I can enjoy football on game day because my father used to watch with my brother and I and would explain the rules, the subtle nuances, when to cheer, and when to channel your anger by looking for the cheapest thing within arm’s reach to hurl against the wall. Americans grow up on football. Soccer is too easy for Americans, and football is too complicated for everyone else. Let’s be safe and say we’re still striving to be athletic nationalists.
The NFL and the Players Association did not come to an agreement after sixteen days of mediations, but even without football, the game is still changing. Particularly three new rules: kickoffs, reviews and grass.
Kickoffs have been moved up to the 35-yard line, most likely drawing the ire of the talented return specialists, like our miniature mercurial marvel Brandon Banks, because this will undoubtedly result in more touchbacks. Why? Eric LeGrand. Yes LeGrand was the Rutgers player who became paralyzed on kickoff coverage and the NFL does not want this occurring to one of its own — not to mention the kickoff is the NFL version of Braveheart plus pads and minus the weapons, but the face paint and the collisions are similar enough.
Any score is now reviewable if the replay official deems the play worthy of review. This way games will take up to four hours to play instead of three and a half so the NFL will make that much more money in commercial sales. However, the games will be slower. Fewer kickoff returns and more reviews.
Finally, the only unanimous decision the owners could agree on is that Roger Goodell can approve or disprove of a team painting its home field grass, or turf or artificial grass another color if sponsors care to donate to that cause. This is hilariously depressing. Is Fed-Ex Field’s grass going to be painted burgundy or gold? Don’t eat the gold grass. What if the sponsors, a.k.a. Fed-Ex Kinkos, want to paint the grass blue, orange and purple? Are NFL owners going to be responsible for the seizures these vibrant colors cause fans, or the lingering effects of dyed grass, or turf, or whatever on players and cheerleaders over the years. If I’m not mistaken, about a decade ago, several Giants players’ deaths were possibly attributed to the turf at Giants Stadium. Obviously there is a fine line between genuinely caring and profits. A unanimous fine line.
On a personal note, I’ve been out of the loop for a bit and it’s nice to be back. I just got myself hitched to a top-notch world-class humdinger of a lady — and obviously a Redskins fan. The NFL was well represented at our wedding (in addition to the plethora of Skins fans) by fans of the Pats, the Steelers, the Fins, the Lions, the Eagles, the Bengals, the Ravens, and yes, the Cowboys, but only one of them. We all got along famously and danced our bloody socks off which is why I highly recommend getting married during a lockout or at least during the offseason.