The League has problems way beyond anthem kneeling. To ad-lib Hal Holbrook from The Star Chamber: Someone has stolen football and hidden it in the NFL. There’s more real football going on between neighborhood kids out in a vacant lot than the League’s coliseums.
The game has become more distraction than game. Every play abruptly punctuated by some silly celebratory dance, mind-numbing booth analysis, and a flag. And cannot resume again without a huddle by the zebras, the marching off of penalty yards, and a commercial.
(And don’t even get us started on male cheerleaders, lady refs, and linebackers trimmed in pink.)
Every rule creates just one more reason to interrupt the natural ebb and flow of the skirmish. And nothing should… except half time, and the occasional streaker.
Football was never meant to be perfect. Or fair. The game is a battle of wills and brute force. It was meant to be played. And it was meant to hurt.
But in an effort to make the game perfect, the League has made it intolerable. Mistakes in play and errors in judgment ought to be essential ingredients to an imperfect game played by imperfect men. Any call that requires slow motion and freeze-frame to get right is too close to fret over. The refs should have one job: To halt the brawling long enough to spot the ball and haul off the mangled. So, the call went against you – so what? Any game lost on a blown call was a game never won.
Winning is just a way of keeping score. What matters most is the game. Or the next game. Victories should be celebrated then forgotten.
And there are no individual victories. A player must lose himself in double-digit anonymity. Sure, it’s demeaning – that’s the point. But unlike days of yore, rosters are larded with celebrities consumed more by the name on the back of the jersey than the front. And worse, they whine.
Team fails when self is elevated above team – the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. And it’s that pursuit of self that destroys even the best team, and the game itself. And ultimately self.
So, kick out the navel gazers, the cameras, and the causes. Then burn the rulebook. To get back to football, the National Hm-hmm League must rid itself of everything that is not football.
In the Beginning was Football
On the seventh day, creation was complete. God rested. And men played football. And it was good.
R is for Redskins
Juliet had it right. The Redskins by any other name would still be the Redskins. And would still be smelly.