From the World of Parks and Rec
By Doug Comer
What a year in football!
With this year’s Super Bowl arguably being one of the best games of all time, it ended a year where comebacks, blowouts and tight wins were a weekly highlight on ESPN NFL Blitz. However, the National Football League will need to go back to the drawing board to clean up some issues that left the owners, players and fans a little perplexed to say the least.
Commissioner Roger Goodell has taken the league into a new era. In my humble opinion, the league is almost as fun as watching the end of Marley & Me. With all the restrictions on players and how they must look on the field and the end zone celebrations, there is no spirit anymore.
I am not saying that he had an easy job coming into the league when he accepted the job. Domestic violence and substance abuse policies are ongoing problems and all should be harsh and swift as long as there is a consistency across the board. There is no need to change the rules from athlete to athlete. If you are involved in an altercation, then you are suspended for a long period. If you do not pass a drug test, then you are suspended for a long period of time. If it happens again, then you are gone, plain and simple. To see the inconsistencies that the league shows towards different athletes is unacceptable no matter the impact of that player.
And the whole deflate-gate with Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady that led to a 4-game suspension for the New England Patriot signal-caller was just a ruse to derail the media from the continuing investigation of other concerns with the NFL, including the concussion issues and its long-term damage to current and former players.
All you saw on television for weeks was the deliberation between the face, aka Tom “Terrific,” of football and the league. It is almost comparable to the Rebels versus the Evil Empire in Star Wars, where the hero of the movie takes a shot and has to regroup before eventually mounting a comeback to claim victorious as he defeated all that the Empire has to offer and later claim the Lombardi Trophy.
Again, this is not a fact-checking article, this is the opinion of a person who is frustrated with the league and only watches football for its fantasy value.
I cheer for the Steelers when they play, but I am more drawn to know how many yards and touchdowns Matty Ice (Atlanta Falcon QB Matt Ryan) threw for against the lowly Carolina Panthers. And I feel that the league has taken me to that place.
During the season, I did see some commercials telling the good in the NFL as they pushed the “family values” in between time outs and breaks, but that does not fix things. Personally, get back to basics and mirror what was done during the 70s and 80s. Billy “white shoes” Johnson was the creator of the end zone celebration. The Washington Redskins made team celebrations fun to watch. As long as there is nothing that puts a negative spin towards the other team, its fans or the league, then let them jump in the Salvation Army pot (Zeke Elliott) or do the Icky Shuffle when they hit pay dirt.
And who really cares if someone looks a little out of uniform as compared to the rest of the players? Players for years had something besides a number that made them different from others and I have no problem in a player wearing a pair of shoes to celebrate breast cancer month. And speaking of that, ALL monies generated from the sale of items for breast cancer, only a small amount of those dollars actually goes toward the foundation. And with the 50% mark up for retail pricing, the NFL makes out on the deal.
Finally, I will end this by suggesting they cut back the amount of games during the week. We have football on Thursday nights, Sunday all day, and Monday nights and that exposure has saturated the league. Again, if not for fantasy purposes, ratings will continue to slide. And after college wraps up its regular season, we have the NFL on Saturdays. It is too much and it should revert back to Sunday afternoons and Monday night football only.
It is a popular sport and it is world-known, but personally we need to find alternative ways to make it popular. There is no reason why this league can be what it once was … Fun for all who play and all who watch.