Why Am I Watching This?

Duchess
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So for personal reason’s I do not feel like getting too much into. Let’s just say I know what Ape went through at that other place and I wish I had the ability/balls to do what he did. This fun moment in time hit me like a ton of bricks to that I did what the Bearistocrats did this past weekend and did not attempt to watch any football at all. (Duchess is so topical)

I wrote the guys and gals (Two Girls One Blog, amirite!) to let them know that I didn’t know enough about the past week to put together a full 9 Circles. Sure I could have listed the 9er’s and Bears in each and every circle, however frankly you all deserve better than that. (Purgatory – Bears punter punted so many punts he got punters knee and got punted to the sidelines). The group we have here are great and supportive and smart. (Did you just go there? Moar like the Nine Circles of Jerks, ya jerk). That last one is key. If you don’t already know that, then I have a challenge for you.

Step One: Go to whatever Uproxx has become lately (KSK: Dead, Warming Glow: Dead, Filmdrunk: Dead) and find an article,

Step Two: No no keep going I am sure you will eventually find one with comments on it soon!

Step Three: I swear there is an article there with comments keep going

Step Four: Now read said comments.

You will soon see that place has quickly devolved into a place where its “Red Pillers” vs. “SJW” in everything. (Like a comment war between people who think PFTCommentator is 100% correct vs people who think he is the worst journalist ever and needs to hire a proofreader).

The point is in this gloomy time I have gotten great words of support here and for that I am forever grateful. One such email of support ended with this wonderful prose (you almost called it a nugget didn’t you).

“If watching young men in the prime of their lives destroying their bodies and brains for your entertainment cannot bring you joy, what hope is there for any of us?”

This got me thinking. Why do I do this? What this game. It has been a large part of my life, and I just don’t know why I keep turning it on. The games mostly suck now. I couldn’t watch college because the NCAA has become a defense-optional league. And the system rewards teams who try their best to avoid playing another team with any ounce of credibility. Why? So they can play a Bowl game for are multi-million dollar non-profit that give absolutely nothing back to the game and treats players like indentured servants. (Well at least they get a free education. 1. There is no person on a college team who deserve to have a scholarship if they play cornerback or safety. Too many Deon Sanders (Redskins Deon) than Charles Woodson. 2. The school doesn’t care about the athletes. Thier goal is not to prepare the kids for life after college. It’s to win now. The best football player in college wins the Heisman Trophy. When was the last time that meant something in the big leagues? (Well Charlie Ward had a long NBA career… you did ask). The North Carolina scandal just shows how little the NCAA cares about its “Student” Athlete. Why not call college athletics what it is an”Unpaid Internship” (Todays Stars; Tomorrow’s Used Car Salesmen)

Now this lowered talent pool seeps up to the NFL through osmosis and starts to poison the well slowly. Defenses rarely know how to tackle. There hasn’t been a quarterback since Andrew Luck, who has had any sign of longevity in the position. We get to plow through yesterday’s players slowly showing signs on CTE on a weekly basis. (Troy Aikman doesn’t live in the past his new ring tone is set to remind him who he is every 15 mins). Coaches who were once held in high regard are touted out on a weekly basis are nothing more than caricatures. (So you’re saying Tony Dungy was not in Genesis’ Land of Confusion video? ) and usually partnered with some neutered play-by-play guy who acts like that guy from college who didn’t quite understand the popular/cool kids were only keeping them around to carry their bags or copy their homework. (That’s not fair I’m sure Mike Tirico is… crap I got nothing, good point).

Speaking of CTE 96% of all dead football players have been shown to show symptoms of CTE. We are all watching a large group of men slowly kill themselves for money (Dance little monkey, Dance). Why? So the owners can try and see if they can squeeze two more games for free by expanding the season to 18 games? Teams can collude on keeping pay down on players. And cut a player on a moments notice if they just don’t feel like paying them anymore. When a player stands up for themselves writers and bloggers or talking heads on the tv, call them “me-first glory boys.” If a player gets hurt and needs to take some time to get healed they get called out for not being tough enough. (By fans who will call out sick on Monday for taking one too many Jaeger bombs)

Go for a walk. It’s the fall now people! In the Northeast, you can watch the leaves change (suck it Northwest with your dumb evergreens! {low blow leave Kimyea’s daughter out of this}). Why watch a Cleveland game when you can watch a tree slowly die? Or turn the channel, Sunday day may suck but catch up on all that DVR or Netflix (Tell me have you accepted Breaking Bad into your heart?) Worried about Sunday Night? Screw that Bobs Burgers and Brooklyn 99 are great. Besides who needs to watch Pey-Pey v. Brady 350: It’s Pey Back Time? (You mean that wasn’t Chris Collinsworth narrating a Tom Brady colonoscopy?) Hell, go out and grab something to eat from that new Indian place downtown (MMM Chilled Monkey Brains)

