On Facebook, they have something called Throwback Thursdays where people post old time pictures of themselves or of the town they grew up in back in the 50s or pics of their parents. Whatever. It does not hurt anyone nor does it rip at the fabric of Western Civilization. So, today I want to do Curmudgeon Central’s rendition of Throwback Thursday. I have a bunch of stuff and links stored on my clipboard and I’ll go back to them and use them as today’s fodder. I may not be adorable, but I am adaptable…
If you are a fan of the NFL, you must have noticed by now that players wear pink “stuff” during games in October to support breast cancer awareness because that is the month designated for that activity. My long-suffering wife lost her mother and her sister to breast cancer; our family knows the ravages of that disease – one which has been called The Emperor of All Maladies. I do not think, however, that we are alone in being aware of breast cancer; in fact, if any adult in the US is unaware of breast cancer in 2017, I wonder what he or she might be aware of. Those personal comments lead up to the announcement by the NFL recently that the NFL is going to end “Pink October” and allow each team to pick its own cancer charity to support. Here is a link to a report on that decision.
The link here contains a statement of explanation by the NFL’s VP for Social Responsibility. I do not know the person who occupies that position nor do I know any of the people who may have occupied that chair in the past. I will say that it is an impressive title to put on one’s résumé even if I would need convincing that it was a job that would taxing to one’s energy or intellect. The benefit to me as a viewer of NFL games in October is that I will not necessarily see players running around with bubble-gum pink towels, shoes and headbands for an entire month.
Just asking, but what might the color be for players to wear if the team decided that its mission for the year was to support some charity involved with colon cancer…? Cleveland Browns, anyone?
It is painfully obvious to anyone marginally above the level of “casual observer” that the NFL is determined to hype and promote events in its off-season for the purpose of keeping itself “on the newsfeeds” at least 350 days a year. And, they are doing a great job at that. Here is the latest wrinkle they have come up with…
- The NFL Combine is a focal point of attention for fans because it feeds into the NFL Draft which is hyped beyond rationality and that hype is Assimilated by NFL fans because it represents the “hope for the future” for one’s favorite team. But that is not nearly enough…
- Fans can now go to the Combine and get “up close and personal” with the athletes as they go through some of the “events” such as the bench press. Fans will also get to try their own hand at the 40-yard dash, the vertical jump and the standing broad jump. How exciting that will be …
The NFL will hand out 6,000 “non-transferable tix” that will give fans this improved/additional access. In addition to being close to the action in some of the events or participating in those same events, fans will be able to be up close and personal in the media area where draft hopefuls address the media and say nothing of consequence. As if that were not nearly enough, fans can also get their picture taken standing behind the podium used during the draft and the fan can be wearing the uniform of their favorite team. Roger Goodell will not be there to hug them, so the best they can imagine is that they were a low-round pick. I will try to contain my joy here…
In case you think I might be making this stuff up, here is a link to the report on espn.com regarding this subject.
The first two items here are feelgood nonsense; they are as important as the letter “g” in lasagna. This next item might actually be interesting – and if things break correctly it might even be important. Just before Christmas, espn.com had a story that the NFL acknowledged the start of a spring football league. This new league will be independent of the NFL; it will operate in April 2017; it will include NFL veterans who are not under contract at that time; it will employ “experienced NFL coaches”.
There will be 4 teams in the league and they will play a total of 6 games during the month of April. Notice that the games in April will lead up to the NFL Draft and this is a way for teams to look for talent to fill rosters at that point in the calendar beyond what their college scouts have identified. All of that sounds like a good idea to me – if not one that will provide a financial windfall to the “independent investors who have not ties to the NFL”.
Here is something else that sounds good to me:
- The NFL will use the games played in this league as part of its development program for NFL officials.
That sort of development program cannot make the officiating in the NFL more controversial than it has been for the past year or two. It has to help. Here is something else that the NFL might do in terms of working with this new “Spring League” to improve its own on-field product:
- Demand that the NFL Rules Committee members sit and watch all of these games and try out new rules that might be employed in the NFL.
The Rules Committee is the body that has given us the set of rules that makes it impossible to distinguish between a catch and an incompletion and to know the difference between offensive and defensive pass interference. Those folks can use all the help and training they can get.
Finally, here is an item from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:
“Eagles rookie quarterback Carson Wentz bought each his offensive linemen a shotgun for Christmas.
“Luckily for them, Wentz doesn’t operate out of the wildcat formation.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…….