While watching the NFL games on Sundays, note how many times crowd shots focus on families other than those who resemble the Addams or Manson families.
Do they show a father seated with his kids enjoying their time together as well-comported fans, a family sharing popcorn and sipping soft drinks, those more likely to be in a Norman Rockwell print than to be arrested for drunk and disorderly? It’s likely that in 10 hours of watching you won’t see even one such crowd shot.
Yet you’ll see more than 50 shots of adult men and women selected for TV attention — rewarded — because they appear dressed and well-oiled for such attention, something akin to Beer Pong with “The Price Is Right” contestants.
That would mean that those who would dare escort well-behaved loved ones to NFL games are intentionally ignored or are no longer welcomed, thus no longer attend.
I used to attend Giants games at Yankee Stadium with my father. The few loud-mouthed vulgar drunks in our midst would be shouted down and even threatened by the sober, often with various antiquated shouts such as, “Hey, Pal! I’ve got my wife and kids here! Can it!”
No one had to call an usher or security. It was handled by peer pressure.
Now, the civilized at NFL games, at least according to what TV directors prize, appear to be short of such peers. They seem vastly outnumbered, surrounded by those who are two shots short of puking on the guy in front of them.
A close friend waited years — prior to Roger Goodell’s “good investment” PSLs — to buy Jets season tickets. He was thrilled when his time came. But with his wife and young son surrounded by drunks, he lasted less than one season.
The end came when a “fan” wobbled into the aisle next to where his wife was seated, unzipped his fly and urinated on the steps. Livid, he summoned an usher.
Solution: He was told that he and his family should change from the seats they had purchased and move rows higher in search of empty seats.
For a few bucks per game, that usher wasn’t going to go to war for him and his family.
He knew then it was all backward — the good guys had lost another.
It strikes me that every time TV chooses to delightfully focus on the biggest fools in the stands — “These fun fans are what it’s all about!” — that those in the broadcast truck responsible for these shots, 15 or 20 times per telecast, should have their loved ones sit among them, to really soak up the “NFL Experience.”
It also strikes me that every time a shot of the attention-starved, the uncivil, unsteady or just drunk and disruptive (before many drive home), appears as the essence of NFL fandom, watching the game and endless commercials at home sits an ex-patron pleased with his decision to save his self-worth.
It now seems that every Monday the internet includes videos of booze-fueled brawls from the games that Sunday — before, during and after. To wear the jersey of the visiting team is an invite having your jaw broken.
And Roger Goodell, at $63 million per to ignore what has corroded the NFL as a sport and a sports attraction — commissioner of the Nero Fiddles League — does nothing.
“It’s all about our fans,” he has proudly boasted. Which ones?
Hunt fed small spoonful of humility
If only one of these empty, redundant, no-better-idea NFL pregame shows paid attention, or had the sense of creativity and even genuine humor, it would stand out as the one actually worth watching.
For example, the Jets-Browns game on CBS last week included a hilarious moment that has gone ignored.
After Browns running back Kareem Hunt ran for 4 yards, he was seen giving that tired spoon-to-mouth “feed me” gesture. Yep, he’s the man! Just give him the damned ball!
So on the very next play, the Browns fed him. Wham! He was clobbered for no gain.
That might’ve given cause for one of those postgame shows to create legitimate laughter rather than the forced kind. Gosh, without much sweat these shows could be so much better.
Former Yankees pitcher Jeff Nelson was strong last week on Yankees telecasts. Same when he has subbed on Yankees radio. Calm, thoughtful, informative, like YES’s underutilized John Flaherty.
He even had his provocative moments, such as when a chat about Aaron Judge versus Barry Bonds led Nelson to say the Hall of Fame now includes steroid users. (Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez has never been above conspicuous and published suspicion, nor has David Oritz.)
But instead of asking who, Michael Kay let it float away.
Anyway, had YES not fallen victim to its shallow, misguided and misapplied stab at diversity, instead of Nelson this season, we were stuck with Carlos Beltran and Cameron Maybin, neither even slightly primed for the job.
It’s all so sad, so untreated, so endless, and so selectively ignored by those luminaries of sports, politics, society and race who otherwise lecture us on what’s wrong with America.
Emoni Bates, less than two years ago a 6-foot-9, top-five high school basketball recruit from Michigan, committed to Michigan State, enrolled at Memphis then transferred to Eastern Michigan in his hometown of Ypsilanti.
According to the police report, last Sunday night, after they pulled over “a vehicle that failed to stop” at an intersection, Bates was arrested near EMU’s campus, charged with carrying a concealed gun with “altered ID marks.”
Yet these growing, now almost daily stories — and worse — must escape the attention of the all-seeing, all-knowing newsmaker LeBron James, though as an apologist for the Chinese Communist Party that enriches him through Nike, he has diplomatic immunity.
No ‘end’ in sight of NFL wokeness
The Browns on Sunday against the Jets still had their “End Racism” message stenciled just beyond the end zone. But after signing Deshaun Watson for $230 million, all of it guaranteed, I guess “End Sexual Abuse” was out.
The most misused phrase among sportscasters is “much-maligned.” To be maligned is to be libeled, smeared, defamed, slandered, done seriously wrong. Thus, Spero Dedes’ claim during CBS’s Jets-Browns game that the Jets’ dead-last defense last season was “much-maligned” was much wrong. The Jets’ D was not even maligned, it was justly criticized.
I may be wrong or I might have been dreaming, but a pitch was thrown Thursday during the Red Sox-Yankees game that Fox’s John Smoltz did not analyze.
Reader John Agnese still can’t come to grips with an MLB Network graphic: “Reds have lost 90 games for the first time since 2018.”
ESPN’s Self-Serving but Otherwise Irrelevant Stat of the Week: Bills WR Stefon Diggs “has 10 TD receptions, the most in NFL prime time.” (Thanks to reader Saul Mishaan for the heads-up.)
Lookalikes from several: The new King Charles III (top right) and the latter-day Archie Manning.
One more time: When it’s third- or fourth-and-short, stay on the bleepin’ field! Got that, Fox? When the offense comes to the line, don’t cut to closeups or crowd shots! Let us watch! Is the O trying to bait the D to jump offside? Two tight ends? Fake punt? You know, show the football game!
Just received notice that my health benefits have been canceled. Something about a “Moose Johnston clause.”
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