Why do we continue to hate watch this game as it was season 3+ of Sons of Anarchy (The NFL wasn’t the only thing to jump the shark when they randomly flew to the British Isles)

I don’t know. I guess, sports are one of those few places/times where it is socially acceptable for males to show vulnerability and emotion and allow us to bond with each other. Last year I was at a Division III football game. The father and son behind me spent the first quarter in the most amazingly, cringe-worthy conversation I have ever heard (Why do people talking with their parents always sound like they are on a crappy first date?). They couldn’t talk about anything the father sounded completely disinterested in whatever the wiener kid said, and the boy was trying harder and harder to impress him. (Awkward conversations during a football game and trying too hard to impress the person next to him. You’re still talking about Mike Tirico?) That was until they started talking about the Redskins. The conversation and tone both lit up when talking about the players and how they think the season will go.

Football and other sports have actually allowed men to open up to each other. It has given us something common to talk about with other guys and a way to branch out and meet new people. Think about a way of starting a conversation with a stranger that doesn’t involve sports and doesn’t sound like a creepy pick-up line. (Do you like scary movies? Worked well for Drew Barrymore). Simple phrases like “How about that game last night. Man, what were those refs thinking on that call?” puts everyone at ease. (Not if you are talking to that ref from that game who made that call).

I have an on going group text with my college buddies right now. We all live across the US, and rarely get to see each other. Folks have gotten married, divorced, kids, new jobs, family members dying, graduations. All those exciting and sad times and Saturday/Sunday during the games has always been that ice breaker for us to talk about what’s going on in each others lives. It’s a a hell of a lot easier to follow up “Damn these Bears are playing like shit right now” with ” Hey btw how you doing?” than it is to just say it. So I guess that’s why I continue to watch the game. I am sure there are other great reasons out there. So feel free to write about it… or just tell me what I missed last weekend.

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SepMoose -The End Is Well NighupforwhateverSill BimmonsLothar of the Hill People Recent comment authors
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Sep

Eh, I don’t have anything to add. I’ve met some great lifelong friends through fandom and I’ve seen some of the worst in people (fan fights are the fucking worst). Sometimes I wonder how people can get so worked up over a situation they have absolutely no control over, and then let it ruin the rest of their day. This is not a complaint, I find it fascinating.

I agree with the bonding aspect of sports. But as a vehicle for change? Sure, if you believe Professional Athletes should be held to a higher moral/ethical standard then allow me to sell you a piece of the magical wall Trump wants to build to keep immigrants out. They don’t owe you a fucking thing.

7 billion+ people inhabit this planet, which means the narrative has 7 billion+ possibilities.

upforwhatever
upforwhatever

Remember when we used to tell dick jokes, instead of bitching about every goddamn thing? Back in the Blogspot days before everybody hitched up their high horse and rode that motherfucker to death?
Yes, big corporations suck.
Yes, the NFL is a big corporation.
Drink beer, watch football, and stop (over)thinking so goddamn much.

upforwhatever
upforwhatever
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

Many reason why I like this gif….. many.

Herro Tokyo.

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

I’m seeing a lot of complaints about excessive advertising, and I’m right there with you.

However, this is all very easily avoided with the magic of RedZone. Something about not having to listen to an entire Sunday afternoon of Jeep Renegade ads and Tony Siragusa makes the night games almost tolerable when combined with THC and the livebrogs.

But RedZone is expensive, you say. Not true. Most providers will sell you RZ only for $5/month, some make you pay $10 for RZ and NFL Network. That’s $40 at the most. You can also pay $5/month to stream RZ directly from nfl.com if you’ve cut the cable/ditched the dish.

I am not in any way affiliated with the NFL or any of its member organizations and have received no compensation, monetary or otherwise, for this comment.

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

From what little I do know about CTE, and I am NOT an academic, it seems to be the accumulative result of continuous repetitive trauma rather than a couple of big hits.

It’s not games that cause CTE, it’s practice. All the macho bullshit hitting drills (Oklahoma drill, anyone) does nothing to determine who can actually play. Constant drilling of position and technique are what makes a front-seven player, not slamming into your teammates at 100 mph 4 times a week.

And most of this damage probably occurs during youth when the brain is still plastic.

