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» One Touch Football - Archive » Sport » Sports are sort of crap, aren't they? (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Sports are sort of crap, aren't they?
ad hoc
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evilC: You are more into the Tour de France these days? I haven't been less into it since it first appeared on Channel 4. It may be publicly grappling with drugs, but that has just thrown into sharp relief the fact that they're not remotely close to coming to terms with it, and the overriding impression is that everyone who stands a chance of winning is cheating and the competition is about who gets away with it, rather than anything else. I mean I understand what you say about football and F1, but it strikes me that professional cycling is in exactly the same boat, and is just as tainted beyond all redemption.
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Soccer Scrimmage
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Reed, I am with you in a lot of ways, as my interest in sports has cratered over the last decade. There's no doubt that the intangibles of sports--the gameday experience, the coverage, the athletes' personalities--seems to only get worse. Which is why I am surprised you and Jason still feel love for the NFL, because to me it is by far the worst league in America.

In terms of athletic skill on display, though, sports have never been better in the US, at least for the leagues I am interested in. This season in the NBA may be one of the best ever, and the Western Conference playoffs should be among the most epic post-season events in American sporting history. MLS is starting in just over a week, and this season has the potential of being a great one, I think.

The one silver lining to the money, the hype, and the oversaturated media is the fact that it tends to mean better players.

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Inca
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I think this NBA season has been fantastic. I know you're not much of a basketball fan, Reed, but like SocScrim said, the talent on display is unbelievable. The downside is that it's mostly in the West, and the East is basically just the Celtics, the Pistons, then a gap, then Lebron and four other guys (aka the Cavs), and then another gap and then Dwight Howard and four other guys (aka the Magic). I mean, the Hawks are chasing a playoff spot. THE HAWKS!
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Reed
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Why do you think the NFL is by far the worst league in America? That's a rather unorthodox view that merits further explanation.

I think it's got a lot more problems than the media and fans usually recognize, but most of its problems are shared by the other leagues, and doesn't share some of their weaknesses. I think it has the best balance between the regular season and playoffs and, unlike MLB, has enough balance that every team is at least potentially relevant.

To me, the NBA seems like such a waste of athletic talent. For such amazing abilities to be used for such an incredibly tedious game. It's much more enjoyable in highlights.

And Kobe Bryant is a douche.


All of the leagues have too many teams. Except MLS. I hope MLS will never expand beyond 20.

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jason voorhees
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Sorry, am going to have to leave this conversation for the next month. March Madness is on.
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Reed
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I'm not in a March Madness pool this year. I probably won't watch a minute of it lest I accidentally have to listen to the voice of Billy Packer.

That is sort of a "WP" thing for me to do. Playing in an office NCAA pool is a very white person sort of thing to do, but proudly opting out gives me even more cred. It's almost as good as not owning a TV.

I hate gambling. I won an NCAA pool once in college and I think that was my one for life because all other attempts, even in sports I know something about, have failed miserably.

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Soccer Scrimmage
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quote:
Why do you think the NFL is by far the worst league in America? That's a rather unorthodox view that merits further explanation.
Your original argument, Reed, was that the sporting culture--the game-day atmosphere, the money, the athletes--were getting worse and driving you away. It seems to me that on virtually all measures the NFL has the worst "sporting culture" of the major American team sports.

It has the worst fans; it has the worst stadium experience by a gigantic distance; it is the most over-hyped and attracts the most obnoxious commentary; and its athletes are (arguably) the biggest douchebags.

Most important for me, though, is that the way the NFL is setup discourages what I call sports justice. To me, sports should be a meritocracy: the team that plays and is coached the best on any given day should win. In other words, the role of luck should be minimal. Unless the teams are otherwise closely-matched, when a team wins (or loses) by dint of some external, uncontrollable variable, it generally destroys the drama, rather than adds to it. I don't like dei ex machina in my sports.

But luck and extra-sporting factors play a greater role in the NFL than in other leagues by a substantial margin. Specifically: injuries and the ridiculous unbalanced schedule.

Now, I am not saying anything about the game of football itself--that's another argument--but in terms of the 'culture' you identified before, the NFL blows.

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Inca
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quote:
To me, the NBA seems like such a waste of athletic talent. For such amazing abilities to be used for such an incredibly tedious game. It's much more enjoyable in highlights.
For me, this is kind of similar to an anti-NFL complaint I have--obviously all 11 guys on the field for both teams are at the elite of their positions. Even the Raiders or Miami would most likely beat even the best college team. But for the most part, all of that talent is used away from the play, and in many cases doing something (blocking) that really isn't all that exciting, so games outside of the playoffs are actually kind of boring for me.
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Reed
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What stadiums have you been to? The only NFL experience I have is the Redskins.

"It has the worst fans;
I disagree. Sort of. It has the best and the worst, I reckon, because it has the broadest cross-section, I think. At Redskins games, at least, every race, age, gender, intellect level and class are represented, although the class representation isn't as broad as it used to be because of the outrageous prices and it seems like older Skins fans are giving up because they don't want the hassle of going to FedEx Field. (Everyone hates FedEx Field. It's a massive mistake of a white elephant of stadium that's barely 10 years old.)

it has the worst stadium experience by a gigantic distance;
I don't think that's true yet. Again, my experience is limited (I've been to three Wizards games and one Knicks game a long time ago), but the NBA experience is way worse. Then again, the NFL seems to be emulating the NBA with the crappy music, the advertising on the jumbotron, etc. The fans at NFL games seem to give a shit more than fans at NBA games.


it is the most over-hyped
It's super hyped, but it doesn't feel like overhype to me given how enormously popular it actually is. Except during superbowl week.

and attracts the most obnoxious commentary;
No. The quality of commentary on college football is much, much, much worse. I can think of at least five or six NFL and print TV pundits who know what the hell they're talking about. With college football, I can only think of one. Kirk Herbstreit (and it pains me to say that because he played for Ohio State). College pundits seem to shout more too.

