Posts Tagged ‘nfl lockout’

Give Me Something To Believe In

// July 26th, 2011 // 72 Comments » // Uncategorized


I knew that what I was watching was born in some PR incubator. There was something sneaky and disingenuous about the set up; Jeff Saturday thanking one of the owners, then wrapping one of his giant arms around him to squeeze any remaining life out of the lockout. The ‘spontaneous’ display of public affection seemed all too familiar in a world where everyone who sleeps with hookers, kills dogs, does drugs, crashes his or her car, or is accused of sexual misconduct, appears in front of a bunch of cameras in some sappy image salvaging situation.

But despite the skepticism that runs rampant through my brain, I found myself believing it. What’s worse is that it managed to weave its way through the hardened layers of doubt and actually find a heart string or two.

The reason that this particular Hallmark moment, which was intended to erase any lingering animosity NFL fans had toward the owners and players, hit home?

It was, dare I say, genuine.

I realize that is practically a four letter word at this point, but watching a beaten down Robert Kraft, who had recently lost his wife Myra, collapse into Saturday’s chest didn’t trip my bull shit alarm. Instead I found myself forgetting about the lockout, and being reminded that even something as unredeemable as grown men bickering over bajillions of dollars, can demonstrate the good in people.

The embrace was awkward and clumsy, a sure sign that it wasn’t forced or staged. Had it been either it would have been easy to fake. But for men like these, a genuine display of emotion doesn’t come naturally.

Maybe my first reaction was right, and these emotions are exactly what the two sides had in mind.

But like a young kid with Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the hope that they won’t turn into their parents, until someone proves otherwise, I will believe.


The Lawn Mower Man

// June 30th, 2011 // 9 Comments » // Uncategorized


There have been reports on the NFL Lockout for the last 110 days, which doesn’t include the amount of posturing, hypothesizing, and bickering, that went on before that.

I have stayed away from daily reports about the lockout because, well, all I care about is watching football. There is an obnoxiously jaded quote about boat owners that reads; The two happiest days in a boat owners life are the day he buys the boat, and the day he sells it. While I disagree that someone with the financial means to own a boat is somehow less happy than I am because he has that boat, the sentiment echoes my feelings about the NFL Lockout.

I cared the day they locked out, and I will care the day they get back to work.

All of the rest of it means nothing to me. It’s like the commercials between my favorite show. I know they are eventually going to end, I usually get up to go to the bathroom when they come one, and am really only concerned with when they end so I can get back to watching Mob Wives. Unfortunately there is no big DVR in the sky that allows us to fast forward through the lockout.

Despite trying to leave the room whenever this 110 day old commercial comes on, there is one story that I feel bears repeating.

Having done extensive research on the prospects for the 2011 NFL Draft for, I found some players who I would be rooting for regardless of the teams that they played on. You can’t spend that kind of time analyzing someone without developing an emotional association. It’s why no one will ever love you as much as a stalker will.

One of the players that I was most impressed with was DT Marcel Dareus out of Alabama. The guy had the size and athletic ability to solidify any defensive front in the league, and he seemed to be a genuinely hard working guy who battled back from injury to be better than he was before. None of that makes me as proud to say I was a Marcel Dareus fan as the fact that he has been spending the lockout cutting grass for his godfather.

The man is worth millions of hypothetical dollars, and instead of bitching about the uncertain nature of his next paycheck, he is out there pushing a mower. The fact that he chose to work, and in doing so, helped out a family member speaks volumes about the kind of man that Buffalo drafted.

As a Patriots fan, there aren’t too many times that I can remember saying this with a straight face, but I’m a little jealous of the Buffalo Bills.


Broken News: NFL Lockout Ends!!!!!!!!!!!!………………………………..Then Resumes Over Momma Joke

// June 16th, 2011 // 15 Comments » // Uncategorized

17197__sopranos_lRemember in The Sopranos when Tony was beefing with Johnny Sack? They had reached a middle ground, when a off color comment about Johnny’s wife made its way back to the New York boss’ ears. The “fat” joke derailed peace talks and ignited a violent fued.

Well it appears history has repeated itself.

The NFL Lockout ended for all of five minutes earlier this morning when the two sides reached a tentative accord that would ensure football was played in 2011. That agreement was shattered into a million pieces when an unnamed NFL owner overheard Drew Brees, Mike Vrabel, and a handful of other players making jokes about his momma.

The rib that sent Owner X over the edge?

“His momma is so fat, she broke her leg and gravy came out.” Apparently the owner’s momma had been crippled in a car accident, and confined to a wheel chair for much of her life.