So here it is: outlaw any contact in practice at all until college (helmets only), then only “football in shorts” (helmets and shoulder pads) as Mike Tomlin so derisively calls it. Anyone who says that you play like you practice is a fucking idiot. Practice sucks. Only the JJ Watts of the world love practice, and, as we all know, Fuck That Guy.

Then outlaw any contact above the shoulders. At all. Regardless of intent any contact above the shoulders should be subject to a personal foul and strong consideration for disqualification.

Football. Saved.

Please sign my petition at http://www.samelikelihoodasunicorns.com

Lothar of the Hill People
Lothar of the Hill People

Agree on all points. The literature I’ve been able to digest sees white matter changes in high school athletes regardless of their time playing in games–the damage accumulates in practice, all the trivial helmet contact builds up.

So to prevent damage to kids who don’t know better and aren’t legally responsible (because they aren’t developmentally able) to make life-altering decisions about their health (or things that cause a detriment to their health), you have to outlaw head/helmet contact for anyone under the age of majority, i.e., 18. If you outlaw head/helmet contact in high school, you need to do it in college, too, otherwise you’re saying that college is a place where you go to earn a degree and learn, while destroying your brain. Without monetary compensation.

So if kids are playing football in high school and (ideally) college without head/helmet contact, then the pros will have to change, because kids will be learning a completely different game.

My route to that change, though, is a bit different: I say get rid of helmets. At least hard-shell helmets. Maybe concussion rates go up, but there won’t be the routine, minor head trauma that seems to be the bigger problem.

I’m optimistic. It might take a while, like with smoking, but the evidence is there, and eventually someone in power will have to do something. I think football will end up looking a lot more like Rugby 7s.

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

College is tough.

On the one hand, you’re dealing with adults who we have entrusted to make most other decisions regarding their individual well-being, and they are being compensated pretty well for their age cohort regardless of whether they are actually collecting a paycheck (which I am in favor of and would knock the ambiguity down a notch).

On the other…well, I’m honestly having a hard time coming up with the other hand. Entry level pay in the military and law enforcement is probably even less than the total scholarship packages at the majority of big-time programs, and I don’t see any outcry to curtail participation in those occupations because of the shitty pay for hazardous work. You can make the argument that those are necessary institutions, but I would make the argument that if 18 is too young to run 3/4 speed practices in shorts and shoulder pads then it is too young to be entrusted with a lethal weapon and state authority to use it.

And you can’t outlaw helmets and facemasks because of liability. A broken jaw from accidental contact or an eyeball lost to an errant punt would be financial Armageddon for the institution who allowed its football players to take the field without helmets, practice or game.

It’s all just yada yada yada anyway. There are enough Neanderthals still left to ensure that even minor fixes are probably slow to be applied, even at the youth/secondary level, and another generation will come through football with far more neurological problems than is necessary or prudent.

laserguru

I have no idea how anyone can watch football without a DVR. I would be a drooling, blithering idiot if I had to watch all of those commercials.
I does keep me away from the live blog but protecting my few remaining brain cells is worth it.
I read an article last year about why the NFL will never take hold in Europe. They love the product but that won’t stand for all of the ads.
This league is tone deaf.

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

RedZone. You won’t regret it.

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

I love the DVR. I avoid commercials, banter, and the reality show style dramatic challenge announcement with the split screen view of the coaches. I go slo-mo with the wide veiw of line play and routes….. yeah, nobody likes coming over to my house to watch, except if I offer a beer selection and to grill swordfish.

http://33.media.tumblr.com/7ce210ebd62258d4f2dca5dba0efa98c/tumblr_n3n6dfBi1L1s4unh8o9_400.gif

