Saturday, August 16, 2014

The End Of Football

Buh Bye
So I try, honestly I do try, not to pay too much attention to preseason football. It's almost always a weak indicator when it comes to regular season work, and much of what you see isn't of real concern. Over-reacting to fake football leads a man to sports talk radio, and that's a slippery slope to mouth breahing, lunkheadness and a truly crippling lack of personal style. But in tonight's game, what I saw was just too terrible to escape comment.

Now, the 42-35 final score should give you some clue as to why the game was terrible, but hey, high scoring games can be fun, right? Well, not so fast. This game wasn't high-scoring due to unstoppable offense, or even comically bad defense. Rather, it was high scoring due to officiating. Constant, unrelenting, unwatchable officiating.

The Eagles and the Patriots are not great rivals. They just had a thoroughly placid week of practice that ended with CB Cary Williams making nice over his act of unfortunate truth telling. Neither team is known for bone-crushing defense, pronounced nastiness, or back-ups who are trying to make the club through unrelenting thuggery.

So the NFL went for an extra umpire in tonight's crew, and pretty much threw a flag every other play. The final numbers say 21 flags for 169 yards on both teams, but that's just the ones that were accepted. In the first half, with the starters on the field, it seemed like there were flags on the field on every other play... and it just gets to the point of pointlessness. Stop the run on first, sack the QB on second, get flagged for a 5-yard defensive holding play, away from the play, for the bailout first down for the offense. Repeatedly. If the offense doesn't score under these conditions, it's only because they've turned it over. And somehow didn't draw a flag before doing it.

Where this all leads you to is a certain sense of apathy, and the true End Of Football. I actually napped during the game, partly because I'm old and worn down, and partly because the game was, even in the words of the Eagle homers who were trying to hype future preseason telecasts, unwatchable. I know that doesn't sound particularly bad, but trust me, it is, and was. If you just saw the highlights, you might think this a football game, and maybe even a compelling one. It wasn't.

Oh, and to the people who say this is all fine, that things will go back to normal once the games start for real... um, if that's the case, why practice with this standard?

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