The truth about me and football fandom

Beginning in 1984, I swung from mild apathy toward pro football to rabid interest. I watched the San Francisco 49ers offense glide through the season in such a groove that I was shell-shocked. Joe Montana was so cool, in the zone, and he spread the ball around everywhere. The offense's timing and execution was brilliant: I had never seen a group of people act so closely in concert. And the D was tough, led by the hard-hitting Ronnie Lott.

I began to pay attention to all the exciting football going on during that era: the epic Giants-49ers duels, Bo Jackson, LT, run and shoot, the hapless Oilers and Bills and Patriots. But a perfectly thrown pass, a Barry Sanders juke or a Ronnie Lott hit are things of beauty. I played Tecmo Bowl, Tecmo Super Bowl and Tecmo Super Bowl III (Special Edition) and knew every roster. I played Front Page Sports Football Pro, made my own playbook, built my own league based on historical NFL teams (Rochester Jeffersons, anyone?), etc.

Lately, the fan-focused fantasy football has really ruined much of my interest. The sport is no longer about teams and group psychology, it's about players' individual performances. Most of the fans now root only for the running back on one team and the wide receiver on the other because of their league. Do they care which team wins so long as their guys rack up the points? Yes, fanta-football allows the fans to participate more, in a Vegas sense, but it tackles the idea of it being a team sport.

Free agency has killed football too. Players are not together long enough to learn the playbook and play together. The constant shuffling of players due to injuries, which are way too common, and free agency means that there are no more offensive or defensive philosophies. One season a team has an aggressive D, the next they are on their heels because their explosive linebacker is on IR. Coaches have become just a front office tool seemingly along for the ride, but no longer in control of much.

This has brought parity to the NFL, but also a lot of boredom. Yes, you may not know who will win any given game, but who cares? A lot of games look like the quality of NFL Europe. And there are no dominant teams. Most cycle between mediocre and abysmal, with little reason for the change. Other teams go on a run for one season, and then stink up the place the next. Going from 6-10 to 10-6 to 6-10? Come on, it's random chance. The Super Bowl winners seem to be drawn randomly any more.

Maybe it is me. I just don't have the desire to sit through 3 hours of a game. At 58:00 into a close Monday Night Game, I turned it off. Just wasn't worth the effort. Either way, I'm done with pro football. I'll spread my very low attention to sports more evenly among them.

But, I have to admit, playing the old Tecmo Super Bowl on the web (see link above) was fun. My 1991 49ers beat the 1991 Bills 36-28 (yeah, the controls were hard to get the hang of).

1 comment:

shoffy22 said...

Ahh, perhaps the Trackball would find tennis to be interesting! The Federer-Nadal rivalry is pretty cool, especially now that Federer's lost his crown and is trying to regain the top spot! Plus all the Trackaballs could play some great doubles matches together!