As I sit here watching this Monday Night Football game, my buddy calls me up and says he has an extra ticket to the Fiesta Bowl, and it could be mine if I want to meet him out there. He currently lives in Missouri, but grew up in Dallas, and is a huge UT fan. Normally I would jump at this opportunity, and still may, but I started to think...
Are live football games that enjoyable anymore? Bill Simmons from ESPN.com has touched on this in the past, whether going to a football game is that fun. He spoke about this in the context of the NFL, and I would like to expand on the lower levels. The last football game I went to was the Michigan drubbing this year. It was the first time I had ever been inside of the Horseshoe, and what a game it was to see. However there was an inordinate amount of standing around time. After just about every score, kickoff, and turnover there is a TV timeout. Which are fine if you are sitting on the couch and need to go to the bathroom. Or use the Microwave. Or change a diaper, let the dog out, etc. You get the picture. When your actually at the game, it is a little disconcerting to see the teams just standing there, and some donkey with a head set standing a quarter of the way onto the field with orange gloves on letting everyone know when it is OK to start the play clock again.
If you are lucky enough to go to a game in which your team completely and mercilessly obliterates their bitter rivals, there isn't much adrenaline manufactured. And at NCAA events they don't sell liquid warmth. So you are left standing in the late November day, trying to keep warm, while the players huddle before the huddle.
Previous to that, the last game I had gone to was another big time rivalry game. It was Don Bosco Prep vs St. Joes Montvale.Some local high school ball. Those of you who follow OHSAA football may recognize Boscoas the team that lost to Cincy St. X early on this year. Think of this game as Eds vs Ignatius(of course on a smaller scale, because NJ high school football leaves a lot to be desired compared to OH. and yes I will be taking various shots at NJ throughout my posts). And think of Boscoas the evil empire, as their recruiting budget and effort puts many mid major D1 colleges to shame. Well this game was being broadcast on CBS Sports' Scholastic network, which of course means TV timeouts. This did not sit well with me, as this is high school ball, they can bastardize this game as well?
I understand the cycle, and need for commercials throughout these games. I topically understand how the corporate world works. Schools need to make money from the advertisers to keep their programs top notch yada yada yada. However, I feel like there should be more structure to it. Somehow, someway make these games more enjoyable. Maybe they could structure it similar to college basketball, where every dead ball under 16, 12, 8, and 4 minutes remaining in the half is a TV timeout. Perhaps as technology advances, advertising agencies will realize a way to reach people in ways other than conventional commercials, where people do anything but pay attention to them. Whatever the solution may be, hopefully the powers that be find it in a timely fashion. Money, once again, is sucking the life out of the flow and rhythm of games that would only be enhanced by not having to be chopped up.
...So I told my buddy I have to think about it and get back to him, as a trip to Glendale to watch TPand Beanie stand around may not be that fun. (Image from Temple.edu)