As many of you know, I was a pretty big fan of the Dolphins and started this site to pay homage to them. albeit in an amusing way.
Then, I started to see things differently. New ownership, poor play and bad coaching was enough to turn me off to the team. And then between the big business, concussions, and other off the field antics, I lost interest in the product that is professional football.
And what I realized is that its about entertainment, and not about wins and losses. Its not about a team, or a game, rather its about seeing some action. And watching certain players that are on my fantasy team. Enter RedZone, and I couldn't be more delighted. Its pure adrenaline for 6 hours on a Sunday.
It spoiled me in a way. Watching a game, with its time outs and commercials, is painful, and I can't do it. Night games where there is one game on is unwatchable IMHO. Sure, at times, I'll flip by and watch a series. Or some of the "extras" the networks offer (like NBCs online extras) make it more entertaining.
But honestly, I'd rather catch the hilights on SportsCenter the next Morning than stay up and watch what often is a game that goes on too long, and typically isn't a great matchup - there are a surprising number of blowouts and snoozers.
And then there was a moment yesterday that reinforced that. The Patriots story came out, and you had the camp that said "they're cheaters," the camp that said "we're the best, we won championships" and the camp that said "lets move on already, who cares."
I've said in the past that its impossible, illogical, and improbable - and there's no historical basis - for a team to be this good for this long. Sure, coach and QB can make up for some deficiencies. But between salary cap and player turnover, the patriots success has to be a result of some form of "bending the rules." You can call it cheating or not; its unclear if they broke any real rules, though they did gain competitive advantages along the way.
But I have to be honest with myself and say every team tries to do it. But most try to stay within certain ethical boundaries. The patriots did it better, and took it farther than everyone else. And in a weird way, you have to tip your hat to them.
It tainted the game, and made the playing field uneven. Other teams couldn't (and surely won't be able to) overcome the orchestrated method of "cheating"...they will continue to do these things in perpetuity And if other teams don't do the same (and more) the Patriots will continue to excel.
The thing is, though, there will be no asterisks, no loss of wins or trophies, no changing things to actually stop them, They will certainly be considered one of the best all-time, and the NFL will continue to grow because people love it.
So, its not a fair competition, and wins and losses don't actually matter. Unless your team is doing the same kinds of things, they will always be behind the patriots in the standings, and in Lombardi trophies.
It makes me a little sad that the integrity of the game is gone. The fun of simply playing, of watching athletes compete on the field where the rules are designed to keep things equal, is gone.
And that's why I call it entertainment and not sport. Its more like professional wrestling, where everything is scripted.
I'll watch some RedZone, because that's designed specifically to be entertainment. You see scoring plays, and get some football, and can watch your fantasy team. And that's what the NFL is really all about.
But I won't watch a game, nor spend any money on their product. Its the only way I can express my feeling about the way all of this has been handled.
The NFL made over $10 billion last year, and has a plan to make over $25 billion in 10 years. Think about that. They don't care if a team cheats or not. This is about money, and nothing else. So what if guys beat their brains out?
And that, IMHO, just isn't right.