team in the NFL (and a team I loved to root against) while across the Bay John Brodie and the 49ers showed promise but always fell short – usually in heartbreaking fashion e.g. 1972 playoff game against Dallas.

The 49ers kept me interested in Pro Football until the early 1990s. Then a class franchise suffered an identity crisis, trading Joe Montana, hiring a series of coaches whose integrity was dubious and signing players who were committed more to promoting their own brand than to winning. At some point I just lost interest in the 49ers and stopped watching pro football altogether. Nowadays, I usually tune in only at the end of the year to watch the playoffs and Super Bowl. Once a sports fan, always a sports fan.

One of the main reasons I have lost interest in pro football is that broadcasts have become so laden with time outs that the game just seems to drag on and on. Take the first series of plays after a kickoff for example. Back in the day the offenses and defenses would take the field when play on the kickoff was whistled dead and play would resume without a commercial break. Now, however, there are several commercials between the kickoff the next series of plays. I timed this once – from the extra point on a TD until the next series after the kickoff – and seven minutes elapsed. In other words, a fan has to sit front of their idiot box for seven minutes ( usually watching a heavy dose of ED commercials ) just to see one play, the kickoff. For me at least, this just makes the entire telecast unwatchable.

I always wonder whether TV was really such a good thing.