Bloody Lethal
Bloody Lethal

Beyond the violence issues, I think the sport is very flawed at this stage. The NFL is doing a good job of alienating actual fans to the point that they will see what they don’t like without the veneer cast over it and will finally walk away for the most part. Spend your time targeting non-fans, and you create new fans, losing the old one. I myself won’t take up a pitchfork against the violent aspects of the sport. I do believe, however ignorantly, that every person has a choice in what they do. I also do not mind violent sports. As I get older, I love to watch the NHL, which for the most part has mitigated the ultra-violent plays. Not only that, but there is a sense of propriety throughout that sport that doesn’t exist in football where players are treated very differently. But I can justify all of it. Where the problem lies for me is that the sport itself is just suffering from a terrible set of rules and circumstance. I’m not bracing myself every play against a brutal collision that I don’t want to see, but instead for a flag thrown or a play reviewed to the point of inanity. None of these rules make fucking sense. And why should they? The NFL wants a touchdown on every play, 10 minutes of commercial, and a touchdown following. If not, just blow the whistle enough in the midst of play so that we can go to commercial. What am I watching? The only time this shit is palatable is when there are 20 games on at once so I don’t have to twiddle my thumbs for 20 min in between 10 seconds of football. I will bring up the NHL again who, despite it’s middling popularity, strictly adheres to 2 commercial stoppages per mother fucking period. That is insane. I can watch 20 minutes essentially uninterrupted. The NFL is a huge interruption to me. Not to mention the sideshow bullshit of every single court case between the union and the shield, the rapists and abusers, the contract disputes, etc, etc. It just flat out blows at this point. The absence of sport in the NFL is making me appreciate soccer! At least they keep playing. So hear hear, good sirs. If you no longer find enough good in the football the way the NFL plays it, the urge to see what truly bugs you about it will take over. And that is a natural course. But don’t cry for those fucks. They wanted it this way.

Bloody Lethal
Bloody Lethal

/I hate paragraphs.

blaxabbath

Sounds like you want some Golden Football League action! It has all the statistics, drama, story lines, and fans (well, not yet) without any of it actually, you know, happening! The NFL is Painted Dreams. The GFL is going to be The Young and the Restless.

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

One thing the NHL has going for it is electronic ads on the boards and now the glass.

Lots of extra revenue earned while the game is active.

Same as soccer, now that I think about it.

Lothar of the Hill People
Lothar of the Hill People

I don’t disagree with you.

But the reason for all the flags and the dysfunction in the game is because the NFL is trying to make the game safer in the most back-asswards, borderline retarded ways possible (sorry for using the word “retarded,” but let’s face it: it fits). And 90% of the players grew up in and learned the way football has been played up until a few years ago, and almost all the coaches still teach it that way. So the new offensive emphasis and “player safety” rules don’t work to do anything except increase the flag count.

I’ve argued for several years now that the “safety” changes make the game less safe. 30 years ago a receiver wouldn’t drag across the linebacker hook zones, because the receiver knew he’d get killed. Now because it’s “illegal” to contact the receiver or interfere (via hitting) with the process of the catch, practically every play has a drag route in the tree. WRs think they’re safe, lay out to make a catch, and get damn near crippled by a guy who’s spent 8+ years learning and honing his reflexes to eviscerate any offensive player dragging across his zone.

Lothar of the Hill People
Lothar of the Hill People

Early morning thought before I go off to teach the mouth-breathers in my morning class:

I think what makes this site and the Commentists such a great bunch is that for the most part, we enjoy this game and aren’t wearing blinders. We realize that fundamentally the game is flawed and there are absolutely things that need to change. There is no room for the “YEEHAW GO TEAM! YOU OTHER FUCKERS SUCK!” myopic fandom here.

And so to cover our discomfort with rooting for and enjoying a game that provokes such angst, we make some damned funny jokes.

I salute you, fellow Commentists, and am proud to be considered one of you. Even if some of you are fans of crappy teams.

blaxabbath

You’re a fan of crappy teams!!!

http://i.ytimg.com/vi/hSVmJK5JHDw/maxresdefault.jpg

laserguru

In my case a lot of it is legacy. Just look at my two favorite teams fer chrise sake. I just want to see one championship before I move along. A lot of it is sibling rivalry because I have three older brothers and 2 of them have teams that have won. I chose the Vikings because they were born the same year that I was. I have been involved since day one. I ain’t saying it’s right morally but neither is imbibing in fine liquor or fine doobage or fine Asian massage.

Shit man I’m far from fucking perfect. I’ll be lucky if I make it until 72. Until then leave me my football, my drink, my smoke and my pussy.

I am not complicated!
Y’all can sort out the moral details later

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
ballsofsteelandfury
nomonkeyfun

In Australia, THIS is a penalty. 5:30 into the video.
But holy shit, even DItka and the other troglodytes would be whingeing.

laserguru

That’s goddamn poetry.

Horatio Cornblower

tl;dr.

50 comments and NO ONE said that? Where is the DFO that I love?

-sigh-

I’ll be out in the van with Otto’s brain.

Old School Zero

Goddamnit, stop jerking off into the brain jar.

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
nomonkeyfun

You’re right, but still go fuck yourself.

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Old School Zero

I’ve been working my way through Ta-Neshi Coates’ amazing piece on mass incarceration and one thing that really struck me is how information used to flow so slowly, and strongly held beliefs spread sometimes with little basis or evidence. This is in sharp contrast to the wealth of information readily available today, which I think is just beginning to shape how we see the world, how we communicate, and how we form our beliefs. The only problem is the immense amount of history that must be overcome, not to mention entrenched beliefs and the culture of misinformation we are mired in.

