I watched my first football game when I was 8. It was Superbowl XIV in January of 1980, Steelers vs. Rams. It was the last of the great Steel Curtain dynasty but was the first in what became a lifelong obsession with football.
I made my feelings clear about the game last week, and I had resigned myself to not watching. But I caved. For context, here is my Sunday:
10- 12:30- Make breakfast, and generally be lazy. I intentionally avoid any channel that might make any reference to the game. But its still there in the back of my head…Why would Ben soft toss that out route? He has to know late in the game the DB is sitting on it…Why can’t someone teach Mendy to use two hands…God Wallace sucks…This team lost to Charlie Batch, CHARLIE BATCH!….8 turnovers…Picked apart by Carson Palmer..
12:30-4:00- Thankfully there is a hockey game on, and the announcers make very few references to the impending doom that is SBXVII. Still…I’m only half watching as I try to understand how this happened….Why wouldn’t Brady go no huddle earlier? Why the fuck didn’t John Fox double Torrey Smith? Why the hell is Michael Oher allowed to jump offsides on every play…and why the hell are the Ravens allowed to line up a yard off the ball? Their offense pre-snap looks like Gordon Bombay’s ‘flying V’ formation…
4:00-6:00- The wife and I go shopping for a refrigerator. We’re moving soon and need one for the new house. My agitation increases the closer to game time and manifests itself with irrational anger at simple things. Like the festering asswad driving in front of me who has the nerve, THE NERVE, to drive the speed limit. I become irate when Sears doesn’t have the refrigerator I want for a thousand dollars less than I want to spend…..why can’t they run block better? How can the Steelers have drafted THIS BAD for the last 4 years…the Ravens? THE BALTIMORE RAVENS??! They lost 5 of their last 6 games…They had the 20th ranked defense….and Joe Flacco? Seriously?…what the hell is with this Pistol offense shit. Garbage college crap…Fuckin’ Limas Sweed…If I never hear the words “deer antler spray” again…
6:00-7:00- Dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse. I had the 12 oz. prime rib. Even the delicious taste of bovine being murdered purely for my enjoyment cannot quell my agitation. Over dinner I lament the past season of football to my wife who patiently listens even though I am sure she wishes I would just shut up about it already….a fade route to Wallace? Who calls that? Dude is like 6’ tall, maybe…god I hate the delayed draw off tackle….Why would they sit back and let Hassleback pick them apart?… what the hell was wrong with Troy all year?….49ers beat the Falcons, and Ryan is so much better than Joe….How the hell did Joe Flacco reach the Superbowl? JOE FLACCO!! I’ve watched him short-hop screen passes..
7:00-8:30- We went to the movies. My disgust in the NFL reaches an all-time high when I miss the opening kickoff of the Superbowl for the first time in 33 years. For as great as the game is, the league has turned the best game of the year into a chore and a hassle. The bullshit, the hype, the stories within the story, the pre-game having pregames, the endless chatter about shit like commercials and halftime shows, deer-antler spray….the whole thing has become more annoying than a Kardashian marathon. So I sink into a movie theater to watch another modern version of Romeo and Juliet, this time written with a teenage zombie as Romeo Montague. (Warm Bodies, by the way is a decent movie. Not a waste of money, but you wouldn’t miss anything if you waited for Red Box either) The movie is fine until Dave Franco crosses over a post apocalyptic baseball stadium, which reminds me of sports, which reminds me of football. I think they are probably past the obnoxiously long-winded opening ceremonies that serve as little more than the NFL’s greatest act of self-flagellation….It’s probably the second quarter by now and I bet nobody has bent Flacco’s knee the wrong way….I wonder which side they have Suggs on…they would almost have to send Boldin in motion every play….I would cross Pitta under Willis’ zone every time, make him run, wear his ass out…Gotta go 3 wide with Moss, Reed cant keep up with him, Pollard doesn’t have the ball skills….Wait, what did they just say? I missed the last part about the zombies eating people….Goddamn Dave Franco.
