29 March 2006

Point by Stupid Point

Vic Carruci got quite a lot of mail after supporting the new celebration rules the NFL will implement this year. He's posted some of that email and I'm going to break it down point by stupid point:

"When fans such as myself shell out $50 to see an NFL game, we aren't paying to see the ref stand under a hood and watch TV for five minutes. We're paying to watch players play and have fun. Being a Browns fan, I hate the Bengals but I'll admit that I am interested to see what Chad Johnson will do after each TD. He's not hurting anyone, just having fun. What about when a player dives or falls into the end zone? He has to control his excitement and emotions to refrain from celebrating before he gets to his feet? What a ridiculous notion.
--Ryan M."

The ref shouldn't be standing under the hood for five minutes. He should be standing under it for two minutes no more than about 5 to 6 times per game. Don't like watching them? Don't blame you. I do blame the hordes of fans that clamored for instant replay after it already failed once in this league. Besides, TV timeouts do a lot mroe to disrupt the flow of a game than refs or endzone prancers ever could. I don't know about you but I am paying $50 per game to watch football. If I want to see someone dance around like a jackass, I'll go to watch Riverdance.

"How can you say that end-zone dancing is slowing the game down "unnecessarily?" The end-zone dance makes the game interesting and enjoyable. What slows the game down considerably is the officiating. The 10 false starts a game, the five holding calls, the illegal contacts, and most of all the instant replay. For the NFL to be focusing on the end-zone dance and not the officiating is absolutely absurd. They should be watching the film of the Super Bowl (the refs vs. the Seahawks) and figuring something to do about that, not the dancing. And for you to agree with this is an absolute disgrace. Maybe you are too uptight to realize the people like end-zone dancing, but you need to face the facts it is a part of the game and makes the game enjoyable.
--Sony C."

Sony starts off with a good point. Those endzone dances aren't really slowing the game down any. Then he makes another good point by saying that officiating slows a game down. But then he backs it up with a sorry body of evidence. False starts, holding, illegal contacts, and reviews are all initiated by the teams and players, not the officials. Don't want to see 10 false starts? Make sure your team doesn't false start. Don't blame the ref because he saw it and has to penalize it. Also, last I checked endzone dancing most certainly isn't part of the game.

"If the NFL wants to limit celebrations to speed up the pace of the game then why don't they also limit the number of commercial breaks? An NFL game will have a commercial break every other play, but if Steve Smith acts like he's rowing a boat, THAT slows the pace of the game down? It's kind of a double standard. I'm not saying limit the number of commercials; the networks need money too. But the number of times they break into a game is annoying. Another thought is, why doesn't the NFL ask the fans if the celebrations are bothersome? If celebrations don't bother fans, then they shouldn't bother the NFL. It is the fans that make the NFL. It's the fans that even give you something to write about. We are the bread and butter.
--Don B.; The Woodlands, Texas"

This is the best argument I've seen so far. The fact of the matter is that endzone celebrations shouldn't slow down the game because the refs shouldn't wait for some jackass to stop prancing around before they start the game clock for the extra point attempt. Maybe if the refs stuck to the game clock, the problem would take care of itself.

"Why would the NFL penalize touchdown celebrations when that is the only reason people watch? OK, maybe not the only reason, but why ban something that is so exciting? These men, are Men; they are not in pee-wee football anymore. I know one thing, if they cut down on the celebrations, I won't watch. A lot of other people feel the same. The NFL is taking the FUN away from the sport. It would be like not allowing Kobe Bryant to dunk. What's wrong with these (competition committee members) anyway? Who are they to decide?
--Joshua D."

Deal! Kobe can't dunk and I don't have to watch endzone dances. Small price to pay. If you would refuse to watch the football game because the NFL cuts down on celebrations, then maybe you need to watch a more apporprate event to your tastes like ballet or figure skating.

