Author’s Note: I started a response to Balls’ That’s It. post this morning and it got pretty long. I decided to expound upon why I still follow the NFL here, in part, because I had nothing witty to say because I didn’t watch the conference championship games (I get the irony — but I said ‘follow’, not ‘watch’).
Feel free to skip the text and get on to the gifs.
I think part of the problem with being an NFL fan is that it’s sold (and widely consumed) as an all-in activity. You got your favorite team, your hated rival, your fantasy team, your daily fantasy betting, and your sports book betting. The season goes right through winter/Christmas so we’ve all got some piece of team gear because, “Hey! blax likes football! Here’s a Cardinals trash can for his office!” True story, I get Raiders stuff almost every Christmas because people think my fandom of Raider Nation equates to support for the team. I mean, I do like what they’re doing over there but I’m not an all-in Raiders fan. I do wear my Raider Nation tee sometimes though. It keeps me safe when I’m in the barrio.
Back to my point, I don’t think anyone really needs to watch football to like the NFL (we don’t all watch every MLB game — except for the BFIB crowd). In fact, watching the games often seems detrimental to one’s enjoyment of the league. For me, it’s been a phase. Like, attending games is fun when it’s fresh and new or a playoff/rivalry game. Then you attend that Week 10 snoozer against JAX where your backup QB is starting and he overthrows everything and the game basically grinds to a painful pace. The on-field action is shit so you really start to notice the perpetual timeouts. Then you check your bank account. Then you’re out.
So you start watching at home — which is where most of us are — and the painful commercials + awful announcing + forced #content about how this guy gives back to his community or that guy who cheated is ready to come back and contribute or how so-and-so used to be a basketball player, just ends up being too much to bear….especially when Hulu/Netflix/HBOGo mean football isn’t really the ONLY thing on tv on Sundays anymore.
Then, depending on your team, you have your Balls moment. You’re invested in a team. Won the division? Who gives a fuck? Every season. Every team. Every year. It’s Super Bowl or bust. It hurts when your team loses. For the rest of us, some years post-seasons are more intriguing than others. 2016 was shit — with a pretty garbage-heavy regular season, the AFC South still got to send a team, the Raiders busted Cook’s starter cherry in a road playoff game, and half of the remaining teams are simply not in the NFL’s marketing report often enough to have a narrative. It’s Brady — a known and convicted cheat who only appealed his case to buy time to restructure his contract so his punishment resulted in fewer lost dollars — and a MAGA fan base (who voted Hillary so remove the economic concerns of the Alt-Right and you’ve got the P*triots fan base — basically just a stadium full of Pepes) versus the black vanilla Atlanta Falcons.
Point is, for Balls and others, don’t lose hope. The NFL is terrible. We’ve covered all the negatives of the league/sport ad nauseam. But the beauty of football is that you DON’T have to watch an entire game to understand what happened. There’s usually 4-7 scoring plays (guessing here) and the box score will tell you if it was close or not. This isn’t baseball where you can put up unlimited runs in an inning. This isn’t soccer where almost scoring is a highlight. This is 21st century NFL. I know you can already get the games with the commercials cut out — next they’ll offer games with only the scoring drives.
For me, Loose Change Pete Carroll, Fat Andy Reid, Racist Dan Snyder, Coaching Guru Mike McCarthy, and ol’ Double-J are what I follow about football. Well, and maybe some Julio Jones highlights. I don’t really watch football. I try to watch the Cards before they’re eliminated from the playoffs (or they’ve not lost the game by halftime). I have other games on while I’m doing house stuff (though the announcing, admittedly, had cut this back by 50%+ last season). And, while I’m not as much of a ‘fan’ as the actors in the scripted Bud Light or Football is Family commercials, I consider myself someone who follows football. But I don’t watch most games. Hell, I just realized yesterday that I’m traveling back from Portland on February 5th — Super Bowl Sunday.
That’s right. I’m going to Oregon over the weekend of 2/4. It’s one of those places the wife has been wanting to visit and since I’m still clawing us back from the edge of bankruptcy that her wedding hung us over, this was the cheapest way to silence her need to take a trip some eight weeks after our honeymoon. But I get to go to the Arizona at Oregon State and Oregon roundball games so I get six hours of enjoyment out of the missed 20 hours of work I’ll get to make up when I get back.
Marriage — yayyyyyyy.
Anyways, I’ve made my points about how great the NFL is and how bad marriage is. So if you dudes have any input on to-do’s along the PDX –> Corvallis –> Eugene trail that isn’t criticizing silent BLM statements or being raped by a known sex offender that Dana Altman knowingly brought to UO to play basketball who ended up preying on the Duck student body, resulting in a lawsuit and costing the school a cool million dollar settlement that was well-ignored by the NCAA’s “broadcast partners” because being forced into sex against your will by a guy who’s done it before doesn’t exactly provide an image that syncs well with “One Shining Moment” — I’m all ears.
So we got a little under 24 hours in Portland proper and I’m sure as hell not going to spend that time watching a football game I don’t care about. And, frankly, I can’t think of better place to experience NFL disinterest than some microbar or whatever on the Snapface.