8:30-9:00- Drive home. Wife turns on cell phone and tells me the power has gone out at the Super Dome. I laugh. Good. The NFL has done everything it can to turn the game into more spectacle than sport, so this seems like karma to me. Still…28-6 eh, sounds like Jim is following John Fox’s blueprint of allowing Torrey Smith to run free through the secondary…won’t do anything but feed Rice from here on out…Why didn’t we draft Rice? Damn Mendenhall…fuckin Limas Sweed…why would Mendenhall not run out of bounds? Amatuerish…
9:00-9:30- NHL13 on the PS3….Draft order…why would you go for a fake kick?…. How can you finish 8-8 with a #1 defense and Ben Roethlisberger?…..I wonder if Haley gets paid per bubble screen…UGHG,now we have to coach AGAINST Ray Horton. Balls.
9:30- Wife tells me the 49ers have closed to within 8. This sparks an internal conflict. I realize whether I watch it or not I’m going to regret it. Fuck it, I turn the game on.
9:37- Ray Rice fumbles. I am over joyed. I guess this means I am cheering for the 49ers. I immediately hate myself for doing so.
9:45- Referees save David Akers from being lynched by calling a ticky-tacky roughing the kicker penalty. I really hate when kickers dive. I know you are a kicker, but for God’s sake take a hit, Nancy.
10:14- Jim Harbaugh starts his descent into madness by challenging a second down play. It works out, and they move the ball back an entire 6 inches. The decision is still stupid. The next play they get the first down and he starts his over-dramatic-ripping-off-of-the-head-set routine. What a clown. Remember that time we saw Chuck Noll throwing things on the sidelines and losing his cool? Or when Tom Landry would get mad and throw his hat around? Yea…me neither.
10:16- Jim starts throwing his play-sheet around and ripping his head set off, AGAIN. From then on, after every play, one of the two Harbaugh’s acted like an petulant teenager throwing a fit. Each had that patented slack-jawed mouth hanging open, just amazed, SHOCKED, at the outcome of the play. Screaming something at the referee after each whistle. Playcards were thrown, headsets dislodged, panties were bunched up. I swear at one point John actually stomped his foot in protest. I’m serious. TIVO it. 4th quarter, around the 12 minute mark.
10:21- Colin Kaepernik runs around the left side for a Touchdown and closes the lead to 2. Wow…that dude can play. I haven’t seen a guy move AND throw like that since Randall Cunningham. That kid is going to be GOOD. Of course they don’t say much about it and show some more images of the Harbaugh’s looking befuddled.
10:22- Jim continues his idiocy by going for two points. Too soon. With 9 ½ minutes left you have to know you are going to get at least one more possession in the game, maybe two. If you make it you are tied, but if you miss it then you are risking the chance that the Ravens can make it a two possession game by scoring a TD and an extra point. If they don’t convert he was counting counting on something that had happened only twice, that the defense could keep the Ravens out of the end zone. Kick the sure point. Never ever go for 2 unless you absolutely HAVE TOO. He didn’t have to go for 2 there. They miss it…..dumb ass….
10:25- San Francisco stops the Ravens on 3rd down, but the refs call a borderline pass-interference call on Carlos Rodgers to give the Ravens a first down. I don’t have an issue with it, really. You can’t do that, can’t pull on a guys jersey like that, right in front of the referee. Not in this game. Not with 407 cameras watching every player from every angle. They will throw that flag every time. EVERY TIME.
10:27- Flacco gets blasted a yard out of bounds while throwing the ball away. No call…interesting. Was pretty blatant personal foul for late hit or roughing the QB, take your pick. Ravens can’t finish the drive and settle for a field goal.
10:29- The 49ers were running over the Ravens, the purple clowns were clearly missing Haloti Ngata. Ray missed a tackle, Suggs looked gassed. 49ers O-Line was just bulldozing people. They attempt to slow the game down by not attaching their helmets, thus slowing down the spotting of the ball. Bush league. Totally Harbaugh. What a buffoon. Both of these guys are an embarrassment.
10:30- First and goal from the 5, 2 minutes left. Just 4 more carries by Frank Gore and this will be the greatest comeback in Superbowl history. I start cheering up thinking about all the dejected fans in Baltimore. Their tears would make me almost as happy as a Steelers Superbowl victory. The camera cuts to Joe Flacco on the sideline and he couldn’t look any more bored. He looks like he is collecting tolls on the interstate. He has to be the most painfully boring person on earth. Your new ‘Elite’ QB, folks.