"Celebrating in the end zone does not delay the games in any real way. This is utter nonsense! Let them celebrate. Pretending that football isn't a game is utterly RIDICULOUS! Stop telling players how to act! Keep your morality to yourself!
--Stuart T."

Morality? Unless we've veered off into talking about the movie Footloose, what does morality have to do with dancing? Football is a game played by professionals. Am I the only one who would prefer that they act like it?

"There was a reason the cameras zeroed in on these celebrations. They don't pan away to see the opposing coach's reaction. They don't catch other teammates congratulating each other. The cameras focus in on the latest TD dance or pantomime routine. The coaches and purists might hate it, but the fans eat it up. And so long as the NFL puts its desires before the fans, they will keep the "No Fun League" moniker.
--Joe M."

We don't really know if the fans eat it up. The sports press eats it up by either talking about it or attacking it often but no network has been brave enough to ignore TD dances to see if it really does result in a loss (or gain) of fanbase.

"The NFL is right in the fact that touchdown celebrations are getting out of hand, but a 15-yard penalty for expression of joy is wrong. The competition committee should think about letting players do what they want after a score, but just start the play clock right away and give 5 yards if they delay. I wouldn't mind watching a game that is 10 seconds longer after each score if it was showing a celebration.
--Jared; Mahomet, Ill."

I'd be ok with that. Good point, Jared. I've often been irked by 15 yard college celebration penalties. I think 10 yards would be a good compromise but would be fine with your proposal.

"Boooooooo! Why can't the NFL people get it into their brains that they are entertainers. If it was just about football, there would be no cheerleaders and people would just go to college and high school games. I, as well as my friends, love the celebrations. They should give out an award for best entertainer in the league. Who would know anything about Chad Johnson if it weren't about the entertainment value he brings to the table? I'm from Detroit, so I can tell you fans filled Ford Field just to watch Chad do something outrageous and left furious when we were let down. Let the players entertain, whether they're putting the football, rowing the boat … team celebrations, as long as it's within a reasonable time limit.
--Anthony W."

Yes, just ask ABC about infusing entertainment into the game. They took their vaunted "Monday Night Football" program and flushed it down the toilet during the biggest ratings gains the NFL has ever seen elsewhere by making the program about entertainment first and football second. If you don't want to watch football, then don't but don't act like the product of football needs something else cut in with it just so people stay interested.

"What's getting out of hand is you people. Fans want to see the elaborate celebrations and the other team's faces when it happens. I can't wait to see what Chad or T.O., will do next in the end zone. It's called the "No Fun League" for a reason, because old white people on the panel want play to be like it was in the '50s. It's not like that anymore. Fans want more from their football; now you can hardly touch the quarterback. We're turning our great sport into a no-fun, no-contact sport.
--George S."

Yeah, it's about whitey isn't it George? What a confused thought. We want to make the game like it was in the 50's by limiting celebrations and not touching the quarterback? I wasn't alive in the 50's but I'm pretty sure from the film I've seen that the QB's were touched a few times during that period. Taking your weak argument (fans want celebration) and bundling it in with a stronger argument (NFL rules take QB contact to ludicrous levels) may seem like a good way to sneak your point across but really it just makes you look like a moron.

"I, for one, applaud the NFL for this latest action against end-zone celebrations. I'm 30 years old and have three boys who watch and play football. I want them to recognize the athleticism, talent, and team enthusiasm that these NFL players (some) possess … not their abilities to come up with pointless end-zone dances. I want my children to say, "Hey, Dad, did you see that catch?" Or, "Did you see that run for a TD?" Not, "Hey, Dad, did you see Steve Smith pretending the ball is a baby and wiping its butt?"
--Neil S.; Montgomery, Pa."

Well said, Neil. I'd like my kids to learn good sportsmanship and that's pretty hard to do when Fox Sports is more concerned with what dance Chad Johnson will do this week or what he's sending to the opposing team than they are with how he is performing as a player. Off the field, I don't rightly care what athletes do with their lives. On the field, I'd at least like to see them act like good sports.


