Spreading out Football’s Entrails

What’s that familiar stench?

Sniff sniff… oh boy, looks like it’s Super Bowl time again. Every year I look forward to the Super Bowl because it is almost invariably a glorious rooster tail of diarrhea, a perfect picture of how worthless American Football is. And there is nothing I like better than to do play-by-play of the death of something shameful that people genuinely love. Let’s get straight to the action:

It’s been very well publicized that all but 11 minutes of an NFL broadcast consists of filler shots of standing around, fans, replays and commercials. So.many.commercials. My favorite pie chart in the world has my back on this one.

The idea that American Football is inhumane is also gaining traction in the form of many a brain injury study and an increasingly intelligent discussion and culture surrounding this major problem.

The NFL is simply an exploitative combat demonstration. It ravages it’s players minds and bodies to such an extent that a reasonable schedule of games cannot be played.

Why is that an issue? Because we want to watch the best athletes in the world play more than 16 days out of the year.

In a game like football, where your favorite star plays only half the game, on either offense or defense, and the game action is a total of 11 minutes, nobody actually plays football more than 6 minutes a week. Lolz, six!

Listen, if you can only play a game for 6 minutes, one day a week, for just 16 weeks a year, maybe you don’t have a sport yet. Maybe England got football right the first time.

In an average futbol season, your favorite player is on the pitch 90 minutes a game, 60 times a year. In American Football minutes, that’s the equivalent of 56 seasons. If you don’t feel you’re being swindled by now, you will soon.

If Russell Westbrook played for a playoff team in baseball he’d top 160 games, a basketball playoff team; around 100. And he sure as hell would play for more than 6 measly minutes.

Imagine if LeBron James only played one of every 5 games on the Cavs schedule and then only played 6 minutes before getting yanked off the court. People would be howling for him to get more playing time. But since the NFL is our sacred macho obsession, people laugh when you suggest the format is flawed.

But don’t worry, American Football will die.

American Football, unlike baseball or basketball has no counterculture among the younger generation of people who follow it. There is no intelligent discussion in American Football that rivals the modernity and vibrancy of the dialogue associated with the advanced stats communities, which have sprung up among MLB and NBA fans.

American Football is so saturated with dying macho “virtue” and unquestioning loyalty and science denial that it resembles a religion more than a sport, and lucky for every species on earth, those are all passing ever more swiftly from modern cultures around the globe.

American Football’s most ravenous fans are cavemen, relics of an epoch which celebrated playing through a quality-of-life threatening head injury as an ultimate feat of manliness. Those cavemen will be around for quite a while, but most of us will move on. And without a vital “new school” of thought to take the place of this throng of cock wavers, the cracks will begin to appear.

However, the NFL’s most destructive exodus will occur when, at some point, the players begin to opt out of their horrible conditions. The extremely poor pay compared with other sports, an almost total lack of guaranteed money, the destructive toll the game takes on the players bodies, and the unbelievable appeal of other sports will win out.

Adrian Peterson has said he wished he’d played baseball rather than Brute ball. I suspect many others feel the same way, but aren’t daft enough to say so publicly. Surely former NFL players, who’ve had their bodies and brains dismantled by a short, unprofitable stint in the league must privately advise younger men to reconsider. It’s only a matter of time.

When the players walk out, that is when the sport will truly crumble, because Americans refuse to watch an inferior product. We’re used to the best of the best.

Our baseball, basketball and even hockey league are unrivaled in the world. Conversely, our domestic futbol league, the MLS, has struggled to gain traction because we know it’s an inferior product. It’s glaringly obvious even to a newcomer. I myself became a futbol fan by watching the Premier League, which is widely regarded as the world’s most competitive league top to bottom.

Once American Football has been rinsed of everyone but brain damaged, second rate athletes with no other options, and once our culture has turned away much of the macho bullshit that the NFL feeds off, the only thing that will be left of the NFL will be owners and television executives clinging to something that used to make them lots and lots of money. Sounds a lot like cable to me, and we all know how that story ends.

It might take 30 years, but turn on the Super Bowl next Sunday and I guarantee you’ll see just how much water the NFL has already taken on.

For an extended look at how the Super Bowl is not about football, read my Super Bowl Preview from last year.

[RA ROWE]

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About ra_rowe

A long suffering Padres fan who grew up in San Diego, and moved to Pasadena, Rowe works as a Junior Product Manager and writes poetry in addition to knowing everything about baseball.

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