Apparently the Steelers played the Browns in a football game and got trounced by the upstart Browns. I say apparently because I have so thoroughly removed the NFL and for the most part college football from my life that I didn’t even know there was a game tonight until a buddy texted me to taunt me about the Steelers losing.
It’s kind of crazy. It used to consume so much of my time, but over the past few years I have so wholly excised it that I not only even don’t miss it, I hardly know it exists. I don’t watch network television or ESPN because they don’t cover hockey, so I don’t even see the commercials.
And it’s not hard to stop watching- it’s just a bad game. Who has time to listen to a couple meatheads blather on for four hours while something moderately interesting happens every two minutes, and then when something really interesting happens, it’s called back for a penalty. All while people are doing permanent damage to their brains and rich white douchebag owners are getting richer.
And there is a coup going on.
Can’t say as I blame you. Learning about CTE and the relatively little the NFL and college sports are doing about it makes it hard to watch.
I only watch anymore to cheer the blue state teams beat the red state teams. I’m even rooting for ….gasp…California teams now if they are playing someone from MAGA land and as a Pacific Northwesterner that was a big lift.
I can’t even watch sports anymore without a red/blue filter. Trump even ruined sports for me that way.
Wait. You left the sound on when you had a game on TV?
Waste of good music-listening time.
You picked a good blowout to miss in that one. Every one of Saturdays games was great and entertaining. Took me away from the BS or at least distracted me.
This is my fifth year of actively boycotting “football” and I too have reached that point. It doesn’t exist.
Yeah. Once upon a time, years ago– I followed the ‘Redskins’. The DC football team, to be clear.
@moonbat: Yeah, that was the thing for me. Makes it hard to enjoy that much.
Did they have fans at the game?
This full and unavoidable realization ruined all of the immense pleasure I use to take in watching football. Hell, it was one of the main things Monsieur Colette and I had in common. (We’ve found others.) The last straws for me – I’m slow, so I needed two – were Junior Seau’s death and having Colette jeune, then aged about 11 and a fanatical flag football player, ask us if he could move up to “real” football. We reflexively said “no fuckin’ way!” And then I thought that if we couldn’t let our own son play football, for fear of having him suffer permanent debilitating brain injury, how could I enjoy watching some other mother’s son do that merely for my entertainment? Answer: I can’t.
Monsieur Colette isn’t quite there yet, but he’s at least routinely acknowledging the hypocrisy. Baby steps.
Yeah, it’s basically gang boxing.
I don’t mean to rain on anybody’s wedding day, but I’ve read that heading in soccer also is linked with CTE. Esp. among elite female soccer players, there’s a bit of an epidemic these days, and it’s causing some serious alarm. There have also been studies that show that just standard “heading drills” are enough to cause damage. The equivalent of those “it’s not the big hits in the game, but the persistent small hits during practice — the ones that nobody thinks are so problematic, but are really, really numerous”.
Yep, youth soccer coach here. They are starting to ban it completely in the younger ages. Heading the ball is a foul and the other team gets a free kick from that spot. Soccer will survive without heading. Football won’t be recognizable without collisions.
These days it’s news when a young man who has D1 scholarship offers in both football and lacrosse chooses to play football. Jake Seau was the leading edge of a growing wave.
Where I used to live (Orange County) youth football participation was waaaaay down. Not so much where I live now (north suburban Austin), but we’ll get there.
Show your kid a Lyle Thompson highlight reel. He’ll forget football even exists.
@burnspbesq: Here where I live in Vancouver WA (suburban Portland) the inner city schools are barely even able to field football teams anymore. Both here in Vancouver and across the river in Portland. They are big schools….1500+ students, but diverse immigrant-heavy schools and they have no use for football.
By contrast the affluent white suburban schools are still 100% all in for football.
In 1978 I would have watched every damn minute of the college football bowl games and provided informed statistical commentary about the NFL.
I watched the Eagles win a Super Bowl in 2017,
Haven’t watched since.
OT but sport related (ok “sport”, it’s golf).
