Where did my football love go?

I used to be a huge football fan. Born in Chicago so I always followed the Bears, grew up in the East Bay so I was a Raiders fan. Occasionally I would even root for those snooty 49ers across the Bay. Religiously went out to bars for Monday Night Football throughout college. Bought lots of hats & other licensed merchandise.

Now, after seven years with no local team, I didn’t watch a single game this year. It never dawned on me that the playoffs had started until I heard the results on TV. I’ll probably watch the Superbowl for the ads, but I won’t place any bets or care about the outcome. I don’t even hear much watercooler chat because people’s loyalties are divided. It is hard to shoot the breeze about football for long if you are a Dallas fan and the other person is a Washington fan.

I heard NFL ratings are declining in LA, but I can’t find any real numbers to support that. I don’t know what it would take to get me to care about the NFL again. A winning team? Cheap tickets? I guess time will tell.

I think the reason is LA. LA sucks the life out of football fans (and teams). The only bonus about living in LA is you generally get better games each Sunday, no sucky local teams to compete for airtime. NY is awful, I hear, when both the Giants and Jets suck.

If you come to a land where winter is dismal, you’ll rekindle your love anew I think. Up to you whether that’s worth it.

To pre-empt an imminent Brett Todd “anti-today’s NFL rant,” I think this past season was one of the finest I’ve ever seen. And not just because the Packers did well, but mainly because of that early Thursday night Dolphins/Broncos game where the lead changed thrice in the last minute due to miracle 55+ yard field goals. That game and last Sunday’s games… whew!

I first lived in NY in 1980 when both teams did indeed suck. The one good thing about it for me was that late in the season when both teams were hopelessly out of it, the local WNBC decided to preempt the Jets game in favor of the Browns-Steelers, figuring nobody wanted to see the Jets anymore.

Actually, it’s no bargain living in a one-team town, if your team sucks. In Chitown this year, it was the sucky Bears on TV plus whatever other game the local station deigned to show, which, in their infinite wisdom, was usually another sucky NFC North game. It really frosts me that the NFL once-again decided to renew Direct TV’s monopoly on NFL Sunday Ticket. So may fans, who can’t get satellite reception, but can get cable, are aced out once again.

I’ll second you Bub. I not only think this has been one of the best seasons I’ve seen, but I keep thinking that early Dolphins game was one of the most entertaining single games I’ve ever watched. You’ll have to take my word that I’m not just given to superlatives; I really thought we got some great entertainment this year. And I say that even as a New Yorker who had to endure the Giants (who are boring even when good) and the Jets (who were bad early, but are now one of the most exciting teams to watch) every weekend even when better games were on elsewhere. Seems like the NFL did a slightly better job this year putting the Giants/Jets in off-hour games so we were able to see more of the good games than usual this year. I still want to abolish the home-town rules, or at least cause every apartment in New York to face southwest (or whatever the necessary direction is) so that I can get DirecTV.

The worst thing about that Broncos/Dolphins game Rob, was that I was fighting with my wife during the 4th quarter. Suddenly she’s still fighting and I’ve stopped because I became totally absorbed in the game (it isn’t like me to bow out a fight in that way). Which made things worse, until we made up and she got to see on Sportscenter why I got so absorbed. (She’s actually a football fan, so she wished she’d hadn’t stormed out of the room like she did when she saw what she missed.)

"I think the reason is LA. LA sucks the life out of football fans (and teams). "

You could say living in Arizona is the same with Mr. Bidwell and the joke that is the Cardinals. ABout the only place worse would be to live in Cincinnati. Luckily I’ve been a Steelers fan since I was a kid and have something to look forward too most years. Even then I just love football, and can watch a good game with most teams. Last Sunday’s two games were about as good as you can get. I’ve given up of the NBA, and only pay attention to the Dbacks in baseball. But football I’ll never give up.

I actually grew up in LA when we had two football teams, and, to be honest, I just think LA’s the kind of town where it’s hard for people to get rabid about football. I remember in my teens driving to go to Raiders or Rams games and the stadium only being about 2/3 full, which didn’t strike me as at all odd.

Now I live in DC, where there’s still an 8 or 10 year waiting list for season tickets despite the fact that the Redskins inevitably manage to blow chunks. People are rabid about the Redskins, which always strikes me as funny and a little scary. When I was an intern some friends of mine came up with a game where, on the Metro, you would alternate in a round robin saying some hugely inappropriate word (penis, asswipe, etc.), with each person having to say it louder than the preceding individual. One afternoon, after the 'skins were blown out, my friend proposed changing it to “Redskins suck.”

