Opening Night

It has been awhile since I have written anything regarding sport…but with tonight being opening night of pro football in the USA with the NFL kick off game…a night when completely unrealistic dreams are at their apex.

I used to be a huge NFL fan.  I still love the game as, when it comes to professional team sports in North America, only football and hockey are truly team sports…well, okay, there is professional lacrosse, but not at the same prestige level.  Basketball and baseball really are not team sports in the same way…and in both cases, I would rather watch paint dry.  For the record, hockey is a very close second…likely only second as I did play some football growing up, and I cannot skate.

The key term above is “used to be”.  I will watch NFL games…even watching tonight’s opener as I type this.  Even more specifically, I will watch when the Denver Broncos play…but the players have nearly turned me off the league entirely.

“I love me some me.” – Terrell Owens

This quote is the perfect example of how the league is losing me.

There is a severe loss of respect for two things…the game itself and, perhaps more importantly, the fans.

I do not mean this to lower simply on the players as there is blame to be spread around.

Let’s be honest…respectful, humble players are not interesting stories and the media are unlikely to be hunting for quotes here.  The media throws the microphones in the face of the biggest windbags it will find.

Also, people in the stands worship these teams.  I have one friend who jokingly, when I talk of the CFL (Canadian Football League), refers to the NFL as the “one, true, church”.  More honesty…or cold water…or water boarding…this is a business.  Both owners and fans are to blame as well…fans for creating these false gods on the football field (or baseball diamond, basketball court and even hockey rink)…and the owners for taking advantage of this.

These selfish idiots that the owners parade out for the press to interview and the sheepish fans to consume…are being held up as idols and role models.  People will show their son the examples set by Terrell Owens, Pacman Jones and Travis Henry in the hopes that young boy will one day turn into their lottery ticket as he takes the field in an NFL uniform.

The problem, really, is when the players began to believe the hype and saw themselves as entertainers…not just athletes.

Perhaps I am being absurd…or purist…or whatever, but I do not go to football games for flash.  I would rather watch the quarterback deliver a tight spiral than stare at the tight asses of the cheerleaders.

Seems hypocritical considering what I usually write on these pages.

The attitudes of the players is a cancer…and this is all professional sports, but in the NFL we see it more than any other sports league.  I recall when I was 10 years old looking up to players such as Craig Morton…Steve Watson…Jim Zorn…Charles Mann…and even Lawrence Taylor.

Looking back now…Lawrence Taylor…the last of that group, was the beginning of this new era where the money and fame became more important than the integrity of the game.

I suppose, like so many other things, once people start worrying about revenues…the actual interest in “the love of the game” vanishes in a puff of dollar bills.

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