I have to confess that I’m losing interest in the NFL faster than Butch Jones is losing job security.
And it’s not about my position one way or the other about kneeling/standing during the national anthem or about the blurred lines of sports and politics. How the controversy has affected my interest in the NFL is the telling ability of what happens now BEFORE the game to be the bigger story than what happens DURING the game.
Imagine going to the movie theater and being on the edge of your seat more during the commercials and film trailers than during the feature movie itself. But stadium fans and TV watchers are getting weary of the weekly reruns of the same pre-game show. Oh, this doesn’t mean that the fans don’t have opinions about the flag & anthem issue; it’s just that the games themselves now hold a level of our interest that rivals a Senate sub-committee hearing on C-SPAN.
One of the things that all sports media seek to do is to generate fan interest in “story lines” such as a game between bitter rivals, an underdog continuing to win, or a player with an extensive criminal record breaking an established receiving record.
The two main NFL storylines thus far are about what happens before a game begins (anthem protocol) and what happens after a career ends (brain damage and CTE). There doesn’t seem to be much drama on the field between the hashmarks.
Oh wait, I forget about the big news that the San Diego Chargers moved to Los Angeles. Apparently, Charger fans in LA didn’t get the memo because there were just 25,000 people at each of the Chargers’ first three home games. And half of those in attendance were fans of the opposing team.
To put that in perspective, that’s 6,000 less than Vanderbilt’s average attendance, which ranks last in the SEC. Pancake Pantry draws more paying patrons on a Sunday than the Chargers. The only way you might see more empty seats is by attending an NRA Convention in San Francisco.
Shhhhhhh, I’m Trying to Sleep
Let’s face it. Pro football cannot compete with college football for fan enthusiasm. Pro football is such big business that it’s like watching Microsoft going for it on 4th down against General Motors. My son, Cameron, and I once attended a Sunday night Titans game years ago and it was so quiet where we were sitting that we could hear the stadium lights buzzing above us. But I shouldn’t complain because we did have the entire row to ourselves.
A welcome exception to the Narcolepsy Football League is found right here in Nashville where for a Predator’s game you’ll need ear plugs, headphones, and a soundproof space helmet just to endure the Zamboni driver being introduced.
My New Fantasy Team
If pro football is so fascinating then why are millions of people playing Fantasy Football? To beat their friends? To win money? Heck no. They’re enrolled in a fantasy league because the reality league is becoming a snoozer. But it’s hard to win with your fantasy team because regardless of who you have on your team this Sunday half of them will go down with season-ending injuries faster than you can say “tibial plateau fracture.” The most valuable member of your fantasy unit might just be the team surgeon.
What if instead of getting fantasy points for touchdowns and turnovers, you scored points for injuries, suspensions, and off-the- field arrests? For example, how many points should you get for your running back being carted off with a torn ACL versus points for your linebacker being arrested for assault outside
a nightclub? How many points for your quarterback going out with a concussion versus your free safety getting a DUI and testing positive for cocaine? I dunno, this could get old too. I mean I’m already to the point that if I see one more grimacing offensive lineman lying on the turf and grabbing his knee, I swear
I’m going to go read a book or something.