The announcement of the PGA that they have pulled the championship from the shitgibbon’s club really makes me feel that a line has been crossed, and that whatever the shitgibbon and his enablers are trying to do in the next 10 days, American society outside the cult is just not going to support it. That a lot of country club / business Republicans have taken a big step away (way too late of course, but still better late than never), and that the shitgibbon is seen as a loser. Not sure what would have happened if Wednesday’s coup attempt had been more successful, but it feels like we’re in the clear now.
@Kent: Soccer will be a different game without heading though, corner kicks will be a lot less useful than they are now.
@Calouste: He could have taken a victory lap over the past 2 months and then retired to a soft life in Mar a Lago and bouncing around to his various properties to MAGA adoration.
But no, he had to pour gasoline over every aspect of his ‘brand’ and set it all on fire in an enormous MAGA-sm of rage and fury.
Now it will all come crashing down. Who the hell is going to pay $$$$ for a membership in a Trump golf club or condo or time share or whatever.
In 2 years he will be hawking medicare advantage plans on late night TV along with Joe Namath.
@Kent: I think heading only in the 18 yard box would be a good compromise. It’s a big part of scoring, but can be eliminated completely in the mid-field without any real loss.
The headers in the 18 yard box tended to be pretty low impact. The ones that hurt were the clearing headers, returning a goal kick, etc.
Oh sure, but it will still be soccer and it will still work fine. They can fine-tune the rules if necessary. Maybe paint some lines around the goal to spread folks out like the key in basketball. Lionel Messi’s highlight reels don’t contain headers. At least very few of them. They can make soccer safe and it will still be the same game.
Football on the other hand will be unrecognizable if they make it truly safe.
@Martin: That would make sense. Point is that soccer is fixable Football isn’t.
@burnspbesq: Yeah, I haven’t see any youth football activity in a few years near me. Soccer, baseball, sure. Dance, swimming, lots.
@Kent: In 2 years he’s going to be in prison and the IRS will be operating Mar a Lago.
@Kent: I don’t know. Same game, same rules, but they have to wear those big inflatable sumo outfits.
@Martin: I’m not so hopeful. I think he will drag the judicial process out for a decade and die under house arrest like Pinochet in my wife’s home country.
@Martin: From what I’ve read, the problem isn’t the heading that occurs in a game, but the heading that occurs in the practices. And the latter are far, far more numerous, for the obvious reason. You can’t retain heading games, without retaining it in practices. And you’ll have to retain heading drills, too.
Here’s an example article: https://www.npr.org/2019/09/05/757935739/womens-soccer-stars-concerned-about-trauma-from-repetitive-head-impact
Here down under we have four footy codes: rugby union, rugby league, Australian Rules and soccer. Concussions are becoming a big issue finally in the first three and a tiny bit in soccer ( headers). People here are slowly becoming aware that playing these sports is really detrimental to long term mental health and I suspect will be greatly diminished in popularity in the next few years. While concussions are possible in cricket- the big risk is dying of boredom.
@Calouste: That companies are committing to no campaign funding for anyone who voted against certifying the election (the 145 house and senate members) is labeling them quite nicely.
I’m still waiting for Sean Hannity to lose his Olive Garden lifetime pasta pass. We’ll know they’ve really become pariahs then.
My first two winters in Minneapolis I watched a ton of football. I’d gone to my college games a decade earlier, but in part because I was new in town with less to do, but had a good smart friend who liked football (when not writing novels or stocking produce).
It was a fun time. I briefly retained a lot of stats and knew players, etc. Then I moved across town, he got a girlfriend, and so on.
I haven’t missed it really at all. It was a time consuming sugary snack that once removed, wasn’t of much consequence. The head injury crap didn’t surface for a long time after, but it’s a nasty side of the industry.
@Kent: I’ll note that the courts do seem to get fairly pragmatic up against obvious threats. We saw the pace they were willing to move with the election challenges, which seemed intent on dragging the process out beyond Jan 6.
I think a trial of the president for sedition or whatever is going to clear whatever docket it shows up on, and I don’t think there will be much tolerance for dragging it out.
@Martin: Yep, there’s a pretty big difference in impact in heading a ball that comes straight at you or one that comes from the side as with a corner. Limiting heading to the 18 yard box for balls coming from the side seems like a good idea.