That was the last time we played that game and the closest I’ve come to having my ass kicked Fight Club style.

Bottom line, I just don’t think LA’s a football town. But basketball… Man, I still miss the Lakers!


I love the Lakers. They’re much, much better than the Bulls ever were. I mean, for fuck’s sake, you didn’t see the Bulls’ fans riot after Jordan retired and the team started to blow playoffs left and right.

I really don’t get why LA is so ambivalent about football. I spent a lot of time growing up in Chicago too, and believe me, if the Bears had said they were moving to St. Louis, we would have burned the city flat. But nobody out here really cares that much about football. Weird.

You have to respect the Lakers’ legacy and the power of their current team, but I find their attitude–the Hollywood, wearing-sunglasses-indoors thing–a turnoff (although I confess I’m not a big basketball fan anyway).

Just for you, Bub. ;-)

Yes, I still hate the NFL, but now it’s for lame playoff game endings. How the Giant game ended last week was ridiculous. And the Steeler game didn’t end much better.

First of all, there’s the overtime issue itself. What the fuck does the NFL need to realize that sudden-death OT doesn’t work in football? The CFL does it right, US college football does it right. Yet the NFL persists in an overtime where almost half of the time the team that wins the coin toss wins the game on its first possession. How is this fair? But most of all, how is it satisfying for a fan? You watch a game for three-plus hours, get really into a close contest, then see the thing end in overtime before one team’s even had the chance to touch the ball. Idiotic. It’s like giving a hockey team the chance to win a game in OT with a single breakaway in a shootout. Or not giving a baseball team the chance to bat in the bottom half of the inning if the visitor scored in the top.

Second, there’s that contacting the kicker call. Yeah, Washington did touch the guy. But it was incidental contact on the foot that nobody would have noticed if Nedney hadn’t done that big Russian-hockey-player piroutte and dive. And there’s no way that contact like that should be allowed to change game results. It happened after the ball was kicked, for one thing. The NFL differentiates on some penalties, applying the foul after the result of the play. In instances like this, such a minor infraction should only punish the team after it takes possession of the ball. In this case, Pittsburgh should have been awarded possession, and taken a 10-yard penalty. That’s fairer to the Steelers and it doesn’t give the Titans that ludicrous second attempt at what should have been a gimmie field goal in the first place. And it would have been nice if the refs could’ve hit Nedney with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and made the fouls offsetting. That dive was embarrassing to the whole league.

Anyhow, I feel disappointed in the way that both games were resolved, so Andrew, you can rest assured that I still hate the NFL.

L.A.'s not a sports town, period.

The fans only support the winning teams. The Clippers don’t receive the love like the Lakers, the Lakers lost the love after Magic left and before Shaq and the coaching Jesus arrived, and no one was really passionate about the Rams or the Raiders. Hell, the latter couldn’t sell out the Mausoleum. The Dodgers, no one cares, the Angels, now people are fans. The Kings? Only big when Gretzky was in town. The Ducks? I have no clue.

Fans arrive late and leave early, in mass, to avoid traffic. Which of course generates more traffic. People should really consider arriving at halftime and leaving at the end of halftime. Or maybe the top of the 5th and leave the bottom of the 5th. That would really solve that problem.

I agree on the OT situation. Actually the league does too but it isn’t something that they can change mid-season. The rumor is that they’re going to put into place an OT system gives both teams a equal chances until one of them scores. Then the other team can beat or match that score. This makes it interesting if one nails a FG, the other team needs to gain a TD to win, or a FG to continue OT.

Regarding the Giants ending. Yes, that was a blown call. Absolutely. It’s notable that the reciever was actually elligible, but even more notable that the officials didn’t notice that, the booth officials didn’t notice that, the Giants booth didn’t notice that, AND JIM FASSEL DIDN’T NOTICE THAT!
… until about 3 hours after the game ended. The bizarre thing, for me, is that the announcers weren’t aware that the holder cannot spike the ball (which is what they recommended) because he isn’t a QB lined up behind the center. Odd, considering that Marino was calling that game.

Bah, the Giants could have won that game by running the clock (this ges for the Browns too, btw), restraining that idiot who kept offsetting TO’s penalties, or, I dunno, answering those 25 uninterupted points scored maybe?

Last night was different (bear in mind that I wanted the Steelers to win). I agree with you (and he enraged Cowher) that the call was ludicrous. But, again, the refs call it as they see them. I don’t really favor stopping the game every call to make sure everything is 100% perfect on the playcalling. Obviously something needs to be done about that though. The stakes were too high for a bullshit call to end the Steelers season.

