A locus for eccentrics (hopefully)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


That's it. I'm done. It took less than a week for me to be done with any sports report involving football, maybe even watching football broadcasts themselves. Very close, maybe worse in its coverage than baseball. Tough call--they both feature the same meaningless truisms. But it's even worse because football has the whole male tough guy thing around it worse than any sport in existence. What makes football worse is how pro-management the whole business is, and is revered as such by the fans. Ugh.

Here's some examples from one segment of ESPN First Take. I first watched a segment talking about how the Tennessee Titans are very unsatisfied with Vince Young and that the team feels they are "better off with Kerry Collins." To start the whole thing off, there is no way this is true. I don't think Vince Young is some great talent, but to imply (as everyone nods in agreement in the team and the media) that the team is better off with shitty journeyman arm Kerry Collins at quarterback? What. The. Fuck.

They went on to imply (and the team is apparently legitimately thinking), beyond performance, that Vince Young was negative for the team because he was squirrley. They gave two inexplicable examples of this. 1) He moved to Austin Texas in the offseason and didn't spend much time in Tennessee. Huh? This is so bullshit it is unreal. By everyone's account, players are forced to come in a billion weeks early and stay from 3 in the morning until 10 at night most days during the season. Really? They can't go home and not think about football for like 3 months? That makes them a liability and not committed to the team? Then, and this is the kicker, is 2) Young was reluctant to get back on the field last week, and his head coach had to harangue him to play. Vince Young sustained an knee sprain this week that will keep him out 2-4 weeks. He was supposed to play through that? People were talking about an MCL tear not a day or two ago.

Example two followed this discussion. They were talking about some shitty Cowboys player--Ware or something. They were saying he wasn't playing as well as expected when drafted. Fine. They then detail the problem. Apparently the team "has been concerned about his motor since they drafted him." They have seen nothing to think that his motor will improve. WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? He needs to work on speed? Do more cardio for endurance? He needs to "get tougher?" No, the team is waiting for improvements on his motor.

Now here's the thing. Part of this is the media. But on the other hand I have absolutely no doubt that the media is speaking to team sources and hearing exactly the same shit from them, in the same terms. The NFL has come very close to having its own inexplicably code that doesn't really relate to reality for evaluating players and especially their mental state. Reminds me off European football--"We are now benching the best player on the team for no reason; he has fallen out of favor with the manager."

I can't believe that NFL players put up with the shit they do, they'd have to be retarded--most popular game in the country, sell out every week, money surging through the veins of owners, and yet they have non-guaranteed contracts in the most dangerous sport in the world and many players make low to mid 6 digits since there are so many players to pay and a relatively low salary cap to do it with. Fuck that. I don't want to hear about how some guy didn't play through some horrific injury--he has no fucking incentive to do so since he can and will be cut and lose all his non-guaranteed money that offseason by the "loyal" team.

Also. Fuck fantasy football. I never want to hear about it again.

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Blogger Intrepidflame said...

Clap, Clap, Clap. I want to applaud the effort on this post. It was extremely well written, and I agree with much of it.

I hate the NFL, but something about it keeps me coming back for more. I guess it's just that I love the game.

Fuck the coverage on TV, the managers, the corporate sponsors plaster everywhere...I just love the game.And I am a Raider fan so you know how shitty my life has been.

Great post.

11:51 AM

Blogger steve said...

I feel you. I don't have a fundamental problem with the game itself, nor the advertising or corporate part of it, really. Just that the journalism and managerial discourse around this sport and baseball, for some reason, has the most surreal analysis by teams *and* media. firejoemorgan.com analyzes this stuff to death for baseball, but football needs a blog about this too--continuous irrational decisions by teams due to established folk wisdom about football.

2:08 PM

Blogger steve said...

One more thing--by contrast professional basketball, though it's far from my favorite sport to watch itself, has really outstanding color commentary and often good journalistic analysis and coverage as well.

Why? I have no idea.

2:09 PM

Blogger neill said...

And the folk wisdom point is just it -- it's not just that everyone associated with the presentation of the sport on TV is an idiot (though that's certainly aggravating). What's so frustrating about the NFL is the degree to which it wallows in its own self-referential idiom. There was a really good Chuck Klosterman essay about this on ESPN in the wake of the Mario Williams / Reggie Bush situation.

3:08 PM

Blogger steve said...

I actually have a legitimate side question: who is making money from fantasy football and how are they doing it? Ad hits? Why is it so big now? Do people's TV watching habits gravitate towards heavier fantasy information?

3:18 PM

Blogger neill said...

It has to just be ad impressions, plus the sales they make on draft kits, live stat tracking, etc. to the hard core fans. There's not all that much overhead involved in providing the scoring and online draft tools, and they can't possibly be paying the "fantasy expert" columnists all that much. Besides, if they weren't spending it on the fantasy market, that money would just get plowed into more columns by Jay "Fag" Mariotti.

7:12 AM


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