Its athletes are (arguably) the biggest douchebags.
I think baseball, basketball and football are in a constant struggle for that title with many lead changes throughout the years. Right now, basketball seems to be enjoing its most relatively douche-free period in memory, whereas baseball seems to be more douche-heavy than it has ever been.

And of course, if we open it up to non-major sports, men's lacrosse takes the cake. C'mon. We all know it. Even if the Duke players didn't rape anybody.

The nice thing about hockey is that it's about 98% douchebag free. Even some of the goons who probably belong in jail seem like nice people. Part of that is the nature of the game. It demands accountability. It's almost impossible to run one's mouth and not end up getting one's ass beat. I believe its also got to do with geography. People from cold northern places just seem to be, on average, less selfish and easier to get along with than people from warm climates. I don't think that's just prejudice either and I don't mean anything racial either.


Inca, all the blocking is the play. Most people don't realize this, but the game really is won or lost "in the trenches." A mediocre running back or quarterback can be reasonably effective with a great offensive line. Even great a running back or quarterback can't do shit without blocking.

It's easier to follow what's going on on the line if you see it in person or in HD.

[ 20.03.2008, 18:55: Message edited by: Reed ]

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Inca
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quote:
Inca, all the blocking is the play. Most people don't realize this, but the game really is won or lost "in the trenches." A mediocre running back or quarterback can be reasonably effective with a great offensive line. Even great a running back or quarterback can't do shit without blocking.
I know that. It doesn't make it any more exciting.
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Soccer Scrimmage
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I think this is going to be a "agree to disagree" thing, but:

1.) Ok, maybe the NFL has the biggest cross-section, so let me rephrase my initial objection: the NFL fanbase contains the largest percentage of gaping assholes.

2.) I've been to many, many Skins games at RFK and FedEx and one Bears game at the old Soldier Field, so I am sure that colors my view. At the same time, though, I have to believe that your take on NBA games is related in part to your dislike of the game itself. At NBA games you will be subjected to horrid music and annoying PA announcers but you will spend most of your time watching the game instead of just sitting there; you will get to go home about three hours after arriving at the stadium instead of 4 or 5; you will most likely not encounter drunken assholes and/or people getting in fights (see point #1 above); you will have paid substantially less all things being equal. You are right about atmosphere, though.

3.) Re: commentary. I think this one might have to do with our different geographical origins. I am from Maryland where no one gives a shit about college football, therefore the idea that college football commentators could be obnoxious is strange to me. I don't even know any college football commentators. I can imagine that in happy Valley or the South or wherever, the college football talk is interminable.

I do know, though, that the IQ of the people who talk about the Redskins on WTEM or the people who talked about the Eagles when I lived in Philly or the Ravens in Baltimore or who talk about the Bears here in Chicago is about 50. I mean jesus, is there a stupider person alive than Larry Michael, or Andy Pollin? I hope not.

4.) Yeah, I guess I don't want to compare douchebaggery. All athletes basically suck, but the 'roid heads in football seem to me to be the worst. I guess I don't hate LAX players all that much; it's so popular in MD that a lot of kids play it, not just the pricks.

But again, my biggest problem with the NFL is that your season is in many way out of your hands because of the schedule and injuries.

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Inca
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quote:
you will get to go home about three hours after arriving at the stadium instead of 4 or 5
Jesus, I've never thought of that. It's bad enough going to a college game that's on local cable for all of the TV timeouts; I can't imagine what it's like when it's a game on a big network. At UCLA games, I definitely notice a difference when it's on Fox Sports Net vs. ABC.
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jason voorhees
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Agree 100.1% with reed's post.

The NFL stadium experience blows, but only because they started aping the NBA experience.

Also, it really depends on what stadium, and what crew you're sitting with. I'm sure the Raiders' Black Hole, the Ravens' Chain Gang, the Browns Dawg Pound, the Saints Who Dats, and such offer the best stadium experience in the country. The Squealing Piggles come the closest in MLS.

And really SocScrim, your reasons for hating the NFL are the same exact for MLS. The bottom line is 5 out of 8 SuperBowls this decade has been decided by a TD or less. Before that it was 4 in 20 years.

I actually love the less-pressure games of the regular season. I love the last bit of the 4:00 games getting strung out, when the lights are on and it's Fall darkness and the ads for 60 Minutes come on which means once the final whistle blows the weekend's over.

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ursus arctos
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FWIW, I'm much closer to SocScrim's position in this debate, but suffer from not being particularly fond of pro basketball and actively disliking American football.

I also happen to think that the inclusiveness of the Redskins' fanbase is somewhat unique. We've talked about it before, but the 'Skins are absolutely the only experience that pretty much all of the people of the DC area share; everything else is splintered, often to the point of being parallel universes. I think that is still true outside of the stadium, but it used to be quite true even within RFK, which was remarkable.

In New York, the shared sports fan experience is that of the Knicks (which makes the current debacle all the more painful), even though it has been a long time since most people could afford to see them in person. But then there are a significant number of other shared experiences outside of the sports arena, like riding the subway.

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ursus arctos
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The tag teams are set; we just need a ring.

And Soc Scrim better have some friends with metal chairs outside the ring, because my knees would last about 30 seconds.

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