Monday, July 11, 2011


There seems to be some worry in some parts that we won’t have a pro football season to enjoy this fall. The owners have locked out the players until a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is reached, and that hasn’t been accomplished yet.
I say “yet” because though I haven’t followed news reports all that closely, I have seen some headlines that say an agreement may be close.
In fact, maybe one will be reached before you even read this, though I doubt it. This process to divide up millions, no, billions of dollars has a tendency to take two steps forward and then one or two, or even three, backward, it seems.
Wake me when all the papers have been signed, please.
I am not concerned about the absence of a pro football season because I have drifted away from the NFL in recent years, and this is from someone who once arranged his days off so he coul take in Monday Night Football.
But in 1998, I started doing regular reports on college football for an outfit called the Sports Xchange, and those reports were due on Sunday afternoons.
Hence, my TV viewing of Sunday afternoon NFL games was curtailed.
My assignments on the college game now have been expanded so that unlike in the past when I could easily finish them up to catch the second half of 1 o’clock games, I now am occupied by them until much later in the afternoon.
I have even drifted away from Monday Night Football.
So I would only mildly miss the NFL this fall if it wasn’t around.
Oh, I still like football. But I prefer the college game.
Here are a few reasons why:
-- You don’t see college teams threatening to move if you (the taxpayer who lives in the city) don’t build them a new stadium with more luxury boxes. My alma mater is going to stay in Bloomington, Ind. Ohio State isn’t going to leave Columbus. LSU will always be in Baton Rouge.
UCLA some years back left the Los Angeles Coliseum to go play games in the Rose Bowl, but that was just a short jaunt up the Pasadena Freeway from Westwood.
-- I like the different styles of the game you see. Some teams like to run the ball, others throw it. Others mix it up. It’s interesting to me to see how a team like Miami is going to defense a triple option team like Georgia Tech. I like to see Air Force and Navy bewilder opponents.
-- I like that the players aren’t all cut from the same mold. As a college quarterback Vince Young led Texas to a national title with his ability to run as well as throw. With the exception of a guy like Michael Vick (and look at the off-the-field baggage he carries), you aren’t going to see quarterbacks in the NFL win many games with their feet.
-- The quarterback’s ability to run the football also adds another dimension to the strategic aspect of the college game. Even in Miami’s glory years (2001 national title), the Hurricanes had problems defending against a running quarterback. The quarterback’s ability to run the football may be the least of an NFL defensive coordinator’s worries. (Again, except for Vick.)
-- I like it that the players may be flawed. When they are too small or too short or too whatever by NFL standards, it makes it all the more remarkable when they make great plays. I will never forget the catch a receiver named Tim Horton made against Texas to help his Arkansas Razorbacks beat the Longhorns back in 1988. Horton never got a sniff from the NFL draft (too small, too slow), but he came up big that day.
-- I also like the whole atmosphere around the college game, even though I must confess I rarely stick around for the halftime show.
So, no, if the NFL can’t manage to figure out how to divide how the money it generates in time for the 2011 season, I won’t miss it. I’m not rooting that way, you understand, and hope the games are played. But you’re just as apt to catch me watching some nondescript bowl game in December than whatever the NFL has to offer for the holidays, lockout or no lockout.

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