10:34- Michael Crabtree gets his head nearly ripped off in a violent helmet-to-helmet collision that is the very definition of defenseless receiver. With a referee standing 6 feet way, and the CLAP! of the helmet audible on TV, how he doesn’t make that call is beyond me. If that’s Ryan Clark its 15 yards and an automatic 1st down, without question. If it was James Harrison, they would call the personal foul and probably deport him. No Call. No Flag. Nothing. Unbelievable. That’s two personal foul calls missed in the last two drives.
10:37- Michael Crabtree gets nearly tackled going for the ball, no attempt by defender to make a play on the ball. Blatant holding with the ball in the air. No Call. Phil Simms demonstrates why he, and by extension CBS and the NFL, are complete and utters buffoons by proclaiming that it is a good “no call”.
Wait…a good no call??! Wha the…how the fu…it’s the same penalty that happened to Boldin not 15 minutes ago to extend the Ravens drive. The drive that got them the field goal and a 5 point lead. Without that call, that same EXACT penalty that you are now proclaiming as a “good no call”, we are seeing David Akers kicking a lead changing FG rather than a 4th down jump ball. The referee was standing right there! In the biggest game of the year, you HAVE to make that call. I understand the idea of letting the players play, and there is no guarantee he makes that catch even if he isn’t yanked down. But it was a blatant hold, in front of a ref, on 4th down, in the Superbowl on the ONE PLAY that decides the game.
HOW DO YOU NOT MAKE THAT CALL?!?!?
The players didn’t decide that game, a penalty did. And then to listen to Phil Simms babble on about it as if somehow not throwing the flag was a GOOD thing? The NFL has completely lost control of its game.
Its hard for people to understand what football means to people in Western PA/Eastern Ohio. Probably the folks from North Texas and the Florida panhandle. They know. They can understand what it means. And how badly it hurts for me to realize that I don’t like the NFL very much anymore. Yesterday was a joke. And I don’t just mean the questionable no-call at then end. It’s the two-weeks of vomit inducing build-up about stupid shit I don’t care about. Maybe an entire generation of fans exist that care more about what the players eat for breakfast, what their religious affiliations are and what animal extract they are ingesting. I couldn’t care less. I want to watch football, played by football players.
Not pompous pre-game ceremonies that last 45 minutes and equate to nothing more than corporate masturbation.
Not lip-syncing attention whores parading around in costumes for 45 minutes at halftime. If I wanted to watch music videos, there are plenty of other channels for that. For god’s sake, in order to present a halftime show (that most people who like football hate, anyways) they wound up detonating the power grid and causing the game itself to be delayed. But of course, who cares about that. As long as Cookie-Cutter Diva #4 manages to keep her boobs inside her outfit this year, that’s all that matters. Most people I know changed the channel to watch THE PUPPY BOWL. The halftime show sucks so bad people would rather watch puppies sniff each others ass for 30 minutes.
No more pregame shows with an obnoxious amount pf retired QB’s waxing and waning poetically about how they are they the only people that matter, and the other 21 people on the field are white noise.
No more pauses during regular season games to give me fantasy football updates. Seriously? You are going to pause a REAL football game to give an update on the half billion other FAKE ones going on?
No more vapid blonde sideline reporters that obviously only exist because of their looks. There are cheerleaders for that. And if its really that important, I’m fairly certain there are a few porn channels as well. So enough of the pretty blonde with a microphone asking insightful questions like “Your team has fumbled 4 times in the first half, what do you tell them in the locker room to fix that?”
No more human interest stories about who was working a grocery bagger last year, or who’s brother died, or who murdered who. This may come as a shock to you people, but football players are people, too. They make mistakes. Their family members die. Sometimes they stab people. Some drink goat urine or whale semen or whatever it takes to be better at their jobs, just like all the rest of us.They are flawed just like you and I. I don’t care what they eat for breakfast or how many illegitimate children they have. Line ‘em up and play ball.
So enough of the garage league antics and enough window dressing. The NFL sucks. All style, no substance. The pre-games went off perfectly, the opening ceremonies and halftime show went flawlessly, the broadcast was perfect. But the game itself sucked. With the game on the line, 2 blown calls on consecutive plays by referees to scared to reach for the flag.
But who cares. As long as everyone liked the commercials, right?