Okay, let me pull up my favorite Laz-E-Boy....(..screeech...)...now to get a cold brew....(slamming the fridge...)....and to warm up the microphone, 'cause I'm about to pontificate. This is not going to be a rant about the Packers or any particular NFL team, I'm just taking a moment in the Tavern to vent.
Before I get started, let me say, for the record, that I HATE the New Jerk G'ain'ts! Thanks Green Bay, for that 15-1 record, you really put it where it counted yesterday.
I know for some fans, this was a particularly sweet couple of NFL weekends, for many others (Saints, Texans, Pittsburg (no "h"), and particularly Packers fans...and the millions who took the Vegas line for them), this was the sorriest couple of weekends in their lives. For me, however, it just proved a point I've kept to my inner self for a long time: The NFL (and by extension, their "minor league," the NCAA) continue to play the fans as chumps! Except this weekend, one team--the Packers--simply played themselves!
During the Berry Bonds drug thing, my consistent opinion about him and professional athletes taking performance enhancing drugs, has been: So what! They're pros--they give nothing back and take all they can. We PAY to see baseballs hit into the bay. Secretly, we want to see broken bones on evey play. We don't like cheaters, but we obviously don't mind "beaters" (the wife or dog kind--ya hear me, Lawrence and Michael?). I don't care what the pros do, because they're pros! If they want to get drunk all night, I say let 'em! If they want to smoke pot during the game--go for it, as long as you get the job done. Many will say this sets a bad example for the college kiddies. Ah, yeah, I'm sure the big time NCAA players (those schools jumping over themselves like crabs in a barrell for the big corporate sponsorship contracts and the lucrative ($$$) conferences where the roads traveled by NFL scouts are paved with asphalt) pay no attention to the cameras, tattoos, sex-pot cheerleaders, and fat cat boosters.
We could arguably say that half the NFL simply did not get their jobs done this weekend. Let's take the Pack, for example, arguably the best team in the NFL (I'm sure the Boston Patriots will challenge me on that). What do they do to prepare for their FIRST playoff game this year? They let their players "rest" during the last 2-3 weeks of the season. And what was the payoff? 388 total yards, 4 sacks, 3 fumbles, 1 interception, and 20 points. Nice prep work, Gang Green!
Sitting through an excruciatingly painful Washington Redskins season, I thought I'd put my foot through my 60" LCD every time I saw a Skins player play to the field camera everytime he caught the ball, or spin the ball like a top in triumph because they made a first down (after starting from the 8 yard line), or bump chests and/or helmets because they made a tackle (despite a 1st half 25 point deficit on the scoreboard).
Watching the BCS championship---uh, in the middle of January...in the middle of the NFL playoffs---tells me that none of this is really about...how did ABC put it decades ago: "...the human drama of athletic competition," nah, this is now all about the thrill of profits and the agony of the deficit. It's not about athleticism for its own sake, but athletics for profit and politics.
I ranted recently about those bonehead Marines caught on YouTube peeing on dead Taliban; to me, it was a pure matter of professional soldiers who lost their bearing--they lost self-discipline and self-control. In sports today--professional and collegiate, this egotistic mentality that demands that "it" be all about ME, is pervasive and sickens me. I long for the day when the professional footballer plays EVERY game, and if selected for the Pro Bowl, he PLAYS that game, too. I pine for the day when both the pro and the college athlete would just make the tackle, then rush back to the huddle to get the next play. But as it is, the fans--in a desperate attempt to get their own 15-minutes of fame, pander to both the pro and collegiate athlete like they were true Adonises. And they pander back to us, soaking up all the adoration (and revenue) they can get.
Charles Barkley was right, and sports (particularly collegiate sports) is purely a business! Except for those cheese-head, pig-nosed, dress-wearing, zero degrees bare-chested crazies in the endzones, does anyone in the OTHER seats really think the pro (or collegiate) athlete cares about the "fans?" They care more about the cameras. Hey Joe, you want my Coke?
Alright Green Bay, lose the arm-length tattoos, the end-zone leaps, get some hair cuts, and a 10:00 bed check. You just let a 9-7, wild-card, clown car team, into the "Stupor" Bowl, a team primed for the golf course in December after getting its ass kicked (twice) by the sorrier than sorry Washington Redskins. But now, thanks to the "double check," they're headed to Indianapolis. Thanks, Green Bay!
Oh, and by the way--who tries an on-side kick in the 2nd quarter? Seriously?!? (SMH!)