The big news out of the NFL this week is former Saints and current Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who admitted to running a bounty system that paid players for big hits on opponents. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Sorry. I feel asleep. Just Google for details.
Is it bad that I don’t care that some defensive coordinator really, really wanted his defensive players to hit the other guys really, really hard? Wouldn’t this more shocking in basketball or baseball or a sport that didn’t involve 300-pound dudes shoving 250-pound dudes into the ground over and over and over?
And I’m not saying that in that bullshit, macho, “let them go out and play the game” way. I get why this is ugly for the NFL. Whatever penalty commissioner Roger Goodell ultimately hands out, I am OK with. He should crack down on this behavior.
And for the last several years, he has also been right to try and curb some of the more violent aspects of his game. Concussions are a real problem in pro football. (Although if Goodell really wants to do it, start earlier. Anyone who ever went to high school with football players or had a class taught by a football coach is not remotely shocked that they are capable of coming up with and participating in something stupid.)
But I don’t have to care. Not really. You know what I want the “big news out of the NFL this week” to be? NOTHING!
It’s March. I am not subscribing to the notion pro football is a 365-day obsession. I don’t care about spring practices. Since teams in the NFL rarely make trades – and since players almost as rarely sign with other teams as free agents – it makes it even easier to not give a shit. In fact, other than the draft (which, I admit, I love), I can pretty much not pay attention until September.
I don’t watch the NFL Combine. I have taken the NFL Network off my TiVo. I don’t do research for my fantasy football team. I’m not looking at Panthers highlights on YouTube. I can unhook. It’s easy.
If only sports reporters would get the hint. (And, OK, to be fair, virtually everyone else in the U.S. other than me. I realize I’m on an island.) Instead, every story involving the NFL becomes big-font headlines. We get a SportsCenter report from Chris Mortenson about Randy Moss’ private workout. Peyton Manning is a permanent trending topic on Twitter. And we’re subjected to bigger and bigger stories about the terror of the league, Gregg Williams.
Really? Williams is no Jerry Sandusky. Let’s not lose perspective on what a REAL scandal looks like.
(This reminds me of Spygate, another “scandal” I didn’t care about. Teams secretly record practices so they can see plays? Don’t the teams run plays every game? Figure out signals? Wow, what an advantage. This will look even sillier in five years when the NFL starts broadcasting daily practices on TV while charging crowds to watch from the stands. It will happen.)
Bounty-gate is a scandal because it feeds the beast. It gives the annoying, large men in the ill-fitting suits something to talk about that doesn’t involve Andrew Luck. It fills up time on SportsCenter. It lets sports columnists opine about either, a., how players these days are violent monsters, or, b., how players these days are pampered babies.
Somewhere along the line we decided we had to give a crap about football all year long, and because of that, every story gets elevated to WORST. THING. EVER. (Silver lining: Imagine how much noise there would be had this happened in November. And with a defensive coordinator who coached for a team that didn’t stink.)
Well, I don’t agree. Here’s another shocking statement: I don’t buy that football is the National Pastime. I mean, I buy that YOU might buy it; I just don’t. I still prefer baseball. Sorry. It was there first.
The two greatest annual events in sports are opening day in baseball and the NCAA Tournament. That’s it. That’s the list. You can keep the Super Bowl and the Pro Bowl and the Rose Bowl and Tecmo Bowl and any other bowl. Football is great in the winter, but we have plenty of sports to carry us over until September. Thanks.
So, no, I’m not following the Gregg Williams scandal. Wake me up in September. And then talk about something else.