And here we thought the NFL was really, really full of itself for always trying to remain in the headlines 24/7/365.
Maybe the NFL truly is full of itself (I would be if I was the most popular sports league in town). Unfortunately for us (and to borrow a bit from the 1960s cartoon, The Flintstones), the NFL is the only sports league in town—in a manner of speaking.
That’s right, the Coronavirus......nothing more needs to be said about what that means and the recent loss of collegiate and professional sports.
Anyway, I can’t believe there were some who said the NFL should have suspended its unrestricted free agency period, which officially kicked off last Wednesday with the start of the league’s new calendar year.
For health reasons? Perhaps, but with the ability to communicate via phone calls and texts, just like with the 2020 NFL Draft—I am so glad to know that’s still a go—the league could continue its business without much disruption or danger to anyone.
I think the main reason some folks felt the NFL free agency period should have been put on pause was because maybe it was insensitive to be making such huge transactions and signing NFL players to lucrative contracts when so many people were feeling the effects—physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, etc.—of the Coronavirus pandemic.
I’m sorry, but that would have been like Facebook suspending the use of the “hug,” “kiss” and “handshake” emojis until we were clear of this pandemic.
One has absolutely nothing to do with the other.
Do you seriously think someone who has been affected by the Coronavirus is offended at all that Ryan Tannehill signed a four-year contract extension with the Titans worth up to $118 million? Do you think that’s on their mind when they’re dealing with a sickness or the loss of a job?
As someone who is worried about it for several reasons, I could give two bleeps, other than it’s great to be talking about something sports-related.
This free agency stuff has been awesome. Who needs another text or Facebook article telling us all to #stayhome? We get that by now.
I want to know how tight Eric Ebron, the Steelers most prized free agent acquisition, is going to fit into the offense. Is he going to be a number one? Is he going to be a number two?
And keep that Tom Brady news coming at me. I can’t believe he’s a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. How can he not be a Cowboy, Giant or a member of some other marquee NFL franchise? Years from now, some little kid is going to see highlights or pictures of Brady clad in orange, red, black and white and go, “That’s really weird!”
That was me the first time I saw archived NFL Films highlights of Joe Namath, and his broken and bent knees, playing with the Los Angeles Rams in the 1970s.
The first five or six years of my football fandom, the highlights of Broadway Joe consisted mostly of Super Bowl III and the Jets upset victory over the Colts. That’s how it’s going to be for some future young football fan and Brady. He or she is going to watch all of those highlights of Brady lighting teams up and winning Super Bowls as the quarterback for the Patriots and be absolutely shocked to discover he finished out his career with Tampa.
Ah, back in the days when you could truly be awed by the sports world. You didn’t have to worry about anything else because the light bill didn’t come in your name.
Isn’t that what people were saying over and over again a few years ago when that thing that shall remain nameless kept popping up in the headlines? I believe it was something like, “I watch sports to escape!!!!!!”
Here we are, and unlike that thing where we all had options of how we should feel about it, there’s no escaping from the Coronavirus and what it means.
But at least we have the NFL in all its self-importance. Just like the late, great Michael Jackson, the NFL knows it’s bad (1980s bad, which means very, very good). The NFL knows it can still get people to watch it no matter the day, week or month. There are no other games in town (not unless you count Netflix and Hulu), and the NFL’s ability to lure attention away from other things doesn’t seem so pretentious.
It’s exactly what we need.
What I wouldn’t give right now for an “Antonio Brown to resign with the Steelers” rumor.