I like to COMPLAIN about things, and I like to RANT, and so this is the first piece published under a tag in which I will COMPLAIN and RANT about things that I think are stupid all over the place. Who knows what I might say?
Sometimes I watch the NFL on weekends. It’s usually just to get worried about my fantasy football team (playoffs, baby), which is dumb because me watching these guys play isn’t going to change how they play, and I should probably just go and be productive while they’re doing it, but whatever. Either way, a few things caught my eye last week that developed in the days after, and just now I am writing about them. So I’ll keep this short because people have already probably formed their thoughts.
The first thing I saw on Sunday of note was Denver Bronco Emmanuel Sanders’ touchdown catch against the Tennessee Titans in the fourth quarter. After hauling it in, Sanders faced the fans, stared them down like he was a pitcher and they were the catcher, then wound up and delivered a fastball. The officials flagged him for unsportsmanlike conduct which like, okay, it’s stupid because…
WHY IS THIS A PENALTY HE IS LITERALLY HAVING FUN AND YOU ARE LITERALLY JUST KILLING THE FUN OF A SPORT THAT IS BASICALLY A PIECE OF ENTERTAINMENT SO WHY CAN’T WE JUST LET THE ENTERTAINERS FREAKIN ENTERTAIN US IN THE BEST WAY THEY CAN POSSIBLY KNOW HOW BY DOING SILLY ALBEIT STUPID LITTLE DANCES AFTER THEY SCORE TOUCHDOWNS THAT LITERALLY HARMS NO ONE BECAUSE THERE IS NO WAY SANDERS CHUCKED THAT BALL AT A HUMAN BEING WITH THE INTENTION OF HURTING SOMEONE.
Anyway, you can find the play in the YouTube video attached below (just skip to about 4:30 and play it from there to see Sanders’ TD and celebration):
(hit CONTINUE READING to see how stupid can layer up real good like ok)
The thing that I don’t get about this is the fact that the NFL very clearly wants to be a show. It wants to be a piece of entertainment, because that’s how its going to sell advertisements, and jerseys, and tickets, and everything else that costs way too much money. I mean, if you want proof that the NFL wants to be a show, just look at their soul-sucking, Carrie Underwood driven bit for Sunday Night Football games:
Not only is this helmed by yesterday’s country-pop star who let Jesus take the wheel far too long ago and has never really since reclaimed it for herself, but is also an utter abomination of green screen in service of putting on what quite literally looks like… well, a broadway musical. It dazzles! It sparkles! It’s grand! It’s got the stars! Look at all those cameos that we know we’ll see throughout the season! (Perhaps the only positive to come from this is that we get another instance in which Eli Manning proves to us he lacks even an iota of the television personality charisma his older brother possesses.)
So just to do the math one more time… The NFL wants to put on a show to sell stuff. But it won’t let its actors, the players, do things that harm no one but add a little spice and character and flavor to the show. To me, this is the equivalent of giving basketball players a technical foul for dunking: “Well, sir, you could have just laid the ball gently into the hoop. Perhaps next time consider using the backboard?”
Not only was Sanders flagged for his celebration, but just yesterday, the NFL fined him $12,154 (!) and was criticized by his coach in process. But the kicker (no, not Brandon McManus, for all you NFL fans) to this whole thing is that during the game there was a fight between Harry Douglas and Aqib Talib. Scroll back up to the video, start it again at about 2:20, and watch Douglas’ “dirty” hit on a Broncos defender (I personally only think its dirty because its so far from the play and completely unnecessary), and watch Talib attack him a play or two later.
Say what you will about Douglas’ block, but Talib’s actions are not tit for tat. Maybe Douglas said something. Maybe because it was the fourth quarter one can blame the intensity of the game (it ended up being 13-10, Titans, so pretty close). Who really knows! But Talib took action to intentionally hurt Douglas, or at least to send a message that he would hurt anyone who tried to hurt his teammates. Yes, this is an admiral action in defense of a teammate, but this isn’t war, as much as NFL players like to call their games war, so no, you cannot just hurt people because they hurt you. He did some less than admirable things as well, though, such as take off his helmet and welcome all comers to fight.
And yet, Talib (and Douglas, I guess) have both been let off scot free by the NFL without an inkling of a fine whatsoever. The message this sends, then, is that the NFL cares less about player safety and legitimate good sportsmanship than squandering the fun of the game so as not to look silly. Which doesn’t make sense because of how silly some of the stuff they do (like Carrie Underwood’s video) is. I guess sometimes hatred trumps joy… (oh, 2016, I forgot).
So yeah. That’s all just stupid.