2007/02/04

Whither the Gridiron

There are a lot of "American sports". Baseball? Absolutely. Basketball? Probably. Football? Definitely. It's different enough from it parent rugby to be an American sport...but not the way that it's played today.

Admittedly I'm not a fan. Football is too slow for me, to formulaic, but I can understand the special place that it occupies in the American psyche. To distinguish it from baseball, the summertime sport, gridiron football has always been played in the winter--outside--in the harshest conditions. The Brits would probably ask, "What kind of loons play a game on a muddy field, in the cold, with snow, sleet, and freezing rain?" Americans loons. That's who! The gridiron was hulking linemen breathing clouds of vapor; cigar chomping coaches; frozen fingers, feet, and faces. It was the sport of the rustbelt. I mean...what other professional sport could have one of it's most successful teams in Green Bay, Wisconsin?

But that football doesn't exist anymore. Too many teams now play in antiseptic super-stadiums with weather closer to that of Miami Beach than to Cleveland. And let's face it, you can't have a really great Superbowl Half-time Show when it's thirty degrees and snowing.

19 Comments:

I was thinking this the other day as well. For me football, particularly at the pro level has gotten perfunctory and frankly predictable and boring. Nothing original has happened on the grid iron in a great long while. And that is truly dissapointing.
Agreed. You've inspired me. I'm going to respond at IST.
I think the original football (soccer) is one of my favorite sports. It's by far the worlds sport.

Therefore I always find it funny when the NBA, NFL, MLB, etc. have "World Championships." Ha!!

Now winning the World Cup...that's a world championship.

That's one of the reasons that I like the Olympics so much. It's competition on the world stage.
You wouldn't want Prince's nipples getting hard out there in the cold air, now would you. Cause a scandel it would.
All... As the Station Agent already knows, rugby is my game (to the extent that I have a game played with an oblate spheroid, that is). Rugby is faster, more exciting, and...safer!

When you play without pads you may get a scrape or two--the very occasional broken bone--but there are no serious injuries, no deaths.

And James, in all deference to soccer, I bet if you added up all the leagues and all the variations on rugby you'd get numbers pretty close to the "world's sport".
As the daughter of a diehard Steelers' fan (my daddy was born and raised in Pittsburgh) and as a near-Cleveland, Ohio resident, I have spent MANY frosty afternoons in ice-cold stadiums that could make a polar bear cranky with gallons of hot cocoa in your cold belly and full bladder. But oh... what memories those games provide... sigh...
I've got disillusioned by it on occasion (that'll happen when your team up and leaves and you've none for 4 or 5 years) but I really have yet to find a sport as intellectually and viscerally satisfying as Football.

This past decade especially, my dysfunctional Team not-with-standing, has seen some of the best individual and team performances of any sport ever played. This year's matchup in the superbowl has the makings of a Classic too.

Bears by 3, though I'm hoping for Colts by 1.
I've frankly never had much interest in pro sports...well, basketball a bit. College is different. I was thrilled when my alma mater (Texas) won the football national championship last year, but I never attended a game while I was in school.

Somehow, these days, football seems somewhat dishonest--not at all like the gritty game of the 40s, 50s, and 60s.
Cause a scandel it would.

Whoops. Sorry I missed your comment Fred.

Do you mean a bigger scandal than his butt cheeks did at the 1991 Grammy's? :-)
If football was an exciting game, they wouldn't need scantily clad females dancing on the sidelines to rouse the crowd.
I will not be watching the game tonight. I hate commercials, no matter how poorly done. I hate announcers who talk because they like the sound of their own voice. And I can always catch Prince's performance tomorrow on YouTube. Anybody watching the game tonight is just sucker bait.
I've never been into sports much myself. I mean, I'll play, but I find watching others play quite boring. I have the game on in the background, but I'm obviously blogging here. . =)

And, being in Fort Wayne, who would I root for tonight anyways? lol
Hey John looks like your team did it and in driving rain no less. Well...it's not snow, but I guess it made the game a bit more gritty.

Lew... I'm with you. Didn't watch myself. Wonder what Paris Hilton had to do. Halftime? I heard something about a promotional thing.
Kvatch, I am not a football fan. I am a Chicago Bears fan. I do love Basketball, and Baseball, and am a Chicago Cubs (NOT White Sox) and Chicago Bulls fan.

And truthfully, it is a minor distraction in the world - sports in any form - that is big business for some, and just fun for the rest of us who care, momentarily, what the score is.

For me, and my friends, it is another excuse for a pot luck dinner, where we just hang out, laugh, and eat way too much food. We celebrated a birthday at the party. We talked about Jennifer Aniston's nose job. We talked about traveling to Spain. We talked about a friend of ours who moved to Tennessee and became completely insane. Oh, yes, and we watched the game.
It isn't actually the Super Bowl unless the 49ers are playing in it.

Sunday afternoon, Jody and I got lots of snacks, whipped up some derves, made cocktails, and settled in to watch...Buffy on DVD (Season 5).
In the past I've always called it the Stupor Bowl, but my 5 y.o. calls it the Sugar Bowl. (I think there IS a Sugar Bowl, though....).
Diva...oh to have lived in Chicago during the glory days of of the Bulls! I was just a bit to the West in Minneapolis, and we had the...Timberwolves! AUUGGGHHH!

Tom...the Frogette and I did the same--chips and dips, chains and whips, and a bunch of Netflix DVDs. We're into 'Six Feet Under' right now.

Julien... Indeed there is a 'Sugar Bowl' though I don't believe that it's one of the major bowl games anymore.
Good point on rugby.
you can't have a really great Superbowl Half-time Show when it's thirty degrees and snowing.
Sure you can. I saw one years ago. Bud Grant's and Tom Landry's facial expressions both changed in the same game!:)
James...which point? About the numbers of teams or the frequency of injuries?

TFWY... I know for a fact that Landry's expressions never changed. Must be a myth. :-)

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