@Martin: And a few years after that, Mar a Lago may be in the mar many weeks of the year.
Of course we’ve wasted decades, but the past four years have been even worse in terms of America backsliding on climate and enviro issues. And all the bullshit Trump departmental ‘rulemakings’ will take time and will to undo.
The few times I experienced it on TV, American football seemed perversely designed to make watching as painful as possible. It takes three hours to watch one hour of play. The ebb and flow of continuous open play doesn’t exist in American football, which consists entirely of dead-ball situations. Each such situation is over in seconds, and the ball is live for a total of maybe 15 minutes in that one hour. You spend more time between plays, watching commercials and replays, than watching actual play. I don’t understand why American football fans put up with that.
Violence punctuated by committee meetings.
I’m currently watching “The Trump Insurrection” on CNN. Basically an hour-long narrative of the whole thing from beginning to end. Watching it all unfold with all the video they have since acquired is just absolutely chilling. They are censoring nothing. Just putting it all out there with narration.
@Pete Downunder: Concussions have actually been a pretty big topic in cricket in recent years. It’s even led to the introduction of substitutes in the sport, which didn’t really exist before.
@Chetan Murthy: I never liked how they did that. You can learn a lot of those skills with very low intensity ball control. At least enough to get your timing and sense of direction so that when you do get to a more traditional header training you really shouldn’t need nearly as much of it.
I did it the other way around – more conventional header training and then one summer I practiced ball control for fun and I was way better when i returned to training.
Parler? What is Parler?
@Martin: Yes, but all the endless back and forth appeals, up to SCOTUS and back to resolve endless jurisdictional and constitutional issues, issues of privilege, and so forth. NONE of this stuff has ever been litigated before. Whatever happens at the district court level is just the first inning of a show that will go into extra innings. Meanwhile Trump will be out on appeal the whole time.
At least that’s how I would expect it to play out. SCOTUS will do whatever it can to to drag the process out longer while still seeming judicial.
My wife said the *same thing* when we were in the ATT store yesterday buying a new phone. They were showing football on the big screen TVs and she siad, “I can’t believe that just a few years ago I was a rabid football fan, betting on spreads etc. Now I don’t even know a game is on TV.”
@Martin: Actually requiring soft modern helmets, not the hard helmets they wear today would be a big improvement. They sometimes have them at the youth level. Basically the same helmets but with lots of soft cushioning on the outside too. Makes them look silly, but we would get used to it. Takes away the use of the head as a weapon.
@Amir Khalid: Beer. Food. Bullshitting with your buddies.
Imagine premiere league but with regular periods throughout the game for hooliganism. Kind of like that.
That’s because of his height, or lack thereof. He’s 1.7m (5’7″), short-ish for a forward. Someone who scores a lot of headed goals in the penalty area is typically much taller, e.g. the 1.93m (6’4″) Virgil van Dijk.
‘Helmet or no helmet, if you get plunked with a 90+ mph delivery, your bell is getting well and truly rung. And it’s no different than baseball in that bowlers will always come in tight to open up the off stump (equivalent to pitchers coming inside on hitters who hang over the plate to protect the outside corner).
It struck me that the point of the one Super Bowl party I ever attended was the party rather than the Super Bowl.
@Kent: I don’t think so. I’m assuming Trump will have a following willing to threaten the government so long as he’s not in prison. I trust the courts to have the same concern for public safety as everyone else.
I’m guessing everyone is going to want to tuck this entire crew away out of sight ASAP. There’s no political upside for anyone giving them cover.
I never appreciated football until I had friends on the team in college. There was a lot going on that I had not appreciated, but even then could not sustain any interest. Basketball and hockey are such clearly superior team sports, even on TV. It is so much fun to catch a live game, even if the teams are not very good.
Football just seems like the big non-denominational evangelical churches – noisy, vulgar, bullshit-centric and ultimately stupid experience I am happy to avoid.
@Amir Khalid: Yeah, because football is boring. I mean, 2-3 minutes of it isn’t, but all the rest is.
