Bad calls, dropped balls, diva falls, we've got them all. The Super Bowl will contain at least one team that shouldn’t be there. The Patriots will be there, though they likely shouldn’t have been last year. Our Steelers this year should have been in the playoffs, and while it mattered little, we showed this year we know how to beat the Patriots. Meanwhile, the Rams are in the fitting room trying on Roger Maris’s asterisk.
I know it’s all so disgusting. It starts with the Steelers and their many unfathomable failures along the way. Ben on the bench in Oakland, the ball on the ground after a free kick, Antonio Brown playing a hippopotamus, and Chris Boswell playing Shank-opotamus. Now, however, we’re not even playing anymore and the bile and disgust keep on flowing. Now it’s not just the Steelers in danger, but the game itself. Something must be done.
And something will be done. The Super Bowl will be played. The winner will celebrate. The draft order will be finalized. The combine will happen. The draft will draw interest and give birth to more opinions than there are stars in the galaxy. Football’s version of hot stove will take place, then reports from OTAs, followed eventually by camp, preseason football and next season. For which I can’t wait, despite my own swelling reserves of disgust.
What I’m trying to get at is that all the stuff we grumble about that is ruining the game, has always been a part of the game. Tuck rule anyone? Horrible calls, bad decision making, unlucky bounces, prima donna players have been around as long as the ball has not been round. The league can hold a summit on officiating. It can add this technology or that to the mix. Coaches will be fired, then hired elsewhere. Locker room distractions will get traded, and distract other locker rooms. Nothing can be and nothing will be done to “fix” what are not bugs with the NFL, but features. As long as we feed off the drama, even if by feeding we mean bemoaning it, denouncing it, it too will continue.
We seem to think that blind zebras and bad attitudes and roughing calls for gentle tackles are bad for the brand. Because we think the brand is football. But the brand is actually our eyeballs. We are the product, delivered by the NFL to the advertisers, who write the checks that make it all happen. Football is the bait, and we are the catch. “Football” is year round now, because our eyes are on the game all year.
OK. I’ll bite. And I’ll keep on biting. I will keep paying attention even though there will be no meaningful games for the next six months. All because come September it will still matter to me. I will still watch every Steeler game, waving my towels. I will complain about the same things I complained about this season. But I will put up with just about anything just to make the season last another week longer, until we get back to the show.