Originally published September 2014. It still gets hits. Go figure. Click here for current not-stupid NFL coverage by Brian Phillips.
Before you can say, "What? Me stupid? That's unpossible!" - let me explain. I'm not trying to be an elitist or a contrarian. I too, like you, care deeply about all sorts of stupid things. In fact, just this past month I'll have you know that I.......
A) Forked over $50 to watch WWE Summerslam and.....
B) Watched every episode of "4th and Loud" - the reality TV show about arena football team the L.A. KISS, starring Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley.
I think reasonable people can agree it doesn't get much dumber than that.
And before you soccer types get all excited that this is going to be some manifesto on the merits of Premier League Football over American football, that isn't happening either. Despite an exciting World Cup, I much prefer Uncle Sammy's brand of pigskin. In fact, I play in two fantasy football leagues and this Sunday while I am coaching third base for my son's little league team, I will be crying on the inside knowing that I will be missing the Browns opener. (Though it is sure to be another curbstomping compliments of the dreaded Steelers.)
So, though I like the NFL like all normal people, I HATE NFL coverage. God, it never stops. Ugh. BARF. So dumb. So Boring. Every single day of the year ESPN jams the "THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE" down my throat and I am so very tired of it. I know you are too. I can feel my poor brain cells dying of boredom as they absorb questions like who will start at center for Green Bay and will Jacksonville win over or under 3.5 games. The company line is, "The NFL is the nation's most popular sport, so we have to talk about it every 15 minutes, 365 days a year because YOU can't get enough of it." Okay, sure. Still, McDonald's is America's most popular restaurant, but everybody knows it sucks. Just because something is the most popular doesn't mean it is good. Just check out the top song on the charts right now. Whatever it is, I bet dollars to donuts, it blows.
But why does NFL coverage bother me so much? The odd thing is, though I am much less likely to watch a entire regular season NBA game than I would an NFL game, I love reading about the NBA. I like ESPN stories about the NBA, but not the National Football League. Why is this? Some theories......
For one, I hate that every talking head has stopped using the abbreviation NFL and almost always refer to THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. My theory is that using the longer name fills content over the course of a grinding 24 hour news cycle. By just stretching that out and saying it say, 1,500 times a day, that's almost 45 minutes of airtime each day filled by somebody just saying, "He is going to have to make that throw if he wants to keep his job in the…NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE."
For two, ESPN treats the entire country like we are all superfans of all thirty two NFL teams. They will do a full twenty minute segment on Maurice Jones Drew joining the Raiders or Ryan Tannahill learning a new playbook. This would be would be fine if I lived in Oakland or Miami. But I don't. Why are they telling me this in such fine detail? Do you know how hard it is to run on a treadmill in February while enduring a 12-minute story on the possible new Carolina Panthers starting wide receivers? Basically, they take waiver wire stories and treat them like the lead segment on 60 Minutes. Who fucking cares? Who are these people that enjoy this? Is there a comment section giving 99% approval I haven't seen?
For three, and this is the big one, I suspect Bill Simmons has done such a good job covering the NBA, it just shines a light on how many dumb jocks cover football. All those jackasses standing around in designer suits on a fake football field flapping their gums for two straight hours and they never have anything interesting to say. How is that possible? Professional football is, by far, the most complex sport on the planet, but nobody seems to able able to write a story about it that is interesting.
Watching Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose do a podcast on the NBA is great fun. Watching the FOX NFL pre-game show is like having your eyes gouged out with stale celery stalks.
So maybe the NFL isn't the sport for stupid people after all. Perhaps it is the sport for stupid journalists and it's just hard to tell the difference. Either way, thank GOD we can finally start watching THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE and stop talking about it. For a day anyway.
Colin Gawel plays in the band Watershed and started Pencilstorm as a way to kill time at his coffee shop, Colin's Coffee. As he is writing this, he is watching that guy lip syncing that "Happy" song before the NFL opener in Seattle. Some sort of lame kick-off party. How very stupid indeed.