What It Was, Was Football

Sitting through the NFL, NFC and AFC championship games got me thinking about some things I dislike about watching football now-a-days.

As a kid I remember the dramatic music, the cold breath coming from the players, the rain, the snow, the mud. Yes, I have memories like a John Madden description back when he was calling the games. To date me a little, I also remember even before that when he was coaching the Raiders. That was football, and the elements were, in my mind, an indispensable part of the sport’s allure.

As time passed, grass started to be replaced by shag green carpet in many stadiums, and the great outdoors started to be replaced by climate controlled indoor domes in many cases. I look forward to the games still played the old-fashioned way, as the dome games might as well be arena league football. Watching football played indoors is annoying but I am dealing with it.
But then there are those rule changes that sometimes leave even the best analysts scratching their heads. For several seasons no one seemed to know what a catch was, not even the officials. Kind of a, “it depends on what the meaning of the word “catch” is,” moment.

Speaking of the officials, what’s with defensive holding and pass interference calls and non-calls? The League apologizes for the blown call towards the end of regulation in the Saints, Rams game but what about all the other blown calls all season long that were potential game changers?

We, the fans, are constantly left in a state of supreme wonderment as to what constitutes a penalty and what doesn’t. Even the announcers seem to have officiating whiplash stating things like “oh, they’re really letting them play,” right after stating “I didn’t see much there for that call.”

It must be one of the most inconsistently enforced rules in football today apart from maybe offensive holding which happens on basically every play. Its just a matter of when and if the officials call it and it usually happens at a game changing moment, making them as influential on the game’s outcome as the players and coaches.

This uniformly inconsistent officiating adds to the difficulty in enjoying football. There’s even now talk of including those types of penalties in the instant replay reviews. Sounds like a plan to have more time for commercial breaks.

That leads me to my biggest complaint about the struggles to tolerate watching football. Each NFL game has been expanded to three or four hours of commercials with a little football sprinkled in. I guess with a little invention called the DVR, we can record and watch games on a delay. One just needs to stay away from their phones during this time period.

I know, we need all those hours of ads to keep the National Football League on good old fashioned free commercial based television. So, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and possibly for the rest our lives, might we regret watching every game via DVR? Well, not every game, we’ll always have the Super Bowl.