Get ready, because here is another fantastic op-ed entry from Zeus:
Call Off the Zebras
The collective self-esteem of pro football offenses must be noticeably flagging. Maybe that is why in the NFL’s Brave New World, an offense that fails to convert on third down is not only given a do over, but is also awarded a first down, a bonus five yard improvement in field position, and a pony. Now you can call it defensive holding or illegal contact or any number of other names. But the all too predictable outcome will be interminably long games with scores that more resemble NCAA basketball than professional football and celebrity NFL referees getting more TV face time than Dr. Phil.
In a game that features 300 pound linemen savagely trying to beat each other senseless and lightning quick 250 pound linebackers routinely trying to decapitate or otherwise maim equally fast, insanely powerful running backs, it is indeed a strange and ironic twist for the rules to require that pass receivers be allowed to scurry down the field unimpeded by any minute, trivial contact that might imperil a pass completion and the attendant fantasy points.
Once again, the fans are on the receiving end of the dubious business judgment and questionable leadership of Commissioner Blockhead, the owners’ $44 million cabana boy. The vehicle for implementing this travesty is the so-called Competition Committee, the corrupt and imbecilic Kangaroo Court that presides over the enforcement of the NFL’s byzantine rule book, a document that makes the Federal Income Tax Code seem like a shining example of fairness, clarity and brevity. (Any discussion of the lamented committee would be remiss if it failed to note the ham-handed efforts of its chairman, Mean Mr. Moustache, a man who has been handsomely and inexplicably rewarded for being so utterly unremarkable.)
The abject corruption of the Competition Committee was on full display in 2004 when Bill Polian drove it to embrace the flag football rules that brought the game one step closer to Arena Football. It’s no secret that the remorseless Polian acted not for the good of the game, but in naked self-interest. That Polian’s actions were greedy, cowardly and disgraceful was readily apparent to anyone with the tiniest sense of decency and a double digit IQ.
Now, after February’s internationally televised public flogging of the league’s most precious asset, The Gigantic Forehead, the Committee steps once more into the breach. Once again, the good of the game is being publicly sacrificed at the altar of television ratings and revenue growth, the incredibly powerful narcotics that are leading the NFL owners down the path to destruction. But this time, it’s a fool’s errand.
As a long time season ticket holder, my message to Football Family Kraft, Commissioner Blockhead and the rest of the Billionaire Boys Club is as follows:
I am not paying ($169 per ticket x 6 tickets x 10 games = a hell of a lot of money) to watch guys dressed in white pants, striped shirts and funny hats blow their silly whistles and throw their festive colorful yellow bean bags around the field.
What I am paying ($169 per ticket x 6 tickets x 10 games = a hell of a lot of money) for is to watch Professional Football. Now I can’t say for sure just what it was that was happening on the Gillette Stadium field Friday night, but it most definitely was not Professional Football.
I really don’t want to invest my heart and soul into a game whose outcome depends so much on the capricious and whimsical judgment of some guy named Clete who can make my life miserable simply because it’s easy for him to do so. (Ed. Note – Clete has already done this at least twice that I can think of.) I want the players to play and, to the greatest extent possible, the officials to stay the hell out of the way.
I’m hard pressed to figure out who benefits from this. Fans are already complaining loudly. Players and coaches have to be exasperated. And even the officials themselves must be embarrassed having to call lame penalties for such ticky-tack nonsense.
The good news is that it’s August and it’s not too late.
It’s time to call off the zebras.
Thank you once again to Zeus for allowing me to share his unique perspective on the current state of the National Football League.
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