I remember as a child, one of the most exciting days of the year was the opening to the NFL season.
From the time I heard Brent Musburger saying “You’re looking live at Fulton County Stadium” until the end of the Super Bowl, I was captivated by the larger than life warriors on the field.
As the players have gotten even larger and my life has gotten longer, things have changed. Maybe with age, I realize that these guys are gifted athletically, but aren’t superhuman, and some aren’t really even role models. Plus, in the words of Jerry Seinfeld, I really just root for the laundry.
When I was young, the teams played on Sunday and Monday, and not heard much was about them until the next week. In the age of 24-hour networks, now you can pop the TV on Tuesday morning and learn about each player’s favorite breakfast food. There is no mysticism any more. You see them in all their high definition glory, where all of their faults are also magnified.
Let’s face it, football is facing a rough patch. With the focus on head injuries and the realization the leagues is producing a lot of retired players who are aging prematurely and sometimes with horrifying symptoms, parents are being more cautious in letting their little ones get rattled in pee wee leagues.
Then, you have a line of players who use recreational drugs like they all live in Colorado. For sure, this isn’t a recent trend, but before the digital age, you didn’t have the video evidence showing drug use and night club antics. Now, there is a growing list of players who have physically assaulted somebody who isn’t an opponent. A lot of people cheer hard hits on the field. Nobody cheers when a woman is knocked cold in an elevator.
The game is changing. Ignorance used to be bliss. I was a kid and didn’t know or care what the players did off the field. Now that I’m older than every NFL player, I find every report of assault, every lewd text message sent, and every replay of hard shots to the head a bit disgusting. The NFL is a multi-billion dollar endeavor, but with each passing incident, they seem be clinging to life as if they were barely breaking even.
I root for the laundry, but it seems like it is in need of a good washing right now.
You can reach Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org to put the NFL on a spin cycle.