Thursday, November 7, 2013

NFL OVERLOAD! AM I THE ONLY ONE SICK OF WATCHING FOOTBALL ALL DAY, JUST TO WATCH SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL?! or "ARE YOU READY FOR SOME (YAWN! YAWN! YAWN!) FOOTBALL?"



On a local television station here, a couple years ago, they started airing a weekly Thursday night High School football game which they cleverly dubbed "Thursday Night Lights". Now, I live in Las Vegas, and unlike, let's say Texas, we don't have a big tradition of following high school football, and frankly shouldn't, most of it sucks, as most high school football does. That's just a fact, the higher up on the chain from amatuer to professional you get, naturally the sport will simply be better, but I still wonder exactly, why they air this, and who watches these local football games. I catch it, maybe, if there's a rerun of "Parks and Rec" on that week, and only then 'cause even with the new cable package I got, I still don't have any decent channels to skim through, and am relatively happy to find out such things like "Project Runway All-Stars" is on Hulu now! Yeah!" Anyway, here's the really sad part though, in Vegas, while it isn't that publicized, for good reason, we have a college football team. A Division one, BCS team, at UNLV. Now, it's usually not a good one, and nobody goes to the games and frankly as a UNLV alumnus, we don't really care that much, frankly we're a college basketball school. Maybe if they won more, we'd get them a better stadium to play in or something, but you see, we rarely, if ever see the UNLV football team on television, even locally, we almost never see them. In fact, we only get to see our beloved college basketball team once in a blue moon unless they're on ESPN that day. That's what's really ridiculous, is that, essentially, I've seen more of Bishop Gorman High School's football team, than I have our local college teams?

I don't normally talk much about sports here, but I try to cover all of entertainment when I can, and especially when it comes to television, you simply can't ignore football, even if you tried, you couldn't. Last year, "NBC's Sunday Night Football" was the #1 rated show, and the Super Bowl, continually sets and resets records for the highest viewing audience nationally. The last couple Super Bowls, in terms of numbers, actually beat the last episode of "M*A*S*H" in terms of viewers watching. (That's a deceiving stat, they beat them in numbers but the "M*A*S*H" episode was watch by almost 70% of the country, while a Super Bowl, is watched on average by about 33% of the country, although in their defense, there's more channels and options now.) It's still quite a force, and network pay big money for the rights to air NFL and college football games, especially big games. This has made the NFL, particularly powerful. So powerful, that in recent years, they hypothesized that, "If we're this popular showing, 4 games a week, than, maybe more games can be shown?" Well, what they're really thinking is, "If we show more games on television, we'll make more money!", but it's essentially the same thing.

Now, I am a sports fan, and a Philadelphia sports fan at that, which means that we're a particular brand of sports fan. We're, fucked up, big time. We've booed Santa Clause, we cheered when Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin, got a career-ending injury on the turf at Veteran's Stadium. We get upset when we go to the fights and instead a hockey game breaks out. When JD Drew, after spending a year, not signing with the Philadelphia Phillies, who drafted him in the first round before re-entering the draft and signing with the St. Louis Cardinals, made his debut in Philadelphia, fans started throwing batteries and other foreign objects at him, and the umpires threatened to make the Phils forfeit the game because of it, and through out the fan throwing the batteries, which I still contend was completely unfair of them to do that to me-, I mean, the fan. That's just a sample of our notorious actions, with us, it's not so much who wins the game as it is, who wins the fight in the parking lot. I wanted to explain that, when I say something like this, I'm SICK OF FOOTBALL! There's TOO MUCH FOOTBALL on TV!

