Sports Curmudgeon 3/26/15
When you are the NFL and you are the 800-lb gorilla in the sports world in the US, you can do whatever you bleeping feel like doing. What the NFL has done regarding the Super Bowl next year fits the lifestyle of a good friend of mine about whom all of his friends say:
His motto in life is that nothing exceeds like excess.
At the end of this season – in February 2016 – the NFL will stage the 50th Super Bowl game ever played. That is a fact; you can go back and count the games. The NFL will “honor” this game by making everything imaginable connected to this season and to that game “golden” because of course people celebrate their 50th anniversary as their Golden Anniversary. For the record, my long-suffering wife and I will celebrate our 50th – our golden – anniversary in 2016 too unless, of course, she finally decides to dispatch me by planting a fire-ax between my eyebrows. I understand well the concept of a Golden Anniversary and look forward to celebrating one next year.
What the NFL is doing here is a fraud wrapped up in a sham encased in a Nigerian e-mail scheme. The first Super Bowl game was played in LA in January 1967; I tuned in to watch that game and have seen every one of the games since that one. The 50th Super Bowl game will happen in February 2016 and that is the 49th anniversary of the first game, not the 50th anniversary. Having celebrated a 49th anniversary only about 9 months ago, let me assure everyone that it is not one’s Golden Anniversary. The marketing and PR folks associated with the NFL should be boiled in oil for this fraud and by the end of the season most of you are going to agree with me.
Here are some of the things that the marketing/PR trolls are going to make happen:
The 50-yardline on every field for every game will have the numerals painted in gold on the field.
All of the logos for things like the Draft in May 2015 and the playoffs that start in January 2016 will be lettered in gold.
The NFL Shield this year will be in gold.
Many of the team hats/shirts/whatever sold in this celebratory year will have team logos outlined in gold. Or, of course, you can also buy the “traditional” gear if you prefer – or you could also buy both…
The winner of Super Bowl 50 – next February – will not only hoist the Lombardi Trophy but will also get the “Golden 50”. What might you ask is the “Golden 50”?
It will be the numerals “5” and “0” that have been bronzed and plated in 18-karat gold and of a size that each numeral will weigh between 30 and 35 lbs.
The only thing that can put this whole excessive nonsense over the top would be for the MVP in the Super Bowl Game to be – – wait for it – – Golden Tate.
A few days ago, I talked about the retirement of Chris Borland from the NFL because of his concern for his mental health in his later years. This week Borland announced that he would return a pro-rate share of his signing bonus to the Niners since he chose not to play out his contract. That means he is returning about $460K to the Niners. I have no idea how that affects their salary cap but it would be interesting to look at the books and see what the folks on mahogany row did with that $460K windfall…
Every year when the NFL holds its Spring Meetings, one of the agenda items is always proposed rule changes for the upcoming year(s). One change this year tries to clarify what is a catch for a forward pass in response to the “Dez Bryant Incident” in the playoffs and to the infamous “Calvin Johnson non-TD catch” from about 5 years ago. The sad thing is that the new wording in the rule does not clarify much of anything at all. More controversy to follow…
However, Dan Daly, on his fantastic blog Profootballdaly.com, has compiled a history of rule change proposals that the NFL owners have considered and subsequently rejected in their Spring Meetings over the history of the league. Please go and read this blog entry in its entirety; it is definitely worth your time. One of the rule changes that was rejected – in 1944 – was to award one point to the team kicking off if the kickoff went through the uprights.
All 32 NFL coaches showed up for a “photo-shoot” at the Spring Meetings. This is news because more often than not at least one of the coaches does not make an appearance and most often the absentee is Bill Belichick. I did not see any reports if he showed up wearing a hoodie – after all this was in Phoenix and not in Lower Kalskag, Alaska (population 294) – but there was a report that said Andy Reid showed up for the photo wearing flip-flops, shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. If the Hawaiian shirt fit Andy Reid, it might be a map of the Hawaiian Islands with a scale of 1:1…
Finally, here is a perspective offered up by Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald showing the status of sports in US society:
“Prince Charles’ U.S. tour has ended. It was similar to Derek Jeter’s retirement tour, only with 10,000-times less public interest.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………