Normally on Sundays I write an off-topic article, but yesterday I had nuthin'. A day late with "Open Mike" this week.
It's been a bad week for me, I have to say. But here's one of the nice things about being middle aged: bad moods aren't so much of a crisis any more. You've learned that they come and they go. When you're young you feel like you have to do something. Once you're older and wiser, you just wait.
I'm "between tables," and I sure miss pool. Practiced at a bar yesterday, and guys like me should not be hanging out at bars. And football was pretty blah in our corner of the world. Green Bay won, but it was an ugly win—game never sparked up—and we lost two good players.
Football is too much about injuries these days for me. It's become a crapshoot; depends way too much on who's healthy and when.
Cowboys-Redskins, another poor game, cost me seeing the big Ortiz homer…and I didn't even care what was going on in the football game. Just watching mindlessly.
I don't like New England, but Pats-Saints definitely gets "Game of the Week." Great game.
Don't like Brady, but have to admire him—he played like Joe Montana in the last three minutes. Saints should have been able to nurse that win home. But their offense suddenly started playing like little fat girls when all they needed to do was to hang on to the freakin' ball for a few minutes.
Even that great game had an ugly aspect. Half the NE fans had left the stadium before the big fireworks happened! The Pats got the ball back not once but twice at the end and Brady won the game with an amazing pressure pass with five seconds to go...and half the crowd was in the parking lot.
The way I look at it, if you go to a football game—heck, if you watch a football game, or a game in any sport—you are hoping to get lucky and see something amazing. But for that to happen, you have to keep watching. Often enough, it doesn't happen—you'll watch every play of some ugly grinder game like Green Bay and Baltimore played yesterday. But at the very least, if you've invested in getting your butt to the game, and it's anything like a halfway decent game, you stick around and pay attention.
It's not like it was a hopeless blowout. It was a close, hard-fought, high-scoring game between two of the leading teams in the League. If it's really so important to beat the traffic, why not just stay home in the first place?
I hope a lot of those NE fans who left prior to the big ending are kicking themselves in the arse hard and repeatedly this morning. Complete twits if you ask me.
But now back to those injuries....
Football, for me, is one of those things (and there are many) that really needs a major re-think. The players are so big and the games so punishing that even the best athletes can't hold up over sixteen-plus games played at a frequency of one a week. If you really watch how they smash into each other and get tangled up, the amazing thing is not that injuries fell them like flies but that they don't get injured more often, and worse.
The game is too rough for an athlete like RGIII to survive. Football has half ruined that kid already and he'll be washed up and gone in a few years, wrecked by injuries. Scintillating athlete. But too delicate for football. So many shooting-star players come, shine brightly, and are gone.
Might be for the best. Jim McMahon, QB for the '85 Super Bowl Bears, says when he goes out to get the mail, he gets halfway down the driveway, forgets what he's doing, and goes back inside again. Then he remembers the mail and heads back outside. And the same thing happens again. He says he can go outside and inside five times before he manages to actually get the mail. He wishes now he'd played baseball.
And yet with all the injuries, temporary and permanent, the NFL is still playing the same roster limits it has for decades. Just like when the players played 12 games a season (1947–1960) or when Dick Butkus (6'3", 245) was a monster in size (he wouldn't be today).
If you ask me, the League needs a very basic overhaul. Every team should double their roster and then every player should only be allowed to play half the regular-season games. It would give the players more rest, and de-emphasize the recovery periods from injuries. Even things out. And oh, by the way, cripple fewer people. There's certainly enough money in the game.
And there should be a weight limit for the D-line (not for the O-line). And maybe the game should become non-contact downfield (safeties seem to suffer the worst brain damage). I'm sure some sort of electronic "tagging" could be devised—if there were a will to do it.
Of course, these things will never happen. They absolutely can't, because this is one of those things (and there are many) which have to stay the same because it's the way we've always done things. And things like that can't change.
I've started on antidepressants again. Leitmotif of my life. Maybe by next week I'll be back to normal and in a decent mood again. I'll wait.
(Thanks to Kim K.)
"Open Mike" is when we let the hardworkin' Ed. loose to write about things he has no business writing about.
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Ed Grossman: "As a New Englander and Pats fan, I can tell you that those who left early are mostly claiming they did so in order to catch the start of the Red Sox game. Seamless blend of fact and fiction? Probably. Still, the only ones hurt were themselves. Yet another reason I prefer my sports in the comfort of my home. The Houston Texans 'fans' who cheered when their own quarterback was lying on the ground holding his injured leg? Shame on them. That was a disgrace!"
paul richardson (partial comment): "Sorry to hear you don't like New England...but Brady? If he played in Green Bay, he'd already have been canonized a saint. People would name their daughters after him."
Mike replies: Well, of course. But he doesn't play in Green Bay, he plays in Boston, in the wrong Conference.
And while it's true that all the little girls in Green Bay are named either "Bret" or "Erin," cheeseheads are too sensible to name their daughters "Tom."
Severian: "George Will made some similar points in his editorial of August 3, 2012. The game is simply unhealthy as it is structured today—and I don't see that changing any time soon."
Mike replies: How about that: me agreeing with George Will. This is a weird week!