@Chetan Murthy: Rugby has recently come under the microscope because senior players are revealing that they are… amazingly… suffering from CTE and similar brain injuries. Who knew that getting bodyslammed by roughly 250 pounds of meat and bone moving at speed was bad for you?!
That was quite a creative misspelling of “Dominic Calvert-Lewin.”
I’m the same way. I used to be pretty into watching NFL games but got more and more disillusioned.
Final straw for me was when Steve Tasker got kicked out of his last game for bumping into a ref. I loved Steve Tasker as a football player, he seemed to represent all the good parts of football to me and having him kicked out for some bullshit call like that, it was like a sign from the universe that it was time for me to be done with the NFL.
Haven’t really missed it.
I don’t want to make light of the pandemic and its associated horrors, but a year without much sport to watch has made me realize how little I need sport in my life. I increasingly feel that watching sport is just another way of procrastinating or being lazy. It’s junk food for the mind, when it isn’t just another form of tribalism.
My plumber told me that when he attended his 20th high school reunion he and his old football pals stood around talking injuries. Every one of them, he said, was in some kind of pain a good deal of the time. He’d been a linebacker, and he had a bad knee — it got blown out by a clip.
One of the longest-running fights my family ever had was between my brother and my parents. He wanted to play high school football. They said No, you’ll get hurt. They never budged. This was almost 60 years ago, mind you. I recently asked him about it. Apparently he hadn’t thought about it for a while, because he didn’t answer right away. Finally he said, “Okay — they were right.”
In one of the video clips from Weds these people are stalking through the capital building shouting ‘Whose house?’ and then ‘Our house!’ and it sounded just like some shit they would shout at a football game.
In two years he will be a reviled person in history in the U.S. hated by both liberals and conservatives for different reasons. it is what he deserves.
@Amir Khalid: Half of it is the halftime ads.
I don’t know.. watching baseball is really boring. I think football is fairly decent, but baseball has no point from what I can tell. If you’ve watched a cricket match, you will know how shitty baseball is compared to that.
They have some fans, but at reduced numbers and varying from team to team, based on geographic location and local restrictions. What you see on TV is mostly empty seats.
Those insurrectionists sure don’t think much of their house, unless of course, they live in a house littered with dead bodies as a result of violence, is totally trashed and looted of valuable items, with broken windows and and doors to boot.
Think I’d totally pass on any party invitations.
Edited for shpelling.
@smike: One presumes it’s a variation of the abuser’s rant to their spouse: “If I can’t have you, nobody can!”
Oddly enough, the most popular form of cricket is the one that’s most like baseball (T20).
@cain: I can’t watch baseball unless they’re in the playoffs. I admit to being a sucker to a good pitching duel.
I started watching cricket a couple years ago and it’s a much better game to watch. Love the ODI format the best…
@smike: “renters” version of “it’s our house”
@cain: Baseball lost a lot when they got so obsessed with homeruns. You don’t see good fielding anymore. Players would rather strike out than have a hit that advances everyone one base. Incredibly boring to watch.
An American sports writer said of cricket that it’s a cross between golf and waiting for a bus.
But what would football be without the majesty of midfield head tennis? (Vastly improved, is what; quality considerations alone should recommend a ban at least on volleys outside the box, not to mention preventing all those horrific head clashes.)
Baseball is best taken in by radio. You can direct your main attention to something else, or to nothing at all, just as if you were at a game. And that’s not a disparagement of watching baseball in person, as the value of that has much less to do with thrilling sports entertainment than with finding an excuse to sit outside and do nothing for a while, which is also very good.
(ETA: the NFL can eat whole shipping containers of gangrenous genitals. Motherfuckers delenda est.)
Yeah, I weaned myself off football maybe 15 years ago. I had been a big fan but they started stretching out the games…………..you used to get a commercial every change of possession but you started getting more and more until it was almost every damn play, and the average game was suddenly three and a half hours. Now I’ll only watch if it’s postseason and it’s a team I like.
The game is designed for you to eat hotdogs and get drunk. As far as I know that is all that it is useful for. It feels like 80% of the time the batter gets out at 1st base.