After hearing the joke, Owner X stormed out of the room and started making phone calls. One by one he convinced the other owners that they were giving in to easily, and needed to stand together. His impassioned pleas were so convincing that five and half minutes after the two sides had shaken hands, the lock out was back on.

No word yet on when they will resume talks.


It Ain’t Me Babe

// April 19th, 2011 // 6 Comments » // Uncategorized


I had been married for years when my wife started announcing to her friends that she intended to divorce me.

We had been through a lot together. I really didn’t expect her to follow through on the threat, which I assumed was just her way of dealing with a big fight. When I refused to cow tail to her stubborn demands, she broke it off in a very public, very contentious fashion. She made a point of telling everyone who would listen how she was going to be just fine, and it was actually me who needed her. According to her, I would come crawling back after realizing I had never had it so good.

Well I haven’t. I’ve stood my ground and kept my pride intact. It hasn’t been easy though. There are lots of things that I missed about the relationship, and moving forward has been virtually impossible. Her father had forced us to sign a pre nuptial agreement in order to protect his vast mayonnaise fortune, and now I have been forced to prove I own things like my favorite books, CDs, even my clothes require receipts to prove that they were not bought with mayo-gotten gains.

Now, the coup de grace. She has announced to the world that I will be accompanying her to her brother’s wedding, a swanky black tie affair at The Plaza in June.

I had been suffering through the divorce but this complete lack of respect has finally opened my eyes. The fact that she is so arrogant that she assumed I will have come back, hat in hand, and apologize is one thing. The fact that it is a foregone conclusion, to the point where she is already making plans for us because she feels so confident we will be back together by the summer, killed any chance for reconciliation.

My soon to be ex-wife is beautiful, rich, and connected enough to get me anything I wanted for the rest of my life. Unfortunately over the last few months I have come to realize that she doesn’t want a partner. She wants a lackey, a whipping boy to take abuse while she smiles behind the scenes. Well it ain’t me babe. No. No. No. It ain’t me babe. It ain’t me you’re looking for.

Realizing that someone I had shared a life with doesn’t value my contributions is a slap in the face.

Realizing that they see me as a spineless entirety that they can walk all over and make plans for, despite their insistence on a divorce, is a giant Mack truck going 100 mph slamming into my face.

None of that is actually true, but if it was I would know how the locked out NFL players feel about their former bosses still announcing their schedule for the 2011 season.


First Blood

// March 15th, 2011 // 9 Comments » // Uncategorized


The war was over. NFL players, after years of following orders and carrying out their missions with no regard for their own personal safety, thought that they would be able to come back to the table and be treated fairly. At the very least they would be treated with respect.

Unfortunately, like John Rambo returning from Vietnam and running into Sherriff William Teasle while trying to visit a member of his unit in Hope, Washington, the players were met with insults. Insults that they just couldn’t abide after all that they had been through.

Consider the following exchange:

Rambo: You got some place I can eat around here?
Teasle: There’s a diner about thirty miles up the road.
Rambo: Is there a law against me getting something to eat here?
Teasle: Yeah, me.

Rambo is trying to find something to eat. This, much like the player’s request for the owner’s financial statements, and an equal share of the over $9 billion their sacrifices help to generate, is not an unreasonable request. But like the owners, Sherriff Teasle refuses to accommodate, offering Rambo a destination thirty miles away.

The owners feel superior to the players, and feel that because of this superiority they have no reason to oblige the player’s demands. Like Teasle, they feel they are holding all the cards. After all, Teasle is a cop, and the owners are the player’s employers.

When Teasle tells Rambo, “You know, wearing that flag on that jacket, looking the way you do, you’re asking for trouble around here, friend”, he is basically insulting the very thing that Rambo has lived his life defending. It’s the same way the owners are insulting the players, saying their contributions and sacrifices aren’t worth jack and they should just shut up and take what they can get.

After dropping Rambo at the edge of town Teasle says, “If you want some friendly advice, get a haircut and take a bath. You wouldn’t get hassled so much.”

Teasle feels comfortable talking down to Rambo because he has a gun. The same way the owners have a big fat gun in their back pocket, in the form of television contracts that still generate revenue for them regardless of whether there is football played or not next year. They also have built clauses into contracts, anticipating the lockout a few years back. These clauses are the bullets. Just in case the mere presence of a gun isn’t enough to convince the players they are serious.

Rambo couldn’t take this disrespect from a man who had no real authority over him. To a man like John Rambo, a Sherriff in Jerkwater USA is not someone to be feared, or insulted by. The violent outburst that follows lands him in jail, where he is embarrassed and hosed off like an animal at the zoo. This, much like the owners scoffing at the players demands, is the final straw.

