I’m going to watch the Patriots – Steelers tonight. Despite the fact I know, deep down inside that it’s wrong … or at least abetting … or enabling … or a hundred other things. I mean giving the NFL money, no matter how indirectly, is akin to mailing a check to the Koch brothers.I mean, the NFL is evil, I know that, hell, my dog knows that. An evil not-for-profit that generates hundreds of millions a year on the backs of guys it has no interest in thirty seconds after their careers end. It has denied concussions, intimidated doctors and scientists and its own retired players.
The NFL owns ESPN. It can’t tell the difference between a serial domestic abuser and the Ideal Gas Law. It’s labor practices are, according to a days old federal court decision, abysmal, the guy in charge is something out of a Sinclair Lewis novel.
It talks, endlessly, about the integrity of the game but half its rules are there for gamblers. I’ve seen graphic results of that gambling. Swift, nasty, and graphic. Often.
It is geared toward mediocrity – parity in NFL company speak. The only other sport I can think of so invested in assuring everyone hits .500 and systematically goes after anyone or any team excelling through the rigged schedules, drafts, and salary caps are the guys running Rollerball.
No one playing knows how to tackle, they use the helmet as a weapon despite what it’s been proven to do to the tackler. It’s so bad, Pete Carroll of the Seahawks brought rugby players to camp to try and get guys to actually use their arms.
I despise the rah-rah shit, the how football prepares you for life horseshit. The whole let’s endlessly parade the military out at every game, using ‘war’ and ‘battle’ as metaphors.
I despair that the Ravens offensive guard, John Urschel, is going to do something to his world-class mathematician’s head. I despair every time a retired player like Chris Carter opens his mouth on TV.
Any other organization in the country outside of Wall Street would never have survived League of Denial, people would have marched in the street to shut them down.
I know all this, and a lot more. And I’m still going to watch. Many games. I’m going to rationalize it by thinking the guys playing are playing because they love the game and it’s their choice and yada, yada, yada . . . and I was busy playing rugby and soccer through my 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s and was more concerned with my teams than any televised sport so it’s okay for me to sit and watch now. But, that’s crap and just makes me feel a tiny bit better.
I’m going to watch, I guess, for the reason most people watch – because I can’t not watch.