I saw my alma-mater play football for the first time nearly 20 years after I graduated. hah. They lost. But Purdue was a pretty good football team in the mid-90s as well as their basketball. I don’t watch basketball much, but I actually was there when Knight threw the chair across the court during the Purdue vs IU game.
Like you Cole, I used to watch every week. When the brain damage information began to come out and be verified, I found myself unable to watch anymore.
@rikyrah: I never much liked football. Too violent. When I got married 20 years ago I tried to start watching it because my husband was obsessed: ” C’mon. It’s fun. Lots of strategy.”
First game we watched together, a college game, a kid was hauled of the field with a broken neck. That finished it for me.
@lol chikinburd: Baseball is very good on radio. The slow pace comes across as kind of peaceful if the announcers are good. Televised games, on the other hand, try to make up for the pace by throwing countless derivative statistics at the viewer: HBIP, WAR, ETC. WTF! Drives me crazy.
@Amir Khalid: New kittens arrived today. it’s been over a year since I lost my sweet little Janie cat (a lovely black cat with the greenest eyes and the kindest heart ever). Her pal Pixie has been lonely for kitty company.
They are tiny little bundles of joy and energy. I think that Janie would have adored them, as she loved the company of other cats, and was especially patient with little ones.
The little guys are 12 weeks old, and they seem so tiny, as it has been years since we had a kitten in the family. Most of our furbabies over the years have been adopted adult cats.
I had forgotten how silly and wonderful kittens are.
The little guys are tentatively named Hap and Leonard.
That’s wonderful news. I hope there will be pictures of the little bundles of joy.
@Mel: Congrats! We all want pics, lots of kittah pics!
@Mel: What wonderful news!
@Mel: Congratulations, and great choice of names!
Different strokes. There was a point for me in the ’90’s when I lost interest in watching all sports – when athletes started making more than two million dollars a year. It’s not exactly a philosophy – hard to make an argument for being a two-million dollar a year communist or something. But I’d played one of those sports, and it just felt wrong. It still does. Didn’t really watch or follow any of them much until I got so mad about Trump-Kaepernick, and people I knew boycotting the NFL, that I watched a few games out of spite, and found I think the NFL currently is great. The game itself at that level seems to me much more a team game than any other sport I played, even given the outsize importance of the quarterback now. That is actually appealing to me – the passing game being the most fun part to watch. Again, not trying to prove a point, just saying.
I have fond memories of staying with my grandparents in Houston in the summer, falling asleep to to the sound of the Colt 45’s play-by-play coming from Pop’s little transistor radio. That sound is so distinctive, If I am lucky enough to catch a snippet nowadays, it makes me feel comfortable and safe.
I still love it and will till the day I die.
@joel hanes: The George Will description, indeed.
@Amir Khalid: only two teams make the Super Bowl. Fans of the other teams are in it for the party. It’s different if you get lucky and it’s one of “your” teams I think.
i never cared for NFL, only college and my team. They won the national championship a few years after I graduated. It was amazingly fun. 10 years later we won an national championship in basketball, then football and basketball the next year. The parties and dancing in the street were great.
“Who has time?”
Wow. Well said, John. Especially, the last part.
Interested to see that I’m not the only one who’s fallen away from watching sports, whatever the reason. I was such a huge fan when I was younger—I grew up in Florida and watched every Dolphin ? game the year they went undefeated. Now, I don’t care a whit. Between the beatings the players take and the horrible actions of most of the owners…just, no.
I was also a huge Cubs fan for decades. Then Mom passed in ‘07, and I couldn’t watch anymore because she was such a huge fan and it hurt. Then came 2016 and the Series win and boy we all paid for that one, didn’t we?
I have not watched football regularly since around 1992 (long story). I would catch bits and pieces of games at times.
I’ve had my Dad over a lot more (pandemic plus some other reasons). He’s 88 and likes to watch/nap through football games. So when he’s over we put on whatever game is on and we’ll ‘watch’.
I’m not sure why but I think there are less commercials and the pace is a bit faster than I remember.
Watching Big Ben throw 4 interceptions, with a fumble in the mix, might make me deny know the Steelers even existed as well.
