Notes of a Football Addict (Vol. II)
A roundup of pro and college football
By John Razook,
6:03PM, Fri. Sep. 10, 2010
The 2010 football season is already one full week old. That alone is a heckuva thing to my way of thinking and I would like to personally thank the powers-that-be at all the various television networks and the NCAA for giving football fans everywhere an almost nonstop run of games from last Thursday through Monday night's Boise St.-Virginia Tech thriller.
All of which means that we had to live through the hell of only Tuesday and Wednesday with no football … because we Saints beating the Vikings last night to kick off the NFL season.
Before I jump ahead to all things professional, however (as a professional myself, this is quite important), there are a few things that need to be said regarding the college game. I should probably write much more thoughtfully about the subject, complete with all the research and maybe even some footnotes, but I simply don't have the stomach for that right now. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the double standards enacted by the NCAA would be funny if they weren't so sad.
This time it's the suspension of Georgia wideout A.J. Green that's got me scratching my head. OK, the kid was really stupid for selling his jersey. Rules are rules, yes sir. You bet they are. Know 'em, don't break 'em. Seems easy enough. It still doesn't make it right for the school to be able to sell a jersey with the kid's name on it, pocketing all the profit for itself (minus, of course, whatever percentage the NCAA takes). But if the player himself sells it, whether on eBay, craigslist, or the black market, well, look out. It's suspension time, friends.
College football is a billion-dollar business and that money is made through the hard work of student-athletes barely out of their teens. True, many of them aren't actually much in the way of "students." Not really. But it's a nice idea. College football fans like to talk about the "purity" of the college game as opposed to the pro game. But it's kind of a wink-wink, nudge-nudge deal, isn't it?
There are certainly scholarships and lots of legal benefits available to the student-athlete that are not available to regular students. There are also most certainly a great many illegal benefits, the under-the-table dealings, happening regularly at big and small schools alike. It's the nature of the beast and the beast must be fed.
Just ask Reggie Bush. The story of Reggie Bush's fall from grace is a fascinating one, but one I'm not really interested in getting too deeply into other than to say that to strip him of his Heisman Trophy seems about as stupid as the idea of erasing history, which the NCAA seems to think it can do by voiding USC's wins during the Bush era.
Personally, I wish we could void about 8 years of history during the Bush era. But that's a different Bush altogether and a sad tale for another day.
Hot damn, I've just depressed myself. To quote The King (Elvis, not Peter, or even Larry), "Let me get out of this mood."
NFL football. Yes, if there's anything that can ease my mind, if there's a salve for the long-term wounds, physical and psychological, inflicted by the reign of the child-president, it is NFL football.*
*Because let's face it: The St. Louis Cardinals aren't going to the World Series this year after folding like a cheap suit over the last month. Hope, it seems, isn't worth much these days.
It's a new season for NFL fans everywhere, though, and while some, like fans of the Tampa Bay Bucs, Buffalo Bills, and Cleveland Browns can only hope for brighter days in some to-be-determined future, pretty much everyone else seems to have a lot to play for.
I finally got around to watching a bit of HBO's Hard Knocks and it is good television. Every other NFL team must now hate the Jets the way I hate the Patriots, but I'm guessing that's just the way Rex Ryan wants it. My favorite Rex quote? "Let's go get a f@%king snack!" (Delivered at the end of a speech chewing his team out for a disappointing performance.) It's gonna be interesting, to say the least, to follow the Jets this year.
I'm also curious to see if the Oakland Raiders can approach respectability after finally showing some signs of life in the front office, drafting wisely and cutting ties with JaMarcus "'Tussin" Russell. I'm not much into the prediction business (actually, that's an outright lie), but I will go as far as to pick the Raiders as my dark horse AFC sleeper for a postseason berth. That's as far as I'm going, though. A wild-card game. Good for the Silver & Black. Might keep Al Davis alive for a few more years. And this, too, shall prove interesting.