Friday Rants is ending its run today. NFL pre-season games have begun, college football practices are ongoing, baseball’s pennant races are heating up…they’ll be plenty to rant about in the regular posts. This “series” was designed to help everyone get through the lazy, hazy Fridays of summer.
Sooooo…what do we have in our “back-to-school” edition today? Well, we’ll school the NFL on two issues…the quality of their fields and the quality of who gets paid to yak about the action on them.
Rants today come with a tip of the helmet to The Broad Street Line. Named for one of Philadelphia’s finest subways (oxymoron alert), Roy Burton and Kris Domingo have been providing unique, irreverent takes on all things sports, pop culture, music and technology for their loyal I-net radio listeners. They bring it weekly and are a great follow on Twitter @TheBSLine. Today’s subjects actually came about via back-and-forth Twitter conversation with them earlier in the week.
I could rant about soccer blowing up my Twitter timeline Wednesday night during a “friendly” involving the U.S. Men’s team in Philadelphia…but I’ll leave it alone (what other sport calls a competition a “friendly” anyway?) It seems since the U.S. Women choked away the World Cup but did it with a couple of players who are…shall we say “marketable” to some…a disproportionate number of casual sports fans – clearly delusional from the global warming sweeping the nation – are showing more interest in soccer. I am sure this will clear up now that real football has begun. If not, the pharmaceutical companies better get to work to clear this nonsense up before it gets out of hand.
Anyway, to the rants…
1. The gents at Broad Street Line wondered via Twitter what the deal was with Philly’s Lincoln Financial Field being used as a “pitch” on Wednesday night and a “field” on Thursday night…for the Eagles’ pre-season game. God forbid if it was pouring during the soccer game. Even with a clear night as a soccer pitch, come last night the football field still looked in parts like it was spliced back together…and in some cases still looked like a soccer field.
You see this in NFL stadiums almost everywhere there is no artificial turf. There is…no…turf. Artificial turf certainly isn’t a slam-dunk for safety. Several years ago in Philly a pre-season game had to be cancelled because the fake field was flaking. We all know the injury factor/wear and tear artificial turf “provides” NFL players. That allegedly is the logic why a lot of teams stay with a real field.
Yet, their real field doesn’t really have a shot at being much of a field when it is being rented out for high school playoffs, college regular-season games, soccer matches, concerts, etc. I get the economic desire of trying to use a stadium facility for events other than just NFL games…but there’s the not-so-small economic factor to weigh in on all this regarding NFL player safety. If these owners are ok with rolling the dice their football fields will become sand lots and high-priced football players will somehow manage to navigate about the less than stellar surroundings, that’s on them. But where is the NFL Players Union demanding fields of play not turn into fields of screams…screams of players being carted off with season or career-ending injuries because they’re playing on a combination of dirt, mud, sod, sand, etc.
NFL Players Union…pay more attention to the quality of the fields your membership is asked to play upon. Extreme weather conditions wreak havoc with real fields as it is. There is no need to exacerbate the situation by scheduling other events so close to games. Some of the fields we’ve seen NFL games played on in the last couple years have been atrocious and in many cases could be avoided by better monitoring of use for non-NFL activity. Your life span in this sport is short to begin with. Considering the nature of the sport itself, the very last thing you should have to worry about is the fields of play not being properly looked after and addressed. Stay on top of the ownership on this issue and let your voices be heard loud and clear.
2. I posted yesterday the “ESPN NFL Analyst” field had gotten completely out of hand, especially in light of the fact some of the “personalities” they have brought onto the engorged roster have no… personalities.
The Broad Street Line reminded me of something posted earlier in the week from Awful Announcing, mentioning Jerry Rice had joined the cast of characters in Bristol. You know, one of AA’s fans commented he counted 47 “you knows” Jerry offered up in a six minute interview on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike morning show…apparently he cut that number in half when later questioned on Colin Cowherd’s program.
Look, we already have “polished” speakers who are painful to listen to. If a guy can get me some useful information in a manner that doesn’t send me screaming from the set I can handle the fact he might not be “prime time” in his delivery. Chris Berman is “polished.” I would trade Jerry’s “you knows” for Chris straight up right now with no draft picks involved.
Any coach who is interested in being a coach again…or a GM for that matter…isn’t gonna give you anything but love for even the worst of plays or decisions.
Former players go easy on their former co-workers. Human nature.
How many different analysts do we football fans need on ESPN aside from someone giving us the X’s and O’s? How long does Ron Jaworski have to stay in “the film room?” How many times does he have to tell us he just came from watching film in “the film room?” Maybe ESPN only needs Jaws? (and possibly Jon Gruden to gruffly point out the flaws of every quarterback. By the way, when did HE become the guru of quarterbacking? The guy won all of 15 more games than he lost and won a Super Bowl with someone else’s team)
ESPN…perhaps you’re trying to get every former player and coach imaginable on your roster so you can keep other networks from using them…but HOW are you going to give all these guys face time to say nothing? And, will any of them break away from the pack and truly offer anything controversial? Merril Hoge’s take on Tim Tebow got your ratings going recently (that’s what happens when you call out GOD) but isn’t the reality most of these people really don’t want to speak poorly of their loyal order of football fraternity? Make some deep cuts and leave a reasonable number of analysts on stage for us to just get some X’s and O’s from. We can judge for ourselves who isn’t getting it done. We can ask Jaws…he just came from “the film room.”