Back in the days of apocryphal tales of football players so tough they could eat lightning and shit thunder, it was easy for banged up players to just disappear from the collective consciousness (not to mention the covering up of star players’ indiscretions); today ‘where are they now’ articles are almost an endangered species since those that were can now live broadcast where they are to your phone or connect with you on any and every social media platform available. This major flood of information creates an initial state of cognitive dissonance, but is, in the long term, undeniable. What is initially difficult to process gets worked out over time, but we are still in those early stages, and pissing into the progress headwind that is the Goodell cabal.

So as difficult as it is, why do I watch? I still enjoy it, most of the time. It’s tricky. There’s a lot of that out there for me these days. I think there’s a part of me that hopes for some sort of thought insurgency in our major institutions; significant change and progress from within. I hope that money will stop trumping everything and that professional football balances the excitement of the game with the sustainability of its players, driven from strong minds and voices from within. Barring that, burning the whole thing down and rebuilding brick by brick would also be acceptable.

ballsofsteelandfury

I’ll tell you this: If it wasn’t for you fuckers and Andrew Siciliano, I would have stopped watching. Not so much because of any concern for anyone’s well-being. That’s just insane. I’m a person that believes we should have an actual game show like in the movie The Running Man with the reanimated corpse of Richard Dawson as host.

As Duchess alludes above, the college game is crap. I played in high school. The high school game is crap. The pro game is really the only one worth watching and Goodell has been turning it into crap with his bullshit rules that claim to protect players but really don’t do shit.

There was a perfectly good shoulder to shoulder hit in the Green Bay-KC game last night that got flagged. I turned the fucking TV off and read a book. That’s the kind of shit that drives me away. And it happens way too fucking often nowadays.

Anyway,

http://cdn.memegenerator.es/imagenes/memes/full/5/16/5161594.jpg

Porky Prime
Porky Prime
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
ballsofsteelandfury

You are so on fucking point with this, it’s unbelievable. I hardly hear from my buddy that moved to Dallas to live with his new bride. Don’t hear from him for months. Sure enough, as soon as football season starts and Romo gets hurt, I get the obligatory “Fuck us” text.

I hate this game but I love how it draws people together.

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

Does she do anal?

ballsofsteelandfury

He moved halfway across the country to be with her. You do the math…

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

http://s3.electronics-cooling.com/legacy_images/1998/09/a2p27forma.gif

= balls deep in the Dallas Brown Star*

*Until married

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

Hypno-bloated full just watching gif was not supposed to be a reply, But so it is, so say we all.

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
ballsofsteelandfury

+8

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Porky Prime
Porky Prime

You said a mouthful, Muuse.

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

“I can’t kwit you, NFL.”

Lothar of the Hill People
Lothar of the Hill People

I came to football fandom late; it was only the year before I started playing in high school that I learned about and started watching football. But I played in high school and college, and, like many things that damage a young man’s body and brain, it infected me terminally.

I watch football because I truly love the game. It’s damned fun. And when I played it, I had so many of those moments of clarity, those moments of belonging, those moments of feeling like the universe truly did center on me. I was part of a team that was bigger than me, of an enterprise that represented decades of tradition, of a sport that lit up the church-filled town where I went to school. I also fell madly in love with a cheerleader who for a short time loved me back and treated me like I was royalty. Football season–and even more, homecoming week–at my high school was a magical time.

So I can’t separate my halcyon memories of playing from the present-day spectacle of the NFL and NCAA. I’m conflicted, because my knees and ankles are damaged pretty badly from football–I can very vividly recall the feeling of my cleats stuck in frozen turf as the linebacker rolled up my leg, me desperately collapsing my knee so I didn’t blow it out, only to have my foot damn near torn off my leg at the ankle. I crawled to the sideline, vision tunnelled-down from the pain, not looking back because I was absolutely certain my foot had been torn off and was still stuck in the turf. I have had several spinal surgeries, and I don’t know that those problems aren’t related to football. Every time I feel less than sharp mentally, or I walk into a room and can’t remember why I went there in the first place, I wonder if 7 years of football did some bramage to my drain.

I teach college and have taught Div-I, Div-II, and Div-III football players, some who have played significant time in the NFL. When I talk with them, I recognize in many–if not most–of them the same symptoms of Footballitis that I have: an emotional attachment bordering on longing for a game that no sane (or intelligent) person knows he can play for more than a few years; the insane pride in what one has suffered through to play the game; the willingness to do it all over again, to strap on one more time, even if it means a lifetime of pain. The difference, of course, is that young men in their prime who are getting scholarships to play the game, aren’t reminiscing–they’re actively infected and contagious.