Had the owners been forthright with the players, agreed to sit down like equals and hash out a new deal in the interest of avoiding a lockout, the players wouldn’t have been forced to break out of the jail that the owners opting out of the collective bargaining agreement put them in.  Instead, like Rambo, they sought refuge in the unknown of a nearby forest to figure out their next move.11036582_gal

Rambo knew how to defend himself in the woods, and it seems that the players are just as adept at fashioning makeshift weapons and launching public relations attacks at the owners and whoever they bring with them.

The first, and most simple of these came from men like Drew Brees and Kevin Mawae. .

“I think it was all a show, with no real intent to get a deal done, other than just to say they made a proposal — that was no different than anything else that they proposed over the last couple years, couple months, couple weeks.”

That was Brees’ response to the owner’s final proposal. Mawae accused the owners of spreading “complete falsehoods and complete lies.”

Now, as they grow more comfortable with their surroundings, the player’s attacks are becoming more sophisticated. They have announced plans to have top NFL prospects boycott the draft, even going as far as to suggest they might whore the players out to other networks on draft night in order to teach the league a lesson.

10960778_galRambo knew how to exploit his enemies’ weaknesses, relying on his experience in the jungles of Vietnam to keep the Sherriff on the move, out of his comfort zone. It seems the players are utilizing similar tactics. The owners wouldn’t expect the top prospects to skip the most important night of their young lives to prove a point. But it appears that is what will happen, and it has the league higher ups scrambling for cover.

Rambo tells his former commanding officer Col. Trautman “There wouldn’t be no trouble except for that king-shit cop! All I wanted was something to eat. But the man kept pushing Sir.”

Trautman who, like NFL fans, knows both sides of the conflict and just wants it to end without further bloodshed, tells Rambo “Well you did some pushing on your own John.”  This too echoes the fan’s feelings.  I am on the player’s side, but I don’t feel 100% sorry for these millionaires who get paid to play a game.

Rambo’s response is “They drew first blood, not me.” Like the players, Rambo feels that the Sherriff was the aggressor in all this. If the owners had treated the players fairly they never would have had to break out of jail, and they never would have waged a war against the Sherriff and his men.

Trautman, again trying to find a solution that both parties might not like, but that will result in an end to the standoff, says “Look Johnny, let me come in and get you the hell out of there!” This echoes many fans sentiments that the players should give in. They have the most to lose if the lockout continues and many players can’t afford not to play. The owners are sitting in their cushy luxury boxes and could stand to lose a year’s worth of income.

Rambo tells Trautman again, “They drew first blood…”

Sherriff Teasle made the mistake of insulting, and underestimating John Rambo. It cost him dearly. The league is making the same mistake in underestimating the players. The Players are united on this, as is evident by the antitrust suits filed by Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and a handful of other players.  They seem to be saying to the owners what Rambo says to Sherriff Teasle.

I could have killed ‘em all, I could kill you. In town you’re the law, out here it’s me. Don’t push it. Don’t push it or I’ll give you a war you won’t believe. Let it go. Let it go”


For their sake, I hope they let it go sooner rather than later.


Good Night Ms. Bliss?

// February 18th, 2011 // 6 Comments » // Uncategorized




So did anyone ever see Zack schtup Kelly?

They talked. They traded partners. They danced around the obvious. But did they ever actually christen any part of the Bayside campus?


And you know what? They didn’t have to.

They created something great by not doing anything. It was subtle. It entertained us. And it caused us to develop palpable emotions about fictional characters.

Becoming something collectively, and individually recognizable, Zack and Kelly never crossed that line. Maybe it was simply a line that didn’t get crossed at 10am on a Saturday.

Regardless, over time Zack and Kelly built something. It wasn’t always great, and sometimes it frustrated us, but we could see its growth. We were all invested in it.

So they never let it end. They dragged its feet into the no man’s land of the College Years.

It’s like the NFL. It wasn’t supposed to work. They fixed it, changed its name and then, it did. It grabbed all of us and didn’t let go until we genuinely cared. Not just watched, but cared. And now that we do, now that we care more than anyone ever thought that we could, the NFL has us by the balls.

Make no mistake, more people care about football than ever before.

And the NLF wants to fuck the whole thing up by sending it off to college.


We care now, and instead of just slow dancing, hands in a slightly errotic yet respectable place, the NFL wants to end the courtship early.

At the end of The College Years, Zack and Kelly finally get married.

The NFL wants us to front their ticket so they see that wedding. And then pretend they have no idea who we are when we approach them in the bathroom for a cigarette later. 

Because we have become so accustomed to dealing with Zack and Kelly, and their absurdly charismatic Sunday shows, we have mixed feelings.

But the more I hear, the easier it will be to forget, and the easier it will be RSVP to Jesse and Slater’s wedding instead.