The Art of Football
Who in the NFL is playing in an artistic manner this season, and who is not
By Timothy Braun,
4:17PM, Thu. Nov. 13, 2008
Recently I taught a unit in my English class at St. Edward’s University called “What Is Art For?” In this section we ask the subjective questions of when something is art, when something is not art, and, my personal favorite, when is it art and when is it porn? Hint: If they are wearing shoes, it is porn. We ask these questions while looking at the work of Pollock, Picasso, and Mapplethorpe. In the end, we all decided that art is in the eye of the audience, and the value of art is to the individual.
As we are now into the second half of this NFL season, one of the strangest I have ever seen, the art of the pigskin is in question. With Tom Brady injured, the Colts offense stuck in the mud, and LaDainian Tomlinson having a weak season, we look now to see the new art, and not art, from this fall.
Art! The Tennessee Titans defense. I saw them play a 3-4, 4-6, 4-3, 5-2, a cover 2, and some play where Albert Haynesworth dropped back into center field and just stood there against Green Bay. A year after New England almost obtained the perfect season the Titans have ridden this imaginative Monet-of-a-unit to 9-0, and might ride them to the Super Bowl.
Not art! The Detroit Lions. After losing to a banged-up Jacksonville team 38-14, every aspect of this squad makes me scratch my bald skull. They can’t score. They can’t stop anyone from scoring. Keep in mind, this winless team plays Tennessee on Thanksgiving. It must make the folks in Michigan want to, get ready for it, scream.
Art! The Pittsburgh Steelers pass rush. This is the No. 1 defense in the league, and the top sack squad in the NFL. James Harrison, Larry Foote, LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons, and James Farrior come at the quarterback in layers, like a sound installation in the heart of SoHo. With 11 sacks and counting, Harrison might be the defensive player of the year.
Has the Raiders Al Davis cut his ear off yet? With the firing of Lane Kiffin and cutting DeAngelo Hall after paying him $8 million for eight games, at what point in time should we call a mental health specialist?
Art! Matt Ryan’s throwing motion. The rookie quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons is fantastic, and passes the ball with the grace and skill of Mikhail Baryshnikov spin. Dance is art too, and I think Ryan will be dancing away with Rookie of the Year honors.
Not art! I don’t know who placed marathon repeats of Lost on the SciFi Channel opposite Monday Night Football, but flipping between the two during commercial breaks is giving me hand cramps. We haven’t even gotten to Desmond slipping in and out of time, let alone Green Bay at Chicago.
Is it porn? In a season that gets weirder and weirder by the minute, new San Francisco 49ers head coach, and memorable Bear badass, Mike Singletary tried to motivate his team by dropping his pants. It has been said Singletary wasn't wearing shoes. Thus, by rule, this was an artistic expression, and not porn.