This is the season that finally did it. I don’t know if that I’m starting to age as a sports fan, or if it finally all clicked and I just got worn out, but it truly doesn’t bother me that the NFL season is over.
It probably started to close out the regular season. The team I root for, the Detroit Lions, crapped away a division title, losing three straight to close out the regular season, all three to teams with probably better quarterbacks.
A week later they got walloped by Seattle in the first round of the playoffs by again, a team with a better quarterback. I didn’t watch any of it. I went to a hockey game instead because I knew that, A. they had no chance of winning, and B. it was just going to make me mad for four hours.
When they lost I took all of my Lions gear, threw it in a garbage bag and threw it in the back of the closet, because I finally got tired of rooting for a bunch of losers in a league where losers never really have a shot at winning or getting better.
And then the season ended last night the way we all knew it would the second New England got off to a 3-1 start, with the Patriots winning it all.
Sure, it took a wild route to get there, at least in the Super Bowl, but if you boil it down to, “Did you think the Patriots would win the Super Bowl this year?” most of you probably would have said yes.
TV idiots and media experts and whoever else can spout off every week that the NFL has more parity than any other league, and that anybody can go from worst to first in any given year.
That’s just not true, and I think I’m finally tired of hearing it, and definitely stopped believing in it.
Just look at the list of Super Bowl games since the first appearance by a Tom Brady-led Patriots team.
Look how many games don’t feature a team quarterbacked by Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, or Peyton Manning.
In 16 NFL seasons, exactly two other quarterbacks have gotten to play for the Super Bowl. I’m tired of it. There is no drama. Sure it takes a slightly different path every year to get to that finish line, but at the end, it’s going to be one of three teams. That’s not fun.
Which takes me back to my original point, I know the team I root for has no chance each and every season they play. Matt Stafford is a perfectly fine NFL quarterback, there’s nothing wrong with him.
But even at his absolute best, which he was for 14ish weeks this past season, there are still, and this is just off the top of my head, at minimum nine quarterbacks in the league who are better than him. The Lions have (arguably) a Top-10 player at the “most important position in sports” and have no shot. Absolutely none.
And I’m tired of it. It’s pointless to root for the Lions, because even when they’re good, there’s still a mountain of other teams who are better at the only spot that counts. It very rarely matters who has the better defense, or running back, or wide receivers. The only thing that matters at the end of the day is who gets to touch the ball on every play.
And right now, there are probably five teams who can win it all heading into next season. New England, Pittsburgh, Green Bay, Atlanta, and for fun let’s say Denver.
The only thing that comes close is the NBA, and that may be worse, because that has three teams who can win it all. And I don’t at all watch the NBA for that exact reason.
Yet, I tune in to the NFL almost weekly, get RedZone Channel because that’s the only way to see any of the Lions’ games at a price that isn’t $400 for Sunday Ticket. And now that the NFL season is over I just ask myself, why?
The Detroit Pistons last year were sort of like the Lions this year, a fun, exciting team who played lots of close games and made a run to the playoffs. I probably watched less than 10 games. I watched at least parts of all 16 Lions games this year.
The only thing those two teams had in common was they had no shot at winning the title despite having perfectly respectable seasons and making the playoffs.
But it’s not just the play. It’s the whole league, which does everything it can to cram as much coverage of everything they do down your throats at all times. Turn on ESPN at any time and there’s probably a 75 percent chance they are showing NFL highlights or talking about anything that happened in the NFL.
I’m tired of seeing it everywhere I go.
I’m tired of watching 30 seconds of action, then sitting through three minutes of commercials.
I’m tired of watching teams, fans, players, and TV networks bend over to defend some player in the NFL who has domestic abuse issues, just because they know the NFL will threaten them in some way, or, worse, they’ll lose their job over it because for once someone actually was critical of the league.
Tired of watching the league pay lip-service to fans and players and families that they’re doing all they can to make the game safer. Then a QB almost gets his head ripped off and they send him back in there after one play. Sure thing, way to make the game safer and be looking out for the players.
It was a pretty decent game last night, at least for one quarter and change, but I’m not sad to see the season end.
When the 2017-18 season gets here, I don’t think I’ll have the same excitement I used to about the start of past seasons and thinking this might be the year for the Lions.
It’s never going to be the Lions’ year. Or the Browns. Or the Bills. Or the Bengals. And so on. And yet, you’ll be told all off-season that it’s possible. That a 6th round pick who looks like the guy who could barely QB your backyard Thanksgiving game could be all the difference.
It more than likely isn’t happening.
I’m tired of the NFL most of all, because it’s just not fun anymore.