Bottom Line: Officials make mistakes and to be honest, I don’t really want an NFL that’s 100% devoid of human error anyway. They’re changing OT, as I said, but I’m sure you’ll find other reasons to hate the NFL…

at least until the Cowboys turn around again

I think the call on the Steelers game was perfectly fair. The defender ran into the kicker–simple as that. It’s a rule–don’t hit the kicker. Cowher’s “he took a few steps forward” rant was BS. Fair call, stupid-ass defender.

Yeah, by the letter of the law, sure, it was a penalty. But it had nothing to do with the outcome of the play, so why should it change things so dramatically? Like I said earlier, the NFL already differentiates in fouls in terms of calling back scores, and it should consider doing the same in this case as well when there is no interference with the kicker during the kick itself. I mean, doesn’t it make sense?

Unless the Cowboys return to prominence under Parcells means that the NFL will cut commerical time down by an hour per game, that ain’t gonna happen, Andrew. ;-) Though I’ll always be around for playoff time. Hey, it’s January in Eastern Ontario–what the hell else have I got to do?

I dunno about NOT making that call. If you don’t call that one, what’s to say you should ever make a call when a guy hits the kicker? When is it acceptable and not acceptable? You’re a hockey fan too Brett, so you should be just as tired as me of rules interpretation to suit the whims of the referee, which is what that kind of situation would look like if it were a non-call instead of a call. Should the NHL have ignored McSorely planting his stick on Brashear’s head because it didn’t have an effect on the play? The puck was nowhere near Brashear when McSorely brained him IIRC.

If the rule’s on the books, then you should follow it. None of this “it didn’t matter to the play” crap. If the Steelers really wanted to win, they shouldn’t have allowed themselves to have Nedney make three separate attempts at field goals to win. If Nedney hit the first one at the end of regulation, we wouldn’t even be talking about this. The Steelers met their match and their luck finally ran out.


Ladies and gentlemen, the thread now comes full circle. Supertanker’s current disinterest in the NFL is because he lives in LA now, and not Chicago.

“Yeah, by the letter of the law, sure, it was a penalty. But it had nothing to do with the outcome of the play, so why should it change things so dramatically?”

You’ve been watching too much hockey where they get a new officiating crew for the third periods. The NFL rules are supposed to applied regardles of the situation. The running into the kicker rule is designed to protect the kicker, that’s all, just like hitting the QB late after he throws is a no-no. QBs and kickers get special protection.

Exactly. It’s a penalty, call it. You don’t make special exceptions just because it’s OT; if anything, it’s up to the players to be more careful.

I suppose it’s the same logic that says veterans can travel and foul with impunity in the NBA. It turns officiating into a big joke.

I was there too, in those days with the Rams and the Raiders. Another problem was that so many people in CA were from outside CA. I was a Rams fan in Orange County…not so strange, right? But at those home games the visiting teams (especially the 49ers) got more cheers than the home team. Heh, of course, the 49ers had Joe ‘God’ Montana then, so I could understand that.

Not true. Plenty of penalties are overturned or modified due to circumstance.

Again, not true under certain circumstances. A lineman who runs into a QB after he throws, because he slipped or slid, usually isn’t flagged for a late hit (late hits would happen ALL THE TIME otherwise). All the ref needs to see is the defender pull up, attempt a stop, and that can overturn the penalty. Cowher’s argument was that the kicker stepped forward. If he did, he went to where any defender would aim his body to block the kick, and that would also negate his “special protection.” Cowher was also pissed because he called a Time Out just before the snap (probably too late, imo) probably to give the replay booth time to overturn or at least look more closely at the call (the announcers felt he was “icing the kicker” but I doubt that was his only reason).

When I look at the replay, I see the guy pull up and slide into the kicker. That flag could have been overturned under the rules.

Note: I’m not saying it SHOULD have, because I’m not a huge fan of game stopping replays and I believe the call on the field should generally stand. But Cowher is right that the call was questionable. Really though, the refs should have been looking at Cowher to see if he was going to call Time Out. Why? Because teams always call Time Out on a game ending FG if they can, and Pitt could have done it twice.

Heh, funny you should mention the NBA. When Nedney went down in that pirouette, I turned to my wife and said, “who is he? Iverson?” I agree with Brett, it looked a bit theatrical to me. But, you know, that could be because he was stepping forward when he got hit…