(Not true, am a Steelers fan. They sucked at the end of the season, so that wasn’t a surprise.)
Like that’s a bad thing?
There was a Bears Saints simulcast on Nickelodeon with kids explaining the rules in the announcing booth and goofy graphics overlays. Exhibit A that they are looking at significant demographic issues with future players and fans.The college game moving off of broadcast is another.
Interesting. I’ve had the same experience with football. Absolutely loathe ownership. The fact that it used to consume my Sundays seems incredible to me now. I decided to watch the play-offs this year and it was very strange. Didn’t recognize any of the players except the ancient ones and some of the coaches. Just two different uniforms filled with freaks of nature bashing into one another with two of probably the dumbest people on the planet “explaining” to me what just happened. I let the TV rip but found myself doing other things until it was just background noise. Trump was trying to blame a little spark of social consciousness on the public losing interest in the sport. Believe me, it isn’t that. It’s the game.
@Chetan Murthy: @#12
“I don’t mean to rain on anybody’s wedding day, but I’ve read that heading in soccer also is linked with CTE. ”
A few years ago, after the revelation of Joe DeLamielleure’s CTE issues were made public, I had a conversation with one of the trainers at the local “Y”. He had played and coached collegiate level soccer. I asked if he’d had any concussions while playing. After a pause, “Yes, four that I can remember. It was the heading of the ball and the heading of other players while trying to head the ball.”
I’d seen a tweet or few from you a few months ago about your feelings about American football. So, I wasn’t surprised.
It’s more relaxing over here on the no-football bench, too, isn’t it?
Right there with you, Cole as a former Steeler fan myself. The horror of CTEs, Rapistberger and meeting and marrying a gal who didn’t want to spend 7-12 hours every Sunday watching football, led me to give up watching several years ago and like you, I really don’t miss it at all.
I moved to Pittsburgh in 1969, the same year that Chuck Noll took over the Steelers. I’d always been a sports fan, but if you lived in Pittsburgh in the 1970s, you became a fanatic. But I moved away about 12 years ago and while I still consider myself a Steelers’ fan, it’s harder to maintain the connection from a distance. And after last night, well let’s say I’m not looking forward to next year.
I still occasionally put the Sunday games on, but I don’t pay much attention. And the injuries are getting to me. If football were to disappear, I wouldn’t much care. I haven’ t given it up like John, but my interest has certainly waned. It’s become mostly a conduit for commercials.
I’ve never seen a full game since I saw Concussion with Will Smith. Knowing that all of the revelations came about in my hometown and that the life and reputation of Dr. Omalu and his wife were basically ruined and they were run out of town is so tragic and embarrassing. Honestly, a complete disgrace.
The suicide of Junior Seau and so many others who have had their lives ruined while the NFL did nothing to protect them haunts me even when I only see a snippet of a game. Shame and shame on the NCAA, the NFL and the owners, then and now. Fans and bettors can no longer claim not to be complicit either. It’s a national disgrace.
No One You Know
@Kent: “I can’t even watch sports anymore without a red/blue filter.”
Yeah. Goes even wider than that, for me. I scan for the traitor flag and decals in parking lots. I can’t tell if that’s paranoia or protection, anymore.
*Note: after Trump’s 2016 win, a former Marine disgraced his service by threatening to run me over in a parking lot, because he didn’t think I checked for traffic before stepping off a curb. He claimed he could easily have hit me. My husband said no way.
The MAGAT followed us into the coffee shop and asserted he would speak to us. We changed our plans and took takeout, and he followed us into the parking lot AND THEN SEARCHED FOR US IN HIS TRUCK. Which was decked out with Trump, NRA, and confederate decals and stickers.
We waited outside the liquor store with fingers ready for 911 calls. There were working cameras there.
A couple of months ago, a different guy followed my neighbor home and threatened her, in front of her kids, with a handheld gun, for driving in front of his house. Later this was determined to be a case of mistaken identity.
I’m not as afraid of COVID as I am of MAGATs. COVID isn’t reasonable but it can be predictable. MAGATs are neither.
You said it. The announcers are boring and repetitious. So tired of speculation masquerading as analysis. Automatic mute.