So I can’t separate the truly insane joy of playing the game from the experience of watching it.

But truth be told, I’d play it and love it even if the rules were changed and all the hitting/contact were taken out of it. Yes, the hitting/contact is the hyper-masculine rage emission, and there is such a catharsis in that contact that I can’t believe my 45 year-old brain would subject my broken-down body to it if I had the chance. But the game is insanely fun even without the contact.

Which is where I desperately hope the game ends up. Murderball was fundamentally changed once before; it should be again. There is little doubt that there is a high likelihood of routine contact causing long-term (if not permanent) brain damage. I won’t let my kids play full-contact football, ever–barring some trustworthy medical research clearing routine contact.

I feel like a hypocrite. I don’t buy the argument that players know what they’re in for. That’s not how the infection works. You love the game, and it becomes part of you. Your dedication to the sport gives you the tools to succeed at other things, and the friendships, fun, and fraternity are what motivate you–not the delusion of an NFL career–or, for most high school players, even a college scholarship. So you play for several years, do damage to your body and brain, never expecting to see a paycheck. And the guys who do eventually get that paycheck have put 4-8+ years of damage in already before they ever get a cent.

And then ask Erik Kramer, Junior Seau, or Dave Duerson if the money they made was worth the brain damage–if they’d make the same decision to subject themselves to that abuse. Ask Wilber Marshall, who can barely walk, if he would trade working knees for his career.

It’s a tough thing to love a sport that must change fundamentally. It’s easy to watch and compartmentalize, to celebrate the hard hits and the guys who play through injuries, and not think about the collateral damage. The NFL and the NCAA do a good job camouflaging.

Maybe football will get so big it will eat itself. Maybe a few more medical studies confirming what we suspect, and then there will be change forced upon the sport. Maybe someone will expose the NCAA (yet again) and the corrupt nature of all college sports–particularly football–will force systemic change.

But more likely I’ll smell the crisp fall air and the see the sun shining through leaves starting to turn, and it will take me back to my younger days, and I’ll remember the sound of the drums, the coy smiles from a sloe-eyed cheerleader, the indestructible feeling I’d get when I was in pads, and I’ll turn on the TV and watch a guy (who reminds me of Younger Me) make an acrobatic interception in front of a screaming crowd, and the doubts and concerns will fade into the background noise, below the level of my tinnitus, and I’ll revel in the modern bloodsport that is football. And I’ll comfort myself when Fox shows promos for MMA fights, and think “Well, football is bad, but at least it’s not two dudes beating the crap out of each other in a cage.”

So yeah, I’m conflicted. And infected. And God help me if anyone ever comes up with an antidote, because it’s a disease that is as much a part of me as my surgical scars.

ballsofsteelandfury

I would love for the gladiator games that were played in Ancient Rome to come back. Man against panther? Sure! Bear against lion? Why the fuck not?!?

But, of course, the PETA-philes won’t allow that. Because we must protect the animals while the humans destroy each other in other much slower ways.

Old School Zero

All the plus ones.

American Pie Story
American Pie Story

This is why you guys are awesome. Duchess, this was great.

I have to confess I didn’t know a damn thing about football until my sophomore year of high school (’06 season). And then shortly thereafter I discovered KSK and lo and behold. And man… football is grating at is core. Most of us spend the game yelling at the screen or drinking or both to help us cope.

Carlin was right, as always.

King Hippo

We should have made him emperor and Pope. He would have told us to go fuck ourselves, but by God, we shoulda done it anyway.

Rikki-Tikki-Deadly

Nuts to that. When we made him into a Cardinal he practically ended the world.

http://splitsider.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2011/06/10-dogma.jpg

Porky Prime
Porky Prime

He was best suited to be Icebox Man, and he didn’t like that job either.

King Hippo

I was actually on the commercial break of Brooklyn Nine-Nine on demand (forgot to DVR during deep football coma) whilst reading this!!

Have to wait for kids’ schedules to line up right for the Belcher clan.

scotchnaut

“Grandfathered” is on. I don’t have time for this.

