Sunday, September 22, 2013

It's Sunday afternoon and I watched no football

I didn't watch any yesterday, either, but I was only a peripheral college football fan at best. In the wake of the Penn State scandal (and the NCAA's response) I can't watch it at all.

Back to Sunday. There was a day, and I recall it not too long ago, when sitting in front of the TV nearly all day to watch football was the way to spend a day. Today, however, I turned on the 1pm matchups, saw nothing interesting, looked out the window, decided to run 3 miles, then came home and forgot football was even on. I watched three minutes of a 4 pm game, then came the commercial break, which prompted me to watch a 44-year-old Cold War thriller.

My Eagles played Thursday night. Awful game. Didn't watch much of it past halftime. When I see my team playing Thursday or Monday, I'm initially happy that my Sunday is clear to watch more, better matchups. But then the product I see on TV leave me feeling "meh."

If the NFL were a stock I would sell it. Games now are caught in something of a limbo between encouraging hyper-tempo offenses but trying to prevent players from inflicting devastating injuries. At the college level (feeder programs for the league), teams are coming up with more high-tempo schemes but have no choice but to bend and twist arcane NCAA rules to field championship teams. At the high school level, many parents wince at the idea of their kids playing football, and they push their kids into safer pursuits such as soccer and lacrosse. At suburban high schools, where I teach, hallways are bereft of the mountain-like young men who would make you nudge a colleague and say "Surely, he's a football player." Simply, there just seem to be better things to do than watch a game over the weekend. And I don't think I'm alone in that.

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