At 2:37 PM, Blogger Laddi said...

What most everyone is forgetting about the proposal is that it was encouraged by and UNANIMOUSLY voted for approval by the NFL PLAYERS' Association.

This isn't old, white codgers who are saying things need to be reigned in. The players themselves agreed to the measure.

I agree, Dante, I'd rather see them stick to the 40-second clock. Spot the ball, wind the clock, and if there is a delay-of-game penalty or too many men on the field, assess it on the kickoff. Either that, or mark the ball 10 yards back and require the team go for 2, instead of the 1 PAT.

I also agree the NFL competition committee should work on TV timeouts if they are concerned with the pace of the game. Games are unnecessarily extended by 15-30 minutes because they have to cut to a commercial after before every kickoff, after every kickoff, punt, and turnover, and after regulated TV timeouts, and this isn't including the official timeouts, replay challenges, and after each quarter. That's fully unnecessary. I'm not saying there should be timeouts or commercials, but when you can go 10-15 real-time minutes with maybe 15 seconds of actual game action (excluding halftime), something should be done. Get a clock next game and tell me how much time goes between the time a TD is scored and the next non-special teams snap. THAT is the big-@@@ time killer.

At 10:35 AM, Blogger Dante said...

So the sports radio guys here in Athens are already bemoaning the new celebration rules. I listened to them cry and complain about it for about 5 minutes until I switched stations. I thought about calling in but that would just play into their hands. You see, I don't think they really care one way or another about celebrations. I think they just want to have something to talk about to fill out their day. Those celebrations are pretty hot button topics and they can generate a lot of calls for and against what Chad Johnson did (other than play football) last Sunday. They didn't come out and say this directly though. They're hiding behind the argument that celebrations make the game more "fun." I have a hard time believing that anyone who went into sports radio as a profession can't enjoy football for football's sake. I just don't buy that they need some additional prancing around the field to further amuse them. If the NFL wanted to get into dancing, then they would've rented a TV studio and brought back Solid Gold but the NFL has seen what jackassery has done to the NBA. NFL players and owners alike are doing whatever it takes to keep that from happening to them. They sure don't want to end up as the NFL on TNT.

Furthermore, for the month of March, I'd like to nominate NFL sports analysts as jackass(es) of the month for promoting TD celebrations just so they have something to talk about Wednesday on their shows and columns.

At 10:43 AM, Blogger Dante said...

Oh and to answer Laddi's question, from my experience watching DirecTV's NFL Quick Hits (the entire game run in real time but only showing from the snap until the tackle), the ball is in play for about 35-40 minutes each game. Now that doesn't count the amount of time used by the play clock. Since there are an average of 120 total plays per game in the NFL and the play clock is 40 seconds, that means that a real no-commercial game would last around 2 hours (80 minutes for play clock + 40 minutes for actual play).

At 11:19 AM, Blogger S.A.W.B. said...

I'm sort of on the fence on the celebration dance thing. In some cases, like the aforementioned Chad Johnson, the Ravens Bomb-drop, and the old Redskins fun-bunch, it's amusing, and adds to the overall entertainment of the game.

Who among us wasn't quietly wondering what Chad was going to do during the Christmas games when he swore he had a reindeer he was bringing to the stadium? The Santa bit was classic, and in good-humor.

Any time you get into the dance to show up the opposing team, however, you begin to cause problems. TO on the star in Dallas is my main example, though his cheerleader routine was classic...

I do agree with Dante and Laddi, in that we can legislate the celebrations out of the game through on-field penalties, not $10k fines. Wind the clock after the play, as one normally would. Enforce the penalties that are already on the books. If your team gets a delay-of-game called because you're too busy doing the hustle with 5 guys from section F, you'll pay for it on the sidelines, and at practice.


Post a Comment

<< Home