Posts Tagged ‘football’

Monday Medley

What we read while signing up for Obamacare (just kidding)….

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The End of Football?

“I’m fine…”

Back in 2009, fellow NPIer Josh asked, “What Common Human Behavior Will be Viewed as Mistaken in 100 Years?” He used that question to talk about vegetarianism, but the question popped into my head recently regarding football. It is starting to seem inevitable to me that football—a sport everyone here at NPI loves—will be seen as barbaric and immoral in a generation or two. The more science exposes about the long-term effects of concussions and subconcussive impacts, the more it seems that there is simply no safe way to play football.

Right now, however, football’s popularity seems invulnerable. The highest rated show on TV last year was Sunday Night Football; it was so highly rated that it, combined with the Super Bowl, kept NBC—NBC!—from finishing last among the four major networks this season. This year’s BCS National Championship was watched by 24.2 million viewers, and that was the lowest rated championship of the BCS era. In a recent piece on football’s popularity for Grantland, Chuck Klosterman pointed out that 25 million people watched the NFL Draft, “a statistic that grows crazier the longer you dwell upon its magnitude.” And, if anything, the football’s popularity seems poised to grow as an influx of popular young stars like Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Tim Tebow enters the league.

In other words, football’s decline seems both inevitable and impossible. Continue reading

Let’s Get Physical

There’s a tendency in sports analysis — and maybe it’s just because it’s football season now that I think it’s especially true in football — to attribute any and all mistakes to poor decision-making. There are no physical errors; only mental ones.

Take Jacoby Jones’ muffed punt in the Texans’ loss to the Ravens. Jones was excoriated not for failing to properly secure the kick, but for even trying to do so. It was an “inexcusable” mistake, akin to “driving a car on the freeway in the wrong direction and once he realized it he sped up to get to the next exit (which would actually be the on ramp) and while changing lanes had a head-on collision.” His “gaffe” is defined as “opting to field a punt that took several bounces in front of the fifth-year veteran at the Texans’ 13 and not being able to handle the football.

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Monday Medley

What we read while joining the ACC…

  • We don’t need to tell you Vin Scully is awesome, even if we find his call of Koufax’s perfect game a tad overwrought, Here, Vin  remembers his greatest calls, many of which include the original audio.

This Day in Revisionist History

December 15:

“Without rules, there is no game. Without a game, there are no rules. Is any of this making sense?” – a rambling James Naismith to several confused, restless youths at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts as he attempted to introduce the new game he called “basket ball.”

If there’s one thing every American knows, it’s that there’s nothing better than seeing two teams go head-to-head on the gridiron. But you may not know that in Europe, what we call “football” is actually called “soccer,” and at one point in the United States was called “basket ball.” The inventor of this sport was a doctor by the name of James Naismith, although his version of the game bears little resemblance to the fast-paced action of the modern NFL. He posted the original rules of his newly crafted game on the wall of the gymnasium, which NPI has partially reprinted with the permission of several United States courts, which over the years have firmly established that claims of copyright infringement cannot be filed in cases of “common knowledge”: Continue reading

Thankful for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving doesn’t quite make the Top 173 Things in World History, largely because I find the Disneyfied idyll of the First Thanksgiving a little dubious.

But, if I were making a list of the Top Holidays in World History, well, it’s tough to put much ahead of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving has a few flaws—I, for one, prefer my holidays to be two syllables or less, thank you*—but they are outnumbered by its two great strengths: food and football. In this way, Thanksgiving is a pretty masculine holiday. We watch the Lions get crushed, we eat a big dinner at like 4 in the afternoon, we root like hell against America’s Team—stopping at halftime for dessert—and then we watch another football game at night.

*At least we don’t speak Spanish, in which case we’d be wishing you a Happy “Día de Acción de Gracias.”

Days don’t get much better than that, and I don’t even like turkey.*

*It’s a long story.**

**Actually, it’s not. I don’t like turkey. That’s the story. Deal with it.

So this Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for Thanksgiving—for a holiday where I give nothing and get everything, for a holiday that unabashedly embraces masculinity, for a holiday so good that the Canadians decided to start celebrating it, too.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Meet the Mets

It was an all-too familiar scene at PNC Park Monday night. The Mets, coming into the game with the semblance of a hot streak and cruising early with a 5-0 lead, coughed up a substantial lead, the final blows coming in the bottom of the eighth, and lost to the pedestrian Pirates—a team that each year adds to its legacy as one of history’s worst.

Mets’ fans couldn’t help feeling déjà vu. The same process had played itself out in Pittsburgh twice before. In 2007, the Amazins led 5-0 and 7-3 before allowing five runs in the final two innings—including three in the eighth—in a 10-7 loss. In 2008, they only blew a 2-0 lead, but it was three eighth-inning runs against the powder keg of a Mets’ bullpen that again felled them.

This is just exposition, though, to the larger point. There is a reason Monday night’s loss, which occurred on June 1 and after the Mets went 5-1 on a homestand, hurts more than it should. There is a reason every Mets’ loss now hurts more than it should. And it is the reason rooting for the Mets is now fundamentally different from rooting for any other baseball team.

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