Well, the Lord has been good to us again, bringing us through the trials and tribulations of a year littered with junk sports, finally bringing us to the promised grid-ironed land of football season. And, not only that, but the first real national game we get via ESPN is my alma mater, the Mississippi State Bulldogs, vs. the South Carolina Gamecocks.
But more than that, it’s also the third time Steve Spurrier, the greatest offensive head coach (in the minds of some, in more ways than one) in the history of the universe, has walked onto Scott Field. Why this is remarkable is, the previous two visits during his legendary tenure as the main man of the Florida Gators, his team went home after unexpectedly getting the absolute crap kicked out of them.
As much as I love football, though, I very rarely go to the game live. Television coverage is better with regards to viewability, and I don’t care for having alcohol thrown all over me…mess gives me a gargantuan headache. Plus, MSU isn’t exactly the most exciting team in existence, nor do they really have a well-developed team. I’m still predicting that they’ll have something next year, merely being competitive this year.
However, the advent of the 2006 football brings on three problems I personally have with the sport. First are the network announcers/commentators. Second is the fact that I’m the finest football philosopher since forever. Third is my temper flares very easy.
First things first, football commentators are, almost without fail, the most asinine, idiotic, mentally retarded excuses for on-air talent in existence. They purport to have scads of relevant wisdom to impart to the poor, uninformed viewer, but whose understanding must be taken with a grain of salt given that most of them are former professional athletes who’ve been hit in the head enough times to account for the ever-increasing size of the plentiful quanta of stupidity in this known universe. And people who think they know everything are supremely annoying to the few of us who actually do. To illustrate my hatred for these upper crust sport nerds, whenever I play a recent generation video football game (Madden, NFL Gameday, NFL2K*, whatever), I go into audio settings to turn those idiots OFF. I don’t need computerized imbeciles bitching about my game play decisions…particularly when it usually works.
Just tonight, for example, as MSU were at mid-field at the beginning of the second half, had a fourth down with something like two yards to go. Conventional wisdom (i.e., that espoused by our ministers of simple-mindedness, the Commentator) says that you don’t go for it on fourth down UNLESS you have absolutely no other choice…like if you have thirty seconds left and are going for the last-second score. While I’d agree that such a gamble should be considered when time is short and the game hangs in the balance (it’s a hard rule in my own version of reality), why not do it in the middle of the game while you still have time to rectify the situation in case you’re unsuccessful? My way makes just as much sense as anyone else’s. But in football, you can’t play it safe, unless your schedule is filled to the brim with incompetent opponents. And if your team sucks so badly that you know they can’t get two measly yards, this might well apply…then again, so does canceling your season. If your offense cannot reliably get two yards, you have major work to do, and you don’t deserve television coverage.
The second matter, the fact that I know how it’s supposed to be played right. Now, I never played college or professional football, nor have I spent considerable time analyzing playbooks and football strategic books, but much of it is innate. Having played high school football, I have a different insight in the game than the average football nerd. Don’t rattle off numbers and stats to me…give me five minutes watching a team and I can tell you what their strengths and weaknesses are. And, in turn, I can tell you what plays will work against a team and which ones do not. Not only this, I believe the majority of spectators can figure this one out, as well. Hitting the line dead center will not work unless you have an offensive line who can block the Earth’s axis rotation…particularly in the SEC, where the running game is so very fully entrenched in both offensive and defensive indoctrination.
This ties in very closely with my third problem, that being my temper. In that I know what must and should be done to win the game, it should be merely a question of personnel. This is why I don’t get too mad about a team like Mississippi State flubbing up and blowing some opportunities, but why I do get incensed when the coordinators continually call stupid plays that repeatedly accomplish squat, why they don’t call plays that will open up their opportunities while using the personnel they do have, and why they continue to coach players in stupid techniques of play that are counterproductive.
You do NOT run up the gut when you have more than two or three yards to go and the other team knows you’ve done nothing but that all night. You do not teach halfbacks dancing around in the backfield when they should either be hitting a hole or rolling away from the crowd (Patton would agree with me). You cannot have effective secondary coverage when your cornerbacks are coached to look into the eyes of the receiver as they run past them towards the end zone when they should be looking at the football itself while keeping their man in front.
When simple things like this aren’t done fill me with…IRRATIONAL FURY!
Anyway, Mississippi State was competitive tonight, save for their poor offensive effort, which wasn’t helped by the loss of their starting quarterback. But competitiveness doesn’t win ball games. It’ll be a long year for the Dawgs.
Thankfully, there are almost two hundred other teams to watch…I’m sure I’ll find a few entertaining games over the course of the year.