I’m a fan of football. Having grown up watching and playing it, I see no time in the future where I won’t be watching it. It’s an “always have, always will” sort of thing. But there are some things I could totally do without: see how many you agree or disagree with!
- Color Commentators – I appreciate play-by-play announcers, particularly while having to listen to games over the radio. To a certain extent, analysts don’t really bug me, as they have their place in explaining nuances of the game and reasons why certain things happen. It’s for the benefit of those who either don’t know much about the game, can’t see it (see radio reason above), or aren’t up on new rules.
But the color commentator almost always makes me want to puke.
I blame John Madden for creating this niche of broadcaster and ESPN for taking it way out of hand. You know what I’m talking about…a former player or coach whose second life is in a broadcast booth doing his best to tell the world how he thinks everything should be and nitpicking the snot out of everything that happens on- and off-field.
Not all are virulent, mind you, but there are some who need to put a sock in it more than half the time. I particularly hate the ones who trash coaching decisions in favor of their own proclivities. “Oh, that was a major mistake there, instead of going for the touchdown, they should have gone for the sure three!” Hmm, do you think that maybe, just maybe, there’s a reason they’re not coaching anywhere themselves? Leave the haggling and bashing to those of us at home.
In the days of digital television, you’d think there’d be a shut the heck up option to select when it comes to the yappers.
- Field Goals – Steve Spurrier may be a lot of things, but one thing with which he has forever endeared himself to me is the fact that he hates field goals as much as and possibly more than I do.
I hate a field goal. They should be banned outright, but I’m willing to compromise: anyone who gets inside the ten yard line may not kick a field goal. Anyone who does from outside the thirty yard line only gets 2 points. I’m sick and tired of games decided by who scored the most field goals. The object of the game is to score points, but scoring points should be accomplished with an actual accomplishment, not by letting the most wimpy player on the team shoulder the credit or the blame for a won or lost contest.
Or do you want another Ray Finkle on your hands?
Celebrations – I’ve hated this phenomenon for years, and it started with a simple maneuver: the spike. This move, first performed in 1965, was an expression of exuberance whose meaning was derived from its seeming spontaneity.
In later years, it evolved into a cute, fun little extra thrown in for fun and a little bit of nose-rubbing. The big high five from the Fun Bunch. Remember the Ickey Shuffle? The Lambeau Leap was always my favorite. They weren’t over the top or unsportsmanlike…just a little celebration that would fire up the fans.
Somewhere along the way, it got lame. People start pulling out cell phones and Sharpies after a touchdown. Then they started doing stuff after big plays, like third down conversion stops or big runs. And now, whenever anyone does anything of any note, they make a big to-do about it with their little showboat. And how about those little end-zone dives? One day somebody’s gonna come up with a pneumothorax or something as a result, and it will have been completely deserved for being an idiot.
Hey, we saw you sack the quarterback. Quit your dancing and prancing and line back up. Yeah, we saw that big yardage gain you got after the short pass, now bet back in the huddle and get ready to do it again. These things aren’t so remarkable that they must be endlessly celebrated, especially the same way over and over again. It’s an attention thing at this point. Dance after you win the game!
- Long-haired players – Granted, I’ve touched on this before. Anyone whose hair covers up their name and the top of their numbers needs a haircut or a dog tag. And anything you can grab is fair game when it comes to tackling. Plus it looks stupid.
I’ve read some people whining about how this is a racist thing. And those people are idiots, because white guys do it, too…and look like idiots, just the same. If you want to honor some culture, fine, but if that culture was so great, why are you there? Some of the same cultures who do the long hair stuff also ceremoniously mutilate their bodies in the nose and eat human flesh. Does this sound like a good idea to you? Let’s just stick dishes in our earlobes and start offering Soylent Green as concessions.
It’s sad to say this, but maybe if someone gets their neck broken from getting it ganked by the hairs of the head, maybe they’ll cut it. But they’ll probably do the stupid thing and make it equal to a face-mask penalty.
- Player-specific penalties – What am I talking about? Roughing the passer and roughing the kicker are total malarky. If you hit one of them in the course of the play, that’s football. Now, if they’re intentionally nailed after they don’t have the ball, that’s a plain instance of unsportsmanlike conduct/unnecessary roughness. You don’t have to have specialized penalties for these things.
I know that quarterback is the most important skill position and that kickers tend to be pansies. So I understand and agree that they need to be protected. But that’s why you pay really stout slabs of beef to play on your offensive line. Expect them to earn it by staying with their blocks and blocking effectively. I say this as a former offensive tackle, guard, center, and defensive noseguard and tackle. Don’t argue with me here.
If a player hits another one late, unnecessarily, or illegally, call it. But don’t mollycoddle anyone. And if the quarterback is roughed, he should have to come out of the game for at least one play to attend to his injury. If he’s not injured, then is there really any reason to make the call of roughing?
- Interstitial screens between plays – What I’m talking about are those annoying times between plays where the networks decide they have to post player interviews, statistics, show celebrity guests, display other game scores, cuts to the female sideline reporter, run commercials, etc. that take too long and causes them to suddenly switch to a play that’s just before starting (and occasionally in progress).
Listen up: I appreciate all the fancy video effects that you have for scene transitions. I don’t mind the reporter ladies at all…in fact, you could use them more often. Hey, it’s awesome that a player set a record for the greatest number of superflous gyrations after hitting somebody.
But do NOT interrupt gameplay to show this unimportant stuff. We’re watching the game, not how much junk you people can squeeze in the meantime.
- The “Butthole Angle™” – Another issue I lay at the feet of John Madden…specifically, his football video game, which created and popularized what I disdainfully refer to as the Butthole Angle™.
What is the Butthole Angle™? It’s the isometric, behind-the-quarterback camera view that is fairly ubiguitous in football video games (with the notable exception of Techno Bowl) that essentially shows, prior to the snap, the proctologist view of the now far more offensive line. I assume its strength is the ability to let you see what the quarterback sees. Use of the Butthole Angle™ has exploded of late, probably because the XFL showed the world ways it can be implemented, and it’s probably appreciated by gamer fans. But not this one.
I have some major problems with this. Firstly, the loss of distance perception. It’s hard to appreciate yardage gains when you can’t tell how far something went without counting hash marks. Next, the field of view is necessarily narrower…probably not as bad a problem with a widescreen television, but it’s a major pain for those of us still on normal projection. Lastly, I don’t want to see eleven people mooning me in the middle of a ballgame.
Leave it for instant replays where it may become useful, but do not use it for the primary angle during a play.
I’m sure there’s other stuff I haven’t listed here, but those are the major ones.