There, I said it. And I'm not just saying that because of the continuous conspiracy the NFL has been implementing to make sure the Eagles continue to lose, like they did last year, making them lose 12 games they easily should've won, had it not been for the blatant cheating by the referees and the other teams. (I told you, we're fucked up!) I'm actually, sick of watching football. There's too much of it now. Think of it this way, let's say you're a fan. There's a game every Thursday on the NFL Network, and an opening one, starting in September, (I'm not even gonna start with the preseason games), there's three games every Sunday, (Plus with the flex scheduling, the morning games usually end up sucking way more than the night games, which is a pain in the ass to stay up for after having watched six hours of football to begin with. That's a new thing; it used to be the Sunday Night game didn't matter so much, and it was the game where you only half-watched, but that switched when NBC took the SNF game instead of ESPN, who got Monday Night Football, and the NFL started basing their scheduling and season around the Sunday Night games)  there's two Monday Night games on opening weekend, as oppose to just one, so that's 5 games, in a two-day span, and that's without getting DirecTV's deal, which I think is only for sportsbars, sports reporters and superfans, and 6 in a five-day span, not counting, the high school, and college football games all over the rest of TV, and that's week one! There's three game now on Thanksgiving instead of two, there's a Thursday Night game, every week, as oppose to occasionally as an alternative to the Sunday Night game. Even if you get your team every week, there's four or five games every week that essentially you don't want to see, and the more game they air, the less-often they're good games they're broadcasting. So let's say, the Sunday Night game, is the big game of the week, like the NFL wants it to be, that's 3-4 games you're watching beforehand, that are most likely not as entertaining or good, that you most likely don't care about anyway, every week, just to get to the one game you might care about, and there's no guarantee that's going to be an entertaining game that lives up to expectations. That's a lot of football, to have to try to force yourself to care about, even for the big sports fans, like I used to be, it can demoralizing and exhausting. Presumably, most people are a fan of one team more than another, so all this extra football, for games you don't really care about; I mean, it better be good and stay good, and you better really love it, or it can be the most boring thing you watch on TV all week. Or on sportsradio, which also overpopulates the airwaves as does ESPN and sports TV networks, almost all of which focus heavily on the NFL all year long. Season ends, free agency, draft, spring workouts, contract negotiations, coaching changes, yada, yada, yada. God help us if the players ever go on strike, you'll hear and watch more football than if they were actually playing.

I mean, c'mon. I don't need the DirecTV package, okay? I mean, sure I'd like to watch only Eagles games, and I'll watch a good game once in a while, but for Christ's sake, their testing my patience here. This isn't even counting, every college and now high school games that are on, ESPN, and twenty other sports channels now. Not to mention, the non-sports channels that air football as well. Frankly, for a guy who use to love sports, I'm starting to give up, especially on football. It's  overkill. That was the great thing about football, was that it was only on Sundays, and there were only a few games every year, and each one mattered, and we were privileged to get the games we got. Monday Night Football, wasn't just a ritual or a tradition, it was almost a gift. For us, for the players, etc. Now, nothing in football feels special anymore. We get every game, we see every team, every week, from the comfort of our homes, we don't even have to go to a sports bar anymore. Frankly, the more and more we see of football, the less and less special it becomes. Yeah, I'm sure the NFL is making money, and they don't really care about such a complaint as, "Oh, there's too much of you! Please, no more, give us a break!" "We don't want to see so much pounding and hitting and touchdowns and concussions!" Especially when a voice like mine, is probably in the minority. But, you know what, if I can't sit down and watch a football game anymore without falling asleep anymore, than it certainly has to be happening to other people as well.

We're covering it too much, we're watching it too much, we're focusing in on it at younger and younger ages, these are in no way new complaints. But why do we need football 24 hours a day, does anybody know? It's mind-numbing at this point. Isn't that the case, when you watch too much of anything, it numbs your mind. Too much reality TV, too much violence, too much sex; well, what about too much football?! I think it's too much, when I don't have to pay extra to see six or seven football games a week, I think something's a problem. When I have to go out of my way to avoid it, that's maybe a bigger problem. And I'm a fan, how must it feel to the 66% of the country, that doesn't even give a damn enough about the cultural importance of it, to watch the Super Bowl every year? They must really be sick and tired of it. Is it just inevitable that, if there's money to be made, they'll be making it, and therefore, the TV is gonna just be flooded with football, 24/7 for the rest of our lives? It can feel that way sometimes. I don't know how to change it, or if it can, but I do know that you can have too much of a good thing, and right now, there's just too much NFL around. Maybe too much football in general. Maybe too much sports in general, but I'll stick to football for the time being. It's 24/7 some places, and you know what, I'm exhausted, and I'm sick of it. And I don't think it's that we're more obsessed or the sport is more popular or anything either. I think it's just there and they're pushing it down our throats, and so it gets shoved down our throats. I mean, I love lobster, but you keep shoving lobsterdown my throat after while.... It's too much of it, and way more than we can really handle. More than we can really care about. It's basically now, "How'd my team do?", and everything else, I just can't even amount to giving a shit anymore. If something special happens and there's no blurb about it on my Facebook, I miss it now. I don't think I'm the only one, who's starting to reject football either, but the sad part is that it's so big now, and so, everywhere, that, it would take a lot more than just a few tired, sleepy ex-fans to get the NFL to make any changes. But, that said, I don't love football enough to watch it or any sport, as much as they're broadcasting it, anymore, maybe I never did, maybe we never did. I need a break from football.
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