You hear it from the more militant atheists out there. “Freedom OF religion?” they sneer. “I want freedom FROM religion!!!”I certainly understand the sentiment, and appreciate its correctness. They’re not offended by religion per se; they just don’t understand why other people’s belief in God should in any way affect their ability to buy a case of Bud Light on a Sunday morning. It also crystallizes my feelings about football perfectly. I think football is boring as hell and borderline unwatchable. It’s like watching a YouTube video when you have way too many browser windows open. You get a few seconds of action and then everything STOPS for an unpredictable span of time. Then more action and just when you’re getting into it things STOP again for several minutes. The advantage of the YouTube video, of course, is that it only lasts a maximum of ten minutes. Not four hours. And incidentally: no, it isn’t like when there’s no action in a baseball game. When a pitcher is sizing up a batter and trying to figure out how to intimidate the runner on first into staying close to the bag, things are happening. If you’re not familiar with the rules of football, any random twenty minutes of viewing would leave you with the impression that points are scored based on the style and technique of individual players’ Milling About. But hey, if you choose to spend your Sundays sitting down and standing up and saying the right things in the right places, that’s your business. I simply ask you: when do I get Freedom From Football? I was urged to finally speak of this by the “trending topics” on Twitter a moment ago:
Granted, this Twitter feature stopped being useful a year ago. I’d like to write a Firefox plugin that automatically changes the label from “Trending Topics” to “Movies, TV Shows, Products, Or Services That Have Included Social Networks In Their Marketing Plans.”
But it makes a point, anyway. I don’t care about football. I do care that it crowds out everything else on Sunday. Particularly TV shows.
“The Simpsons Treehouse Of Horror” Halloween specials might air in mid-November, or not at all. New seasons of many shows now have to start in October. Any show I like is absolutely impossible to record, if it airs on a Sunday night. Honest to God, I fell out of the habit of watching “The Simpsons” and “60 Minutes” solely because I got sick and tired of clicking Play on my DVR menu and seeing the Rams Versus University Of Wyoming In Pre-Season Exhibition Play in the middle of the third quarter of regulation play, and the fourth hour since kickoff.
Yes, part of the responsibility lies with the shows themselves; they’ve been on for so many seasons that they lose their sense of “see it now” urgency. I do manage to watch nearly every episode of “The Amazing Race” when it airs on Sunday, by padding the recording time to double or even triple what’s technically required. Probably because I know that if I miss this episode, I won’t get another chance and I’ll start off next week’s show by desperately freeze-framing Phil’s lightning-fast recap.
Still, when I become Chairman of the FCC, this all ends.
“Screw you,” — yes, that’s how the official regulation will begin — “your little action-reality-gameshow AND THAT’S ALL IT IS, LET’S BE HONEST HERE must END at 7 PM. At that instant, the network moves to its normal programming. And no freaking whining, either. If you’re scared about missing the end of the game, just tune back in after the 11 PM local newscast. They ought to be starting the fourth quarter by then.”
It’s clear that the NFL doesn’t give a damn about this stuff any more. It was bad enough as it was. Then they gave teams the ability to STOP EVERYTHING and make the referees go watch TV. It’s like the fee that your bank charges you to make a withdrawal. It’s about them making the point that they just don’t care and there’s nothing you can do about it.
No longer. Under my reign, it’s 7 PM and GOODBYE.
I anticipate whining. Oh, just stop: your tears are making your facepaint run. If you care so damned much about seeing the game, then buy a freaking ticket and go. If you’re angry that it costs so much to go, hey, simple solution: attack the stadium en masse and pull down the gates. If filthy stinking stoned hippies could do it at Woodstock, then you Packers and Jets fans have absolutely no excuse. Or are you not REAL fans? I understand that the Lions fans had the whole stadium torn down and in their pickups before the singing of the National Anthem. Are you willing to live with the knowledge that Lions fans are better than YOUR team’s fans?
Or you could finally hold the NFL accountable. “We’re not here to watch millionaires milling around, doing nothing!” you should shout to the players. “Put down the Blackberry and freaking HIT SOMEBODY, already!!!”
God bless America.