Doktor Zymm

Ok, now I’m watching videos about equestrian certification standards for helmets. The only time I’m pretty sure I had a concussion was after a bad fall into a creek bed. Apparently I bounced. There was another fall where I got whiplash and ended up with a 4 inch crack in my helmet, but I didn’t have any concussive symptoms after that one. Thus my admittedly non-scientific anecdotal evidence would seem to say that equestrian helmets are better designed. They do a lot of testing on the harness system, which I’m guessing they don’t do on football helmets. Anything that can fly off during a play doesn’t seem all that safe to me. They don’t include rotational tests either, but they do use a hazard anvil, which I would doubt they do for football helmets.

https://youtu.be/fheGHuATTd4
https://youtu.be/mczLYloFkfk

Lothar of the Hill People
Lothar of the Hill People

My high school coaches drilled it into us: if your helmet comes off, you’re wearing it wrong.

If it happened in college practice, whoever lost his helmet had to run laps. Even if you got facemasked.

The pros (and many big-time college programs) are notoriously bad about wearing equipment properly–they want to look good on TV, in front of a crowd, instead of being protected.

I still cannot understand why guys play football (or baseball) without cups, for example.

But my point is that if they’re worn right, football helmets are amazingly good at protecting skulls. They can’t protect against rotational–concussion-producing–forces very well, but they’re pretty good at preventing fractures.

ballsofsteelandfury

This. No one wears helmets correctly. It’s insane how the league will fine someone for wearing their socks too low or too high but doesn’t give a shit about people wearing their helmets wrong and possibly causing more damage to themselves.

Porky Prime
Porky Prime

I get it. Totally.

Porky Prime
Porky Prime

Full disclosure…(deep breath)…I have watched about fifteen quarters of football over the past 2.2 seasons. This includes Super Bowls, which means the first half of Sea/Den and the final three quarters of NE/Sea. A few random turrible quarters here and there.

Since discovering KSK (thanks to the Tony Homo blog) I have moved from CA to NM, left all my close friends behind (7 years later and I still haven’t made one out here) got married, had 2 kids, found what passes for a real career, and somehow drifted out of what I thought was pretty passionate fandom for the Raiders, Lakers, and Dodgers (why yes, I AM Mexican, why do you ask?) KSK and now DFO are my outlet…I haven’t even played fantasy in 3 years, and I was decent at it.

I watch the game, or at least peripherally follow it and baseball (NBA fell off my radar) because sports. I like what I see when I get to see it. Life gets in the way at this age (older than Manning, younger than Favre) and puts fandom in sharp relief of what’s really happnin’ unless of course you’re really good at shutting out reality. I wish I could plant my ass on the sofa for nine hours every Sunday but shit needs to get done and fortunately, I said fortunately, I’m not married to someone who would be okay with that, aka one of those annoying wives who dive too far into annoying faux superfandom.

Jesus, shut up, Porky.

Oh, and pretty sure Uproxx banned me and I can’t figure out why, but fuck em except for Seitz and Mancini.

ballsofsteelandfury

Can you complete the foursome by counting yourself as a USC Trojans fan? That would REALLY identify you as a Mexican from LA.

Porky Prime
Porky Prime

I simply can’t. I refuse to accept college football as anything but the NFL’s clone farm. How about the Kings?

ballsofsteelandfury

But of course! Once they went with the Silver and Black color scheme, everyone wanted to root for the Hockey Raiders!

Porky Prime
Porky Prime

Plus Wayne Gretzky had the same haircut as at least one of our cousins, though wavier and clean.

Rikki-Tikki-Deadly

“Ice Raiders” sounds like it would have been a cool science-fiction movie.

entropy

Football was something that usually happened when my friends and I were sleeping off Thurs-Sat night drink and drug binges. After a few years of that, my best friend and I found a football bar and slowed down on the drugs (drinking just got easier), and somehow football became a way to ensure I would see some people who are important to me each week. After a little while, that group grew to include other people, different cities, different bars, different homes, and what eventually became a bizarrely extended family.

That best friend has passed now, but thanks to people I met through him on football Sunday, he’s not really *gone,* y’know? Other friends are present, and that weird family has grown and shrunk some years, but football has remained oddly constant through all of this. Even in the offseason, we can contact each other about boneheaded moves our respective teams have made, and like Duchess said, that makes the follow-up “so what’s new with you?” so much easier.

Maybe football doesn’t give me the same visceral thrill it once did; maybe it’s not the same river, and I’m not the same man. But it’s water I share with people who matter to me, and I never regret stepping into it each season.

So that’s why I watch. Plus, who wants to admit they’re binge drinking to fucking LOST on Netflix on a Sunday?

