A Mild Rant about Football

My apologies to those for whom ‘football’ is the name of the game we Americans call soccer. I am about to complain about football, and I do not want you to think I am complaining about your version of football.

I enjoy watching football. Or at least, I used to. I am not so sure any more. Why? Because the rule changes are starting to make less and less sense to me.

I am not one of those fellows who obsesses over football, keeps track of rules minutia and knows the stats of every player and game of the last 20 years. Football is not a religion to me. I just enjoy watching it as entertainment. So why do the rule changes bother me? Well, like I said, they are making less and less sense to me.

In professional football, the rule changes seem to be on track to make the game from what it is into professional flag football with all contact between players against the rules. And apparently every other play will eventually be subject to mandatory instant replay review by the officials.

In a college football game at which I was glancing a few minutes back, I heard the announcer explain that in college football a muffed punt cannot be picked up and advanced. Why? To what end? I do not remember this being a rule in college football.

I am not saying there should be no protection for the players. I want players to be safe. I do not want players getting brain damage. But I am not looking forward to professional flag football where all the players are forbidden to move faster than a quick walk.

The rules seem more convoluted than they used to be. The other day some announcer for a pro game was saying that if the coach of a team threw his little red bean bag thing to call for a review when there was already a mandatory review, the team would be penalized something like ten or fifteen yards. Why? Just hand the red bean bag back to the coach and explain that the play was already under review. What purpose is served by there being a penalty?

And now the college football will have a playoff system similar to the one the NFL uses. Why? This will solve nothing. This will not end controversy about who really deserves to be allowed into bowl games or who really deserves to be ranked number one.

Granted, I am biased, but what I see is a trend toward greater and greater top-down control of the sport. It is as if the college and professional football authorities think they can fix everything by micromanaging more and more of the game. Which makes the game less and less fun to watch.

And do not even get me started on the way television broadcasts of the games are cutting away from the set up of the plays more and more. I guess a close up of the quarterback’s expression of grim determination or some linebacker’s sweaty ass gets ratings, but I would rather see how the players line up before the play. I do not need the director of the television broadcast to impress me with how many replays and different shots of the field he can squeeze in between plays. Also, I do not need someone reporting from the sidelines that that the wide receiver’s brother is an organ donor to a little boy who was injured in a car crash, or telling me how some rookie or veteran player is struggling to get/maintain the position he wants. I want to watch the game. Can’t we just focus on the game? If you need to fill time, show me the cheerleaders.

(What? No, I do not just want to look at their breasts. I like to admire their athleticism… and their legs. I mean… Um. Ahem. They are all talented young women who work hard, and they deserve some recognition. Stick that in your feminism and smoke it.)

Watching football is starting to seem like I imagine it would be to start watching Star Trek by starting in the middle of season six of Deep Space Nine. There is so much jargon now and so many tangential details one is apparently expected to know that it all detracts from the viewing experience. But maybe that is just me. Other people seem to enjoy it all just fine. Maybe I am just becoming a old coot. “’Tain’t like it used to be, you young whippersnappers!”

I dunno. More probably, I am just showing my oddness. Never mind. Move along. Nothing to see here. The rant is over.

2 Responses to “A Mild Rant about Football”

  1. Love. This. Post. Sir 🙂

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