Doktor Zymm

My family isn’t all that into sports, so I didn’t really grow up with football. I watched quite a bit, but it wasn’t an emotional experience (when I was small I liked the Colts and the Broncos because horses). My high school football team only won 3 games in the 4 years I attended (despite Visanthe Shiancoe going to my high school, I guess one future pro tight end does not a good high school team make), and my college didn’t have a football team. It wasn’t until I was playing cards 40+ hours a week, with the games on in the background and a lot of football talk going on that I really started paying attention. Most coaches are not strategic geniuses, but even shitty coaches are building off the innovations of men who WERE strategic geniuses. The game is really a lot like chess, but played with absurdly athletic people that have individual strengths and weaknesses instead of carved bits of wood. I watch because football is an amazing combination of multi-faceted strategy and incredible physical achievement.

At least at the pro-level I don’t feel bad about watching. While the discoveries concerning CTE are new, and the NFL couldn’t really be handling the issue any worse (how about some openness, ongoing medical care and research funding, huh?) football has always been a dangerous game, with paralysis, brain damage and death as possibilities. The NCAA is reprehensible, and no one who hasn’t reached physical maturity and been allowed to make an informed choice as to whether to play full-contact football should be tackling. But the players in the NFL are adults, and they’re agreeing to do a risky job in exchange for compensation they find adequate.

Poking around the internet I found this newspaper article from 1969. Absolutely worth a read. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=z9YyAAAAIBAJ&sjid=B-0FAAAAIBAJ&pg=2361%2C2201936

blaxabbath

If I can’t get high and write here, then I get all worked up and it’s just all no bueno. I was in the checkout line last night at the grocery store scanning a Rolling Stone article that details how “influential” Goldman Sachs is and how we just go bubble to bubble with them making their billions on both sides of every crash. Shit anyone already knows but is never fun to be reminded of when you’re surrounded by a bunch of bottom-feeders who are getting away with 30 items in the 15 or less line. If it weren’t for REALLY BAD NFL rap lyric parodies, I’d be a terrorist.

So I feel for the guys in past decades who are showing CTE now. I mean, I don’t know how anyone at the time thought all that head trauma and body destruction wasn’t going to have long term effects, but as a former member of the military who now sits through the national anthem, I appreciate the bravado of youth and think it’s a shame to see the lifelong consequences some of these men endure for playing football until they 27 — especially considering it is truly the ONLY way out of a bad life for them and their families.

But hey! I don’t fucking control nothing! Tell Goldman to order the NFL to improve player safety and shit will get done. Me not watching (which I pretty much do on a half-ass basis, as is the case with most people) isn’t going to fix anything. So don’t stress about shit like recycling, water usage, voting, giving money to the NFL. It’s a numbers game and we individuals don’t matter. Life is nothing more than trying to make the best out of a bad situation anyways.

Then again, I say all this as, basically, a self-aware socio-path. So your results may vary.

Warthog

Family life sucked (though thankfully no dog abuse), so I moved out when I was 15. Slowly rekindled a relationship with my mother, which is more civil than familial, thanks mainly to the fact we can talk about the Dolphins. The fact they suck has actually been a blessing in that we can commiserate and speak some of the words we’d throw at each other and heap them on grown men risking torn up knees and brain trauma.

/had to look up how to spell commiserate, because spelling counts as much as telling in these parts except for hot taeks, which is one reason I love this place.

SonOfSpam

1) My fantasy team(s) ain’t gonna watch themselves lose.
f) Beats spending time with spouses/children.
&) Still haven’t determined whether Flacco is elite.

All that, plus if we don’t support this, Goodell and the owners might not make as much money. CAN YOU FUCKING LIVE WITH THAT???

Old School Zero

I’m going to write a proper response when I get home, but for now, I just want to say I really enjoyed this.

Rikki-Tikki-Deadly

I love my brother. He’s blood, and he always will be. But there are a lot of ways that we don’t really connect – we’re just very different people on a fundamental level. One of the great things about football (and sports in general) is that it gives us something to start our conversations with. I haven’t talked to my brother in a couple of months (this is normal for us) and have been reminding myself that I need to call him before the Jets come back down to earth. I may have already waited a week too long. He’ll ask me for advice about gambling – I’ll probably have to suffer through the horrifying revelation that he’s playing FanDuel – and I’ll ask him what Jets jersey he wants for Christmas because honestly is there a single player on that team that could be considered a star? He’ll tell me the Raiders look good – REAL good – and ask if I still wish they have signed Rex Ryan as a coach. And then we’ll talk about real stuff.

That’s what football does for me. I hope I never lose that. I just wish the game wasn’t so damned destructive.

King Hippo

Go with the punter. DO IT!!!!